Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Red Weed


After a time I discovered that I was cold and wet, with little pools of urine about me on the stair carpet. I got up, went into the dining room, drank some Romulan Ale, and went to change my clothes.

After I had done that, I went to my study. The window looks over the trees and the railway towards Horsell Common. In the hurry of our departure it had been left wide open.

The thunderstorm had passed. The towers of the Oriental College and the pine trees about it had gone, and very far away, lit by a vivid red glare, the common about the sand pits was visible. Across the light huge black shapes, grotesque and strange, moved busily to and fro.

It seemed indeed as if the whole country in that direction was on fire – which was all kinds of awesome! Every now and then a haze of smoke from some nearer kersplosion drove across the window and hid the Marsian shapes. I could not clearly see what they were doing. Neither could I see the nearer fire. A tang of burning was in the air.

I closed the door noiselessly and crept towards the window. The view opened out to the houses about Woking station, and the charred and blackened pine woods of Byfleet. There was a light down below the hill, on the railway. This puzzled me at first: then I perceived this was a wrecked train, the fore part smashed and on fire, the rear carriages still upon the rails. I chuckled. I fucking hate train drivers.

Between these three main centres of light - the houses, the train, and the burning county towards Chobham - stretched irregular patches of dark country, broken here and there by intervals of dimly glowing and smoking ground. It was the strangest spectacle, that black expanse set with fire. At first I could distinguish no people at all, though I peered intently for them. Later I saw against the light of Woking station a number of black figures hurrying one after the other across the line.

And this was the little world in which I had been living securely for years, this fiery chaos!


What had happened in the last seven hours I still did not know; nor did I know, though I was beginning to guess, the relation between the Fighting Machines and the sluggish lumps I had seen disgorged from the cylinder. With a queer feeling of impersonal interest I turned my desk chair to the window, sat down, and stared at the blackened country, and particularly at the three gigantic black things that were going to and fro in the glare about the sand pits.

They seemed amazingly busy.

I began to ask myself what they could be. Were they intelligent mechanisms? Such a thing I felt was impossible. Or did a Marsian sit within each? I began to compare the things to human machines, to ask myself for the first time in my life how an ironclad or a steam engine or George Foreman Grill would seem to an intelligent lower animal.

The storm had left the sky clear, and over the smoke of the burning land the little fading pinpoint of Mars was dropping into the west, when I noticed three small figures come into my garden. I heard a slight scraping at the fence, and rousing myself from the lethargy that had fallen upon me, I looked down and saw them, clambering over the palings.

"Hey!" said I, in a whisper.

They scampered over and across the lawn to the corner of the house.

"Who's there?" one answered, in a whisper, standing under the window and peering up.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"God knows."

"Are you trying to hide?"

"Yes, that's it."

"Come into the house," I said.

I went down, unfastened the door, let them in, and locked the door again. It was only then that I truly got a good look at their faces.

"Oh, for fuck’s sake!" I sighed, as I drew them in.

"What has happened?" asked Ginger.

"What hasn't?" muttered Orlando, to herself.

In the darkness, Speccy made a gesture of despair. "They wiped us out—simply wiped us out.”

They followed me into the dining room.

"Here, drink this," I said, pouring out a Relentless.

Apparently, they had been hanging out at Horsell Common, and the first party of Marsians crawled slowly towards their second cylinder under cover of a metal shield. Later this shield staggered up on tripod legs and became the first of the fighting-machines I had seen. The Fighting Machine had opened fire on a nearby artillery batallion, destroying the ammunition with a critical hit. They found himself lying under a heap of charred dead men and dead horses. And a near catatonic Speccy.

"I lay still," muttered Ginger, "scared out of my wits, with 1.25 horses on top of me. We'd been wiped out. And the smell— good God!”

“Like burnt meat!” screamed the emotionally fragile Speccy.

Ginger continued, ignoring him. “I was hurt across the back by the fall of the horse, and there I had to lie until I felt better. Just like a parade it had been a minute before—then stumble, bang, swish!"

"Wiped out!" muttered Orlando.

The three teenage heroes had “hidden” under a dead horse for about four hours, peeping out furtively across the common.

There was, so far as they could see, not a living thing left upon the common, and every bush and tree upon it that was not already a blackened skeleton was burning. The Fighting Machine saved the station until the last; then in a moment the Heat-Ray was brought to bear, and the rest of the town became a heap of fiery ruins. Then it shut off the Heat-Ray, and walked away towards the pine woods that sheltered the second cylinder. As it did so a second glittering Titan built itself up out of the pit.

The second monster followed the first, and at that Ginger, Speccy and Orlando began to crawl away. Since then, they had been skulking along towards Maybury, in the hope of getting out of danger Londonward. People were hiding in trenches and cellars, and many of the survivors had made off towards Woking village and Send.

That was the story I got from them, bit by bit. Speccy eventually grew calmer, once I found some mutton and bread in the pantry and brought it into the room. We lit no lamp for fear of attracting the Marsians, as Orlando filled in the gaps of their story.

When we had finished eating we went softly upstairs to my study, and I looked again out of the open window. In one night the valley had become a valley of ashes. The fires had dwindled now. Where flames had been there were now streamers of smoke; but the countless ruins of shattered and gutted houses and blasted and blackened trees that the night had hidden stood out now gaunt and terrible in the pitiless light of dawn. Yet here and there some object had had the luck to escape—a white railway signal here, the end of a greenhouse there, white and fresh amid the wreckage. Never before in the history of warfare had destruction been so indiscriminate and so universal. And shining with the growing light of the east, three of the metallic giants stood about the pit, their cowls rotating as though they were surveying the desolation they had made.

I guessed that at somepoint soon I was going to have to stop wasting time and just kill these fuckers.

The Marsians that is. Not Speccy, Ginger and Orlando.


Warner Bros. Pictures have announced that the world premiere of the final instalment of the Harry Potter film series, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2, will take place in London’s Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square on Thursday 7th July 2011.

This will be the first red carpet film premiere event in Trafalgar Square, the instantly recognisable landmark providing the iconic backdrop for one of the biggest film premieres to ever take place in the capital.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "For the last decade we've been gripped by the on-screen battle between Harry Potter and his arch enemy Lord Voldemort and this is one of the most eagerly awaited films in history. As befits a great British triumph, I can think of no better venue than the iconic surroundings of Trafalgar Square in which to stage the most spectacular of send offs for this dramatic finale”.

Josh Berger, President and Managing Director of Warner Bros. Pictures UK commented “We are delighted that our plans for the finale of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will take place in such a spectacular venue. We pride ourselves on the creativity of our premieres and the space within Trafalgar Square will lend itself to being a magical experience for both guests and fans.”

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 opens in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on Friday July 15th 2011.


One of the all-time classic characters from the pages of 2000 AD is being brought to life by threeAToys.

Mongrol is the first in a series of 1/6th figures of the ABC Warriors – a band of renegade robots designed to fight a future war and able to withstand 'Atomic', 'Bacterial' and 'Chemical' warfare – by renowned toys creators threeAToys.

Known for his brutal catchphrase ‘Mongrol smush!’, the immensely strong battle-droid is always itching for a fight. Standing at 30cm high, and with a shoulder width of 35cm, this fully articulated figure will make a thrilling addition to any fans’ collection.

This exclusive Mongrol figure will go on sale from threeA online and to retailers on Monday 28 February for a recommended retail price of $250 (£155). There will also be a ‘stealth’ Black Mongrol exclusively available through

While most threeA toys go on sale for limited periods, Mongrol’s ordering window is to be left open – giving fans of both 2000 AD and stunning-looking toys a much better chance to get their hands on this fantastic piece.


Based on Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Age of the Dragons starring Danny Glover and Vinnie Jones is an all-action re-telling of the classic story like never before. Captain Ahab (Glover) and his crew hunt the most feared creatures to have ever existed: dragons.

Ishmael, a charismatic harpooner, joins their quest with the promise of riches beyond his wildest fantasies. Whilst Ahab's adopted daughter Rachel, sexy yet tough, runs the hunting vessel. And it's not long before the vessel's fearless and most experienced harpooner, Stubbs (Jones), is leading the crew into combat against the deadly mythical beasts.

But it gradually emerges that this isn't a hunt, it is an obsession. Ahab seeks revenge on a great 'White Dragon' that slaughtered his family when he was young, leaving his body scarred and mauled. With the hunt threatening the certain death of all involved, the crew must decide who is their most dangerous enemy: The White Dragon, or Ahab himself...

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