War of the Worlds Project Proposal

Ally Ouellette, James Cassar, Yura Kim, Eric Weitzner

 

Mission statement:

One of the major feats of this novel is its convincing and creative conception of life from other worlds. After supposed sightings of canal-like features on the surface of Mars, the claim that there could be intelligent life on Mars became widely circulated.

However, this novel marked a significant change in the perception of intelligent life. Prior to this novel, aliens were imagined to be benevolent and even generous creatures, sharing their wisdom with us. This book is the first invention of a hostile alien invasion story. Its influence after its publication was evident then and is still evident in culture today, demonstrating the general fear within society with the approach of war.

We would like to address what makes this novel so successful and to explore how the adaptations and re-publications of the novel reflect changes and developments in society. Our timelines and comparisons of various War of the Worlds adaptations are aimed to not only provide beginning researcher’s knowledge and background of the way in which the novel was written, but also knowledge in the way it has been perceived and reconceived.

As a group we hope to discover ourselves how a single novel can reflect and project new societal fears and concerns.

 

Existing resources:

From the novel alone, readers can see one of the earliest imaginings of life on Mars. By bringing in movie advertisements, brief movie clips, animated GIFs, and links to longer clips of the 1954 and 2005 film adaptations, we can offer visual aids and their relation to imagery associated with major historical events. These events would include both World Wars, Vietnam War, Korean War, 9/11, and the Invasion of Iraq. In addition to these, we will create timelines that mark the passage of events from the novel and compare them to the passage of events and their locations from the novel’s adaptations. Our libraries have valuable versions of the text that include illustrations by Wells himself, in addition to several critical texts that are supplemented with lists of historical events that affected and were affected by Wells’ writing.

 

Group organization plan:

Ally and Eric will work on the timelines, which include timelines of events for the novel and its multiple adaptations, as well as timeline noting the historical events in correlation to the various publications. Yura will supply the website with relevant visual material as well as illustrations from the author himself. She will also do comparisons of the developments and changes in the imagined technology. James will function as the group’s technological expert, overseeing the upkeep and clean transfer of content from Google Doc to final project.

Tasks will be managed by regular check-ups and shared Google Docs with collected information and discovery. There will be weekly meetings (either in-person or via Google Chat) to make sure the group is on track to complete the site on time.

 

Tools:

We will most likely be using Omeka for the timeline so we can provide a visually appealing, easily navigable, and informative timeline. This will require a bit of research and time learning how to use the program.. Embedding videos, GIFs, and links to our website will supplement the Omeka installation.

 

Detailed plan and timeline:

Our main objective is to give viewers a better idea of how the adaptations have developed over time and in correlation to major historical events. We will be considering the films and the re-publications. Thus, the site will include multiple tabs dedicated to the variations on the novel, all supplemented with visual aids and links to possible applications or other relevant discoveries. This supplementary information will also present visual comparisons of the Martians and Machines as depicted in the major adaptations of the original text.

As we collect this surplus of information, we will also take the time to input our own realizations. The use of Orson Welles’ broadcast of 1938  in particular is an experiment of the novel’s themes on society of that time. Thus we will be able to reflect on the projection of fears of war.

For the timelines, specifically, if plot points are the same will be marked on the timeline as having occurred at the same time with the same explanatory notes. If different they will be marked accordingly with explanatory notes explaining where the differences might have originated that deviate from scholarly insight.

If the group is unable to complete the initial plan fully, the aspects that are most significant to our goal would be timelines on the original text, the radio broadcast, and the two films. These comparisons will not only look into the progression of events but also the differences in creating a convincing and threatening alien invasion.

 

Milestones:

***Book should have been read by last Sunday, February 23rd.
By March 16: James should become acquainted with all digital tools (mainly Omeka) used in the project.

By March 22: First group meeting; rudimentary timelines constructed via Google Docs

By March 29: Omeka install should reflect work on timelines and should be operable

By April 6: Second group meeting; troubleshooting and tweaking the digital project

By April 13: Third group meeting; Yura’s visual aids should be posted to site to complement Omeka data

By April 25: Last group meeting; final revisions made to project — this can happen before the 25th if possible!

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