• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic: 'The War of the Worlds' in Alternate History

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
Pronouns
He/Him
The lack of an appearance by the Scarlet Traces series is odd but understandable (I know Mr Spy ain’t the biggest Comics Fan). I think Scarlet Traces tackles the themes of Imperialism and Oppression by the British Empire transferring it’s machinations of oppression to the depressed areas of North and Scotland because Martian machinery means Industry requires less machinery. London doesn’t care though because the middle classes get machinery to transform there lives so it ain’t bad.

Essentially the series goes “The British Empire of 1898 gaining Martian Technology wouldn’t be a good for anyone but the already Well Off”. The second book also plays into the British Government locking up dissidents and Left Wing ‘subversives’ whilst the rest of the world looks at the British Empire’s quixotic war against Mars as foolish.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
The lack of an appearance by the Scarlet Traces series is odd but understandable (I know Mr Spy ain’t the biggest Comics Fan). I think Scarlet Traces tackles the themes of Imperialism and Oppression by the British Empire transferring it’s machinations of oppression to the depressed areas of North and Scotland because Martian machinery means Industry requires less machinery. London doesn’t care though because the middle classes get machinery to transform there lives so it ain’t bad.

Essentially the series goes “The British Empire of 1898 gaining Martian Technology wouldn’t be a good for anyone but the already Well Off”. The second book also plays into the British Government locking up dissidents and Left Wing ‘subversives’ whilst the rest of the world looks at the British Empire’s quixotic war against Mars as foolish.
As much as I like both the original comics can't deny The Great Game has massive "This sure is a lot like Iraq is going to be like" energy.
 

Gary Oswald

Old and Foolish now
Sea Lion Press staff
Pronouns
he/him
The lack of an appearance by the Scarlet Traces series is odd but understandable (I know Mr Spy ain’t the biggest Comics Fan). I think Scarlet Traces tackles the themes of Imperialism and Oppression by the British Empire transferring it’s machinations of oppression to the depressed areas of North and Scotland because Martian machinery means Industry requires less machinery. London doesn’t care though because the middle classes get machinery to transform there lives so it ain’t bad.

Essentially the series goes “The British Empire of 1898 gaining Martian Technology wouldn’t be a good for anyone but the already Well Off”. The second book also plays into the British Government locking up dissidents and Left Wing ‘subversives’ whilst the rest of the world looks at the British Empire’s quixotic war against Mars as foolish.
I said in pms to Alex that it was a great piece but you could easily write an entirely different one focused on comics rather than books that was the same length.

You noticed I crowbarred a killraven picture in there and there's also LOEG etc.
 
A lot would depend on how easy it was to understand the technology - without a live alien, or a different key, it might just be impossible.

Chris
 

Indicus

<insert title here>
Location
Trawno
Pronouns
he/him
It is fascinating how sympathetic early science fiction could be towards the victims of empire. Not just Wells - Verne was likewise sympathetic in a few ways to the victims of colonialism. Captain Nemo is an Indian noble dispossessed after the Mutiny driven by hatred of the British Empire, and he's supposed to be a thinly-veiled version of Nana Sahib, the claimant Peshwa of the Maratha Empire who mysteriously disappeared after his defeat, and The Steam House contains a summary of the Indian Mutiny that was sufficiently sympathetic to the rebels that it got cut out from its English translation.
 

Thande

Jabs First Brexit
Published by SLP
It is fascinating how sympathetic early science fiction could be towards the victims of empire. Not just Wells - Verne was likewise sympathetic in a few ways to the victims of colonialism. Captain Nemo is an Indian noble dispossessed after the Mutiny driven by hatred of the British Empire, and he's supposed to be a thinly-veiled version of Nana Sahib, the claimant Peshwa of the Maratha Empire who mysteriously disappeared after his defeat, and The Steam House contains a summary of the Indian Mutiny that was sufficiently sympathetic to the rebels that it got cut out from its English translation.
Although IIRC Verne had to change Nemo's backstory to that after they wouldn't let him have him be a dispossessed Polish prince whose country is gone due to the Russians. I mean both essentially send the same anti-colonial message, the context is just a little different.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
As much as I like both the original comics can't deny The Great Game has massive "This sure is a lot like Iraq is going to be like" energy.
Which does make for an interesting twist when
it turns out that - and this annoyed me a bit because of the ending of Scarlet Traces 1, but I imagine Spry could've been thinking more than one thing - the Martians are a genuine trying-to-outflank threat and we're about to be twatted/

(The current 1960s storyline makes me happy with the League of Nations meeting and there's a representative for Burgandian Pimlico.)
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
(The current 1960s storyline makes me happy with the League of Nations meeting and there's a representative for Burgandian Pimlico.)
That sort of thing has always given it an extra layer of enjoyment, like the Martian in Scarlet Traces being recovered by the militia in Walmington-on-Sea. Or the cameos from the Silurians and Sea Devils on a mural in The Great Game.
 

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
Pronouns
He/Him
I said in pms to Alex that it was a great piece but you could easily write an entirely different one focused on comics rather than books that was the same length.
Of course, I think you could do an article on Scarlet Traces itself because it’s probably one of the few major comic series looking at War of the Worlds to really run with it.
That sort of thing has always given it an extra layer of enjoyment, like the Martian in Scarlet Traces being recovered by the militia in Walmington-on-Sea. Or the cameos from the Silurians and Sea Devils on a mural in The Great Game.
And so many references to Quatermass in all it’s glory.
 

SpanishSpy

Well-known member
I'm flattered by the positive reception to this article; the assertion that I'm not that big of a comic reader is true, but I do keep on meaning to explore the medium more (and it keeps on not happening because I'm still reading books).

And on a related tangent: I think it's an absolute travesty that no film version of The War of the Worlds has used Mars, the Bringer of War by Holst in the soundtrack (I prefer the Chicago Symphony Orchestra recording). It's just such an obvious choice.
 

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Birmingham
Pronouns
she/her
Just wanted to chip in some more praise for a really excellent article. Its given me a seed of an idea for this month's Vignette Challenge, and also given some good recommendations for works to check out.

I didn't know Baxter had done a War of the Worlds sequel, but I read his Time Machine follow up when that came out, and if the former is anywhere near as good I'm excited to read it.
 
Top