Books

Classic Radio Sci-Fi: BBC Drama Collection

Arthur Conan Doyle (and others)

Five seminal science fiction classics are brought vividly to life in these gripping BBC Radio dramatisations, with casts including Robert Glenister, William Gaunt, Carleton Hobbs and Joanne Froggatt. "Frankenstein" (1994) is adapted from one of the first science fiction novels, Mary Shelley's tale of a scientist who tries to play God and creates a monster. "The Time Machine" (2009) dramatises one of the first stories to feature time travel, HG Wells' thrilling tale of an inventor who discovers a dystopian future. "The Lost World" (1975) is based on a classic fantasy adventure story by Arthur Conan Doyle's, whose notion of dinosaurs roaming our world was the inspiration for Jurassic Park. "R.U.R." (1989) is a radio production of Karel Kapek's thought-provoking play which introduced the word 'robot' to the English language. "Solaris" (2007) dramatises Stanislaw Lem's pioneering ghost story set in space, both a suspenseful thriller and a philosophical meditation on guilt and the human condition. Accompanying this collection is a bonus PDF file featuring extensive sleeve notes by Andrew Pixley. Duration: 10 hours approx.

The War of the Worlds

H G Wells (and others)

A brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of HG Wells’s famous story of the brutal Martian invasion of Earth.

When strange explosions are observed on the surface of Mars, excitement spreads among the scientific community. Surrey astronomer Ogilvy invites his friend Robert to the observatory to witness the turbulence on the red planet.

Ten days later, Ogilvy discovers a strange projectile on Horsell Common – with something inside. Robert rushes to view the craft, and is present when Martians emerge and turn their heat rays on the locals, who are waving white flags. It is the beginning of a merciless invasion…

As Robert flees in search of safety, accompanied by a young curate, young soldier Billy experiences the chaos happening in London. As the Martians take control, transforming the landscape and decimating the population, is this the end for the human race? Wells’s terrifying science fiction tale, first published in 1898, is both a reflection of Victorian fears of a coming apocalypse and a critique of British imperialism. This enthralling dramatisation asks how humankind would fare if colonised by a vastly superior technological invader.

It stars Blake Ritson as Robert, with Samuel James as Billy and Carl Prekopp as the Curate.

Duration: 2 hours approx.

The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds

H G Wells (and others)

In The Time Machine an inventor travels to the remote future where he finds both love and terror. The protagonist of The Invisible Man struggles to come to terms with his condition in a narrative which is by turns comic and tragic. The War of the Worlds imagines planetary conflict from an individual point of view. If these themes reveal the originality of Wells as a thinker, each story displays his skill as a novelist by the ways in which he anchors astonishing events in vivid everyday details of character and place.All three have spawned countless adaptations and imitations but Wells remains the greatest poet of science we have, an inexhaustible source for speculation about the nature of the future and the meaning of the present.

Biography

Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and began to write stories while he was a student.Over his life he produced more than thirty books, 150 short stories, poems, plays and essays across a wide range of genres. His most famous creation is the detective Sherlock Holmes, who he introduced in his first novel A Study in Scarlet (1887). This was followed in 1889 by an historical novel, Micah Clarke. In 1893 Conan Doyle published 'The Final Problem' in which he killed off his famous detective so that he could turn his attention more towards historical fiction. However Holmes was so popular that Conan Doyle eventually relented and published The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1901. The events of the The Hound of the Baskervilles are set before those of 'The Final Problem' but in 1903 new Sherlock Holmes stories began to appear that revealed that the detective had not died after all. He was finally retired in 1927. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died on 7 July 1930.