Following the Martian Invasion: Episode 1

Francis Spufford begins his journey following H.G. Wells' Martian invaders at the Basingstoke Canal that runs through Woking. Here Wells canoed with his lover amidst the wild vegetation and dreamed about Mars, at the time widely believed to be criss-crossed by vast canals created by an ancient and dying race.

Wells wrote his book at the height of Martian Fever when the work of astronomers Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell had created intense speculation about life on Mars. But Wells' Martians are evolution's nightmare. We end on Horsell Common, sight of the first crashed Martian cylinder.

Joining Francis Spufford are the science writer Oliver Morton (Mapping Mars) and the Historical Geographer Maria Lane (Geographies of Mars).

Producer: Mark Burman.

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15 minutes