In the Footsteps of H. G. Wells.

Upon moving to my current apartment and looking in to what there is to do in the local area, I was extremely excited to learn that my new domicile was in easy driving distance Woking, the scene of the first Martian landing in H. G. Wells‘ seminal science fiction novel, War of the Worlds.

War of the Worlds is one of my favorite stories of all time, however, I was introduced to it via the amazing musical adaptation by Jeff Wayn before having read the book. If you’re not familiar with it, War of the Worlds tells the story of Martians invading 1890’s London. It was one of the earliest alien invasion stories and set the standard by which all future such stories would be judged. Everything from Day the Earth Stood Still to Avengers owes something to War of the Worlds.

Wells wrote War of the Worlds 1895 and 1897. For the first two years of that period he lived in Woking, which is most probably why the beginning of the story – and the first Martian landing – takes place there. He would regularly go for walks and bike rides in the area, particularly in Horsell Common, and would imagine what it would look like if aliens invaded the quiet area.

As one would expect from a town that homed one of the world’s most famous authors, Woking has a few mementoes to the Wells and you can easily take a tour of the town following these. This is the journey my wife and I took on our visit.


The house in which Wells lived between 1895 and 1896

The tour, sensibly enough, start at the building which Wells called home for that two year period. The building, which at the time Wells lived there was called ‘Lynton’ is now 141, Maybury Road. It’s a rather quaint little house with the only indication of Wells having lived there the English Heritage blue plaque displayed on the building’s front which reads

H. G. Wells
Visionary Author
Lived and worked here
1895 – 1896

From here the tour moves to Horsell Common, one of the most important locations in the book and the place I was most excited to see. An absolutely beautiful forested area, it was wonderful walking along the rough paths between the trees.

The biggest point of interest here is an area known as “The Beach.” Aptly named due to all the sand mixed in with the soil, there is a depression here that often fills with water, giving the impression of a crater-like hole. This is where most consider to be the site of the crashed Martian cylinder that the narrator of War of the Worlds discovers.

On the other side of the Common, after a bit of walking, we reached Wheatsheaf Common. Across the road from us stool the Wheatsheaf Public House in which two of the characters from the novel discuss the Martian invasion.

Further along we came to the town’s subway station. On the walls of the subway foot tunnels has been created a brilliant mural depicting the Martians laying siege to Woking. Through the subway tunnels and out the other side we came to possibly the most impressive part of the tour.

In the center of the town in Crown Square stands a seven meter sculpture of one of the Martian tripods which the aliens used to march across London in War of the Worlds. It’s a very impressive sight with the sun glinting off its chromed features. Around it can be seen representations of the bacteria that, after man had failed, destroyed the Martian invaders (spoiler, sorry). Nearby is also a representation of one of the Martian cylinders, ploughed into the earth.

The final attraction on the tour was a statue of the man himself, H. G. Wells. While War of the Worlds is perhaps Wells’ most famous novel, he was quite prolific during his time in Woking, also writing The Time Machine and completing The Island of Doctor Moreau.

The statue depicts Wells sitting in his writing chair, holding a sphere in his hand as he studies it. The sphere is a reference to the spherical spaceship used in his story The First Men in the Moon, while on the back of the chair is inscribed the date 802,701AD; the year the time traveler from The Time Machine travelled to and met the Morlocks. Creeping up from the base of the statue and winding its way around the leg of Wells’ chair is the Red Weed, a crawling, vine-like plant native to Mars that the Martians bring with them during War of the Worlds.

Visiting Woking and following the steps of one of the greatest authors the world has known was quite a humbling experience. It is no understatement to say that War of the Worlds changed the face of popular fiction and its influence can still be felt. It was wonderful to see the scenery that inspired the story and it will make it that much more enjoyable next time I visit the Martian invasion of Earth.

Graphic Action Comics, My First Comic Shop, Has Closed

Comic book retail has a long history of being a hard business. You don’t go into it to make money, you do it for the love of the medium. For 24 years Graphic Action Comics in Newcastle, NSW, Australia had been fighting the good fight. At the start of this month the store closed its doors for the final time.

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Lemmings Is Finally on Smartphones

Lemmings is one of the greatest puzzle games ever made. It’s easy to learn but hard to master, yet if you weren’t a gamer in the 80s or 90s there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Lemmings, much less played it.

Thankfully that can now change thanks to developers Sad Puppy who have released a reboot of the classic series to smart-devices.

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2018 Wrap Up

I didn’t do too well with my plans of posting a monthly wrap-up, so I thought that maybe I’d try something a little more manageable; a wrap up of the year that was.

2018 was quite a year for me personally. My wife and I moved from one city to another, I finally made the decision to get out of teaching and into another profession which, after roughly five months of very little work, happened. And I’m so much happier because of it. Oh, and I started getting paid to write articles on geeky stuff for Gemr.com. Awesome!

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Fan Ragin’

I’ve never had an instance of what could be described as “fanboy rage.” Sure, I’ve been disappointed by things such as Galactus being turned into a cloud or slightly disgusted by the utterly tone-deaf 2016 Ghostbusters film.

But full on rage? No, never. Until about a week ago.

When Paramount Pictures revealed their first glimpse at how Sonic the Hedgehog will look on their upcoming movie based upon the character, a rage enveloped me the likes of which I had never known.

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Friday Night Magic (But on a Wednesday)

Since moving to the UK I’d not really had anywhere to play Magic: The Gathering. In Australia I would go at least once a week – but often twice a week – to my local game store to play with fellow geeks. Be it an official event such as Friday Night Magic or just casual games it was always a lot of fun and something I truly missed in coming to the UK.

However, since my wife and I moved from Oxford to Hampshire, I’ve been spoilt with the choice of two game shops right near me, both of which put on Magic events. Well, this week I attended my pick of the two’s FNM, which for reasons I can’t quite remember they hold on a Wednesday.

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The Wrap Up – August, 2018

I thought I might try something with this post; start a monthly summary of everything collecting related that’s happened in the last month. I thought it’d be a good way to look back at what I’ve picked up, what I’ve written, read, played and experienced in the world of collecting. So, without further ado lets begin…
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Finally, After 20 Odd Years, I’ve Completed Shenmue!

For those who may not be aware, Shenmue is a game originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. An early example of an open world game, it was incredibly innovative for its time. Recently, Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki announced that the long awaited Shenmue III was finally being developed. To celebrate, the original two games have been re-released on modern consoles and PC.

I played Shenmue for the first time when it originally came out on the Dreamcast, but 14-year old me was never able to get past the early parts of the game’s closing act. Hopefully, with age and wisdom, the re-release would afford me the chance to finally see the game’s end.

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Mighty Max Article Follow Up

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently had published my first article for collector’s website Gemr.com, The History of Mighty Max. As a kind of follow-up to that article, I thought I’d write up a small article here about why I love Max so much and why it’s one of the toys that made me.

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What Could Sonic Mania’s Success Mean For Modern Sonic?

Sonic Mania was a huge success when it came out, and the recent release of Sonic Mania Plus has been just as successful. Indeed, the “main” Sonic game to have been released just after Mania, Sonic Forces, has been all but completely overshadowed by the reaction to Sonic Mania.

If you’re reading this you probably have a bit of an idea of the story behind Sonic Mania and its Plus expansion, but if you don’t check out the below video from DidYouKnowGaming.

So, Sonic Mania was made by fans. Hugely talented fans who had years of experience developing 2D Sonic games and were hired by SEGA, sure, but fans nonetheless. The irony that the “highest rated Sonic game in 25 years” – a line SEGA itself has been using in its promotion of the game – was made by fans has not been lost on the wider Sonic community.

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