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HMS Thunderchild

chimeric oncogene

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Ahh, the torpedo-ram, you know, the latest transformative revolution in naval warfare, soon to make all battleships obsolete, forerunner to Arsenal Ship, antiship ballistic missiles, and Sea Fighter.

HG Wells was as well-read in 10-minutes-into-the-future futuretek as the above-average technothriller/sci-fi writer is today. He knew his stuff. And it shows.

EDIT: I did not mean to say that HG Wells was merely average. I wanted to emphasize that he was well-informed about the latest military and techocool fads of his day, as good writers of scifi should be, and that he incorporated them well into his story and setting for that cool 10 minutes into the future vibe. I mean, a good scifi writer of the 90s would have arsenal ships attacking aliens instead of CVBGs. WotW is awesome, and the torpedo ram adds so much flavor to the setting.
 
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Orionblamblam

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HG Wells was as well-read in 10-minutes-into-the-future futuretek as the above-average technothriller/sci-fi writer is today. And it shows.
Maybe so, but WotW remains a damn fine read. It's still one of the true greats in the "alien invasion" niche, probably second (arguably first) to "Footfall."
 

CNH

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I have watched a lot of the videos from Drachinifel, and they are usually rather informative, but sometimes a little pedestrian.

This one was obviously produced somewhat tongue in cheek, but was quite well done. I doubt HG Wells was a naval specialist, so he just invented what he thought might be a contemporary warship.

Well, at least it was more entertaining than the BBC's latest attempt at a dramatisation of the book. I can just imagine the script conferences –

"Who is the female lead?"
"Well, there's no one in the book ..."
"There's got to be one!"
"Okay," notes the writer wearily.
"She's got be young and feisty."
"We'll see what we can do," says the writer.
"It is sufficiently diverse?"
"Well…"
"Are there any gay characters?"
" Um… No."
"We've got have one of them."
Writer makes another note.
"And government incompetence?"
"Sorry?"
"When we got to have a minister who does something stupid, haven't we?"
Writer makes another weary note.

I wouldn't have minded all that quite so much if they had made a production which was worth watching. I bought it on DVD, and by the third episode, I was just skipping passages, lest I fell asleep.
 

chimeric oncogene

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HG Wells was as well-read in 10-minutes-into-the-future futuretek as the above-average technothriller/sci-fi writer is today. And it shows.
Maybe so, but WotW remains a damn fine read. It's still one of the true greats in the "alien invasion" niche, probably second (arguably first) to "Footfall."
Oh, hell yes. I screwed up the phrasing, but I was trying to point out that HG Wells tried reasonably hard to know his stuff, and putting in a torpedo ram dates his setting beautifully - it's a ten-minutes into the future setting (in the "near future") - where torpedo-rams have proliferated.

You can see such dating effects in Luna Marine and Semper Mars by Ian Douglas; set in the 2050s, it has a US-Russian Marsshot with Energia rockets, cyclers, NIMF, HOPE shuttle descendants, and semi-submersible SSGNs the author insists on calling "Arsenal Ships". Both are darn good reads. The rest of that series, not so much (published '98).

Hmmm... I... am really not sure how I would compare WotW and Footfall. Footfall has some clunky parts, but WotW's clunky parts are so old-timey and Edwardian that they become part of its charm. Perhaps one day Footfall's clunky bits will, too, be charming.
 
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uk 75

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War of the Worlds has a later equivalent in the tradition of British "suburban nightmare" fiction: John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids.

The books are much better than any filmed version because the reader's imagination fills in gaps to suit the reader.

Wells also does not overkill with his weaponry. The combat is at a local, human level. The Thunderchild is a device to allow some humans to escape on a passenger ferry.

Modern versions go ape with the weapons. Spielberg's is the worst because in addition to cgi overkill we have his hallmark "cute"family. There are no kids in Wells but Wyndham does have a typical Brit schoolgirl.
 

chimeric oncogene

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Wells also does not overkill with his weaponry. The combat is at a local, human level. The Thunderchild is a device to allow some humans to escape on a passenger ferry.

Modern versions go ape with the weapons.
Hmm... I always thought that HG Wells used a Torpedo-Ram to show that even the pinnacle of modern military might - the most modern, most advanced warships of the greatest military force on Earth (in his case, the Royal Navy) - could just barely match the overwhelming might of the alien invader - and then only for a short while.

The modern equivalent would be a CVBG, an F-35 squadron, or a Pershing III regiment with SR-72 spotters shooting it out with a tripod, and scoring a pyrrhic victory to buy time for survivors to evacuate.
 

uk 75

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Chimeric I was carried away with my point. You are right to say he wanted to make the point that the Royal Navy could only barely match the Martians.
In the, otherwise rather good, 1950s US film of War in the Worlds this "barely stop" point is missed and even the A Bomb makes no impact at all (like the nuke-em scene in Independence Day). In fact even the artillery guns manage to bring a tripod down, but most have to flee or be heat-rayed. I like Wells's more realistic "barely". Harry Turtledove follows this in his books about an alien invasion, as I think was also true in Footfall.
 

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In the, otherwise rather good, 1950s US film of War in the Worlds this "barely stop" point is missed and even the A Bomb makes no impact at all
I would have much prefered if, after showing the air-dropped H-bombed doing doodly squat, the US Army (or the Soviets, Brits, whoever) successfully took down a single war machine by setting off a *buried* nuke underneath the thing. Either by kerploding from within the vacuum-bell shaped force shield, or by simply chucking the war machine up into the air with a crushing acceleration. It would demonstrate that they *can* be taken down, just with unrealistic force and planning.

Harry Turtledove follows this in his books about an alien invasion, as I think was also true in Footfall.
The "Warworld" books were damned entertaining, but weren't quite as *good* as Footfall or WotW. Still, I'd pay real money to see an HBO or Amazon series based on Warworld.
 
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uk 75

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I think it is a complicated thing to do a good Alien invasion story.
At one end you have "Mars Attacks" which parodies the genre and at the other you have the sinister "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers"where the aliens simply infiltrate as a stealth take over and are seemingly unstoppable.
It has become a modern Sci Film trope, which Wells avoided, that no amount of our high tech weapons can take down the aliens in an orgy of CGI weaponry.
There is room for a more serious script
 

Graham1973

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For what it's worth, here is the reading of Chapter 17 of War of the Worlds, that started the quest off...


A while back I tried to find all the illustrations that particular sequence I could, there seems to be a gap between the early 1900's illustrations (e.g H. A Correa's rather French looking HMS Thunderchild (The image that opens the video in the OP.) and then you get a whole clutch in the 1970s, David Hardy made at least two illustrations, then there is the artist (who'se name escapes me) who did the artwork for the Jeff Wayne album and then you have Tim White in the 1990s before you get a plethora of attempts in the 2000s. The strangest one I've seen is attached, it dates from around 1976 and is by an artist named Jack Gaughan, as to what the man was smoking when made the image, I have no idea, but it probably was not legal at the time, or maybe even now.
 

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Talking of the Thunderchild artwork from Jeff Waynes classic album...
That's one of William White's pre-dreadnought battleships. The only ship that ever joined the RN designated as a Torpedo Ram looked nothing like that, of course (and this image also suffers from being completely inconsistent with the combat as described in the book... unless this is the SECOND Martian, in the face of which the Thunderchild explodes, destroying it. There's no way the guns could even elevate to hit!).
 

uk 75

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H G Wells also wrote the script for the 1936 British film Things to Come. The threat this time was human rather than Martian but Wells remained fascinated by currrent tech weaponry.
This site has some images from the film. A bit like Thunderchild they are rather wide of the mark when compared with the real planes that fought in the years to come.
 

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H G Wells also wrote the script for the 1936 British film Things to Come. The threat this time was human rather than Martian but Wells remained fascinated by currrent tech weaponry.
This site has some images from the film. A bit like Thunderchild they are rather wide of the mark when compared with the real planes that fought in the years to come.
I heard a radio interview by Dune author Frank Herbert in which he discussed H G Wells' and Jules Verne's technology. His comment on Verne: "His machines were the machines of his time, NOT the machines of our time. I have no doubt that my machines will... cause the same hilarity a hundred years from now."
 

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I heard a radio interview by Dune author Frank Herbert in which he discussed H G Wells' and Jules Verne's technology. His comment on Verne: "His machines were the machines of his time, NOT the machines of our time. I have no doubt that my machines will... cause the same hilarity a hundred years from now."
Well, retro styles are popular. Verne and Wells get references all the time in steampunk. Cyberpunk, once cutting edge, has fallen deep into nostalgia too. I wonder if in a few decades there'll be a nerdier chippunk, netpunk or whatever, with fans yearning for simpler times cosplaying as Bill Gates...
 
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uk 75

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I am someone who instead of Steampunk has a re invented 1975 in which there was no Oil Shock, Saturn Vs still take off from the Cape, TWA and Pan Am Boeing 2707s have joined BOAC Concordes at London Estuary Port, Maglev trains hum through the Channel Tunnel or you can hop a BEA Cityliner HS 141 to Paris. In the North Atlantic HMS Furious (CVA-03) forms the core of NATO's Striking Group 2 while BAC Eagle TSR2s sit ready at Cyprus and Gan. So Steampunk, bring on 1985 as where we're going we wont need roads!
 
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