Day 18 – Friday

An Update on @HGWells

18-Jun 00:01 – Friday

The infamous ‘Circus Massacre’ is well known to historians, and Toni’s view of what occurred is blunt. However, with historians estimating that 1.25 million people remained in London throughout the War, the Massacre could have been predicted.


Commander Carver, his 30 men plus field-gun, enter Ripley, just outside Woking where they encounter Persephone who escorts them to meet Maxim, her grandfather. Maxim explains his belief that the tower the Martians have erected is much more than a simple beacon and explains how he plans to destroy it.


Still confined to the house in Sheen, Wells is forced to knock the Curate out when he draws the attention of the Martians with his prayers.

18-Jun 03:00 #RefugeesInOnesOwnCountry

18-Jun 03:00 #RefugeesInOnesOwnCountry

Despite Well’s evocative descriptions of a deserted city, not everyone had left London. Some simply could not afford to, others such as the botanist Ernest Marquand could not leave because of familial responsibilities. Others remained to fight, or to support those who had stayed.


Historians now estimate that of the 6.3 million who lived in Greater London before the war, 20% (1.25 million people) stayed in the city. This left 5 million refugees, of whom perhaps only 338,000 would have been able to be evacuated by sea to the continent – fleeing north.

18-Jun 04:00 @HGWells #RegentsStreet

18-Jun 04:00 @HGWells #RegentsStreet

For those remaining in London most hid, but not all. Wells’ Artilleryman later claimed to have seen Regent’s Street ablaze with lights, crowded with painted and ragged drunkards, men and women, dancing and shouting – even as a tripod stood sentinel near by the Langham watching, unobserved.


The Martian tripod watched until dawn and then working its way down the street picked up perhaps a 100 of those too drunk or frightened to run away.

18-Jun 04:45 @ToniWantsToVote

18-Jun 04:45 @ToniWantsToVote

Woken by noise. So many lights. So much shouting and noise. All to the north and not far. #PiccadillyCircus #RegentsSt #aretheyinsane #whatishappening

18-Jun 08:00 @PierreCurieDeadInAccident





18-Jun 09:00 @BreakerMorant #ThePiccadillyMassacre

At this morning’s breakfast-handover the lookout posts report a massacre at Piccadilly Circus, where we’d been drinking the night before last. Vogan and I exchange a worried look.


The lookout also reports a reduction in tripod activity.


Marie Curie looks strained this morning, still worrying about her husband, but reports that there have been no more pods sent from Mars.


18-Jun 09:10 @BreakerMorant #BrownsPigeonReturns

Brown returned the pigeon that we got a refugee to take to him. He is in Edinburgh, apparently dropped by to see his father’s family and has established a refugee camp outside the city.



18-Jun 09:14 @ToniWantsToVote

@graceharwood and I went out under cover at 0600 this morning to find out what is happening. #drunks #stupidity


We #hid in the shadows. #Fools lit lights, and danced and sang. #whyohwhydidtheydoit


#Martian from Langham came


#fools were harvested into a basket


#bloodsuckers #ididnotknowthis #bodiesdrained #weareprey


Found a small child cowering behind a bin. Took her home. #notspeaking #terrified #howdidshesurvive

18-Jun 09:30 @LtCarver

From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 18 June 1897, 09:30 GMT:

The sun was well up when we finally entered Ripley, just outside Woking. Our column, now 30 men plus a field gun, moved slowly. Except for a few burnt out buildings, likely from long-forgotten cooking fires, the town was intact. But like everywhere, it was deserted, devoid of life.


“Hold it right there,” rang out a woman’s voice.

“Another master?” asked Lieutenant Mann. “Every town we ride through seems to have one.”

“I have you covered!” A young woman stepped out from the shadows, wearing riding boots. Long dark curls flowered around her head. She levelled a shotgun at us.


“Not a master, Lieutenant Mann,” I smiled at her. “But perhaps a queen?”

“Let us pass,” said Mann. “We have to get to Woking.”

”Woking seems to be a popular destination,” she said with an arch smile. She lowered her weapon, as she surveyed us. “You’re the army or what’s left it?”


“Royal Navy, actually,” I said. “Lieutenant Commander Roger Carver, late HMS Thunder Child, at your service. But the Lieutenant is correct: it is vital we get to Woking.”

“Wait? Thunder Child?” She blinked. “There’s someone you should meet at my grandfather’s workshop.”

18-Jun 09:40 #HiramMaxim

From the personal journal of Hiram Maxim


“It is very good to meet you, Lieutenant.” I shook Lieutenant Carver’s hand. “Doubtless my granddaughter has told you about our guest. He’s unfortunately not regained consciousness.”


“Thank you, Mr. Maxim,” said Carver. I’m most anxious to find out who it is. Sergeant, come with me. Lieutenant Mann, tend to disposition of the men.”


“God’s teeth, Commander,” said Sergeant Howard as we entered my backroom, “It’s Mr. Farmer!”


“You’re right, Sergeant.” Carver knelt by the cot where Farmer lay. “Farmer,” he said gently. “Farmer… it’s Carver. Johnathan?”


Amazingly Farmer stirred. His swollen eyes blinked open. “Carver?” He spoke weakly and thickly. “I knew I would find you. We must stop them from exterminating us, Carver. Where are we?”


“Just outside Woking,” said Carver. “You made it. Rest up.”


Farmer smiled and closed his eyes.

18-Jun 10:20 @LtCarver

From the personal log of Lt Roger Carver, Royal Marines, HMS Thunder Child, 18 June 1897, 10:20 GMT:


According to a few rough notes Mr. Farmer scribbled in the Thunder Child’s logbook, the force of the ship’s boilers exploding threw him and the logbook clear of the ship. Despite his grave injuries, he found the ship’s whaleboat adrift. What had happened the cox’n is unclear.


“Amazing,” I said, closing the book. “And on a wild hunch that I was alive and heading towards Woking, Farmer motored up the Thames to meet us.”  I turned to Maxim and his granddaughter. “You’ve mentioned that you’ve kept watch on the Martian position. What have you found out?”


“That tower is much more than a beacon, of that I am certain, Mr. Carver,” said Maxim. “Based on my observations, I believe it broadcasts an electromagnetic field protecting the Martians against earthly pathogens. Destroy it, and they will sicken and die within a matter of days.”


I frowned. Maxim’s theory was outlandish. “Poppycock! I refuse to believe how invisible waves can prevent illness and death! It’s nonsense. I can sooner believe in…”

“…Men from Mars, Mr. Carver?” Maxim smiled archly. “The Martians are a more ancient and more advanced race.”


“It’s a given,” I said. “Any race that can cross the gulf of space must be beyond us.”

“In many ways,” said Maxim. “The fighting machines, the Heat Ray: those are obvious examples. They are beyond us as we are the flatworm. Their grasp of the sciences must be equally ahead of us.”


“We are now experimenting with wireless,” continued Maxim. “I can see the day when we will be able to transmit sound and pictures.”

“That’s what Mr. Farmer says.”

“Then why cannot you accept the possibility that the Martians, who are in advance of us, are able to do as I suggest?”


“I’ll suspend my doubt,” I said. I needed Maxim. In retrospect, he was correct, although we still don’t comprehend why. “You plan to destroy the tower, you granddaughter said…”

“Yes,” Maxim nodded. “Together, we might just carry the day! Persephone, show the Commander my machine.”


“Your grandfather is quite the man,” I said as Persephone led me to the back shed.

“Scientist, engineer, inventor, industrialist,” she said taking my hand with a smile, “and designer of the Maxim machine gun.”

I blushed a little as she took my hand. Was Persephone… a suffragette?


“What’s in here?”  I asked as Persephone unlocked the padlock on the shed’s double door and begun to swing them open. I helped her push the doors back, revealing something looming in the shadows.

Persephone smiled, taking my hand and squeezing it. “Grandfather’s flying machine!”

18-Jun 10:21 #electromagneticfields

Interestingly, though Maxim was unsure of how the Martian’s tower worked, recent research has confirmed the possibility that electromagnetic fields may be used to control pathogens.


See (Mousavian-Roshanzamir S, Makhdoumi-Kakhki A. The Inhibitory Effects of Static Magnetic Field on Escherichia coli from two Different Sources at Short Exposure Time. Rep Biochem Mol Biol. 2017


Why Wells did not discuss this development in his history remains something of a mystery. It is possible that comments exchanged between Carver and Wells later that year, may have contributed to this.

18-Jun 11:00 #HiramMaxim

From the personal journal of Hiram Maxim, 18 June 1897, 11:00 GMT:

“A flying machine?”  Carver looked at me, eyes wide. “You intend you use it against the Martians?”

“I do,” I said. “I intend to strike them from the air and drop explosives onto the tower. The arrival of your men has increased our chances of success if we attack together!”


“Incredible,” said Carver.

“I made a brief uncontrolled hop a few years ago,” I said. “I’ve since installed a more powerful steam engine based on Lamm’s design of a fireless engine using ammonia. Quite something. I also enlarged the control surfaces to improve manoeuvrability.”


“I need to know if the damn thing will fly, Maxim,” said Carver.

“Roger,” said Persephone, taking Carver’s hands, if Grandfather says it will fly, it will.”

“You’re serious?”

“I intend to pilot it myself, with my granddaughter at my side,” I said.


“A pity you don’t have any of your famous guns,” said Carver. “We could certainly use them.”

I smiled. “I think I can help.” I walked over the closet at the end of room and opened it.

Carver smiled at the sight of the two Maxim guns and their ammunition. “That sir, is a great help.”

18-Jun 11:02 #peoplecanfly

18-Jun 11:02 #peoplecanfly

Although no photograph of Maxim’s improved flying machine is known to exist, his earlier craft is pictured. Built in 1894, It was powered by two lightweight 180-horsepower steam engines, achieved forty miles per hour at launch, and flew two hundred feet before crashing.


It had been believed that Maxim lost interest in flying after this failure, however, his journal makes it quite clear this was not the case. Maxim’s journal records his interest in the work by Franco-American inventor Emile Lamm (1834 – 1873) who developed a “fireless steam engine” that ran on ammonia for potential use with city tram lines.


Lamm’s invention saw some limited use in both Paris and New Orleans before fading into obscurity. Because ammonia compresses quite easily into a liquid, the engine was naturally lighter without having to carry wood or coal around with it. A much-developed version powered Maxim’s flying machine.

18-Jun 11:30 @HGWells #DeathOfTheCurate #Sheen

18-Jun 11:30 @HGWells #DeathOfTheCurate #Sheen

It is the 10th day of Wells confinement to the collapsed house in Sheen and, after a sleepless night, once again Wells wakens to the curate praying loudly.


Wells attempts to quieten him, but the curate rises to his knees, and in a voice that Wells later states must have reached the pit, cries: “I have been still too long and must now bear my witness. Woe unto this unfaithful city! Woe! to the inhabitants of the earth.”


Wells describes rising to his feet in a terror lest the Martians hear them. But the curate simply continues shouting, at the top of his voice, standing to match Wells and extending his arms. “I must speak! The word of the Lord is upon me!”


And then the curate breaks, running for the pit and Wells pursues him, a meat-chopper in his hand. At the last moment Wells strikes him with the butt of the cleaver and the curate falls headlong, to lay stretched on the ground.


But Wells’ fears now come to pass as the hole in the wall overlooking the pit darkens and a Martian comes to investigate. Creeping as noiselessly as he can Wells creeps to the coal cellar, and begins to cover himself up with the coal and firewood lying there.


Wells describes watching the Martian working its way down the steps, “a tentacle like an elephant’s trunk—waving towards him and touching and examining the wall, coals, wood, and ceiling. Like a black worm swaying its blind head to and fro.”


Wells feels the tentacle touch the heel of of his boot, and must bite his hand to remain silent. With an abrupt click, it grips something—a lump of coal—and leaves to examine it.

18-Jun 17:00 @HGWells #DeathOfTheCurate #Sheen

18-Jun 17:00 @HGWells #DeathOfTheCurate #Sheen

The Martian has not returned to the scullery; but Wells has lain all this day, in the close darkness, buried among coals and firewood, not daring even to crawl out for the drink he craves.