H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu May 24, 2012 2:12 am

First a brief explanation. This came about after watching Spielbergs recent film of WotW and being horrified at what he had done to it and the cowardice he displayed in the character changes (in partucliar removing all the refrences to religion the book has by removing the charcater of the pastor).
Another thing which has always bugged me about all versions of it I have seen is that they always make it contempory rather than when the book is set. I can understand this of course but I want to see the book imagery up there on the screen, cannons against tripods, the ironclad Thunder Child roaring thorough the wavs to save the ferries. So this is my go at it.

I have adapted it into four episodes. Here is episode one.

H.G.Wells
The War of the Worlds

Adapted for television in four episodes by
Petty Tyrant

Cast of characters:
George, a journalist.
Gertrude, George’s wife.
Jonathan, George’s younger brother.
Henderson, a rival journalist
Artilleryman, a soldier
Curate, a holy man
Ogilvy, an Astronomer
Stern, the Royal Astronomer
Major Eden, army major.
Harry, friend of Jonathon
Wilfred and Anna, cousins of Gertrude.
Bozo, George’s dog.
Bert, the innkeeper of the Spotted Dog
Milkman, neighbours, Majors, Sergeants, corporals, etc
Numerous soldiers, sappers, and six million refugees.

Episode One: The Eve of the War

H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Horsell_Pit_Cameramen_WaroftheWorld-1

Scene One


Earth hanging in the blackness of space.

George
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own, that as we busied ourselves about our various concerns we were scrutinized and studied…

Zoom suddenly down from space to bustling 19th Century London with all the people and traffic looking just like insects in a hive. Close in on the royal observatory

…as a man with a microscope might scrutinize creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Cut to inside the observatory where Stern the Royal Astronomer is sitting at the massive brass telescope. He puts an eye to the lens. Cut to his view of space as the telescope turns to centre upon Mars which is at first out of focus then comes into sharp relief.

Yet across the gulf of space, minds cool and unsympathetic, regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

A plume of green mist is expelled from the surface of Mars. As the credits run we follow this green projectile, the camera zooming in behind it to a chase cam as it arches across the backdrop of space and then before it we see Earth, distant but clearly the target.


Scene Two

A slow flyover of the town of Maybury showing everyday life; the milkman and postman going about their business, women shopping in the Main Street and carriages trundling along the roads. Trains shunting in the station yard and in gardens children play. The camera focuses in upon the church and over all this imagery George narrates.


George
It seems surprising to me now that as the first of the capsules which were to bring so much pain and calamity to Earth was hurtling through the void towards us, all over the planet people busied themselves with their own affairs, oblivious to the coming dangers. I among them, for there were matters which seemed of the greatest import to me at the time; I was writing for a London newspaper and also I was endeavouring to learn to ride the bicycle. But more importantly than all else, I was getting married.

Close up of the steeple and the bells ringing out a marriage.
Interior of church. George and Gertrude stand before the Altar. Jonathan, George's brother stands by as best man and Anna, Gertrude’s cousin is bridesmaid. Family and friends fill half the pews.


George
I do.

Vicar
And do you Gertrude Margaret Mansley take George Thomas Harrilson as your lawfully wedded husband?


Gertrude
I do.

Vicar
Then I pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.

George and Gertrude kiss. Cut to exterior as they emerge from church to a hail of confetti and cheers. Anna, Gertrude’s cousin, leads the confetti throwing.

Scene Three

Late afternoon. Cut to exterior of Spotted Dog inn, showing the pub sign. Cut to a rowdy interior where the reception is being held. A piano is being enthusiastically played and Gertrude is dancing and laughing with her cousins and other guests. The men are mostly at the bar smoking, drinking and congratulating George. Jonathon is circulating the room chatting to the girls present. Henderson enters the smoky pub, he is smartly dressed in a pale blue suit, espying George he approaches and shakes George’s hand.


Henderson
Congratulations George old boy, if ‘congratulations’ is the right word. Another good man shackled in my opinion. Shall we have a drink to the passing of your freedoms? Barman, two whiskeys if you would be so kind.

The barman serves them their drinks as they talk. Henderson lights a long slender cigarette and offers one to George from a silver case, which George accepts.

George
I shall see you married one day Henderson.

Henderson
Certainly not! I have a glistening journalistic career before me whilst yours is dissolving before your eyes into a future of children, nannies and schooling. Besides it would be a disservice to a young woman to shackle her with me for I should have no time for her. I tell you I will not let my career suffer for the love of any.

George
You call that scribbling that you do a career?

Henderson
Oh my column is just the start dear boy. Science writing George, that way the future lies, though I scarcely need to tell you that.

The barman finishes serving them and Henderson waves a note at him and accepts the change.

Incidentally I read that little piece of yours in the paper yesterday, not to shabby old man but I feel I have the drop on you for the latest astronomical news.

George
Oh?

Henderson
My dear George did you really think I came all this way just to witness your enslavement and the beginnings of the end of your professional career? Amusing to me as those both might prove to be. No, I came to interview that astronomer chappy, Ogilvy, over Ottershaw way, about that explosion upon Mars last night.


George
What explosion? I’ve heard nothing of this.


Henderson
As I said, a wife is your undoing. Already you are behind the times and you are not yet married a day.

Jonathon comes over to them bearing two mugs of beer.

Ah, I should have known your dear brother would not miss the chance to escape the fogs of London or the chance for revelry; wherever the drink is free, there you shall be, young butcher.

Jonathon
Henderson. I do hope that with your love of the sciences that you donate your mortal remains to the Medical Institute, so that one day I may have the pleasure of dissecting you to find what happy thing it was that finally closed that pompous mouth. And I shall congratulate whatever pernicious little virus it was that got you.

Henderson
And this is the future of medicine in our great city they say! I fear for us
all. I truly do. For who would wish administration from this beardless youth barely a rung up the ladder from an abattoirs man?

Jonathon plonks a pint down in front of George.

Jonathon
Here you are brother. Sorry Henderson, I didn’t get you one.

Henderson
How a medical student can afford to revel so much I will never know. They must pay you too well, perhaps I will write a scathing piece on the subject and have your allowances severed. But I cannot stay in any case, so if you will excuse me gentleman some of us still have work to be done before this night is over. Whilst you mark poor Georges’ decline into domestication I shall be reaping greater rewards from my time, you can read all about it in tomorrows paper.

Henderson downs the last of his whisky and slams the glass down onto the bar top.

Once more my congratulations and sympathies George, in equal measure. Give my best to your good lady wife.

Henderson doffs his hat in a mocking fashion and exits the pub. Jonathon watches him go with unconcealed dislike.

Jonathon
He really is a stuck up ass. I’d like to knock that cocky smile off his face one day.
Barkeep! Two more if you please I have a newly married man here don’t you know. Well drink up dear brother you are only married once. Here is to you and the lovely Gertrude.

Jonathon raises his glass and swills down his pint whilst the barman sets up the next two.


Scene Four

Cut to the evening and revelries continue in the Spotted Dog but outside George and Gertrude are walking arm in arm in the cool of the evening. They meander down a leafy lane that runs alongside the bottom of their garden, on the road behind a cart rattles past and in the distance the trains in the station can be heard ringing and rumbling. The lane opens out on one side to reveal a wide field and distant trees. Overhead the stars are shining. Gertrude is staring up at the heavens as George explains the stars to her. She points towards Orion.

Gertrude
And what are those three? Almost in a row.

George
That is Orion, with his shining belt.

Gertrude
And that bright star over there, above the trees?

George
That is Sirius. It’s the brightest in the sky,

He holds her head tenderly.

as bright and lovely as your eyes.

He moves to kiss her.

Let us go inside.

She giggles and squirms playfully from his grip.

Gertrude
And that one there, that reddish star. Tell me about it?

George
That, that’s not a star, that’s a planet silly. Mars, the God of War.

Gertrude
Is it far away?

George
Very. Forty million miles.

Gertrude
So distant. And yet, I wonder if there is anyone there? Do you think so? Say you do, for I do so love the idea. Do you think there really could be? Maybe they are walking together, way up there, hand in hand, in love, just like us. Perhaps at this very moment they are looking up into their sky and wondering if there is anyone like them down here.

George
You do have the most fanciful notions at times but I love you anyway, Mrs Harrilson, let me take you indoors.

He takes her in his arms and kisses her. Behind them Mars glows red and a tiny green plume erupts out from it, the second cylinder as he sweeps her into his arms and through the garden gate and across the threshold of their cottage.


Scene Five

The next morning. George awakens. He slowly comes to and then sees Gertrude asleep still beside him. He rolls onto his side and brushes back the hair from her face. She stirs at his touch and opens her eyes, smiling up at him and they kiss.

Gertrude
What time is it?

George leans over to the dresser by the bed and looks at his pocket watch which is sitting there.

George
My word! It’s nearly half past ten.

Gertrude
Half past ten! What will people think?

George
That we are newly weds.

He kisses her again.

Besides who is going to tell?

Gertrude
Anna for one. I was to see her and Wilfred off at ten. They are returning to Leatherhead this morning. What will she think of me?

George
I am sure she will understand.

Gertrude gets out of bed and shivering she crosses the room to the wardrobe and takes out a robe and puts it on. George watches her.

I love you Mrs Harrilson.

Gertrude
And I love you, and I will love you all the more when you have gotten out off bed and fetched me some hot water.



Scene Six

George is sitting at the breakfast table Gertrude is serving the breakfast. The kitchen clock reads ten minutes past eleven. The kitchen has a door leading to the backyard, it is split in two like a stable door and the upper half is open and a bright morning shines through. A large golden retriever called Bozo runs in the backyard and occasionally appears at the door.

George
Our first breakfast as man and wife. I could grow quite accustomed to this and quite fat, if I am not careful. Do you know when I was a bachelor I survived on just two bits of quite black and burnt toast in the mornings?

Gertrude
That just goes to prove that you need fattening and looking after. And I intend to do both.

She serves a large fried breakfast. Bozo barks excitedly outside and Jonathon’s voice can be heard talking to the dog and then he appears at the back door.

Jonathon
Hello. Get down boy! I see you. Well it’s nearly lunch and here you are at breakfast still. Have a late night did we?

George
I’ll not have that sort of talk at the breakfast table thank you very much Jonathon, however late in the day it might be. What do you want anyway? We are trying to eat!

Jonathon
I brought you the paper, fresh off the train. Henderson has a piece in it, must have wired it through late last night. I guess he did stay up working after all. What a bore!

He throws the paper in the door and onto the table folded over at the page with Henderson’s story, the headline reads, ‘Are There Men on Mars?’

George
Is it any good?

Jonathon
I only glanced at it; apparently there was some sort of explosion on Mars again last night. I never noticed anything. Did you? No, I do not suppose you two would have. Anyway I also came to tell you I am going back to London tomorrow. Old Skober will have my guts for one of his experiments if I miss another of his lectures.

George
When is your train?

Jonathon
Two o’clock.

George
Then I will meet you in the Spotted Dog at one thirty and walk you to the station. But if you don’t mind, I would rather like to enjoy my first breakfast as a married man in peace with my lovely wife.

Jonathon
Then I will leave you both to your late breakfast.

He smiles and exits. George opens the paper and reads Henderson’s coloumn as he eats.

George
You know, I think I might go and see Professor Ogilvy myself. Maybe write a piece for my column, if there is anything more to tell that is. How would you like to spend an evening looking at the stars?


Scene Seven

Evening. The exterior of Ogilvy’s residence complete with its own observatory behind the house. George and Gertrude arrive in a trap and alight. They are met by a servant who leads the trap away and they approach the front door. They ring the bell and another servant answers and lets them in. They are led to a drawing room and Ogilvy is sitting in a comfortable armchair by the fire looking at sheets of paper on which in small neat handwriting are columns of numbers. He rises as they enter scattering the papers and mumbling apologies he hastily gathers them up in a clump and puts them by on a table.



Ogilvy
Please excuse me, I was lost in my work and took no heed of the time. You must be the reporter from the paper, who telegrammed this afternoon. Yes?

George
That’s right. George Harrilson and this is my wife Gertrude. I would very much like to talk to you about the explosions on Mars.

Ogilvy
Please do sit down. Would you care for some wine?

He pours them some wine and offers them a cigarette, which they both take.

George
Thank you Professor.

Ogilvy
Please, call me Ogilvy, both of you. Now what would you like to know?

George
I read the piece you gave to Henderson, and I was wondering if you had noted any further changes on Mars since or if there was anything more you would care to add?

Ogilvy
Only that that man Henderson is a buffoon. He had the cheek to try and lecture me on the, ‘latest astronomical breakthroughs’. Terrible, pompous fellow. He twisted my words. Saying I described the expulsions as being ‘like the firing of a great cannon.’ I said no such thing save to illustrate a point about the potential force of emissions from volcanoes.

George
Then you put no stock in the theory that there might be men on Mars?

Ogilvy
None whatsoever sir! I would stake my reputation upon that. It is the imaginings of the vulgar and the uneducated to imply so. I hope you have not come for such tales or you will have wasted a journey. And my time.

Ogilvy stands up and walks over to the fireplace.

George
I have no such opinions I assure you. I merely wish to know what you think, in your professional opinion.

As Ogilvy speaks he paces before the fireplace and gesticulates with his cigarette as he makes his points.


Ogilvy
Then I shall tell you. There is nothing upon Mars. It is too remote and too far from the heat and warmth of the sun to support life. Any creature unfortunate enough to find itself there would freeze and besides the gravity would be insufficient to hold it upon the surface. And although one can see what some have speculated are rivers and possibly even canals, these I fear are long devoid of any water. It is an empty world Mr Harrilson, save perhaps for rudimentary plant life, which unlike our green variety would appear from observations to be red on that planet. Thus lending Mars its famous colour.

George
Then how do you explain these explosions?

Ogilvy
For myself I am of the mind that what we see is some body, a shower of meteorites perhaps, striking the surface and throwing up as they collide the greenish plumes I and others have observed. And if that is not so then I would propose some form of volcanic activity, such as we see here upon Earth, casting matter outwards from the surface. There is no gun and certainly none to fire it if there were.

He leans against the mantelpiece and taking a poker stirs up the fire with it.

Do you know anything of the theories of evolution Mr Harrilson?

George
I have read the major works, both for and against, and find I am persuaded by the argument.

Ogilvy puts down the poker and turns round from the fire to face them.

Ogilvy
Good. Then you must be aware that it is all but impossible to suppose that another creature on another world could evolve into something like a man. The random events of history and the special circumstances of our own planet cannot be replicated else where. No sir. The chances against anything man-like on Mars are a million to one.
Come, let me show you the object of our interest.

Ogilvy leads them out of the rear of his house to his private observatory.


Scene Eight

Ogilvy’s observatory. It is a circular building in the rear of the Ogilvy estate. Inside it is a large brass telescope.

Ogilvy
Welcome to my observatory. You may join me in the first part of tonight’s vigil if you like. Please, sit, try her out and see Mars for yourself, although you will see no Martians I am afraid.

George sits at the large brass telescope and Ogilvy sets it to Mars and it turns to track the planet with a grinding of gears and cogs. Through the telescope George beholds the small red planet; a smear covers part of its northern hemisphere.

George
What’s that smudge I can see upon the surface?

Ogilvy
That is where the so called explosions have been. In an area known to some as Cydonia. I believe the air there is now filled with dirt and dust thrown up by impacting meteors or volcanic activity.

George
Gertrude you must see this.

Ogilvy
Indeed my dear lady, would you care to peep into the heavens?

Gertrude
It looks so strange a contraption. I should be afraid to.

George
Nonsense my dear, why it is no more than sitting upon a chair and looking.


Gertrude
Very well.

She sits gingerly and looks into the telescope.

Oh what a strange sight to behold! How marvellous to look so far. I see it George! My how little it seems, swimming alone in a sea of the deepest blue.

Mars through the telescope is small but clear and from it a plume of green mist suddenly erupts and the third cylinder is launched from the surface.

Oh my!

George
What is it?

Gertrude
You had better look for yourself. I think it was another explosion.

Ogilvy
Let me see!

Ogilvy hurries Gertrude from the seat and sits himself before the telescope

What a shame I have missed the moment. But yes, just like the other two. I must note the time, could you please pass me that pad upon the table over there.

George hurries to get the pad from the table in the corner of the room.

Gertrude
I am truly sorry I made you miss it Professor.

Ogilvy
Not at all my dear, it was but mere chance that you were the one sitting here.

George returns with the pad which he gives to the Professor. Ogilvy takes out his pocket watch and notes the time on it, he flicks back a page to last nights times then checks his pocket watch again.

Odd, there was an expulsion last night, exactly twenty-four hours ago to the minute, what a strange coincidence. But I must stay here now and observe all I may. Perhaps there will be another before the night is out. You are both welcome to stay awhile yet and observe with me.

George
Thank you, we would like that very much.

Ogilvy
Then you may log the times for me.

Montage of time passing. They take turns looking through the telescope as the hours tick by. Gertrude falls asleep in a chair and George puts a blanket over her lap. George himself finally is nodding in his chair when Ogilvy exclaims loudly waking George and Gertrude. Through the telescope the fourth cylinder is launched from Mars. A tiny spot fired upwards from the surface trailing a green mist in its wake.

Ogilvy
My word. Another one.

George
Another explosion?

Ogilvy
Yes and this time I got the distinct impression of something projected, projected from the surface.

George
So not a meteor?

Ogilvy
No, but I had already thought to dismiss that notion, for why should they all hit upon the same spot if it were?

George
Then what do you think it could mean? A volcano?

Ogilvy
I am no longer certain.


George
Then do you now think there could be someone there after all, on Mars? Perhaps signalling to us?


Ogilvy
No! There is an explanation and only further observation, not wild speculation, will find the answer to it.

In the background Gertrude stretches and yawns.

But if you will forgive me I must watch this night through and it is late already perhaps for your good wife.

George
Yes, it is late, or rather early. We should go. Thank you for your hospitality and I will send you a copy of tomorrow’s evening paper; I hope you will find it satisfactory.

Ogilvy
I trust that I will. The servants will see you out. Goodnight to you both.

Cut to exterior and George and Gertrude leaving in the trap. Gertrude nods at his side but George keeps looking upwards where against the black of the sky can just be perceived four faint patches of misty green. The first to be cast off from Mars the largest.



Scene Nine

The following day. George and Jonathon are walking to the train station. The streets are busy with carts and people going to and fro. Hansom cabs line the pavement outside the station and a man and boy are selling apples from a barrow. Jonathon is reading the newspaper.

Jonathon
You made the afternoon editions. They’ve buried you on page four I’m afraid.

He indicates the paper with the headline ‘Astronomer Ogilvy Uncertain as to Cause of Explosions on Mars’.

George
What did you think?

Jonathon
It knocks Henderson’s piece into a cocked hat. More facts, less men on Mars. But I will have a proper look on the train.

The train whistle blows for the train to London. Jonathon gets on.

George
Well, stay in touch little brother.

Jonathon
I will. Give my love to Gertrude.

George
I shall.

On the way out of the station George buys an apple from the barrow boy. Then thoughtfully, as he walks home, he glances up at the sky.



Scene Ten

That night. George sits at his desk in the study typing. A French window is open so he can look out at the stars and a lamp burns beside him. Gertrude comes to the door.

Gertrude
It’s getting late. I am going to bed. Are you coming?

George
I won’t be long. I just need to finish this piece. You go on, I’ll follow soon I promise.

A low rumbling begins and the desk and everything on it begins to tremble. The windows rattle, pictures fall from walls, ornaments from shelves.

Gertrude
George? What’s happening?

A flash of green streaks across the sky outside the French window and the air roars behind it. A moment later there is a dull, distant explosion. The dog in the backyard begins to bark and lights come on in houses as people come to their doors and peep out windows.

George
My word! Just a shooting star! By God but it was close. It must have come down just over the hill, towards Horsell Common. Hey, it’s alright. It’s over now. Shh! Come on, let’s just go to bed, I will go and take a look in the morning.

He blows out the lamp and the room is plunged into darkness save for a dull red glow on the horizon beyond the hill.


Scene Eleven


The following morning. George kisses Gertrude goodbye at the backdoor which is open. Bozo is bounding excitedly around George.

Gertrude
I am making rabbit pie for lunch. So try not to be late.

George
I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

He heads out of his house with Bozo alongside him on the lead. The streets are busy and on the corner is a paper seller.

Paper Boy
Message from Mars lands on Horsell Common!

George buys a paper and looks at the large, bold headline, “Message from Mars lands on Horsell’ by John Henderson.

George
Damn him. First again.


Scene Twelve

Horsell Common. The capsule from Mars has created a wide impact crater, a pit, at the centre of which, half buried, lies the capsule. Heat shimmers from it and dirt and earth coats it. The heat has baked the earth onto its surface forming a hard smouldering crust. A crowd has gathered, large and growing. People gawp from all around the edge of the pit. On the road traps and carriages are parked, the horses swatting flies in their boredom or nibbling on the hedgerows. The young boy with barrow of apples, whose normal patch is outside the station, is making an enterprising penny by selling to the gathering crowd. In the pit itself are several men, amongst them Ogilvy. They are trying to examine the capsule but it is clear the heat is keeping them back. George scrambles down the edge of the pit and approaches them. He lets Bozo off the lead and the dog happily runs around the pit but keeps clear of the cylinder.

George
Professor Ogilvy. Professor.

Ogilvy
Hello, you are that reporter, George wasn’t it?

George
Yes, Professor. George Harrilson. Well what do you make of this? Care to give a quote?

Ogilvy
I am almost lost for words. This is no ordinary meteor, that I can say. I got close enough to see there is some sort of metal, under all the dirt.

George
Metal! And do you believe it to be from Mars?

Ogilvy
I do.

George
My God, do you think there are men in it?

Ogilvy
I would hazard not. The heat is too intense; nothing could survive in there. I would guess there are communications inside; writings, artefacts of foreign design, maybe even their music, if they have any. Think what wonders we may learn if we can only get it opened!

Over the edge of the pit appears Henderson with a tall, fair-haired man behind him and several men with spades and shovels. They have also brought several policemen, some mounted who set about organizing the ever growing crowd and trying to herd them back from the edge of the pit.

Henderson
Hello down there. Well, well, George old boy. Late again I see. Did you read my piece in this morning’s paper?

George
You know full well I did.

Ogilvy goes back towards the cylinder to continue his examination of it.

Henderson
Rather good I thought, even if I do say so myself.

Henderson clambers down into the pit followed by the second man and the workmen.

I see you’ve brought old Ogilvy with you. Second best again I am afraid old chap. Let me introduce you to Professor Stern, the Royal Astronomer from the observatory in London.

Stern
Very pleased to meet you I am sure.

Henderson
We’ve just come back from Woking. Stern here took one look at that thing and decided at once to alert the authorities. Quite right too. They’ll be here by this evening. We’ll get to the bottom of things then.

Bozo has come to a stop staring at the cylinder and now begins to bark loudly and angrily at it.

Is that not your flea-bitten mutt George? What the devils gotten into him?


From the cylinder a very faint dull vibrating begins. The earth and dirt on the edge of the cylinder begins to vibrate, gently at first but then fiercely. Lumps of it crumble off revealing shiny metal beneath of unknown type. Bozo barks all the more at it. From deep within the cylinder a very low booming begins.

Ogilvy
I can hear something! You chaps, over here.

George
Bozo! Come here boy! Good boy, quieten down lad.

George keeps Bozo quiet as they strain to listen but the crowd around the pit is noisy with chatter, the rattle of carriages on the road and the cries of the boy selling his apples.

Stern
Tell those people to be quiet. Be quiet!

He strides to the edge of the pit and reaching up takes up a megaphone from one of the policemen and shouts into it.

Ladies and Gentlemen could we please have a moment’s silence. Thank you!

As the crowd catch on to what is happening a deathly silence falls. At first the sound from the cylinder is irregular and indistinct but it slowly grows to a pounding and more dirt and earth slide from it, the only other sound in the pit. Bozo whines.

Ogilvy
Can you hear it?

George
It’s something inside it.

Ogilvy
Good heavens! There’s a man in it – men in it! Half roasted to death! Trying to escape! We must help them.

Ogilvy runs towards the cylinder with George going after him, Bozo remains but starts barking again.

Stern
You men,

He indicates the men with the spades

See if you can get around the sides and dig it out. Maybe there is a door or hatch somewhere.

Ogilvy gets within a metre or so of the capsule but the heat drives him back and he falls back as George approaches. The loud noises from within suddenly cease and the end of the capsule begins to slowly unscrew. Air hisses from it in loud aggressive jets and the two men scrabble fearfully backwards. Gasps go up from the surrounding crowd. Those at the back press forward and several people at the front are pushed down into the pit, among them a bald headed man.

Stern
Get those people back! We still don’t know what might be in there.

The end continues to unscrew until finally it falls off revealing a dark hole in which something snake-like moves. Bozo is barking madly but still not coming forwards. The photographer from Henderson’s paper is hurriedly setting up his camera and flash. The crowd strain to see what is happening. The camera flash goes off in a blinding white light. Suddenly what seems like an explosion of tentacles erupts from the hole and something larger than a bear begins to haul itself out. Two large discs-like eyes appear over the brim and below them a lipless mouth shaped like a V which slabbers and slaps and drools saliva. People begin to yell and scream in the crowd and many try to move back from the edge of the pit. As the Martian rises slowly up its movements seem strained and pained its breathing heavy and rasping. Suddenly there is a bright flash as the photographer takes his picture and the Martian lets out a screech like a great exhalation of air and disappears back into the hole. Henderson and Stern both retreat back out of the pit and George and Ogilvy scramble back towards them. Ogilvy gets out of the pit but George slips on the banking. He glances back and sees more of the tentacles, glistening in the light, writhing out of the cylinder and he redoubles his efforts. Bozo is barking madly at them and running in fearful circles.

George
Bozo!

George scrambles up the banking and looking back as he runs he sees another, the bald headed man, trying to get out the same way. But before the man can scale the side something unseen seizes him and screaming he is dragged back down into the pit and towards the cylinder, the scream ends abruptly. George darts under the cover of the trees beyond the road where Stern, Henderson and Ogilvy are already taking council. There is no sight or sound of Bozo.


Scene Thirteen

Henderson
By God what ugly brutes!

George
Did you see a man in the pit?

Stern
Can anyone see what is happening?

George
It seems to have gone quite again. I cannot see the cylinder but nothing is moving. I saw a chap in the pit. I think one of those, those tentacles got a hold of him.

Ogilvy
It was the fault of that blasted photographer of yours Henderson. That creature most probably thought it was under attack.

Henderson
People have a right to know what’s out here Ogilvy! The chap was only doing his job. Incidentally did anyone see where he went? What a picture that will be! I want it to go alongside my article.

Ogilvy
We have to go back. Show them we mean no harm, that we are thinking, rational creatures.

Henderson
Yes but how do we know they are?

Ogilvy
Clearly to have travelled such distance they must, despite appearances, be reasoning creatures. We need but show them that we too are reasoning creatures. I propose a small delegation should approach the cylinder. I will lead it.

Stern
I will go with you. This is a momentous day in human history. We are not alone in the universe nor as unique as we had supposed. The opportunities to further our understanding cannot be ignored.

Henderson
I’m coming too. This is the story of a life time. What do you say George?

George
I...I am not sure this is such a good idea. I’m sure I saw something grabbing that man in the pit. He was screaming.

Ogilvy
They were most likely only defending themselves. They are strangers, in what to them is no doubt a strange land. We cannot lose this opportunity to further our understanding. We must take the chance they can be reasoned with. Communicated with.

George
And what if you are mistaken?

Henderson
Don’t fret it old boy. You’re only married two days, we understand. I’ll send you a copy of my prize winning article.

George
Just, be careful Henderson. I don’t like this.


Scene Fourteen

The delegation edge out of the trees and slowly other people, drawn by curiosity and the seeming stillness, also come out and return back cautiously towards the edge of the pit. George watches as Stern and Ogilvy leads the delegation towards the side of the pit. Henderson has taken out a large white handkerchief and is holding it aloft and waving it as they approach. Before they can reach the edge of the pit three puffs of green flame belch up from within with a great hissing sound. The hissing becomes a humming and then a loud, loud droning. An arm, sinuous and gleaming rises up out of the pit and the end of it glows in increasing intensity of light and sound until it explodes in a jet of light and heat which ignites the delegation.
From his vantage point George stares in dumbfounded horror as the beam of light sweeps round the side of the pit setting ablaze carts, horses, and people alike. Stumbling backwards blindly George retreats then breaks into a run as panic erupts behind him. The Heat Ray is sweeping in widening arcs clearing all around the area of the pit. The apple barrow is set ablaze as is its young vendor, torched where he stands screaming. Wagons, carriages and horses are all targeted by the deathly Heat Ray until the area around the pit is clear of the living and covered in smouldering human remains. The carnage is appalling and the damage to the bodies is something akin to the aftermath of a bombing. The tentacle with its deadly weapon turns this way and that as if scanning for targets and every so often it lets out a blaze of killing heat.


End of Episode One


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 30, 2012 7:01 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun May 27, 2012 8:26 pm

No comments? No one with a love for Wells classic? Or want to take me to task given my purist leanings on some of the larger changes I've made to the characters and story?

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Post by David H Sun May 27, 2012 8:41 pm

For some reason I've never read the book. Probably because I first knew the story from Orson Wells' radio adaptation, which is still legendary for the panic it created and is still resurrected regularly at Halloween. For me, that's the standard against which all other WotW's are judged.

I like the idea of setting it in an earlier time more appropriate to the original book, but I'm afraid my Orson bias will creep into any criticism.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun May 27, 2012 9:13 pm

I am fan of the Orson version my self- got it on my HD alongside Jeff Waynes musical version (and it is set at the right time- although it worth getting a map of London for the time period up -if you google for war of the worlds london map youll find one) and then follow the locations in the Jeff Wayne version its quite a ridiculous journey they take as because of what is cut and added he gets the places all wrong. I also have a terrible BBC radio play version set in present day (ie mid70's) which whenever I'm not sure of my version I listen to and console myself with the thought if that version can made there's hope yet!).

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Post by Mrs Figg Mon May 28, 2012 8:55 pm

well I can appreciate the hard work you put into the adaptation, but I am not familiar with either the book or the radio plays, its so long ago since I read the book I cant remember any of the characters only the basic plot so I couldnt really comment on what I think. I would have to be as familiar as say the Hobbit before I could appreciate your adaptation and any changes made.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon May 28, 2012 9:21 pm

Thing is I have the other 3 parts sitting here but no point putting them up if there is no real interest- shame as feedback- good and bad is always useful. There is noone else here knows the original book well enough?

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Post by Mrs Figg Mon May 28, 2012 10:49 pm

well there must be a Wells fan site or appreciation society you could post it on? There are serious Tolkien society sites so there must be Wells sites too. shame to waste your work.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon May 28, 2012 11:01 pm

I dare say there are- the advantage to finding people on here of course is that having come to know folks better I have trust in their judgements and know how to weigh their critiscms.

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Post by Mrs Figg Mon May 28, 2012 11:11 pm

what! this load of heathens and philistines? this bunch of unrespectable troglodites (what is a troglodite anyway?) Rolling Eyes
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Post by David H Tue May 29, 2012 1:57 am

(what is a troglodite anyway?)

You should ask Biffo Banks. cyclops
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Post by Orwell Wed May 30, 2012 9:04 am

(((Dear Petty, I've escaped Mrs Figg's bustle temporarily to at last read your adaptation. I'm not familiar with book, and not watched entirety of any of the movies made, so I am no judge of how close your adaptation is. I will say, though, this was well constructed and interesting to read. I can imagine the movie. I'd definitely watch it. Anyway.... move over Amarie, here I come... safe and cosy... safe and cosy... Hey! Watch out, Amarie! Mad There's plenty of room, no need to sit right on my knee! Rolling Eyes }}}

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Post by Biffo Banks Wed May 30, 2012 9:06 am

Ooooy! Suspect I nefer effen bean ta Troggleedeet! Mad
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 2:24 pm

Well so long as some people are reading at least- (even if one of them is Biffo) here's episode 2.




Episode Two: In the Storm


[center]H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Il_fullxfull


Scene One

George stumbles down a tree covered slope and falls to his face as the Heat Ray sweeps by. He is saved only by the brow of the hill and the trees above him are a blaze of fire. Scrabbling to his feet a woman, burnt beyond recognition falls dead down the banking and lands beside him and he yells aloud before resuming his run.
He breaks from the cover of the trees into a field. A burning cart with a panicked galloping horse, its mane aflame and back scorched, clatters past nearly knocking him over. From the pit he can still hear the blasts of the Heat Ray and new flames spring up behind as he runs for his life. He stumbles and falls, a man rushes past him without a word. The pit and its occupants have now disappeared over the brow of the hill. The trees in a wide circle around the pit are ablaze, the tops of them can be seen burning over the ridge of the hill. George pulls himself to his feet and begins to run again.


Scene Two

George makes it back to Maybury and stops at the first cottage. A woman is leaning on the gate talking to two men.

George
What news from the Common?

Man 1
Eh?

George
What news from the Common?

Man 2
Ain’t yer just been there?

Woman
People seem fair silly about the Common. What’s it all about?

George
Haven’t you heard of the cylinder opening? Of the men from Mars?

Woman
Quite enough. Thank you

She laughs and they all laugh.

George
You’ll hear more yet.

Scene Three

The kitchen of George’s house. Gertrude is cooking at the range and singing to herself. The front door opens and bangs shut.


Gertrude
Is that you George?

George enters the kitchen

You’re early, the pie isn’t cooked yet. George? What’s the matter? Your coat is all muddy. Where is Bozo?

George
I don’t know. I think I lost him Gertrude. He didn’t follow me, when I ran.

Gertrude
Ran? Why where you running? Oh George what is the matter? What has happened? Your face!

George
Gertrude I need you to go upstairs and pack an overnight bag.

Gertrude
What? Why? Where are we going? What’s happening George?

George
Just do as I say!

Gertrude (Defiantly)
Not until you tell me what is happening. I’ve never seen you like this. You never shout at me.


George
I am sorry my love, if I tell you what has happened promise me you will do as I say. No more arguments. Promise?

Gertrude
Alright I promise. How about I make us a nice cup of tea?

George
I think something stronger would be more appropriate. I must sit down and catch my breath.

He sits at the table whilst Gertrude pours him a whiskey.

Thank you my dearest. That shooting star, last night? You remember it.

Gertrude sits down opposite him at the table.

Gertrude
Of course I do.

George
It was no ordinary shooting star; it was a projectile, a cylinder. From Mars. It landed up by the sandpits. Something was in it. Martians were in it. They had a weapon. Like a searchlight of heat. My God Gertrude. It killed them, Ogilvy, Henderson and Stern the Royal Astronomer. It just burnt them to death as they tried to approach the pit. It happened right before my eyes. Right before my eyes and I could do nothing to help them or prevent it. There was just an instant fire, leaping from man to man.

Gertrude
Oh you poor thing! Those poor men! Poor Ogilvy. Such a sweet old man.

George
They’re all dead. Poor Bozo too most likely. I don’t know how many all in. The light, this Heat Ray, it swept right around the pit, right through the crowd. It was horrible. You know the barrow boy, at the station? He was there, with his barrow. Only a boy of, what, ten, eleven? I did not see him afterwards but I saw his barrow, it was ablaze.

Gertrude stands in horror and puts a hand over her mouth.

Gertrude
This is horrible! Stop it!

She looks out the kitchen window which looks towards Horsell.

They may come here! Will they come here? George? George! Will they come here?

George
No. I’m sorry, I’ve frightened you. I didn’t mean to.

He gets up from the table and goes to her.

Things just went terribly wrong but it’s not as bad as all that. Really. We were unprepared. Stern sent a message to the authorities, before he was…I saw one of them, the Martians I mean. They are the most sluggish things I ever saw crawl. Listen to me; the gravity here on Earth is three times greater than on Mars. They are barely able to move. They may keep the pit and kill people who come near them, but they cannot get out of it.

Gertrude
Then why are we leaving?

George
We aren’t. Just you. I am going to take you to your cousins Wilfred and Anna in Leatherhead. It is just a precaution and it’s not too far.

Gertrude
And what are you going to do?


George
I have to come back here. I have to report this, tell people the truth about it. These Martians have done a foolish thing. They are dangerous because, no doubt, they are mad with terror. Perhaps they expected to find no living things- certainly no intelligent living things. A shell in the pit, if the worst comes to the worst, will kill them all. And if it comes to that someone has to be here to report it. For poor old Henderson if no one else.

Gertrude
If you are staying then so am I.

George
You promised me that if I told you what had happened you would obey me, without argument.

Gertrude
What sort of wife would I be if I did not stand by your side?

George
An obedient one. I love you too much to put you at any risk however trivial. And I have cause to be here, you have none. Go to Anna’s, and I will come for you when this is all over. A few days at most. Now, please, go pack your things. I have to go and send a telegram to the paper. People have to know what has happened here today. We will leave as soon as I return.

Gertrude nods in consent.




Scene Four

George loads up the trap outside the house and Gertrude comes out with her bag. He helps her up onto the trap then climbs up himself. As he does so he looks about at his surroundings. The trains are shunting in the yard, steam billowing. A milk cart rumbles by and a neighbour strolls by, doffing his hat in greeting as he goes. Children play with a hoop and stick further down the street. A small dog in the neighbour’s garden is chasing a small red ball. He sighs and flicks at the reigns and the trap pulls away.



Scene Five

The day has progressed to early afternoon. On the road ahead can be seen a sizable military force pulled up at the roadside whilst reinforcements are joining at the rear. They have cannons and mounted soldiers. George shouts out to them as they go by.

George
Hey, I say. Are you making for the Common?


Artilleryman
Aye, that’s right sir. Know anything of it?

George
I am a reporter. I was there, on Horsell when the cylinder opened. I have seen the weapon they use.

Artilleryman
You’d better come talk to the brass then sir.




Scene Six

The Artilleryman leads George and Gertrude to the front of the column and then leaves them to go and talk with a large moustachioed man in a Majors uniform. The Major nods a few times as the Artilleryman speaks and glances at George and Gertrude, and then he comes over to speak to them.

Major
I am Major Eden. I am in charge here. My artilleryman tells me you have been to the Common?

George
I have.

Major
And you are?

George
My name is George Harrilson; I am reporter. This is Gertrude, my wife.

Major
Mrs Harrilson. Now then Mr Harrilson, tell me what you saw, in your own words.

George
The cylinder from Mars, it unscrewed, it opened, and a Martian emerged from it.

Major
Did it indeed? And what pray did this, Martian, look like?


George
It was as large as a bear, with disc-like eyes and long tentacles around a V-shaped mouth which, slobbered and flapped.

Artilleryman
Sounds like a bleedin’ octopus!

Soldiers laugh

Major
Silence! And the weapon you spoke of Mr Harrilson. What of it?

George
It is like a searchlight, held aloft. Whatever it alights upon becomes instantly ablaze. The Martians killed the people gathered around the pit with it.

Artilleryman
Trenches, get in under ‘em. That’s what you want.

Major
Thank you Gunner. And may I ask where you are going now?

George
I thought it wisest to take my wife to her cousins in Leatherhead, not four miles from here.

Major
I see. But you need not worry dear lady; we will soon send these Martians home. Have no fear the British soldier is the finest in the world. Her Majesty’s Empire straddles the globe. We will send these Martians the way of the Tasmanian if need be. Well I see no reason to delay your journey any further. Good day to you both.

Gertrude
Good day to you Major.

George
Do not take my words lightly Major Eden. Do not underestimate the Heat Ray.

Major
I will take care of the military action Mr Harrilson and you can report upon our triumphs in the morning papers. Good day to you sir.

George and Gertrude go back to their trap and get in.

George
He is not taking my words seriously, but I do not blame him. Even in my ears it still sounds fantastical. One needs to have seen the Heat Ray, with ones own eyes to truly appreciate its ferociousness.

Gertrude
I am sure he will do what is for the best.

George
I hope so.




Scene Seven

Leatherhead. George draws the cart up outside Wilfred and Anna’s house. The sky is overcast and the air hot. Gertrude kisses her husband and gets down from the trap as her cousins come out to greet her. George passes her bags down to her.

Gertrude
Won’t you stay here with me?

George
No, I have to report this.

Gertrude
Then will you not let me come with you?


George
Gertrude, you promised. Besides most likely it will all be over this very night and I will be back for you tomorrow, at worst the day after. Take good care of her cousins, I will be back for her soon enough.

He flicks the reigns and the trap pulls away. Gertrude watches him all the way down the lane until he disappears behind the hedgerows.



Scene Eight

It is early evening; the sky is heavy with dark, foreboding clouds. The army has set up a cordon around Horsell Common. The final guns are being set up. Out near the edge of the pit three soldiers, spread out at equal distances are edging closer. Lightning flashes, it lights up a monstrous contraption in the pit with five arms and many tentacles, working feverishly, from the pit comes a constant banging and hammering, occasionally puffs of green smoke erupt into the air. The closest soldier to the pit raises a pole with a mirror on it and uses it to signal at the Martians in Morse code. The Heat Ray rises above the lip of the pit and rotates towards the mirror which it seems to regard for a moment. Then suddenly it flashes into life. As it touches on the first of the soldiers he bursts into flame and thunder rumbles. The second soldier leaps to his feet and runs. The third runs the other way as the Heat Ray turns to track the second. The second soldier is struck down but the third, a corporal, has escaped and skids down a banking and lies flat. The Heat Ray scans the perimeter and then satisfied sinks back down into the pit and lightning flashes overhead.


Scene Nine

Major Eden is standing by a group of guns, the Artilleryman is among the gunners. The corporal who had been sent to signal returns.

Major
What is there to report Corporal?

Corporal
There’s a mighty hammerin’ and a bangin’ in the pit Major. There’s a machine of sorts in there though none ‘ave ever seen its like, all arms. It’s building.

Major
Building? What are they building?

Corporal
We ain’t got close enough to see it proper Major but you can hear ‘em hammerin’ away. That Heat Ray, it’s got all round the pit covered. There was three of us went out Major and there’s only me left to report! They ain’t ‘ere for the talkin’. That’s my reckonin’.

Major
Very well. Enough is enough. If they are not to be communicated with then we shall have to eradicate them. So be it, it is of their own making.



Scene Ten

By the guns the crew are discussing their situation whilst they load up shells and set the range of the gun.

Gunner 1
We ought to crawl up under cover and rush ‘em, I say.

Artilleryman
Get out! You heard the Corporal. What’s cover against this Heat Ray? Sticks to cook you. What we got to do is go as near as the ground’ll let us, and then drive in a trench. Get underground. Under their feet, that’s what we ought to do!

Gunner 1
Blow your trenches! You always want trenches; you ought to have been a sapper. Or a rabbit.

Gunner 2
He’s no sapper. He likes his trenches sure enough but only if some other poor sod’s doing the diggin’.

Gunner3
I wonder what they looks like? These Martians.


Artilleryman
I heard a fellow say they were like octopuses. Talk about fishers of men – fighters of fish it is this time.

Gunner 2
It ain’t no murder killing beasts like that.

Artilleryman
I reckon ole Major Eden will shell ‘em first. Soften ‘em up for our lads to go in and finish. He’s always liked his shells has the ole Major, I’ve fought with him before in foreign parts.

Major
Signalman. Send the word down the lines; we open fire with the guns at nine o’clock precisely. We’ll give them a barrage; see what they are made of.

Signalman
Yes Major.

Artilleryman
What I tell you lads! We’ll show ‘em now. So much for their Heat Ray. We’ll kill ‘em before they can crawl out of that pit to use it.



Scene Eleven

George has arrived back in Maybury. He passes his home and at the edge of town meets the Milkman talking with Bert the innkeeper of the Spotted Dog. Thunder rumbles overhead.

George
Good evening.

Bert
Good Evening George.

Milkman
Evening to you.

George
Any news from the Common? Have the army passed through yet?
Milkman
They came by some three hours ago now. Got a cordon up around that thing in the pit. It’s fair bristling with guns up there by what I hear. There’s a storm overhead and there’ll be a storm there too before this night is out.

Bert
Though I heard they weren’t to be killed, if that can possibly be avoided.

Milkman
It is a pity they make themselves so unapproachable. I’d be curious to know how they live on another planet; we might learn a thing or two.

There is a distant, low rumbling.

Bert
Do you hear that?

Milkman
It is just the thunder.

A low rumble begins growing in loudness as it approaches, a hissing accompanies it then blazing across the stormy sky comes the second cylinder. It disappears beyond a ridge of trees in a blaze of green mist and vapours.

George
By God, another one.




Scene Twelve

The army cordon. Major Eden is looking at his stopwatch, his arm is raised and the gunners are standing by. Suddenly overhead the second cylinder flashes by and disappears beyond the trees.

Major
What lies over that way Sergeant?

Sergeant
That would be towards Byfleet Major.

Major
More of them coming. All the more reason to take care of this current lot with all rapidity.

He looks down at his watch again. Less than a minute remains. Over head there is a flash of lightning, illuminating the guns and the pit, it is followed by an ominous rumble of thunder and then a heavy steady, drumming rain begins to fall. The major looks again at his watch as it ticks onto nine o’clock he lowers his arm

Fire!

The guns ring out

This will finish them!

The shells rain down into the pit but up out of the pit, glowing in a hail of fire rises a domed shape with a covered hood within which a Martian sits; from under it three legs extend and grow until a tripod is standing taller than the trees. Some shells hit and explode against it leaving black marks and showers of sparks. Once the great tripod rocks on its legs and very nearly topples over but then two tentacles extend from the front and raise up the Heat Ray and it fires, exploding a group of cannons. The tripod steps from the pit, still firing its deadly weapon as behind it a second tripod rises up.
The Artilleryman is reloading the cannon. He looks down the lines as cannon crew after cannon crew are set ablaze by the Ray. Guns are exploding under the heat sending men and metal flying in all directions. They get their gun reloaded and as the Major bellows their targets at them they begin to fire upon the second of the tripods as it strides from the pit towards them. The crew next to theirs is struck by the Ray and the cannons explode in molten metal. The Artilleryman’s crew are engulfed in a choking smoke. From out of the smoke a tripod looms, Heat Ray raised and lets out a terrible cry.


Tripod
Ulla!

Lightning flashes and the thunder roars. The Artilleryman drops the shell in his hands and turns to run. In the clearing smoke the Major sees him fleeing.

Major
You man! Hold your position! That is an order!

The Artilleryman looks up the tripod and then at the Major and then he turns and runs. The Major draws his gun.

Major
Coward! You are a soldier in the Queens army. Hold your ground dammit!

The tripod raises the Ray as the rest of the men scatter and the Artilleryman dives for cover as it strikes, burning the Major where he stands. Convulsively the Major pulls on the trigger and his shots fire out into the night as he slumps dead and charred to the ground. The army is in rout. All around the perimeter the men are fleeing, running from the Ray. The tripods follow behind as a third rises up from the pit.


Scene Thirteen

George has arrived in his trap at Woking. The storm is raging now. A group of soldiers with one cannon are stationed facing towards the Common. A small group of locals braving the weather is gathered behind them. From the Common beyond the trees comes flashes of light and flame. A red glow fills the air there and reflects off the heavy, low clouds. Rain is lashing down. Occasionally in the distance the retort of guns can be heard. A mounted policeman blocks George’s way.

Policeman
Hold it right there. I am sorry sir but you cannot go beyond this point. Orders from the army. The roads closed.

George
What is happening on the Common?

Policeman
From what I’ve heard sir they have started shelling the pit.

The thunder rolls loudly and lightning flashes. Suddenly the trees above their head flash into flame.

George
My God! There here!

A tripod appears, lashed by rain and lit by flashes of lightning, above the tops of the trees and striding, smashing through the wood it approaches the cannon. In reply the cannon fires and the shell explodes at the knee joint of the tripod and the leg breaks and the tripod collapses, crashing into the trees. The crowd cheer as the gunners reload.

Tripod 2
Ulla!

A second tripod appears followed by the third. Soldiers are fleeing before them, running out from the woods making for the road and the cover of the cannon. Tentacles come from the tripods grabbing men and dashing them against trees and tossing them into the air to their doom, The Heat Ray flashes across some of them as they run and many fall each time. The second tripod stands above the ruins of the first and holding up the Heat Ray it fires upon the cannon before the gunners can fire a second shot. The cannon explodes and the Heat Ray sweeps on exploding the bricks of houses and setting fires wherever it touches.
George’s horse panics and rears at the exploding cannon and the trap is overthrown and George is thrown over a garden wall and onto a grassy lawn. Behind him the Heat Ray sweeps down the road, through the crowd and George’s horse and trap. George stumbles to his feet and in a blind panic flees for his life, darting between blazing houses as behind him Woking is reduced to fiery rubble. His last sight as he flees the town and runs for his home is of two tripods standing triumphantly over the ruined town lit by lightning.


Tripods
Ulla!

In the sky above the third cylinder roars overhead leaving its characteristic green mist in its wake.




Scene Fourteen


George makes his back to his home in Maybury. He unlocks the front door and going in closes the door and leans back behind it taking a deep breath. He goes to the drinks cabinet and with shaking hands he pours himself a drink and gulps it down. He grabs the bottle and goes to his study. He opens the curtains and looks out towards Horsell. A dull glow can be seen, red over the horizon. Occasional lightning flashes illuminate the scene. Thunder rumbles. He pours another drink, puts paper into his typewriter and begins to type.
Eventually the bottle is half empty and he slumps into sleep.




Scene Fifteen

George awakens with a start. For a moment he does not know what has woken him then he hears the tinkle of breaking glass. Cautiously he rises and grabs the near empty bottle as a weapon and creeps to the study door. From the sounds someone is breaking in through the kitchen window. George sidles along the passage to the kitchen and reaches the door. He throws open the door and leaps in brandishing a bottle. The Artilleryman is half in the window. He is caked in mud and soaked through and his eyes are wide.


George
Who are you?

Artilleryman
I’m an artilleryman. I was up on the Common.

George
Were you trying to hide?

Artilleryman
Yes. For a bit. Till things looked safer then I was going to move on.

George
Where were you going?

Artilleryman
God knows.

George
What has happened?

Artilleryman
What hasn’t? They wiped us out – simply wiped us out.
George
Take some whisky.

The Artilleryman drinks in heaving gulps then collapses onto a chair and head in arms he weeps and sobs.


Artilleryman
I ain’t ever forgetting that smell. Never. Like burnt meat. My mates. Just wiped out. Just like parade it had been a minute before- then bang, swish! Wiped out!
I heard they took Woking too.

George
Yes they did. I was there. What are you going to do next?

Artilleryman
I have to get London. Get to my superiors. And you?

George
I haven’t had time to give it thought. I had hoped I was safe here.

Artilleryman
You must be joking. Let me tell you, I’ve served a few years and seen my fair share of the bad stuff. I’ve killed men for Her Majesty in all the corners of the earth and against ever colour of man you care to name. But I ain’t ever seen anything like those fighting-machines. They can go where they like. We ain’t safe here, and I don’t think we’re going to be safe anywhere for a long time to come. We’ll have to go, and soon too. Soon as light. They could cover miles and miles in an hour in those things I reckon.

George
Gertrude! I never thought she could be in danger so far from the Common. I have to go to Leatherhead. To my wife.

Artilleryman
Then we best rest whilst we can. If were lucky there’ll be trains running from here in the morning. We’ll get going then. I’ll take first watch.



Scene Sixteen

The next morning. Cautiously George and the Atrilleryman leave the house. There are other people in the streets, leaving there homes as word spreads. Carts are moving on the roads and people are making for the train station where a train is waiting, puffing steam. George and the Artilleryman join them. As they reach the entrance to the station a cry goes up behind them.

Tripod
Ulla!

It is answered by two others. The tripods are on the borders of Maybury. The Heat Ray flashes and the buildings begin to go up in flames. The station is struck and explodes in flame. Panic breaks out and people rush for the train. The guard sees the surging crowd and blows shrilly on his whistle. The engineer looking out and up sees the shape of a tripod through the glass roof, looming over the station. He starts the engine and the train begins to move with people clinging onto it and being dragged along. The Heat Ray smashes through the roof and incinerates all before. The engine is not struck but the carriages behind explode into flame and the train draws away ablaze. George and the Artilleryman flee from the station and run back the way they came. Behind them the tripods march and destroy and people cry out. They go through the garden of George’s house and flee into the woods beyond.

Artilleryman
Come on. We’ll make for Weybridge. Get a boat down the Thames from there.

George
No! I am going to Leatherhead for my wife!

Artilleryman
Safest way is to Weybridge. It’s no kindness to a wife to make her a widow. Besides you can cut off if you have to, get to Leatherhead by way of Epsom.

George nods in resentful agreement and they flee into the woods.





Scene Seventeen

The Royal College of Medicine, London. Jonathon comes out of the building with two of his friends. A news vendor is selling papers on the busy street corner.

Vendor
Fighting on Horsell. Army takes casualties. Read it here first! Fighting on Horsell.

Jonathon stops and buys a paper.

Student
Don’t you have a brother who lives around there, the one that was recently married?

Jonathon
Yes, I do. I wonder what this is all about. I don’t like the sound of it. It says here there are reports that the Martians have a ‘rapid firing gun’. They seem to be giving the army a hard time with it.

Student
I heard there were more of those things landing.


Student 2
And more on the way if those astronomer chaps are to be believed.

Jonathon
I think I might just go and send a telegram to my brother. See how he is doing. I’ll catch up with you chaps later in the Lion.

Jonathon walks off in thoughtful mood staring at the paper.




Scene Eighteen

Outside Weybridge. George and the Artilleryman are walking along the road towards the town. They approach a hastily built rampart with three cannons and gunners manning them.

Lieutenant
You there, soldier. You’re the first men I’ve seen coming this way this morning. What’s brewing?

Artilleryman
I was serving with Major Eden. He’s dead sir. Ours guns were destroyed. I’ve been hiding since last night. Trying to rejoin my battery, sir. You seen the Martians yet?

Lieutenant
Not yet.

Artilleryman
You will.

Lieutenant
What the dickens are they like?

Artilleryman
Giants in armour, sir. Hundred feet high. Three legs and a body like ‘luminium, with a mighty great head in a hood, sir.

Lieutenant
Get out! What confounded nonsense!

Artilleryman
You’ll see. They carry a kind of box, sir, that shoots fire and strikes you dead.

Lieutenant
What d’ye mean – a gun?

Artilleryman
Not exactly, sir.

Lieutenant
Well I daresay we shall see it for ourselves soon enough. You better go on to Weybridge.

George and the artilleryman move on along the road to Weybridge.

George
At least there well positioned. They should get a few good shots off.

Artilleryman
Its bows and arrows against the lightning. They ‘aven’t seen the Heat Ray yet.



Scene Nineteen

Near Shepperton Lock. A large crowd off people are trying to get passage across the Thames. George and the Artilleryman stop by a water fountain near the river. A ferry boat is just filling up with people and an orderly crowd are moving onto it. Soldiers move among the people keeping everything calm and organised. Suddenly there is a distant booming and the crowd fall silent.

Man
It’s the guns firing. It’s started.

Woman
The soldiers’ll stop ‘em.

Further up the river there is a plume of smoke then the ground heaves underfoot and a heavy explosion shakes the air smashing the windows all around.

Man 2
Here they are! Yonder! D’yer see them? Yonder!

Quickly, one after the other, one, two, three, four of the tripods appear striding towards the river. A fifth advances on the town. It raises the Heat Ray and it strikes the town, casting down buildings and setting the town ablaze. The people by the river start to scream and panic and the ferry tries to pull away as people leap for it. The Heat Ray sweeps by and hundreds fall before it.

George
Get under water! Get under the water!

George leaps into the Thames and taking a large breath swims under the surface as the Heat Ray sweeps up the river sinking the ferry and other boats and turning the surface into a boiling frothing turmoil. Dead charred bodies plunge into the water all around George. Eventually he is forced to the surface. He can see no sign of the Artilleryman. The tripod looms over the river. Then from the far bank comes the retort of guns and shells explode in the air overhead. The tripod reels and then takes a direct it to the great hood. It explodes and pieces of metal whirl from it through the air.

George
A hit!

The tripod staggers up stream, totters and crashes into the Shepperton church, bringing down the spire and eventually falling full length into the river, its tentacles and limbs still thrashing like a mad thing. The Heat Ray it carries falls into the Thames and explodes. A huge steaming wave sweeps down the river, scolding hot. George submerges as it approaches and is carried further down river and screams as the water scolds his flesh. Half blinded he staggers and falls upon the banking and the foot of a tripod comes crashing down next to his head. He stares upwards at the tripod but the foot lifts and it passes him by. The guns across the river fire again but this time the Heat Rays are ready for them and they are silenced. Rolling over and crawling back towards the river George spots a rowing boat moored to the banking and he crawls into it and sets it adrift upon the current and lying flat in its bottom he stares up at a sky filled with dark smoke. As he stares a fourth cylinder streaks across the sky.
Behind him Weybridge and its surrounds are destroyed. Reduced to fire and smouldering ruins.

Tripods
Ulla!


End of Episode Two



Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 30, 2012 7:11 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by halfwise Wed May 30, 2012 2:58 pm

Holy crap, Petty! That's a huge undertaking - and though I've read the book a couple of times I don't have it memorized like Tolkien so don't have the energy to go through what you've done. Surely you can run it by the BBC if you can figure out the right angle to sell it by.

But as far as adaptations go, "Night of the Cooters" by Howard Waldrop isn't an adaptation so much as an imagining of what would have happened if some of the Martians had landed in Texas at the same time as the story in England. This was the wild west era, and the results are hilarious. Suffice it to say the aliens never had much of a chance. But Waldrop was clearly a fan, and his story is a fond tribute. Anyone who's a fan of WotW will get a kick out of it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 3:00 pm

Even if you can find the time to give it a read Halfwise your opinion on it purely as drama and entertainment would be appreciated- even if you cant go into details over changes or whatever.
I suppose the biggest sellin gangle is noone has ever done it before on film or tv- all the other adaptions are modernisations and alter huge chunks of the book (one of the things modern versions seem to dislike is that the martians are sometmes vurnerable to cannon fire- its all sheilds and making them completly impregnable in all the versions I have seen- and worse, to my mind, they nearly all either ditch or severly shy away fromthe charcater of the Preacher-the 1950's version is particulrly offensive in its changes to that character- and Speilberg wimps out altoghether and combines the charcaters of the preacher and the artillrymen, but reoves all the religion).

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Post by halfwise Wed May 30, 2012 3:07 pm

I think a TV version would be great if you can find equally spaced break points.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 3:09 pm

Judging the episodes lengths is the trickiest bit probably. Its hard when writing to be sure exactly how long any given action sequnece would last for onscreen.
As my producers of choice would be the BBC (they have all the period props and the money for the effects) I am looking at episodes of 1 hour in length (but for overseas sales can be cut down to 50minutes).
But as I say its hard to judge the exact timing.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 4:52 pm

Episode Three: London


H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Aliens_Invade_WaroftheWorldstheTrue


Scene One

London. A row of houses off Piccadilly. Jonathon exits a house and makes his way towards Piccadilly. A paper boy is excitedly selling the news on the street corner, a small crowd has gathered.

Paperboy
Army defeated on Horsell! Fighting in Weybridge! Get the latest. Martians defeat army on Horsell! Fighting in Weybridge!

Jonathon buys a paper and looks with alarm at the headlines. He runs down the road to the train station where another vendor is selling similar bad news. He runs into his friend and fellow student, Harry.

Harry
I say Jonathon, have you heard this news of Martians?

Jonathon
Hello Harry, yes I have. I was just going into the station to see if there is any news from Maybury.

Harry
Why Maybury?

Jonathon
My brother lives there.

Harry
I’ll come with you.



Scene Five

They go into the station and talk to the man at the desk.

Man
I’m very sorry sir but there aren’t any trains coming in from Maybury, nothing on the Woking line at all. There is some problem with the tracks sir, so I have been led to believe.

Jonathon
What kind of problem?

Man
I am not sure sir. We have heard very little from Woking all morning. And the nine o’clock train failed to arrive at all and it is now almost, twenty minutes to ten. I know the driver sir and he is a stickler for the timetable. A stickler sir.

Suddenly there is a commotion at the entrance to the station. The army have entered and are clearing the station of people.

Major
Get these civvies out of here.-he approaches the desk- You there, this station is being commandeered in the name of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. We need these trains for men and equipment only. Clear those people off the platforms Sergeant! I am sorry gentleman whatever your business is here today, it is over.

In the distance a sign on the line clanks and rings. The desk man strains from his seat and looks surprised.

Man
That’s the Woking line.

The sign continues to jangle ever more rapidly then hurtling round a bend in the track and into view comes a train ablaze. It shows no signs of slowing.

Major
Get back! Get everyone out of here!

Jonathon and the others run as the fiery train ploughs at speed into the station. The engine and carriages crumble and derail.
Just outside the station Jonathon and his friend stop and catch their breath, smoke and dust billow out of the station entrance. Around them people yell and scream and rush to try and aid the wounded. Jonathon looks into the station through the clearing fume at the still burning wreckage.


Jonathon
My God, George! What might be happening to you?


Scene Six

George’s boat has drifted down river. He awakens and feeling weak he sits upright and looks about himself. On either bank are deserted houses, partly destroyed buildings on fire. All around him floating in the current of the river are the charred remains of people. He weeps at this sight then is roused by distant cries. A large group of people are fleeing across a field. They disappear from view and are followed a moment later by the distant figure of a tripod. George crouches down fearfully in his boat despite the distance.

George
Gertrude. I will come for you. I will. I promise.

He sits back up and using his arms as paddles he pushes the boat on down the river.




Scene Seven


Exhausted George has slumped over where he sits, his arms trailing still in the water. The boat fetches up with a bump against a grassy bank and he starts into waking. Then crawling out he drags himself into the long grass and into the shade of some trees and falls into sleep.
He wakes with a start. The day is cloudy, it is late afternoon. A Curate is sitting with his back against a tree regarding him.


George
Have you any water?

Curate
You have been asking for water for the last hour.

George sits up and regards the other man.

George
My name is George Harrilson. I am from Maybury. I am trying to get to Leatherhead. To my wife. What about you? What’s your story?

Curate
The morning service was over. I was walking through the roads to clear my brain and then- what does it mean? What do these things mean? Fire, earthquake, death! As if it were Sodom and Gomorrah! Why are they permitted? What are these Martians?

George
What are we?

Curate
All our Sunday schools, all our churches- What have we done? What has Weybridge done? The smoke of her burning goeth up for ever and ever!

George
Are we far from Sunbury?

Curate
Only this morning I officiated at early celebration.

George
Things have changed. You must keep your head. There is still hope.

Curate
Hope!

George
Yes. Plentiful hope – for all this destruction! We have chanced to find ourselves in the thick of it, in the worst of it, but that is all.

Curate
This is the beginning of the end! The great and terrible day of the Lord!

George
Be a man! What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes have done before to men? Did you think God had exempted Weybridge?

Curate
But how can we escape? They are invulnerable, they are pitiless.

George
Neither the one nor, perhaps, the other. And the mightier they are the more sane and wary we should be. I saw one of them killed, it can be done.

Curate
How can God’s minister be killed?

George
I saw it with my own eyes.

In the distance on a hill behind George a light flashes.

Curate
What is that?

George
It’s a heliograph! A signal! You see! Hope! We are not defeated yet. Yes look there, on Richmond Hill. Guns, twenty at the least. We have a chance now. But we had better go, the Martians will be coming this way soon.



Scene Eight


It is late afternoon. George and the Curate are creeping along a deserted road, skirting some fields in which flames flicker. Suddenly there is the retort of the guns upon the hills. Sneaking through a gap in the hedge but keeping low to the ground they peer out and see a tripod standing on the horizon. The shells of the guns fall short and they cease firing.

George
As soon as that fighting machine comes in range. then we shall see.

Curate
Look!

Suddenly from the woods behind them a second tripod comes.

Tripod 2
Ulla!

It strides right over the heads of George and the Curate and meets with its companion. A section of panelling pulls back on the second tripod and a long black cylinder is extended. It is taken by the first tripod and a second black tube appears which the second tripod takes up.

Tripods
Ulla!

Simultaneously the tripods fire their new weapons and a round black, smoky projectile arcs from them and crashes down upon the hill and the guns. When they impact the balls plume up in the air in a smoky coloumn of black gas which is heavier than air. It begins to fall back to the ground rolling down the hillside and engulfing everything.

George
My God what is that?

A third tripod appears and strides towards the hill. There is no cannon fire to greet it.

Curate
Why aren’t they firing?

The third tripod raises a device which blasts the smoke and turns it to a fine powder which falls to earth. Under the smoke the cannons sit intact but all the men are dead. Their hands grasp at their throats, their eyes bulge and bleed. Blood trickles from noses and ears.

George
We can’t stay here. Come on! We have to go. I have to get to Leatherhead. This way.

George hauls the Curate to his feet and drags him towards the direction of Leatherhead but just at that moment there is a roaring in the air and another cylinder comes crashing down in a green mist a mile or so distant from them.

George
Oh God! It’s come down in our way.

He sinks to his knees.

Why did I not take you further Gertrude? Why did I not send you to Jonathon in London? I am sorry my love! I am so sorry! Please forgive me!


Curate
You did what you thought was for the best! You could not have known. After all there is always hope, is there not? Plentiful hope?



Scene Nine

London. In college Jonathon is at his studies in class. A bell rings and he takes up his books and with the other students leaves the room. Harry comes running up to him.

Harry
Jonathon! Wait up old boy. I thought you might like to know, one of the porters told me there are people pouring in from the country. Hosts of people driving into Kingston in traps and carts and things. I am sure your brother will be among them.

Jonathon
I am going to go and see for myself.

Harry
I will come with you, I am not in the mood for one of old Skober’s lectures anyway.


Scene Ten

Kingston. The road is blocked with slow moving traffic. Not just traps and carriages but people on foot and pulling handcarts laden with possessions. Jonathon and his friend stop a man and woman among the refugees.

Jonathon
Excuse me, sir. Do you know anything of what has happened in Maybury?

Man
I’m sorry son but we came from Byfleet.

Jonathon
Do you know what is happening? Did you see any Martians?

Man
A man came, running from door to door warning us and telling us to get out. Then came soldiers, we went out to look and there was clouds of smoke. Then I saw one of them Martians- it was like a boiler on stilts, I tell you, striding along like men.

Jonathon
Have you met anyone from Maybury at all?

Man
I can’t help you lad. But the first cylinder landed near there. I’m sorry.

The man and woman move on and Jonathon and his friend retreat to the pavement and watch the sad procession slowly winding by. Suddenly there is some commotion as paper boys come up the street.

Paperboy
Dreadful Catastrophe! Fighting at Weybridge full description! London in Danger!



Scene Eleven


It is early evening and George and the Curate are moving slowly along the edge of a field. Suddenly they hear the call of a tripod and into the field at the far end where there is a copse of trees five people come running, one of them holding a baby. They break cover and in terror dash across the open ground to where George and the Curate are crouched. A tripod appears in pursuit and quickly catches the group. Tentacles coil swiftly down from it and grab the people, lifting them screaming into the air. The baby can be heard squealing then horrifyingly it falls and hits the ground with a sickening thud. The tripod puts its captured humans into a cage upon its back and turning strides back the way it had come.

George
We cannot stay here.

Curate
Death walks among us!


Scene Twelve

George and the curate edge into a deserted Upper Halliford. It is dark now and they break into a partly ruined building and go up to the second floor. From the window they can see searchlights on Wimbledon Hill and Kingston Hill. Suddenly there is the booming of guns and the windows rattle. But one by one the searchlights go out to be replaced by a bright red glow.




Scene Thirteen

London. Jonathon is asleep in his bed. He tosses and turns. There is a commotion out in the street. Someone bangs on the front door of the house and Jonathon awakens. He goes to the window and looks out. Policemen are running from door to door banging on them. One of them spies Jonathon at the window and shouts up.

Policeman
They are coming! The Martians are coming! Get out before the Black Smoke gets you!

The policeman hurries on. Jonathon hurriedly gets dressed and rushes out onto the landing, he meets his landlady coming out of her room, her hair in rollers under a net.

Landlady
What the devil is it? Is it a fire? What a row.

Jonathon doesn’t reply but instead runs downstairs and goes out into the street. He can see the policemen still going down the street banging on doors and shouting their warning. Lights have come on all down the street, people stare out windows and some are heeding the warning and leaving their homes with whatever they can carry. As Jonathon watches a crowd appears coming down the street. A mob of people, carriages and cabs. Police are trying to control it but there is a panic amongst the crowd and it is turning into an uncontrollable surge. Jonathon backs into the doorway of his lodgings as the crowd begins to sweep by. He grabs a man as he passes.


Jonathon
What’s happening?

Man
Run for your life! The Black Smokes coming!

The man pulls away and disappears into the crowd. Jonathon joins them, hurrying along trying to get to the front.




Scene Fourteen

In Piccadilly Jonathon finds newspapers being sold, special editions, just one page with the ink barely dry. Jonathon buys one and looks at it. It reads; ‘Martians destroy batteries on Richmond, Kingston and Wimbledon. No safety from Black Smoke. Fearful Massacre in Thames Valley!’ Jonathon looks back the way he has come, the crowd is now surging by him but the streets westward are still clogged with people.

Harry
Jonathon. Jonathon. Am I glad to see you. What is happening?

Jonathon
Harry! It’s the Martians. They’re nearly here.

Jonathon holds up the paper and Harry snatches it from him.

Harry
My God! My sister lives in Kingston. I have to go to her.

Jonathon
You can’t Harry. Besides she will be gone by now. The authorities will have evacuated everyone, same as they are doing here.

Harry
Or maybe not. I am going back for her.

Harry runs off into the crowd, fighting his way through it and soon disappears from view. Jonathon turns and goes the opposite direction, towards the Thames but he has not gone far when he hears an alien cry.

Tripod
Ulla!

Suddenly, distant but still clear a tripod appears. It fires a ball of black smoke that comes down at the far end of the street. It plumes upwards and then falls to the ground in a rolling blackness of death. Harry sees it coming and tries to turn and run back but it engulfs him and eyes bulging, mouth gasping he is engulfed in the blackness. Jonathon and the remainder of the crowd begin to run. Panic erupts as the black smoke rolls towards them. People are knocked to the ground and trampled, others crushed. Carriages, horses mad at the bit, clatter over the unfortunate. Viewed from above pools of the black smoke are rolling through the streets, gathering against buildings and sweeping down streets and alleys almost like spilt ink.




Scene Fifteen

George is sitting at the broken window looking out as dawn creeps across the country. The Curate awakens and crawls over to join him.

Curate
What do you see?

George
Look for yourself.

Curate
Are we trapped?

George
I would say so. West the Martians hold the ground. The same to the north. And look now on London. Poor, ancient, London. She who has survived so much. Half of her is engulfed in Black Smoke. Her Death Shroud. My poor brother. My dear wife!

Curate
Death has come to claim us all.

George
Maybe it has, but does that mean we should simply submit ourselves to it?

Curate
So what else do we do? This is Gods punishment.

George
We wait, and hope for some change of fortune. There is nowhere left to go.




Scene Sixteen

Jonathon has made it to Westminster Bridge and has almost crossed when a tripod appears and fires the Black Smoke. It rolls down the Thames. Jonathon makes it off the bridge just in time as the structure is engulfed in darkness. He runs for his life towards the train station.


Scene Seventeen

There is pandemonium in the station. The northbound trains are filled to bursting and people are even clambering up onto the roofs. The engine is crammed with people and ever more are streaming in, pushing and fighting for a place. Seeing the situation is hopeless Jonathon goes out a side exit and finds a bicycle leaning against a post. He looks around and as no one is paying him any attention he steals it and rides away just as a policeman comes hurrying out from the station.

Policeman

Hey! You there! Thief! Stop!

The policeman blows his whistle but Jonathon is away and avoiding the crowd heads northeast out of London.



Scene Eighteen

George is slumped by the window, the curate sits across from him staring into space and mumbling to himself.

George
We will have to find some food and water. There’s a stream outside in the garden. We should go and get some water from it and do a search of this house.

The Curate continues his mumbling.

Fine. I will search the house.

He goes down stairs and in the half collapsed kitchen he finds a bucket. He makes his way to the backdoor and is about to go out to the stream when there is a thudding sound and the ground trembles. He hurries to the front of the house and peers out. A tripod has arrived. It stands further down the road before a row of partially burnt cottages. A tentacle coils down from it and smashes through the front door of a house. A few moments later there is a loud shrieking, a woman. Then the tentacle retracts bringing with it the screaming woman, her arms and legs waving as she is taken aloft and put into a basket on the tripods back. The tripod then moves on down the road towards the house George and the Curate are in. The woman is still screaming. George hurries back up the stairs. The house is trembling at the approach of the Martian.

George
They’re here! We have to hide. It’s searching the houses for people. Come on we must hide! Damn you!

George grabs the Curate and drags him towards a large wardrobe, he shoves the Curate in and then getting in himself pulls the door shut. In the dark they listen, trying not to breathe loudly. The Curate has stopped mumbling. The Tripod comes to a halt outside and there is the sound of smashing glass as the tentacle enters the building through a downstairs window.

Curate
God has come to take us! His messenger has come for us!

George
Shut up you fool!

George grabs the curate and puts his hand over the man mouth. Outside the tentacle withdraws from downstairs then it appears, rising up at the window. It snakes into the room but just then there is a distant cry.

Tripod 2
Ulla!

Tripod
Ulla!

The tentacle withdraws and the tripod stalks away to join the other beyond the fields. George let out a deep sigh of relief.


Scene Nineteen

Jonathon has escaped London and the worst of the crowds on his stolen bicycle. Carriages and the occasional motor car pass him as he goes. He reaches Edgware. There are a great many carriages and some motorcars here and many people milling around. In one corner of the square a miserable looking band of soldiers sit in silence with heads downcast. A man outside the busy pub stops him.

Man
Are there many more behind you?

Jonathon
Good heavens man! The whole of London is routed; there are nearly six million people on the move behind me.

Man
Good God!

Jonathon
And it’s no use staying here. The Martians are coming!

Jonathon rides on and leaves Edgware.


Scene Twenty

It is early evening and the sun is beginning to set in a bath of red and orange. Jonathon is cycling along a quiet country road but as he turns a corner he sees a pony-chaise ahead driven by two women. Two men are accosting them, trying to drag them from it whilst a third holds the pony. The younger of the woman is slashing at the men with a horse whip. Jonathon jumps from his bicycle and charges towards the closest man who swings. Jonathon easily dodges it and punches the man square in the face knocking him to the ground. Jonathon kicks him several times until the man stops moving. The other two men now close in and the pony takes fright and charges off. Jonathon throws a punch at the first man but the punch is ridden and the return blow is hard and winds him. The second man kicks Jonathon’s legs out from under him sending him sprawling to the ground. Meanwhile the women have got control of the pony and are returning. It is Anna and Gertrude. Gertrude has a revolver in her hand and she fires. It just misses Jonathon. The men turn and run.

Jonathon
My God! Gertrude! What good fortune, of all the chances! My goodness am I glad to see you.

Gertrude
Are you all right Jonathon? Did they hurt you?

Jonathon
I think I gave them at least as good as I got.

Gertrude
It is so good to see you well. You remember my cousin Anna?

Jonathon
Of course. But where is Wilfred then? And where is George?

Gertrude
Oh Jonathon, I don’t know where George is. He went back to Horsell! Jonathon, what if I have lost him? I should have stayed with him. I should have stayed.

Jonathon
Don’t upset yourself Gertrude, he can take care of himself. You’ll see him again. But where then is Wilfred?

Gertrude
He went back to look for George.

Anna
He wouldn’t listen to sense. Hell mend him.

Jonathon
We should get going, those men might come back. I will take that. Where did you get a revolver? George doesn’t own one.

Anna
It was my fathers. I never thought I should have need of it myself. But for your sake I’m glad I kept it by.

Jonathon
Where were you going?

Anna
We were trying to get to the coast. Maybe get a ship to the continent until this is all over. Until it’s safe to come back and find Wilfred and George.

Suddenly there is a roaring overhead, another cylinder is arriving.

Jonathon
More of them. I wonder where it’s bound for?

Gertrude
Far from my dear George I pray.


Scene Twenty One

George and the curate are hunting for food downstairs in the ruined kitchen. George is trying to open a large door whose frame has buckled. Finally it pulls away and the door pulls open. Inside is a large pantry, well stocked.

George
Look! Look here! At least we will not starve for a while yet. You see, all is not lost.

Eagerly they both go into the pantry and find food. A low rumble begins. It grows louder and becomes a shriek, the cylinder lands right next to the house, the walls explode and collapse. Darkness and dust fill the air as the kitchen collapses burying George and the Curate beneath it.


End of Episode Three.


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Wed May 30, 2012 7:12 pm; edited 3 times in total

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H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Empty Re: H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation

Post by David H Wed May 30, 2012 4:58 pm

I'm enjoying this! It's interesting that the Martians are seen early on, and that their armor is vulnerable. It changes the the whole dynamic.

Is there any art of the Martians and their hardware that matches your ideas of them that you could post?
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H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Empty Re: H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation

Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 5:14 pm

Thanks for reading David, and glad you are enjoying it.
Not sure about llustrations, Wells was a cheeky bugger at times- in the story he refers to a speculative article in a magazine about the possible eventual final state of an evolved human (it more or less matches the description of the martians)- the magazine article referred to was real and was of course written by Wells! Similarly the main characater critiscies at one point the pamphlets and leaflets produced depiticting the tripods as stilted and mechanical rather than articulate and graceful- this particular passage Wells inserted on the second publication and this was actaully Wells critiscising illustraters of his book!

I have always had a fondness for the illustrations to Jeff Waynes musical version myself- as seeing the album cover was what made me think 'I have to read that book'- although even in it the tripods look like they would lack the grace and ease of movement Wells depicts them as having.

This is Jeff Waynes version.

H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation War-of-the-worlds-musical

Not sure where this one is from but I do like it.

H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation 82315-bigthumbnail

This is the Speilbergs version. His tripods and how they move was one of the few things I thought he got about right, especially given what a butchers job he did to the rest of the book. (although they lack the numerous articulated cables and limbs of the book versions)

H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Wotw5

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H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Empty Re: H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation

Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 5:47 pm

The final episode.

Episode Four: Earth Under the Martians

H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Display_1003417


Scene One

A red dawn. Jonathon is driving the pony-chaise. Ahead the road curves up to the top of a low crest shaded by trees. Gertrude is asleep, leaning against his shoulder. Anna on the other side of him is looking mournful and occasionally speaking the name of Wilfred. As the pony-chaise climbs the crest of the hill a stunning vista becomes clear. Before them the road winds down a slope to where it meets the main highway. In the far distance is the glimmer of the sea and upon it a myriad of boats and vessels. But it is the spectacle of the people which catches the breath. The road as far as the eye can see in either direction is a consistently moving ribbon of humanity. People on foot, people carried on stretchers or leaning on friends, people in carriages, carts and wagons of all shapes and sizes. Rich mingling with poor, the healthy with the sick. The air is filled with a choking dust thrown up by their passage. Every face is weary and every face is utterly defeated. The noise wakens Gertrude who looks on the sight with horror.

Gertrude
Good Heavens Jonathon! What hell is this you are driving us into?

Jonathon
It is the only road to the coast and safety. We have to take it.

He nudges the chaise forward and edges up to the road but there is no break in the consent flow of traffic.

Way! Make way!

Man 2
Get out of it. We can’t stop, the Martians are coming!

Jonathon hands the reigns to Gertrude and jumping down he takes the pony by the halter in an attempt to lead it into the road. His first attempt is thwarted as a man in a wagon swings his horse whip at his head. Jonathon blocks it with his arm but gains a painful weal. He pulls the pony aside out of the traffic again just as a little girl of eight falls by the wayside in front of them. Anna jumps down to comfort the child.

Woman
Ellen! Ellen!

A woman pushes through the press and seeing the child rushes over and grabs violently hold of her, jerking her from Anna’s arms and quickly disappearing again with the child into the seemingly endless flow of downtrodden people.

Gertrude
This is hopeless!

Jonathon
We must try.

Again he takes the pony by the halter and tries to guide it into the flow of traffic. This time he has more success despite the furious calls of other refugees to his impeding their progress.

Man 3
Clear out of it. Keep moving!

Man 4
There’s no room. Keep to the side.

As Jonathon finally gets onto the main road and is about to jump up onto the chaise he spies a man stumbling in the road to his right. The man is carrying a fat bag which splits as he falls and sends a shower of gold coins spilling onto the dusty road. The man tries to scrabble towards the coins but is knocked aside by a passing carriage. When the carriage has passed he throws himself upon his money and tries to stuff it into his pocket. Jonathon sees a wagon, heavily laden with household goods, rolling towards the man.

Jonathon
Hey! You there, look out. Look out I say! Stop!

Jonathon pushes through the throng towards the wagon and manages to grab the bit of the horse pulling on it sharply, but to late, even as he hauls at the animal there is a cry and a loud crack as the mans spine breaks under the wheel. Jonathon releases the bit whilst the wagon driver curses at him. Suddenly he hears another cry, this time from Gertrude.


Gertrude
Jonathon!

A man is trying to board their chaise. Jonathon hurries back and knocks the man to the ground and leaps up onto the chaise. He takes out the gun and gives it to Gertrude.

Jonathon
Shoot anyone who tries that again.

Gertrude takes the gun.

Gertrude
I do not know that I could.

Jonathon
Then shoot above their heads, that should at least make them think twice.

With a flick of the reigns he gets them moving. He glances back as they move on and sees a dark lump on the road, the man with the broken back; his arms are twitching feebly. Then the swarm of people obscures the view.




Scene Two

Darkness. A dull thumping grows louder accompanied by occasional clatters, bangs and metallic rings. Slowly a little light filters up as George rises to consciousness. He is lying on the floor of the pantry, before him, dim in the dull dusty light is the doorway, the door is open, beyond it most of the roof of the kitchen has collapsed. The window is smashed and earth has poured in blocking out all the light. There are however pale shafts of reddish light falling through gaps in the rubble above. There is no sign of the Curate. The thumping is continuous and makes the floor tremble and bits of stone and rubble vibrate and slip. Carefully George edges up to the doorway and peers out. Not far away is a small triangular shaped gap in the rubble. The Curate is lying at it, staring out. He hears George and turns to him with ashen face.

Curate
We stand at the very gates to Hell!

George edges forward to the hole and peers out. He is looking down the slope of a pit at the latest cylinder. The pit is alive with activity. The cylinder lies in the centre, opened. A tripod stands sentinel over the pit. A massive machine like a metal spider with five legs and many tentacles is working metals at fabulous speeds operated by a Martian in a hooded compartment. Around the side of the pit another machine is excavating and shoring, it is emitting puffs of green smoke. And all the time the machines thump and clatter, occasionally a Martian calls out with a hooting sound. The remains of the house are tottering at the very top of the slope, the stream still flows through a broken course of many falls and it has pooled at this end of the pit. The water has a red tint to it as if from algae.

George
My God! A cylinder has all but landed on the house. We’re trapped!

Exterior of the house and the pit. Fade out.




Scene Three

Fade in. George is asleep; the Curate is greedily eating the food in the pantry and drinking from a half full bottle of brandy. The pounding and the clanking continue, occasionally through gaps in the broken roof shapes move and shadows pass across the floor. George wakes up and sees the amount the Curate is eating.

George
Hoy! We have to conserve. There’s no way of knowing how long we might be stuck here.

Curate
What does it matter now? We are never leaving here except through the doors of death. Why not eat and drink as we please while we still can?

George
Because I still have hope of getting out of here.

Curate
It is over for us, why cannot you see that? God’s punishment cannot be cheated.


George
Now you listen to me; I am going to survive this and I am going to find my wife. We stay low; we keep quiet and we wait until they move on. Understand?

George begins to snatch up the food and the Curate feebly attempts to fight him for it. George knocks him over and a large piece of plaster is knocked from the wall. At the same moment there is a different thud to the usual noises of the pit and a dark shadow falls across the ruined kitchen. A tripod is standing over the building. It pauses a moment before striding on into the pit. George takes the food and puts it into a sack from the pantry then he drags it with him to the hole in the wall to look out. The hole is choked with a red growth, long fronds that when snapped produce a large quantity of red, watery sap. Clearing the window he peers out on a lurid, red landscape. The red weed has choked the remains of the stream and spread up the side of the pit to engulf the house. Fade out.



Scene Four

Fade in. It is night and the pit is lit by a green vapour. The machines continue their ceaseless work, the noise continues unabated. George wakens from sleep. The Curate is again absent. As George sits up the floor trembles and a tripod passes over the house. Rubble slips from somewhere above and can be heard slithering into the pit. As George stands he hears the Curate give a muffled cry and looks out the doorway to see what is happening. The Curate is at the hole, the red weed, though cleared from the hole has now spread into the house and is growing on the floors and walls, it chokes the rubble overhead. From the pit there comes a satisfied hooting from a Martian and then the Curate begins backing hurriedly away from the hole towards the pantry.

Curate
No! By God’s Mercy no!

George
What? What did you see?

Curate
I won’t look on it! I won’t see it!

The Curate throws himself onto the pantry floor and begins weeping and praying as George creeps up to the window. At first the green haze obscures his view but a change in the air currents draws it aside and he can see the tripod standing in the pit. It has a basket on its back containing live people some of whom are scrabbling to get out, others sit and stare blankly whilst many weep. On the ground in a hood sits two Martians and on the earth before them is a husk of a human being. As George looks out a tentacle retracts from this husk and swinging up over its back takes another victim and lifts him down towards the earth. It is a lad of about twelve. He is held by the tentacle unable to move and his feet just brush the ground. He is crying.

Boy
Please let me go! Please! I haven’t done no harm.

The two Martians each extend single tentacles which seem to caress the boy as they pass up his body.

Boy
I want to go home! Please, I want to see my mam again!

When the tentacles reach the neck, one either side, the Martians let out a great exultation and then the tentacles suddenly stab forward, piercing the boy’s arteries. The boy’s blood is drained through the tentacles. When the body is empty the tripod lets it fall and reaches for another. George, sickened at the sight is about to turn away when he recognizes the cries of the next victim.

Wilfred
Anna!

George
Oh my God! I know that man, that’s Wilfred, my wife’s cousin! Gertrude! Please God, not this for her. Please God not this! Let her have escaped. And if dead let it have been by the Heat-Ray, let it have been swift. I beg you. Not this.

Wilfred is held the same as the first victim and the tentacles strike again and George turns from the window in horror. He retreats to the pantry.

Curate
Now do you see? This is our punishment for our sins. As the blood of Christ was sacrificed for our salvation so now our blood shall be sacrificed, we must pay the price for failing to heed His message.

George
Get a hold of yourself or your ravings will bring them down upon us all the sooner. Be still.

Curate
Look at us. We are the fallen. Sinful we were and now comes our just punishment!

George
Shut up. I have had about all I can take of your constant ranting and praying, you are going to get us both killed. Is that what you want? To be their food? I am warning you, I will not be their food because of you, I would sooner kill you.

Outside the Martians continue to prepare and build.




Scene Five

Jonathon, Gertrude and Anna have made it to the harbour. A large steamer, over-flowing with passengers is just departing and another is preparing to draw in. The quay is packed with crowds and cries and yells. Some policeman and some soldiers are doing their best to organize the crowds and keep them from the waters edge. Out at sea the ironclad warship Thunder Child guards the bay. As they struggle down the road in the pony-chaise they pass an official looking man.

Man
Keep moving, there’s more room yet.

Jonathon
Hey there, what’s going on?

Man
Just take your place. The soldiers will tell you where. We’re taken people off as fast as may be sir.


Jonathon
When can we expect to get passage?

Man
You should get off by tomorrow morning at this rate. There’s food and water down by the quay.

Jonathon
Tomorrow morning!

Gertrude
We have money.

Man
What use is money now my dear? It’s only paper. Maybe it only ever was. We’re taken everyone we can, in good order. Rich and poor. Makes no odds. Now move along there!

Jonathon flicks the reigns and they wind on down towards the massive crowds already waiting for passage.


Scene Six

George awakens in the dark to the continuous pounding from the pit. He sits up to find the Curate has gotten at the food and the brandy. George gets up furious and snatches at the bottle in the Curate’s hand.

George
That is all we have left to drink.

They struggle for it and George finally manages to wrench it from him.

What is the matter with you? Can you not see our situation? Do you not have eyes? Or do you now lack even the sense to use them?

Curate
I see only that all things have ended in the wrath of God. And it is just. On me and mine let the punishment be laid. We have fallen short. The poor were trodden into dust, children neglected, and I held my peace!

George
Hold your peace now for Gods sake man, before you bring them in on us.

Curate
I have held my peace long enough. I preached acceptable folly! – When I should have stood up. I held my peace when I should have spoken out!

George gets to his feet and struggles with the Curate.

George
Be quiet!

Curate
Repent I should have cried! Repent Oppressors of the poor and needy!

George hits him and he falls against the wall and slumps to the floor with blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. George likewise slumps down in the opposite corner and there is a hostile silence for a few moments broken only by the constant thudding from the pit.


Curate
Has it ever occurred to you that the driving force behind all that mankind has achieved, all of our churches, all the factories, all the houses, is the fear of death? We keep ourselves busy, fill our little lives up with useless acts then choose to think them important. And all so we do not have to face thoughts of our own mortality.
We do not truly ever meet God when alive, no, it is only at the moment of death that we stand naked before our Maker. God is death. Death is before us! I see you Death! I know you for what you are. You, Death, are my God. You are my punishment for I have failed in your service. Repent! Repent!

George
Shut up man!
.
The Curate slowly gets back to his feet.

Curate
You, you just cannot accept truth. God’s truth which awaits us in the pit. I am here God. I will not fear you any longer! I will face you!

George
Be still!

Curate
I have been still too long and now I must bear my witness.

George
You will bring the Martians here to bear witness upon us if you do not shut up!

Curate
Woe unto this unfaithful city! Woe! Woe!

George staggers to his feet. Outside the sounds are diminishing. George notices this.

George
Shut up! For Gods sake!

Outside the sounds fade away to nothing and the Curates voice is loud and clear.

Curate
Nay, the word of the Lord is upon me! I shall not be stayed!

George
Shh! For pity’s sake!

Curate
I must bear my witness! Repent! Repent!

The Curate turns to exit the doorway. George in desperation reaches for the bottle and then lays a hand on the Curates shoulder, George spins the Curate round and cracks the bottle across the side of his head, possibly killing him. The Curate falls backwards out of the doorway. George looks with horror at the bottle in his hand and then at the still Curate. He moves to grab the Curate and drag him in but just then a shadow falls over the hole. A tripod is outside. The hood comes down and the Martian peers in the hole. The hood lifts back up and George scuttles back into the pantry and closes the door just as a tentacle smashes through the hole. George squeezes himself in under a shelf at the back and contrives to cover himself with old empty sack bags. The tentacle moves snake-like about the room; close to the ground at first then it rises up in a shape reminiscent of an elephant’s trunk. It appears to examine the body of the Curate and then it moves on around the room. It comes to the pantry door, George holds his breath. It hovers a few moments then the handle rattles and the door swings open, the tentacle sweeps into the pantry. It examines several of the items left on the shelves and knocks over a jar of mustard, it examines the spilled contents. It sweeps down passed the shelf George is cowering under and seems to be looking at the bags; it moves closer to the ground and weaves to and fro. It brushes George’s foot under the sack and he nearly screams. There is a moments silence then he hears a click followed by the sound of the Curate being dragged away. George crawls out and peers around the corner of the doorway just as the Curate is being dragged through the enlarged hole. The Curate awakens. The last George sees of him, is as he is borne aloft by a tentacle, still crying out.

Curate
Repent! Repent!

His cries are cut short by a scream. George creeps back into the pantry and casts himself down in a corner.


Scene Seven

The first rays of a red dawn are spilling over the huddled crowds at the quay. Just off the coast a thick fog bank hangs over the sea. Jonathon and his group are now near the front of the queues on the dockside, watched over by the soldiers. A steamer is pulling in to dock.

Jonathon
It won’t be long now. We will get on this one.

Gertrude
My poor George! I feel as if I am betraying him by leaving him behind.

Jonathon
It is what he would want you to do. There is no hope in going back to look for him.

Gertrude
Do you think he is dead Jonathon?

Jonathon
I try not to think about it.

Gertrude
I do not. I believe, somewhere out there, he still lives. I will return to him Jonathon, I will.

Anne
My poor Wilfred! He’s lost too and I am lost without him. I will not go without my brother.

Gertrude
Be strong cousin. We will return for them.

Anna
I will not leave him here to be killed. I just can’t do it. I can’t I tell you.

The steamer is now docked and the soldiers begin letting people aboard on two gangplanks. The queue begins to move forward. They are halfway up the gangplank when Anna suddenly pulls away.

Anna
No, I will not leave my brother. Wilfred I am coming back for you.

She fights her way back down the gangplank, Gertrude grabs at her and gets hold of her arm but cannot hold on as the crowd push her and Jonathon further up the gangplank.

Tripod
Ulla!

Suddenly everyone stops where they are and looks back along the dusty road. A tripod has appeared striding over the hills towards the quay. People, like dark specks, swarm before it but the Martian seems to ignore them. Another appears behind it and then another.

Tripods
Ulla!

On the bridge of the Steamer the crew stare in horror out the windows then the Captain snaps to his senses. The Captain and his crew speak French which is subtitled.

Captain
Jeté son désactivé!
(Cast off! Cast her off!)

First Mate
Nous ne sommes pas entièrement chargé encore capitaine. Il y a encore des gens sur les passerelles surélevées.
(We are not fully loaded yet Captain. There are people still upon the gangplanks.)

Captain
Bon sang il n'y a pas plus de temps
(Damn it there’s no more time. Cast off!)

The lines to the Steamer are cut and cast off, she begins to pull away. Jonathon has boarded her but Gertrude is still on the gangplank and so is Anna further down it. As the steamer leaves the harbour side Jonathon reaches out for Gertrude and she grabs his hand and leaps as the gangplanks, fully loaded with people including Anna, plunge away and into the sea. Jonathon holds Gertrude as she sobs.

Scene Eight

The first tripod, followed by the other three, does not approach the harbour directly but strides out into the sea to come between the shipping and escape from the bay. A hundred or more small boats, yachts and private vessels are scrambling to get clear before the Martians cut them off. The Heat-Ray sets ablaze and sinks many that are closest to escape. The steamer, from whose decks Jonathon and Gertrude watch as the Martians stride into place, races to escape.

Jonathon
They have cut us off! There’s no hope of escape now.

Suddenly a great horn blasts goes up. Steaming out of the fog, her paddles hammering the ocean, appears the ironclad Thunderchild, bristling with guns. Smoke billows from her stacks and trails in her wake. The Tripods turn to regard this new thing. On board the steamer the cry goes up.

Passengers
Thunderchild! It’s the Thunderchild!

Pan up the side of the vessel with her name, “Thunderchild” emblazoned on her to the bridge of the Thunderchild where the Captain eyes up the tripods as they charge towards them.

First Officer
Ready the guns to fire Captain?

Captain
No! Tell every man to hold his fire until I give the order. It will only draw their damned Heat Ray all the sooner if we go at them all cannons blazing. We need to give those ferries time. Bring her up to full steam. Helm, bring her to bear on the central fighting machine. Tell the engine room to bring us to ramming speed.

The funnels belch out smoke and bells ring as the Thunderchild drives for the central tripod. The tripod raises a weapon and fires the Black Smoke. The projectile strikes the deck but bounces overboard and unfolds in a writhing coil of smoke, but the Thunderchild ploughs through it. On the steamer people cheer.

Man
Go on Thunderchild!

Thunderchild ploughs on and rams one of the leg supports of the middle tripod. The leg collapses and the tripod goes down into the water where the hood erupts in steam and a howling from the Martian within. On board the steamer the crowds cry out.

Jonathon
We might make it yet, look we’re approaching the headland. Come on Thunderchild!

The second Martian raises the Heat Ray and it strikes the side of the warship.
On the bridge alarms are ringing and smoke is blowing in from the fires, the ship is listing.


Captain
Now we use the guns. Fire! Fire everything we’ve got!

The guns of the Thunderchild erupt and a second tripod is blown apart and sent spiralling into the sea. The steamer and many of the other vessels are now drawing out of the bay as the fight ensues, but the people all cram the facing decks to cheer.

Jonathon
Two! They’ve a chance now!

But even as Jonathon speaks the remaining tripods fire their Heat Rays and the Thunderchild erupts in a massive explosion. The tripods gather up the remains of their fallen comrades and hooting to one another retreat back to land. The Steamer slips away as the remains of the Thunderchild swirl away beneath the waves.



Scene Nine

George awakens in the half darkness of the pantry. Outside it is quiet. But something has awoken him and he sits up on one elbow listening intently. He hears a scrabbling sound and a shadow moves on the floor outside the pantry. It is accompanied by a snuffling noise. George is gripped with fear but forces himself to creep forward. Something is scampering about on the rubble over his head. He hears a soft whine, then the bark of a dog.

George
Shh! Quiet boy. Good boy. Quiet now!

The dog barks again and runs off. Heartened by the lack of Martian response to the noise George creeps to the hole, which although now much larger, is overgrown and blocked with the red weed. He hauls it away and looks out. The pit is abandoned, he can see no machines, no Martians. He tears away enough of the weed to squeeze through and slips and slides down the side of the pit. The only sign the Martians were here is the gristly one of a pile of carcasses, drained of their blood. George turns away from them and squints in the harsh morning light. He clambers back up a lower side of the pit and looks out towards London. The landscape is coated with red weed in large patches. Smoke hangs over ruined buildings. He staggers over to the stream, wading through the weed and drinks his fill of water, he spots the dog, it is Bozo, thin and half starved. As George emerges Bozo barks in delight and runs towards him tail wagging.

George
Bozo? Bozo! You found me boy! Good boy! Good boy! Oh look at you lad. Look at me. Come on lad, we need to find something to eat.

Turning back to face London he begins to walk.


Scene Ten

Dusk. A weary George creeps along the edge of Wimbledon Common, Bozo at his side. Beyond the Common there is a glare over Hampstead and in the far distance the tripods move about the horizon. Suddenly a man springs out from some bushes armed with a cutlass. Bozo barks and George grabs him. The man is dirty with mud and his face is dark with it.

Artilleryman
Stop! Where do you come from?

George
I come from the pit. I was buried, but I escaped.

Artilleryman
There’s no food about here. This is my country. All this hill down to the river, and back to Clapham, and up to the edge of the Common. There’s only food for one. Where were you going?

George
Leatherhead, my wife was there.

Artilleryman
It’s you. I thought it might be. You escaped Weybridge!

George
You’re the artilleryman who came into my house.

Artilleryman
Well, we are the lucky ones. I crawled up a drain, they didn’t kill everybody. I got away when they went off across the fields. But that was not a week ago – your hairs gone grey. Who’s your friend?

George
Bozo. My dog. He found me in the pit. Have you seen any Martians?

Artilleryman
They all went off, away across London yesterday. Hampstead way, I think they’ve got a big base there now. But look, it’s a bit open out here. Come on with me, I’ve got a safe place not to far from here.

George
All right.

Together they edge away among the bushes. As they go they talk.

Artilleryman
Funny how you see things differently when you’ve the time to think. I’ve served nine year, fought all over the Empire. And I never once thought to see it from the other fellows’ side. Never thought what it was like to have the British Army suddenly appearing on your horizon, bristling with weapons like you’ve never seen before. You don’t think what it’s like from the other mans side when you’re soldiering. Now though I’ve got to doing some proper thinking. And I’m thinking that this must have been how the last Tasmanian felt. Imagine that poor bugger, the last one. What a trial of the soul; to walk the country of your birth and find no others left in it like to yourself. All wiped from existence under the heel of a merciless foreign invader.
And now here we are, just like the hapless Tasmanians. We had the mightiest Empire the worlds ever seen and these Martians have ripped the very heart out of it in less than a week. This was never a war, no more than there’s a war between men and ants, except we’re eatable ants. We never stood a chance.

George
We still have hope. There are other nations yet unconquered.

Artilleryman
We ain’t seen nothing of it yet. They haven’t even begun on us.

George
Not begun on us?

Artilleryman
This is just the start. I’ve been watching them. They ain’t really bothered with us yet, they’re still busy making their things. All that’s happened so far is through us not having the sense to keep quiet- worrying them with guns and such and losing our heads, rushing off in crowds to where there wasn’t any more safety than where they were. No, you mark my words, they haven’t started on us yet.

George
What do you think they will do? Kill everyone?

Artilleryman
Course not. They need to eat same as everything else. No, soon as they’ve settled the guns and ships, smashed the railways, then they’ll begin catching us, systematic; picking the best, keeping us in cages. And instead of us rushing about blind we’ve got to fix ourselves up according to the new state of affairs. That’s how I figure it.

George
What kind of future would man have? Scurrying in hiding under the feet of the tripods no better than an animal?

Artilleryman
It isn’t quite according to what a man wants for his species I’ll admit, but it’s about what the facts point to. Civilization, progress – it’s all over. We’re beat.

They reach the garden of a dark and silent house, one of several similar houses in a row on the brow of the hill overlooking the Common. They go in the gate.

George
If that is so, what is there to live for?

Artilleryman
Well if its amusement you’re after, forget it. If you’ve got any drawing-room manners or a dislike to eating peas with a knife, forget it, you ain’t no further use.


George
You mean-

Artilleryman
I mean that men like me are going on living – for the sake of the breed. I’m grim set on living. And I don’t mean to be caught either, tamed and fattened like a bloody ox. Not like the poor bastards that lived in these houses. I’ve seen ‘em, all those damn little clerks- they’d be no good. Lives insured and a bit but away for fear of accidents. And on Sundays – fear of the hereafter. Well, the Martians will just be a godsend to these.

George
How do you mean?

The Artilleryman opens the back door of the house and they go inside.

Artilleryman
Nice roomy cage, fattening food, careful breeding. After a week or so chasing about the fields on empty stomachs, they’ll come and be caught cheerfully. After a bit they’ll wonder what people did before there were Martians to take care of them. And they’ll still have their religion, very pious and superior, and they’ll submit themselves to persecution and the will of the Lord. .

He lights a hooded lamp

The cages will be full of psalms and hymns and piety. And some of those they capture, maybe, they’ll train them to hunt down the rest of us.

George
No, that’s impossible! No human being-

Artilleryman
What’s the good of going on with such lies? There’s men who’d do it cheerfully. What nonsense to pretend there isn’t!

George
So what is your plan?


As the Artilleryman talks he gets two mugs and fills them with water and offers George some food which George takes and gives half to the dog, George eats as they talk-


Artilleryman
We have to invent a life where men can live and breed, and be sufficiently secure to bring the children up, right?

George
Yes.

Artilleryman
Well, I’ve been thinking about the drains. Under London there’s miles and miles –hundreds of miles –and a few days rain and London empty will leave them sweet and clean. And there’s cellars, vaults, stores. And the railway tunnels and subways. And we form a band of able-bodied men. We’re not going to pick up any rubbish that drifts in. Weaklings go.

He makes a slitting of the throat gesture.

George
As you meant me to go?

Artilleryman
Well, I parleyed, didn’t I? And you’re here aren’t you? Anyhow, we’ll need good, clean-minded women too. Not ladies- no blasted rolling eyes, nothing weak or silly. Life is real again, the useless have to die. They ought to be willing to die for the good of the species. It’s saving our knowledge, that’s the thing. That’s where men like you come in.

George
Me?

Artilleryman
Educated men. We’ll need books and teachers. Especially we must keep our sciences up and watch the Martians.

George
Watch for what?

Artilleryman
To learn from them. Imagine it, one day we get a hold of one of their machines, maybe even learn to build our own. Just picture it, four or five of their fighting machines suddenly starting off – Heat Rays right and left and not a Martian in ‘em but men – men who have learned how. I reckon the Martians’ll open their beautiful eyes then! Can’t you see them man? Can’t you? Puffing and hooting then swish comes the Heat-Ray, and, behold! Man has come back to his own. We can do it, men like me and you. I’ve already made a start on the first tunnel, it will take us to the main drain under the road from there we can get under London. Come on and I’ll show you.

They go down to the cellar where there is a pathetic tunnel not ten yards long.

Artilleryman
Come on then, grab a spade.

George looks on in pity and some despair but having nothing else to do he takes up a spade and joins the mad dreamer in his tunnel building.




Scene Eleven

Artilleryman
Well, look at that. We’ve been at it nearly two hours. Time for a drink I say.

George
We have barely dug anything. It will take days to dig this. It must be twenty more yards at least before we have even dug under the outer wall.

Artilleryman
Cor! You’re nearly as bad as my ole Sergeant. There’ll be plenty time for digging later. I want to show you a sight and there’s no harm in having a drink and a bite whilst you look at it.

They go up onto the roof. Bozo waits in the room below, ears cocked listening to their voices. It is dusk.

Artilleryman
Don’t worry. It’s safe enough. You can see them coming a long way off from here.

George
My God!

The sight of London before George is alien. The river is a mass of red weed which glows faintly. Lambeth Palace is coated in it. Beyond Kensington a dark smoke hangs and from Kensington itself there comes a red glow and flames occasionally shoot up from it. There is blaze of green lights over the Highgate Hills.

Artilleryman
They seem to have a base over Hampstead way, where you can see all those greenish lights.

George
Is that what you brought me up here to see?

Artilleryman
No, but we might have to wait a bit yet for it. Come on, sit down and have a drink.

George relents and sits down.

Artilleryman
I found these too.

He pulls out a packet of cigars and a pack of cards.

How about a game of cards while we wait?

They begin to play cards.



Scene Twelve

Three hours later. They continue their game upon the roof, playing by the glow of destruction and the dull luminosity of the red weed. George is smoking a cigar as is his companion. Suddenly the Artilleryman starts.

Artilleryman
There! There it is! Over Hampstead.

George stares towards Hampstead which is wreathed in a green glow and moving lights. Suddenly something rises up into the sky and hovers in the air.

George
What is it?

Artilleryman
It’s a flying machine. They’re learning to fly. Third night its risen now, watch, it’ll circle round a bit now. First night it wobbled all over the place, it was better on the second. Looks now like their getting the hang of it.

George
A flying-machine!

Artilleryman
Yes, a flying-machine.

George
It’s all over. If they can do that they will simply go around the world.


Artilleryman
Yes they will. But- it’ll relieve things a bit over here, for a while maybe.

George looks out over the destroyed London, at the glowing weed and distant tripods moving in shadowy smoke on the horizon and the flying machine hanging impossibly in the night air.

Artilleryman
Still, me and you, we’ll be all right. We’ll be safe underground, with the best of them. Waiting to strike back!

George stares at him and then at the cigar in his own hand.

George
What am I doing? Gertrude. When did I stop hoping you were still alive?

Artilleryman
Come on, have another drink.

George knocks the drink from his hand.

George
How could I miss the moment when hope finally died? Look at us, drinking champagne, smoking cigars, playing games, whilst humanity burns. We are traitors to our own kind.

He throws the cigar off the roof.

I am leaving.

Artilleryman
Go on then. Take your mutt and go, become one of their slaves. But there’s something you ought to know before you go, something I haven’t told you yet.

George
There’s nothing more to be said. I am leaving.

Artilleryman
I spoke to some soldiers before I came here, they’d come by way of Leatherhead.

George stops at the entrance to the roof.

Artilleryman
They said it was totally destroyed. If your wife was there she’s dead now, or worse.

George
You’re lying!

Artilleryman
I ain’t lying. It’s the truth, they turned the Heat Ray and the Black Smoke on it, there’s nothing left. I just thought you ought to know before you go wasting your life looking for a corpse.

George
I do not believe you. I will not believe you.

Artilleryman
I knew you were weak, that you weren’t made of the right stuff. No spirit for the job I thought when I first set eyes on you. Well go on then, bugger off.

He picks up his cutlass.

I gave you a chance, just you remember that when they come to feed on you. Remember that when they’re drinking your blood!

George begins to climb down the hatch.

Artilleryman
Where are you going to go?

George
London.

Artilleryman
London! That’s suicide! What are going to do? Give yourself up to them like a good little human? To hell with you then!


George leaves the house with Bozo and walks off.




Scene Thirteen

The heart of London. George and Bozo wander down a street which eventually will open out to reveal a view of Tower Bridge and the Palaces of Westminster. The street is littered with the victims of the Black Smoke and large flocks of crows peck at them and fly off squawking when Bozo barks and chases them, only to fly back to their grizzly meals when they have passed by. The city is deathly silent. As George comes before the sight of the Thames he sees the red weed has choked the mighty river and Tower Bridge is submerged in it but much of the weed has turned white. George grabs a handful of it and it crackles and breaks up into fine white dust beneath his fingers which blows away on the wind. Suddenly a great cry goes up that sends the birds flocking into the air and makes Bozo cower and whimper. A mournful, long call full of pain and anguish which once begun repeats, it seems endlessly, as George stands amazed.

Tripod
Ulllllaaaaa!

A tripod appears looming over Tower Bridge. It staggers into the weed choked river and stumbles, totters and crashes into Big Ben, bringing it down and finally the fighting machine collapses atop the Houses of Parliament and the cry ceases. George stares in amazement then another, equally pained cry, begins and turning George beholds a second tripod on top of Primrose Hill standing perfectly still.

Tripod 2
Ulllllaaaaa!

George falls to his knees before the wailing tripod and then raising his head he looks around at the corpses covering the streets, at the ruin and the empty desolation and he staggers to his feet.

George
There is nothing left.

He starts to totter forward, then to walk then to a half run and finally into a mad dash with his arms outstretched. Bozo runs after him barking. He runs towards Primrose Hill and the tripod atop it crying out and babbling.

George
I submit! I give myself to you, I am lost. You have taken my love from me and with it my hope. Kill me damn you! Just kill me!

Tripod
Ulllllaaaaa!

George runs up before the tripod and throws himself before it expecting death but instead the wailing falls away and there is only the fluttering of crow’s wings and their cries. George looks up. Bozo barks and growls at the tripod. High above him the hood of the fighting machine is open; within it sits the Martian pilot and crows circle it. Its skin is blotched its eyes greying and with a mucky film coating them. It exhales a long low breath and then grey ooze pours from its mouth and it dies. The crows fly in for their feast. George staggers to his feet and comes now to the top of Primrose Hill.

Voiceover on the following imagery- He sees beyond the hill the greatest pit of all. All over this pit are revealed to him fallen machines and lying throughout the Martians, all dead and pecked at by the birds.

George
From the moment these invaders arrived they drank and fed. From that moment they were doomed. For the smallest life on earth had succeeded where all the mighty works of man had failed. Disease had brought low the Martians. For either Mars has no bacteria or their medicine has so long ago expunged it that they had forgotten it. But by the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

Pan up to the sky above and fade out.




Scene Fourteen

On screen: One week later.

Leatherhead. The town is in ruins, as the artilleryman had reported it has been the victim of both the Heat Ray and the Black Smoke. George stands on the road outside Anna’s house at the spot where he last saw his wife. The row of houses is a pile of blackened rubble, their gardens scorched of all life. Grimly George gets back in his pony trap and drives off.




Scene Fifteen

George is walking up the path to his own front door with some trepidation. Bozo is at his side, delighted to be home. He opens the front door and enters the house.

George
Gertrude! Gertrude!

But upon entering the kitchen he knows immediately no one has been back since he left with the artilleryman.

George
Just as I left it old boy. She has not come back. I am a fool to hope.

He lets Bozo out the back door into the garden and then wanders sadly through the house. He picks up a photograph, taken on the day of his wedding and caresses the image of Gertrude. Then still clutching the photograph he goes into his study. His typewriter sits as he last left it, a page still in it. He takes the page out and reads what he had last written, ‘In about two hundred years we may expect...’. Suddenly he hears a voice in the garden outside the French windows.

Jonathon
It is no use. The house is deserted. No one has been here in days. Do not stay here to torment yourself.

Suddenly there is a delighted barking.

Gertrude
Bozo! Oh Bozo!

In a fever George pulls back the curtain and throws open the doors and strides out. There is Jonathon and beside him Gertrude who gives a faint cry.

Jonathon
Good God! George!

Gertrude
I knew – I knew.

They rush to each other and embrace while Bozo dances wildly around them.
From the steeple of the church the bells ring out. Pan up to the sky and then zoom out into space filled with stars.


George (Voiceover)
It may be that across the immensity of space the Martians have watched the fate of these pioneers of theirs and learnt their lesson. But we men cannot now count ourselves alone in this vastness of space and we must remain vigilant.

Pan to Mars and close in to Cydonia.

Waiting and watching for that distant flash of green.

From Cydonia a puff of green smoke goes up and a cylinder shoots out from the planet.

The End.

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H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation Empty Re: H G Wells War of the Worlds- an adaptation

Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 7:20 pm

Anyone speak French? I dont so I had to use a translator for the French ferry crew bit- so its probably nonsense! If anyone could translate those lines for me it would be appreciated.

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed May 30, 2012 7:46 pm

1. cant you change it to italian sailors? then I can help you out.
2. when you get the green light from the Beeb, you must INSIST I get a starring role (not as an alien) as I want the world to see my bustle.

epic work Petty Razz
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed May 30, 2012 7:52 pm

I figured French ships coming across the channel t help was more likely. Bit far from Italy- but hey not impossible. Very Happy
I thought you could get the part of Gertrudes bustle-but you will probably have to evict Orwell and Amarie first the Beeb wont want to pay three people to be one bustle! (Incidentally the wife doesnt get a name in the book, nor does the main charcater for that matter- George is because the main char is clearly partly Wells and his real name was George, and Gertrude was my grans name.)

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Post by Orwell Wed May 30, 2012 10:48 pm

I need to a new book to read, Petty, so I'm going to buy War of the Worlds. Then I'll come back again to this. What you've done seems very very good, but if it's an adaptation, I need to insure you've not done a 'partial' PJ. It's clearly not the 'full' PJ as there is no dwarf thowing or dancing bunnies, but I think I need to know the Truth (however horrid it might be!).

{{{I also need to do something at home, as Amarie is sick of Am and just doesn't like G at all and has limited my guitar playing to three hours a day... Life in a bustle isn't all it's cracked up to be I've found...Rolling Eyes}}}

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