H.G. Wells ‎– The Coming Of The Martians

Sherwood Sound Studios ‎– SSS001DVDTWOTW
DVD, DVD-Audio, Limited Edition, Quadraphonic, DTS Digital Surround 5.1


H. G. Wells (Author), Colin Morgan (Actor), Dan Starkey (Actor), Olivia Poulet (Actor), Ronald Pickup (Actor), Nigel Lindsay (Actor), Molly Hanson (Actor), Stephen Critchlow (Actor), Luke Kempner (Actor), Nick Scovell (Adapter)

Since its first release in serialisation in 1897, H.G.Wells science fiction masterpiece has undergone countless adaptations with some now wedged firmly in the realm of iconic status just like the original work while others need to be forgotten for their shabby and, often, their far removed reworking from the original source. H.G.Wells classic Martian invasion has fascinated millions for countless years and has given birth to equally memorable adaptations that are as a stand alone work. While none will better Wells original 1897 story, one penned at the time under the then known category of scientific romance, and decades before the creation of the term science fiction, others have succeeded in imbedding themselves firmly in the hall of fame. Orson Welles 1938 Halloween broadcast reputedly panicked America. George Pal brought his flare of imagination to update the story for his 1953 film adaptation. Composer Jeff Wayne, much like Orson Welles, terrified a new generation in 1978 with his award winning musical version featuring Richard Burton while Steven Spielberg along with Tom Cruise played on the theme of a brutal invasion of earth with their 2005 movie. But like Welles and Wayne the story has had its fair share of audio presentations. Putting to audio the horrifying themes that grace the pages of Wells original story is not for the faint hearted. Welles in 1938 certainly captured the mood so well it sent listeners into frenzy. Wayne’s musical, in its record and live stages versions, rolls along nicely to the story with a foot tapping score, to take such an iconic and much loved story and brings it freshly into the 21st century while still being faithful to the original is a complicated adventure in itself. H.G.Wells story has had numerous adaptations to audio over the decades and while some are best forgotten, others are most welcome and in keeping with Wells novel but only to a fraction due to limitations of transferring a novel into such a project. With the original novel now in the hands of the public demand, rights relaxed on some quarters, the story is being looked at once again and turned into exciting new works. While the BBC work on bringing to the small screen their period setting adaptation of Wells war, they turned their attention in the meantime to transferring the story to audio. While devoid of many of the key moments from the novel, their adaptation could have been improved. But all is not lost.

Sherwood Sound Studios in the United Kingdom have worked on a faithful retelling of H.G.Wells The War of the Worlds to create a exciting and terrifying audio presentation of the story that not only captures the essence of the original novel but presents the story in a new way that works extremely well across this audio presentation. Adapted by Nick Scovell the story follows the novel closely, while not page for page, it will be enough to please and excite fans of the original novel while still being a fresh new work. It is clear that both Nick Scovell and Martin Johnson, owner of Sherwood Sound Studios, are die-hard Wells fans who have gone that extra step to create a very professional audio story. Like H.G.Wells original novel The Coming of the Martians follows the protagonist’s journey when the creatures from Mars arrive in their cylinder on Horsell Common in Woking. Starting with the observations of the eruptions on Mars, the story soon flows through the events of the Martians emerging from the cylinder, releasing their terrifying Heat Ray as townsfolk flee in shear panic while the army evacuates the town. Our hero takes his wife to Leatherhead and, on the promise of returning the horse and trap he loaned, gets caught up as the monstrous tripods emerge from the storm in foot stomping percussion and spine tingling howls of “Aloo”. Arriving home he stumbles upon the artilleryman who tells the tale of what the Men from Mars have committed upon mankind, whipping out the town of Woking and advancing off towards the home counties. In London the brother of our hero soon learns of the attack in Woking as news grows that these invaders are on the march towards the capitol. Panic ensues in the streets. As the protagonist and the artilleryman make their way to London, knowing of the fate of the surrounding towns, they Martians arrive in Weybridge and Shepperton and resume their wide sweeping destruction. Separated from the soldier the protagonist is thrust into the life of the curate and his bewildered ramblings as they flee across the country side and witness the mass extinction of life at the hands of the Martians deadly chemical warfare. Meanwhile on the coast the brother bears witness to the Martians attack on civilization but not before hope peaks as the Royal Navy torpedo warship H.M.S. Thunder Child comes to the rescue of the fleeing boats and crafts containing the refugees and survivors. Battle ensues between man and Martian with tragic consequences. Meanwhile the curate and our hero, while resting and searching for food and drink, get entombed when a cylinder crashes into the street and burying them in the ruins. The days that follow become a tortuous and cruel game as the men are plagued by the events unfolding in the huge pit outside as the Martians expose their true nature. Soon the men begin to fight one another as food and drink run low. Then the Martians begin to feed. Horror stricken at the sight just feet away the curate resorts to an almost demonic set of ramblings. His shouts bring forward the Martians who, with their machines, reach within the debris of the collapsed house and drag away the curate. Our hero hides from the unfolding nightmare for days until he is disturbed by a familiar sound of mans best friend. Emerging from the ruined house and standing atop of the red weed covered pit he encounters a ghostly face from the past; the artilleryman. Off they set towards London as the soldier confirms our hero’s thoughts. Mankind has fallen to the Martians. But the soldier has other ideas on how to survive. His future premonitions of humans becoming Martian pets, as humankind turns to hunt one another in something akin to Roam blood sports, our hero realizes this future is not for his liking and so leaves, heading into the heart of London until he falls from exhaustion. Here he starts to recite his movements to a kindly family who came to his help. His observations of a dead London, the emptiness of the city, all the death and the thick layers of black smoke. All accompanied by the haunting sounds of a dying race of creatures hell bent on world domination and to whom have fallen fowl to human progression. As life resumes our hero is on the move again as he travels to Woking and, after all that has happened, all that destruction and loss of life, he is to hold his wife’s hand once again.

As a kickstarter project The Coming of the Martians was an ambitious project to even begin with. But in this case it worked and worked very well for a truly enjoyable yet spine tingling retelling of one of the greatest science fiction stories ever put into print. The project was a long one and following it from its early days it was without its hurdles. But the team at Sherwood Sound Studios have created a project that sits in the category of classic remakes of H.G.Wells The War of the Worlds that must and should be heard. The adaptation is immersive. Well written and presented. Superb sound quality and of course all brought together with some fine acting, musical scores and realistic sound effects which bring the story to life. The review I present here is from a fan of the original 1897 and 1898 releases of H.G.Wells novel. A stickler to detail and a fan of 40+ years of The War of the Worlds I had reservations over this project, more so to the idea it was a kickstarter work. When I heard the recording for the first time I had initially set aside moments where I thought I would rip the adaptation apart as, on a personal level, I wanted a version that would do the original story justice. And while some areas have been purposely changed for this audio adaptation to flow, and while some key moments from the book are essentially over too quickly for my personal taste, Sherwood Sound Studios The Coming of the Martians is a wonderful and truly immersive journey that will delight many fans of H.G.Wells The War of the Worlds. (Jonathan Smith Amazon review)

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 9780992954079