GUEST REVIEW: “The War of the Worlds” – Steampunk Fiction with a Blend of Victorian Age and Futuristic Technologies – Review by Mark Steve

‘The War of the Worlds’ – Steampunk Fiction with a Blend of Victorian Age and Futuristic Technologies

Steampunk is a subgenre, which takes us to a different world. We find ourselves in a scenario which is set in the Victorian Era, but the events taking place are not confined to that era. This is the fictional scenario imagined by the authors like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne in their science fiction novels. Time machine, gears, spacecrafts, and many other things running through steam power are the salient features of this subgenre.

“The War of the Worlds” composed by H.G. Wells is a brilliant example of the punk fiction. It seems to be influenced by the imperialism of the Victorian era, but in a distinct manner. An invasion takes place in the story, but this invasion is not by another nation. Martians from Mars invade the earth, with their army of three-legged fighting machines. The novel is divided into two parts – “The Coming of the Martians” and “The Earth under the Martians”.

The novel is based on the first person narrative. In the first part, the narrator tells the story of coming of the Martians to earth in a cylinder. Their three-legged fighting-machines are armed with heat rays, black smoke and a chemical weapon. The second part of the novel is based on the efforts of the narrator and his companion to save them. In the end of the story, the narrator finds the Martians died from microbial infection as there is no bacterium on the Mars.

This story became the inspiration for various other science fiction stories and films in the modern times. A large number of modern fictional tales based on the invasion of the creature from other parts of the galaxy or universe came in the limelight after this novel.

Some of the fantasies of the Wells were later a reality. For instance, use of black smoke by the fighting machines of Martians, was witnessed during the First World War. The heat rays mentioned in the novels were developed in the military technology in the later ages and became a forerunner of the laser weaponry. The flying machines are yet to be developed, but the machines run by human such as modern age tanks can be their beginning stages. But, the fighting machines are nearer to the futuristic robotic technologies. The idea of moving from one planet to another through cylinder is thought to be impractical by the modern scientists.

Besides, H.G. wells fictionalized some other concepts also in his literature. He wrote, “The Time Machine” earlier, in which he mentioned the fantasy of travelling across the time.

Such fictions provided an edited version of Victorian Era, which became popular among the masses in the modern age, and impacted their lifestyle in various ways. Steampunk fashion clothing is the one of the best instances of this influence. This fashion is highly influenced on the Hollywood films based on the punk themes. Many of these films are based on the Victorian fiction literature. Innovation of the contemporary dress sense can also be witnessed on the punk outfits.

There are a number of websites where you can find the steampunk and Victorian style clothing. We also provide the costumes for women on our site Steampunk Dressing.

Author Bio

My name is Mark Steve. I am a Historian, researcher and writer. I regularly write articles, reviews on books and novels on Historical topics related to Medieval, Renaissance, Pirate, Gothic & Steampunk themes. If you want to know more about me and my blog, see my blog: Steampunk Dressing and Renaissance Outfits.

“The Strain” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (William Morrow, 2009)

The Strainstarstarstar

From authors Guillermo del Toro, who needs no introduction except for maybe two words – Pan’s Labyrinth, and maybe two more, The Hobbit, and Chuck Hogan, of  Prince of Thieves and The Standoff, comes the first book in a trilogy about vampires of a different variety coming to take over the world.  In a horror-thriller that is a combination of classic Michael Crichton with some War of the Worlds and a foundation of Dracula, The Strain is a fast-paced book you’ll be tearing through from cover to cover, and then feeling sad it’s all over and having to wait for the sequel; while in the back of your mind you’ll be wondering what the movie will be like.

A Boeing 777 is scheduled to land at JFK; it touches down according to plan and as it begins taxiing to the terminal it suddenly shuts down, all lights go out, no communication coming from the plane.  When the authorities reach the 777 to investigate, they find all the window shades closed, the engines turned off, and no sign of activity.  Opening the emergency exit over the wing, they find all the passengers sitting peacefully in their seats, appearing dead.  The Canary Project, a rapid-response biological hazard team under the CDC is mobilized, headed by Dr. Eph Goodweather to investigate.  There are a couple of survivors who are rushed to hospital, the rest taken to the morgue.

As Goodweather slowly begins putting the pieces together, the pale corpses in the morgue come to life and return to their homes, infecting others, increasing the number of vampires exponentially.  The biology of these vampires involves a retractable stinger that elongates the mouth and launches with rapid speed at the victim.  A former professor, Abraham Setrakian, who knew this day would come, joins forces with Goodweather to try and stop this growing army of vampires.  Otherwise they’ll take Manhattan within a week, the country within a month, and the world in two months.

Del Toro and Hogan have created a unique war here in the humans vs.  vampires, as these vampires are akin to the zombies of 28 Days Later: seemingly unstoppable and outright terrifying.  The Strain will keep readers on the edge of their seats and wanting more.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on June 30th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.