M. Turcotte

  1. Trushell, John. “Mirages in the Desert: The War of the Worlds and Fin du Globe.” Extrapolation 43.4 (2002): 439-55. Web.

 Trushell discusses the similarities and subsequent adaptations of The War of the Worlds. He also traces the adaptations through cultural and historical timelines, linking particular adaptations and ‘innovations’ with the societal pressures/thinking and threats of the time, from the 1938 Welles’ radio broadcast (in the midst of World War II, when radio listeners were already accustomed to hearing news about the coming war and the Munich crisis) and the 1953 film adaptation of the same name (linked more to the Korean war and the threat of communism). He also discusses the phenomenon fin du globe, the ‘end of the world fear’ that was present in both Victorian fin de siécle society and in 1930s America, brought on by the Wall Street Crash in 1929, the Great Depression, the disillusionment with the political system, and the ‘brown scare’ of fascism. (Also discussed is the importance of the film Independence Day, however, this is not that important for my paper, for this essay was written before the 2005 adaptation of War of the Worlds, which I will be focusing on in lieu of Independence Day.) All of these interpretations of the adaptations seem very intune with the focus of my paper, however the author seems to jump too quickly over discussing the importance of adaptations in the 1938 broadcast and how society and warfare had really changed since the original 1898 edition.

  1. Malia, Jennifer. “Public Imbecility and Journalistic Enterprise”: The Satire on Mars Mania in H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds.” Extrapolation 50.1 (2009): 80-101. Web.

By applying close analyzation of the text, Malia reveals how The War of the Worlds is actually critiquing media sensationalism. By deploying satirical storytelling, she argues, Wells draws attention to the unreliability of journalism (print media). Discussed is the period known as “Mars mania” in which scientific writings, fiction writings, along with satirical cartoons were being published about ‘life on Mars.’ By using the strategies and storytelling methods of journalism, the narrator of The War of the Worlds demonstrates his own unreliability as he fabricates and sensationalizes events. Also discussed is the perpetual failure of the print media to be a reliable news source, repeatedly sending out incomplete, inaccurate, or completely falsified news stories, such as the ‘dead men from Mars’ in the cylinder, the method of Martian space travel, or the repetitive threat of danger met with assurance of safety. All of these, Malia argues, are strategies of journalism and print media that Wells recognize, satirizes and, in this way, critiques. This argument is perceptive and thorough and will be very useful when writing my final paper, especially when comparing this to the fear tactics used post 9/11 and how this is reflected in the 2005 adaptation of the text.


  1. Combe, Kirk. “Spielberg’s Tale of Two Americas: Postmodern Monsters in War of the Worlds.” Journal of Popular Culture 44.5 (2011): 934-953. Web.

In this essay, Combe attempts to identify the Martians of the 2005 Spielberg adaptation of War of the Worlds as ‘postmodern monsters’ that represent the “Bad, imperialist, upper-class America.” According to Combe, the aliens represent the ‘gaps’ in the construction of Lacanian ‘Truth.’ They are the imperialistic force masquerading as ‘national defense;’ the offensive war in Iraq masquerading as ‘defensive war against terrorism.’ Combe claims that the film demonstrates a war between two Americas: the good, working class America, the protagonist, Ray, and the bad, upper-class, military-corporate America: the Martians and their hyper-intelligent military-like equipment. Many allusions to 9/11 imagery and insurgent warfare are made throughout the essay. While I agree with a lot of the ideas presented in this essay, I find that a lot of it is too forcefully opinion, almost tongue-in-cheek in a sense. I will probably use some of the discussions topics in this essay, however.


  1. Gunn, Joshua. “Father Trouble: Staging Sovereignty in Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 25.1 (2008): 1-27. Web.

Gunn draws connections between events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the destruction by the Martians seen in the film. He backs up his reading of the film with interview segments from script writers of the film who directly claim that they were citing their own 9/11 experiences when writing the script, adding lines like, “is it the terrorists?” (says Rachel, the daughter). Gunn goes on to claim that, by restaging the 9/11 attacks in a Hollywood, fiction narrative, one can better understand the popularity of George W. Bush post 9/11. In other words, by identifying the need for paternal order after a ‘state of emergency,’ or a ‘state of nature,’ Gunn illustrates, “…how to love a dictator.” I found this essay convincing and, while I wont use all of the points raised throughout, I will most likely be using a lot of material to support my own thesis in my final paper; especially the information regarding the ‘state of emergency’ and fear that led people to support George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and its connections to the imagery and emotions evoked by the film.


  1. Heyer, Paul. “America under Attack I: A Reassessment of Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds Broadcast.” Canadian Journal of Communication 28.2 (2003): 149-165. Web.

Heyer discusses the career and creative history of Orson Welles, citing the panic caused by his radio adaptation of War of the Worlds a direct result of his ‘media sense.’ Further discussion of specific techniques employed by Welles tend credibility to the mass panic that ensued following the broadcast. Discussed, also, is the ‘reliability’ of radio broadcasting in terms of news in an era when the threat of war (and the Munich crisis) was looming. All of this information will be very helpful when discussing the adaptation in my final paper, especially when comparing Welles’ application of realistic techniques of journalistic-radio-reporting and Wells’ realistic application of sensationalist, science-fiction mixing journalistic approach.


  1. Charles, Alec. “Extraordinary Renditions: Reflections upon the War on Terror in British and American Screen Science Fiction.” Historia Actual On-Line 22. (2010): 117-124. Web.

Charles discusses how, historically, science fiction has reflected contemporary historical situations, linking the original War of the Worlds with late-Victorian concerns over the sustainability of imperial hegemony; Wells’ 1938 edition played upon contemporary anxieties about the looming world war; the 1953 edition of the film witnessed the Soviet invasion and nuclear holocaust; the 2005 Spielberg edition, full of, ‘ravaged cities, crashed jets, and underground alien terror cells,’ is an allegory for the War on Terror. Charles cites an article written by Michael Gove in The Times on the 12th of September, 2001: “…the scenario of a… Spielberg blockbuster was no unfolding live on the world’s television sets.” Charles further discusses advanced weaponry and intelligence displayed by the martians in the 2005 film and how that mirrors the USA’s highly advanced weaponry used to fight ‘the War on Terror.’ The essay also speaks on many contemporary British science fiction shows, which will not be as useful to my paper, unless I draw a few allusions from them to help support my own theories.


  1. Downing, Crystal. “Deconstruction Herbert: ‘The War of the Worlds’ on Film.” Literature Film Quarterly 35.4 (2007): 274-281. Web.

 Downing claims that the 2005 adaptation of the 1898 novel, ‘illustrates how a postmodern context affects and redirects a modernist text.’ Writers and directors alike are affecting by events and changes in the world around them and react in various ways, often through their art. Downing goes on to list  various 9/11 allusions found within the 2005 film: a crashed airplane in a housing development, personal belongings falling from the sky, grey ash from human bodies that have been disintegrated floating around, homemade ‘missing’ signs of loved ones lining the walls and fences of the city. Downing also cites one of the original novel’s explicit fears being that of ‘attacking Europeans,’ and goes on to explain the other fictional stories that were being published about Germans overtaking English forces. She then cites the main difference separating the two version of the same novel as the difference between the 1890s attitude toward science versus the 2000s attitude towards science, Wells rejecting any form of divine intervention (after all, it is evolutionary process by which the aliens are overtaken) and Spielberg displaying the postmodern ‘linguistic turn,’ the destabilizing of scientific rationalism, and how that relates to the deployment of a chosen ‘faith.’ Spielberg rejects all notions of Darwinism, closing the film with the claim that God put germs on the Earth. This article is going to be very helpful when writing my final paper and deals with theorists that I happen to be very familiar with, being a film (and english) major, so I am excited to incorporate them into my own work.


 8. Öztürk, Ahmet. “International Politics and the Media: The Case of the Press/Media in the War on Terror.” Alternatives Turkish Journal of International Relations 8.3 (2009): 42-64. Web.

The essay discusses the setbacks in basic rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of communication and freedom of expression, that has taken place in reaction to the September 11th attacks. Ötürk discusses specific international/domestic political developments and media-press relations that have been affected by such setbacks, as guided by the belief that, “…the press always takes on the form and coloration of the social, political structures within which is operates… it reflects the system of social control whereby the relations of individuals and institutions are adjusted.” Discussed are established theoretical studies of media-press relations, and further suggested relationships that define the world today. This will be really interesting to connect the media-press relations to the examination of print-media incorporated in the novel by Wells, and the adaptations and embellishments presented by the radio broadcast in 1938. Also, this essay approaches the War on Terror critically and theoretically, citing many different sources.

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