Tales of the future may come from the past! Do you ever wonder how writers envisioned the potential future of science decades or over a century ago?
H. G. Wells died this week in 1946. In honor of his death, we’re taking a look at the fake news broadcast that supposedly panicked many listeners.
Some people may know that H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was originally released as a radio broadcast in 1938. Played out by a cast of actors and presented as though it were really taking place, The War of the Worlds broadcast caused mass panic, and many people believed aliens were actually invading New Jersey. Or at least that’s how the story goes.
Hg wells | Image via thought co
There’s some evidence of this. According to NPR‘s Radiolab, about one in twelve people were listening in, enough to constitute mass panic, and many ran from their homes to see what was happening. This matter is contested, however.
Slate argues that this one in twelve number is just out of those with their radios on, in addition to the fact that Wells’ masterpiece was competing with a particularly popular variety show. In a ratings survey shortly after it aired, most respondents referred to it as a “radio play”. Certainly not as a news broadcast.
Still, contemporary news papers seized the opportunity to discredit radio as an unreliable source, and claimed that masses of people had taken to the streets in panic. Sort of ironic. At least we got a few movies about all that hype. And we finally got to see Tom Cruise running for once.
Gif via Gifer
I kid. Somebody let that man rest. He must have other skills that are being neglected. At least put him on a motorcycle sometimes. Wait.
So was there an actual scare? Maybe. A little. Certainly it occurred to someone that it could be interpreted as real news. Ultimately, though, people knew what it was, and if they didn’t, they dismissed it as a prank. Still, pop culture myths are pernicious, and it’s interesting to imagine a world in which a broadcast could convince a nation that aliens had invaded.
Featured image via Fandom
Its Alien Abduction Day! It’s a day when the skies are watched carefully by those who wish to find UFOs or be abducted by aliens. Most people celebrate the day by either UFO watching or watching movies featuring extraterrestrials. But you can always read some books featuring our alien friends! Below are five books dealing with alien abductions, both fictional and…er…nonfictional.
Image Via Goodreads
5. ‘Communion’ by Whitley Strieber
Communion by Whitley Strieber is a supposed real life account by Strieber’s potential encounters with aliens. Strieber offers no interpretation of whether these events were real or not, leaving the audience to decide that for themselves. You can decide whether Strieber’s account is real or not but the novel itself is worth the read, if only for Strieber’s terrifying account of the actual abductions. Dream-like and surreal, these accounts are seriously disturbing and will keep you up at night for sure. The novel gets bogged down near the end with Strieber’s philosophical ramblings of what the aliens wanted from him but the book itself is a must read for UFO fans.
Image Via Goodreads
4. ‘Little Green Men’ by Christopher Buckley
Little Green Men is a comedy bent on the alien abduction trope. It centers on a man called John Oliver Banion who is abducted by aliens. Believing the aliens abducted him for a purpose, he concludes that purpose is to force Washington to acknowledge the existence of extraterrestrials! He soon becomes a cult figure to millions who want the truth as well and has to choose between his career, life, family or seeing his new cause through to the end. Funny, satirical, and with great characters, Little Green Men is a hilarious read.
Image Via Amazon
3. ‘Lagoon’ by Nnedi Okorafor
Lagoon details humanity’s first contact with aliens, as when an alien spaceship crashes into a lagoon off the coast of Lagos, the fifth most populated city in the world, Earth is changed forever. The novel follows a rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier who come together as the city begins to get out of control. As the government considers bombing the city and its own citizens begin to riot, this small group of people must work as one to ensure peaceful first contact. A unique and highly engaging novel that details aliens landing somewhere that isn’t America, Lagoon is a great, fast paced read.
Image Via Goodreads
2. ‘Contact’ by Carl Sagan
The basis for the more famous nineties movie, Contact centers on a young woman receiving a message from supposed aliens and attempting to decipher their message then somehow heads into space to make contact with the extraterrestrials. Touching on themes on faith, science, and what it means to be human, Contact is intimidating to read, as its very focused on the realistic side of space travel, which means like of high minded scientific concepts/math thrown at the reader. But its a wonderful read nonetheless and the reveal at the end makes the whole journey worth it.
Image Via Pixels
1. ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells
You know it, you’ve watched it, but have you actually read it? War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells started it all. The popularity of aliens, alien invasions, and the human conflicts against them began with this book. The aliens come without warning, attacking London at the end of the nineteenth century. The war against the aliens is still just as hard hitting as it was back then, despite countless other alien invasion stories popping up by the thousand since. Most famous are the giant tripods, the aliens war machines that stomp their way through London, annihilating everything in sight with their death rays. A great and exciting pulpy read, War of the Worlds started it all but holds up very well.
Featured Image Via IO9