Wednesday 21 November 2007


Click to enlarge (if you're not squeamish!)
NO ONE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED in the last years of the twentieth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.
No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise.

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twenty-first century came the great disillusionment...
So, has the fearful invasion finally begun?


It's just - did I say 'just'? - Louise Bourgeois' impressively monumental sculpture Maman, which was originally exhibited in the Turbine Hall of London's Tate Modern when the gallery first opened in 2000 and which now straddles a section of Southbank as part of a retrospective exhibition to mark the artist’s 95th year.

Like the crack in the floor, this may incite further questions on the nature of art; but, as a lover of Science Fiction, it sends shivers up my spine and takes only a very small amount of suspending disbelief to imagine this fearful creature either crossing the Thames to assail the dome of St Paul's or, perhaps, scaling the sheer walls of the former power station in order to summon more of its kind and begin the final conquest and destruction of planet earth!

Where is Tom Cruise when we need him most...?

* H G Wells The War of the Worlds (with minor amendments)

Images: Brian Sibley, © 2007


Anonymous said...

I thought I vaguely (!) recognised the pen of the honourable Mr Wells. What a thing to see first thing in the morning... brrrrr!

Boll Weavil said...

For me, the Martians will always be in those tripods with the green eyes from the fifties movie ! Nice to see your old writing buddy Jeff Wayne is invading these shores again though with the musical version.What a shame he didn't get you involved in one of his projects one album earlier....
Btw does anyone know exactly what WOTW is about ? Mr Wells is constantly hammering on about complacency through the novel so he must be trying to tell us something, but what ????

Brian Sibley said...

BOLL - Yes, interesting about JW... Of course, when I agreed to write the narration for his SPARTACUS concept album, I thought it would be another WOTW... Trouble was it took him so long that by the time it came out the concept album was already a thing of the long past...

Still I do have a single of Catherine Zeta Jones singing the hoped-for hit with Antony Hopkins on the B side reading my words which (though it has never earned me a cent) is quite cool... :-)

Anonymous said...

Is it art? Let me think:

Maman - yes
Crack in the floor - yes
Slides in the turbine hall - no

And I'm not just bitter because I didn't get to go on the slides (the queues were too long).

Brian Sibley said...

QENNY - I guess you're right... I was too scared to go on the slides (David did it, natch!) or, maybe, I was just too worried in case I either broke them or, worse, got STUCK!

They DID look quite artsitic - the way they wound round and around - but, if I'm honest, no more than the helter-skelter does on Brighton pier!