War of the Worlds

Whenever I’ve been asked to list the books that have most influenced me as a writer, WAR OF THE WORLDS by HG WELLS is up there. I’ve always been fascinated by the impact Wells’s tale must have had on readers in the late nineteenth century, who’d never before come across the idea of Earth being invaded by creatures from another planet. It’s rightly regarded as a classic of the genre, but it’s a strange book because, in terms of action, it’s quite top-heavy. What I mean by that is, the most visceral and memorable scenes are to do with the initial arrival of the aliens and their first attacks. I’m sure if you’re reading this you already know how the original novel ends: the invaders are undone by bacteria. The story starts with a bang but ends with a cough.

This unusual structure has presented problems for many filmmakers over the years, because in retelling the story, it’s almost as if you’re working backwards from the climax. Many adaptations have been unsatisfying (the less said about the recent BBC adaptation, the better… what were they thinking?).

STEVEN SPIELBERG‘s version of WAR OF THE WORLDS was released in 2005. A new 4k Blu ray edition has just hit the shelves, and I thought now would be a good time to reappraise the movie. Having just watched it again for the first time in a decade or so, I think this is just about the best film adaptation of the novel there is (having grown up with JEFF WAYNE’s musical adaptation though – which terrified me and a whole generation of kids in the late seventies with its prog rock soundtrack and iconic artwork – I have to say that’s still my favourite adaptation of all; it shouldn’t work, but it does!).

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Congratulations to Coscom Entertainment and Eric S Brown

It’s always great to hear about independent authors and publishers breaking into the mainstream. Congratulations to Coscom Entertainment who this week signed a deal with Simon & Schuster for a mass market release of two of their zombie / classics mash-up books, W. Bill Czolgosz’s take on Mark Twain’s tale: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, and Eric S Brown’s take on HG Wells: The War of the Worlds plus Blood, Guts and Zombies.

This is great news in particular for Eric who, as many of you may know, has been churning out popular zombie stories for the last few years. I’ve spoken with him on a number of occasions in the past – he’s a great guy who has a wild and unique perspective on the living dead. I’m really pleased that he’s going to find a wider audience with this deal. Well done, Eric!