The War of the Worlds

Lenticular cloud over Acatenango and Fuego volcanoes by Pascu Robredo

Play this song before continuing:

We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s, and yet as mortal as his own. We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

With infinite complacence people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small, spinning fragment of solar driftwood which, by chance or design, man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space.

Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that are to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

In the ninth year of the twenty-first century came the great disillusionment. It was near the end of the first week of October. Business was better. The war scare was over. More men were back at work. Sales were picking up. On this particular evening, October 10th, CIRMA, The Center of Mesoamerican Research, estimated that at least thirty-two million people were still reading blogs instead of following short tweets in Twitter or reading profile updates in Facebook.
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For the next twenty-four hours not much change in temperature. A slight atmospheric disturbance of undetermined origin is reported over Escuintla, causing a low pressure area to move down rather rapidly over the northeastern departments, bringing a forecast of rain, accompanied by winds of light gale force. Maximum temperature 66; minimum 48.

This weather report comes to you from the INSIVUMEH, Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology, and Hidrology.

We take you now to the Tea Room in the Hotel Palacio de Doña Leonor in downtown Antigua Guatemala, where you’ll be entertained by the music of Astor Piazzolla and his orchestra.
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Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of tango music to bring you a special bulletin from the Antigua News Tweets.

At twenty minutes before eight, central time, Professor Pascu Robredo of the Mount Finca Filadelfia Observatory, San Felipe de Jesús, La Antigua Guatemala, reports observing several explosions of incandescent gas, occurring at regular intervals over Volcán de Fuego. The spectroscope indicates the gas to be hydrogen and moving towards the city with enormous velocity.

Professor Arturo Godoy of the Observatory at Earth Lodge confirms Robredo’s observation, and describes the phenomenon as, quote, “like a jet of blue flame shot from a gun,” unquote.

We now return you to the music of Astor Piazzolla, playing for you in the Tea Room of the Hotel Palacio de Doña Leonor, situated in downtown La Antigua Guatemala.
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Ladies and gentlemen, following on the news given in our bulletin a moment ago, the INSIVUMEH has requested the large observatories of the country to keep an astronomical watch on any further disturbances occurring over Volcán de Fuego.

Due to the unusual nature of this occurrence, we have arranged an interview with a noted astronomer, Professor Manolo Romero, who will give us his views on this event. In a few moments we will take you to the Cerrito del Carmen Observatory in Guatemala City.

We return you until then to the music of Astor Piazzolla and his orchestra.
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On a date like today’s, in 1492, Two Worlds Collided and the rest is, as we say, living history! At the Revue Magazine website, you can learn Why October 12 is Not “Colón Day”.

Click the player below to listen to the original “The War of the Worlds” (October 30, 1938) radio show The Mercury Theatre on the Air as it was broadcasted. If you follow the white rabbit, you can hear and download, “The finest radio dramas of the 1930’s, The Mercury Theatre on the Air”; a show featuring the acclaimed New York drama company founded by Orson Welles and John Houseman.

[audio:http://sounds.mercurytheatre.info/mercury/381030.mp3|titles=The War of the Worlds (October 30, 1938)]

You can read the entire “The War of the Worlds” script as performed by Orson Welles here.

Original text of “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells, adapted and performed by Orson Welles; fragment parody by yours truly and photo by dear friend Pascu Robredo.

© 2009 – 2020, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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