Two Martians slowly waded

Two Martians slowly waded

Warwick Goble

Photomechanical reproduction of a watercolour

7¾ x 5½ inches

H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, serialized in Pearson’s Magazine, 4 (July–Dec 1897), 331.

The Martians’ clangour, a whirring, writhing mass of mechanical movements and hissing steam, ‘spreading coils and bellyings’ of smoke (4: 331), is brilliantly evoked in this illustration. The arrangement of the design, impinging on the right hand margin and physically overpowering the text as it dominates the people, ‘choking and writhing on the ground’ (4:331), adds materially to the effect of panic and fearfulness. Goble’s visceral image must surely have influenced the art-design in Spielberg’s film version of the text (2005).

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Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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