Fighters from Mars: The War of the Worlds in and near Boston (1898)
Fighters from Mars was the creation of an unknown editor of The Boston Evening Post newspaper. It began serialisation on January 9th 1898, shortly after the official release of the H.G. Wells novel in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. In those days, copyright laws were not what they were today, and as a result, and even though there is a "copyright H.G. Wells" notice prominently displayed with each instalment, it is highly unlikely that Wells approved, nor indeed ever saw a cent in compensation for this extremely strange enterprise.
The story is The War of the Worlds, but as the title implies, it has been extensively rewritten to place events in and around the city of Boston. Not only have place names been changed, but the story is in places serverly truncated and edited, with large swaves of text shortened or removed. This is not then the most satisfying version of The War of the Worlds you are ever likely to read, but it proves just how elastic the story is. It was just the first of many attempts to re-imagine and re-invent the story to suit the times (and place) and as such deserves to be preserved.
The story was such a sucess that it spawned a sequel, even more bizarre in nature, called Edison's Conquest of Mars, which saw the great inventor himself lead a force of Earth ships on a mission of revenge against the Martians.
I will be scanning instalments and providing transcripts of the text over the coming months. The first issue is now available. Look out for further instalments over the coming months.
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