Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Writing - Power of themes

It is interesting that certain themes or ideas strike a chord in the minds of readers and become so popular that films and TV programmes result followed by remakes and franchise products.

Image result for war of the worlds
War of the Worlds - H G Wells

In the early part of the 20th century it was invasion from Mars that triggered the imagination of populations. War of the Worlds was published 1898 at the time when the world was littered with wars and other burgeoning conflicts. Not a massive step to supplant Boers, and Boxers for Martians.

Image result for war of the worlds panic in New York

The above newspaper headline speaks for itself but a little explanation may be of assistance.
Just after 8.30pm on 30th October 1938 the thousands of Americans tuned to the radio show 'Mercury Theatre on the Air' heard an emergency news flash; huge Martian fighting-machines were emerging from meteor-like spacecraft that had landed near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. 'Something's wriggling out of the shadow like a grey snake,' a desperate voice reported.' The dramatic report carried on performed by the renowned actor and future film maker Orson Welles. 
The broadcast caught America in a desperate state with the depression, the rise of German Imperialism and resulted in blocked telephone exchanges followed by speculative newspaper articles. In the end Welles had to make an on-air apology.

HELLO - it wasn't real folks!

 Image result for devil girl from mars

After the end of WW II in 1945 the film industry started producing war movies but Mars as a topic took longer to wane and even in 1954 was still producing things like the above 'Devil Girl from Mars'.

As a theme the concept of invasion from the red planet had lasted almost sixty years. The author H G Wells had picked a winner. As authors ourselves looking for the theme that will line our bank accounts for years is as elusive as picking the winning numbers in the lottery.

Image result for the martian

Of course the love affair with Mars is still continuing in the form of 2016's film The Martian starring Matt Damon.

God Bless