The War of Perception

It is tough to discuss something about War of the Worlds that has not already been discussed many many times over. So, for my presentation I would like to have some fun and hopefully spark a discussion on how War of the Worlds was received both in its initial release as well as the following radio broadcasts.

What I hope to get out of the discussion is everyone’s opinion on the powers of media and our own perception. I would like to know if anyone today could be fooled by something similar to the 1938 Welles broadcast.

There will also be a quick overview of H.G. Wells and the plot of War of the Worlds. After the presentation I will post some additional content links that I am saving!

The beginning will cover the initial 1898 release of War of the Worlds and how it was received by the general public as well as the surrounding context of Mars and astronomy of the time.


Above is a charming illustration I found by an unknown artist. Source:


Next the topic will be the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles and its reception. Was the panic real? Or was the resulting coverage of the broadcast reaction as fake as the broadcast itself?


Above is a photo of a painting that hangs in a coffee shop in the now famous Grover’s Mill NJ.

War-of-the-Worlds-by-Jamie-Jones-1024x597 Above is a painting by Jamie Jones which is a more modern rendering of the blood sucking Martians.

I hope everyone enjoys the presentation. I am looking forward to Nora’s as well!


McDonough, J. “Today’s Audiences Are Just As Gullible As Orson Welles’s.” Wall Street Journal. (2000). Print.

MacKenzie, N. “H.G. Wells: A Biography.” New York: Simon and Schuster, (1973). Print.


Blade Runner 2049 (spoiler free)


Blade Runner 2049 – Denis Villeneuve (Canadian Director)

Blade Runner 2049 dwarfs the original in it’s power, heart, storytelling and character development.

It explores what it means to be human and to have a soul. It makes you question the concepts of love and detachment. It also contains an interesting “satire” on technology dependence (that will hit most of us close to home). If you are a SF fan or a fan of film noir this is a must see. Unlike the original, this one is not going to need constant re-edits.



A Swift kick to the ego


Gulliver’s Travels –  Jonathan Swift

Mr. Swift you are a difficult man to understand. After finishing book four .. well I am still unsure if Swifts meaning here can be compartmentalized or easily defined. To me his writing felt like a “word of warning” in a sense. The best conclusion I can come up with is that his satire is clearly of its time, but more generally it seems he is advocating some sense of balance and common sense, rather than an assertion against modern thinking.

His writing satirizes almost all ways of thinking including religion. To draw a specific intent from his satire as a whole is difficult. Perhaps in some way he is saying that the true meaning of knowledge is to hold a constant skepticism without giving oneself over to one particular school of thought? In many ways it feels like this book was written by an alien, poking fun at the human race while still revealing no final solution to the shortcomings of mankind.








The Blazing Duchess of Godlike Eminence

The Description of a New World called The Blazing World (and Poems)– Margaret Cavendish

I just want to begin by saying that Margaret Cavendish rocks. Her Stories contain in them a noticeable passion and wonderment about the world. Her Poems “Of Many Worlds in this World”  and “A World in an Earring” both reminded me of particular Dr Seuss story hehe. I love her view of our perception and how it is extremely limited. After reading some of her material it is apparent that her mind is very scientific. I found her writing to be very descriptive in a scientific way as well. She at one point refers to water as the ” liquid element”. I wonder if she could have become a working scientist and possibly made some significant discoveries if she had just been born in a different time. I believe it was Einstein who said the the first and foremost qualification needed to be a good scientist was to be ” passionately curious”, which Margaret Cavendish clearly was.

The Blazing world was a fun read. Many points in the story made me laugh. Just the idea of a god-like woman being kidnapped by a lusty merchant made me chuckle (in a good way). Luckily she was protected by the “warmth of her beauty” once the merchants were punished for such a heinous act. And it is a shame she did not let the emperor worship her, for she was just a mere mortal hehe.




Man in the Moone in search of a Doubloon

Man in the Moone – Francis Godwin

Aside from the racism and the run on sentences, the story wasn’t too bad! I am the last person that should be ragging on someone for grammatical issues, but wow. I mean geeze Francis couldn’t you have written your story so people would be able to easily understand it 400 years in the future?

All joking aside the story had some great points. I mean a story about a Spaniard who makes first contact by flying to the moon in a bird-mobile sounds like it could do no wrong! However I think some of the stories stronger moments might be lost in translation to the readers of this century. I would love to see a modern day writer take this material and rework it (rewrite it completely) for today’s sf readers.

I found the circumstances surrounding the work interesting as well. It is a cool feeling to read (arguably) the first science fiction story ever written. I also enjoyed the point in the story where the captain knowingly destroys his ship in spite of the enemy and Gonzales makes his escape via his wacky bird-kite-plane.

– “When our Carick strake upon a rock, and split immediately : whereupon I let loose my birds the raines, having first placed my selfe upon the highest of the decke: and with the shock they all arose, carrying mee fortunately unto the land”

Another point that really struck me was when Gonzales was describing his Utopian experience(s) and how they seemed to leave him with a longing to be home. I can’t help but wonder if Godwin felt that the idea of a Utopian world was overrated. Or that, if he did in fact write this story near the end of his life, he may have been struggling with an inner dialog on his own mortality or religious beliefs.

– “Being dismissed, I was afforded all the manner of necessaries that my heart could wish, so as it seemed unto me I was in a very Paradise, the pleasures whereof notwithstanding could not so overcome mee, as that the remembrance of my wife and Children, did not trouble mee much.”


Looking forward to class this year


I am a  little bit rusty with this but here goes nothing. Very interested in learning about the fantastic lit , although the first book seems a bit confusing. The actual story for ” Man in the Moone ” doesn’t seem to actually begin until page 65 , unless I am mistaken! – AL