Wednesday, March 22, 2017

'Following the Martian Invasion' by Francis Spufford

22 March 2017

BBC iPlayer is a wonderful thing. Having really enjoyed Stephen Baxter’s sequel to ‘The War of the Worlds’ by HG Wells, 'The Massacre of Mankind' (reviewed here in February 2017), I had noticed that BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting a new dramatisation, by Melissa Murray, of Wells’ novel. Searching for ‘The War of the Worlds’ on iPlayer revealed not only this drama (still available to listen to at: but also an interview with Stephen Baxter about 'The Massacre of Mankind' on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Free Thinking’ programme ( and ‘Following the Martian Invasion’ – a series of five 15-minute programmes broadcast on Radio 4 in which Francis Spufford retraces the journey of HG Wells’ Martian invaders. I’ve just finished listening to this series and it’s a little gem. Spufford starts at Horsell Common in Surrey, where the Martians first landed, and then follows their progress across the South East of England to Primrose Hill in London. In each episode he is joined by a range of experts to discuss ‘The War of the Worlds’ in terms of literary style, political theory, physics, anatomy, military strategy, science fiction and social history. It’s like an extended edition of Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’ recorded on location. Even if you’ve never read ‘The War of the Worlds’, ‘Following the Martian Invasion’ is a fascinating exploration of late Victorian Britain. You can listen to all five episodes on BBC iPlayer at:



Post a Comment

<< Home