war of the worlds

REVIEW: “Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Musical Drama”

war-of-the-worlds-coverH.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds has always been a better premise than it has been a story. The premise is just so interesting and malleable that it can be adapted and readapted into any number of different permutations. It’s this ability, more than the content of the actual story, that has allowed the novel to stand the test of time. Most of the well-known adaptations of the novel bear strikingly little in common with it – Orson Welles’ radio drama moves the action to America in the 1930s, and the two major film versions do the same thing, just in different time periods. One of the most well-known adaptations – that also skews pretty closely to the content of the original novel – was Jeff Wayne’s musical adaptation of the story. First released as a concept album in the 1970s, his adaptation has seen massive popularity in multiple worldwide tours. On the fortieth anniversary of the original release of that adaptation, Audible has released a new adaptation of Jeff Wayne’s musical – an audio drama featuring music from the musical and a new script. Is it as good as the musical? Well, I’m not sure I’d quite go that far, but it is pretty darn enjoyable.

When H. G. Wells first published The War of The Worlds in 1898, the novel quickly became a sci-fi classic. The story of extraterrestrials from Mars invading Earth captured the public’s imagination, inspiring a famed 1938 radio broadcast with Orson Welles, several feature films, countless video games, and a best-selling musical concept album by Jeff Wayne in 1978, among others.

Immersing listeners in a world that is as thrilling as it is desolate, Jeff Wayne’s eerie and pulsating score brings the suspense, drama, and urgency of Wells’s original novel to a fever pitch in this Audible Original Drama. Michael Sheen headlines an ensemble cast of talented performers that also includes Taron Egerton, Adrian Edmondson, Theo James, and Anna-Marie Wayne.’

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REVIEW: “When Mars Attacked” by David Accord

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When Mars Attacked: Orson Welles, The War of the Worlds & the Radio Broadcast That Changed America Forever is a book written by David Accord that examines the making of, and the fallout from, Orson Welles’ legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast in 1938. When Mars Attacked is a gripping account of the events that led to the broadcast of the adaptation. The first few chapters briefly outline the history of Orson Welles, how he became involved in radio, and the circumstances that led to the program having the kind of impact it ultimately had.

The first thing to note about this book is its writing style: it’s written in the same style as most fictional books are. By that, I mean, it reads like a novel, with details and nuances littered throughout, instead of a dry biographical work. Accord utilizes this technique with stunning skill. From page one, he makes you feel like you’re watching a movie based on his book. The way he can build up an entire world around a small scene, getting you to feel what the characters are feeling, is an accomplishment that any nonfiction writer should strive to achieve.

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