War of the Worlds


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Mars, also known the Red Planet, is the fourth planet from the sun in the Solar system. It is the home of the Martians and is known to be dying faster than our Earth is. H.G. Wells appears to have borrowed heavily from Percival Lowell in his descriptions of the planet.

Lowell would have it that the darker areas of Mars are the lowlands, where seas once existed, and the brighter areas are the higer, and far drier continental shelves. both of these areas are crisscrossed with very straight lines, known as the canals. From the canals, farms would diverge, and these wider areas of vegetation, beyond the actual waterway would be what was actually visible from earth. At points where the canals converged, circular or, in the case of crossing double-canals, square oases were present, and represented cities. One in particular, had a notable double-ring pattern around it, and was known as Lacis Solis. Earth scientists generally assumed this to have been the site of the Martian capitol. In the beginning of the Martian spring time, the polar ice would shrink, and the areas around the canals and mares would briefly turn a deeper green, starting near the ice cap, and extending around the entire planet.

While much of Lowell's original theory has since been utterly discredited, this is probably the view of Mars that H.G. Wells held. In a short story that parallels the War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells described a narrow canyon with a waterway in the center, lined with buildings where Martians quite similar to the invaders apparently dwelt.

FLORA: Martians in the War of the World appear to have brought three species of plant with them from Mars: Red weed, Red Creeper, and Red Scum. Red weed is by far the most common type found on earth, and tended to grow close to waterways. Red creeper appears to have only taken weak hold on earth, as a climbing vine that parasitized trees. Red scum was a substance forming man-sized mats of floating material in fast moving waterways. Due to the brown fluid that leaked from fighting machines in rivers near to those where the red scum was reported, some have second-guessed the narrator, and consider red scum to actually be clumps of the leaked fluid from the fighting machine, and not a plant at all.

A clever reader will note that as one of the martian plants which was brought to earth choked out trees by growing vines on them, something remarkably like a tree, and unlike red weed is probably also present on Mars. H.G. Wells describes other flora in the Crystal egg, including some sort of green plant that forms a lawn, and lichenous trees. The red creeper is not mentioned in this work, but red weed is shown.

During the night those plantas wil glow violet (except the red scum, probably)

FAUNA: Mars is inhabited by the Martians themselves, as well as a race of roughly humanoid bipeds... unless this food product was obtained from elsewhere, as is sometimes suggested. The Crystal Egg, written by Wells, however clearly states that there were herds of bipeds on Mars, as well as flying insects, and very large beetle like creatures.

PLACES: As the War of the Worlds took place on Earth, there can be only the most basic understanding of places on Mars. However, we can make some clear assumptions. Mars certainly has canals, and ice caps, just as it appears from Earth. The feature of Lacis Solis may actually be a noteworthy locale. Also, the novel makes some statements which delimit potential areas where the gun could be located, and the short story which preceeded the War of the Worlds contains another setting.

The Gun is clearly situated in the southern hemisphere. A french telegraph states this. Actually, the telegraph may state somewhat more than this, as it appears to refer to regio Australe, a large area in the southern hemisphere of Mars. What is not readily clear is that the period of firing precisely indicates quite a bit. The gun on mars fires ten times, each time, it fires at approximately midnight (In England.) At a set time at night, only one part of mars will be visible from earth, and as the firing was visible from earth, this means that the gun must have been on the part facing the earth at that time. Mars rotates at a slightly different speed than the earth, but for the gun to have been visible when it fired at midnight each night, it must be located within a particular patch of Mars equal to approximately 97 degrees of lattitude. H.G. Wells claims that the gun is sunk into the crust of the earth, but he also seems to indicate that it was the gun alone which projected the cylinders to Earth. If this is the case, the gun must be able to swivel, at least through 97 degrees of arc, in order to remain pointed at earth. After ten days firing the gun, large swirls of black smoke were visible on Mars. Whether this is due to a war that used black smoke, or if the smoke is simply the products of combustion from firing (or over-firing, and damaging) the gun is unknown.

The Crystal egg describes a valley, apparently close to the equator of Mars, with a canal running down the middle. This valley has a series of long, low buildings, and at least 21 crystal eggs set on masts. The Martians appear to use special manufactured wings in order to fly up to these masts, and observe the crystals from time to time. It is believed that each crystal has a counterpart on earth, through which they can view human activities. One might assume that some launching device fired the crystal eggs to earth. This might be another location entirely.

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