For this Friday, and this Friday only, take advantage of our Spooktacular Friday Double Deal:
For the low, low price of FREE, you get not only the handy-dandy Weekend Reading, but also the astounding Monday Morsels!
Happy Halloween from your library staff!
Weekend Reading: The War of the Worlds (HG Wells)
3 sentences or less about fascinating books that beg to be read in less than 3 days.*
Most likely you have seen Independence Day, Battle Los Angeles, or The Day The Earth Stood Still in theaters or on DVD. Aliens invade Earth, imprison humans, and vie for world and resource domination. Now, try reading the godfather of all alien invasion science fiction stories: The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.
Print copies available in the HCC Library.
Digital and downloadable copies available here from Project Gutenberg.
*Individual reading times may vary due to factors such as fatigue, the presence of children, or beautiful WNC weather. The LRC is not responsible for books not finished within the advertised 3 days. We do, however, guarantee that our library staff finds each featured title compelling enough that it may cause readers to lose sleep or skip favorite TV shows in order to find out what happens next.
Monday Morsels: The War of the Worlds
Imagine it is a Sunday night. You are in the living room with the rest of your family, huddled around the radio. There are no iPods, television sets, or YouTube; it is Sunday night, October 30, 1938. The radio, a device that connects households across the nation serves as a means to communicate, inform, and entertain. Tonight’s broadcast should be entertaining…but what transpires next strikes fear in the hearts of families and spreads panic nationwide.
Orson Welles, a famed actor and director, is set to perform a dramatic reading of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, a story of a Martian invasion of Earth, during the “Mercury Theatre on the Air” series on CBS. Rather than re-read the original text, Welles presented the story in a series of short news bulletins that became increasingly urgent, sporadic, and interrupted by static. The bulletins included eyewitness accounts from common townspeople, scientists, and learned academics of objects falling to Earth and explosions of incandescent gases. Welles also changed the location of the invasion from distant England to a farm in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, only 78 miles from New York City. In addition to the erratic nature of the news flashes, the Mercury Theatre on the Air series was a self-sustaining radio program, meaning there were traditionally no commercial or news interruptions during broadcasting, thus adding to the reality of the situation unfolding over the airwaves.
Due to the dramatic interpretation of Wells’ book, Orson Welles succeeded in creating an atmosphere of panic and anxiety to the point where many Americans listening thought the United States was really under attack by Martians. In the days following the “invasion” newspapers around the continent reported stories of people fleeing their homes, hundreds of calls to police stations, and reports of lingering gases in the air due to the reality of the broadcast. Once the initial terror died down, Welles and CBS came under heavy fire for broadcasting a work of fiction in such realistic terms. Despite other consequences, CBS escaped official reprimand if it promised to never use “we interrupt this program” for dramatic effect again…and, for Welles, well he created one of the greatest hoaxes in radio broadcasting history.