Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Martian fighting machine circa 1900

The fighting machine is composed of the following parts: Basket, Hood, Legs, Body, Arms.

The Legs are made of aluminum, and probably have telescopic sections, as well as joints, which are probably ball-and-socket, or some sort of tentacular device made of many curved friction bearings.  I have very little experience with friction bearings, and have trouble visualizing such an affair.  It seems these are powered by the "sham musculature," which apparently produces a great deal of green smoke.

The hood has been described variously as a dish cover, a schoolteacher's bell, a cowl, and a hood.  It seems to be sometimes referred to as brazen (made of bronze) and other times as metallic, white, as of aluminum.  Recently, the brass description seems to be favored, though all aluminum Martians remain popular.

The Basket is often said to be of white metal, as Wells mentions it.  Others occasionally claim it to be of steel.  The cage can apparently hold at least five people, and I suppose has some method of keeping people inside it.  It has been likened to a working man's basket, or a fisherman's basket.  In Global Dispatch, we are told that there is a latch on the back, which a man on the outside can unhook, though those inside cannot.  Others may claim that the basket is electrified, or otherwise set so that people inside it cannot move.

The Arms are claimed as steely tentacles.  They grope about blindly, and thus must not have a big camera on the end, like the ones in the movie.  These steely tentacles are able to wrap around people, and pick them up that way.  They can do the same trick on small trees, suggesting great strength.  Apparently there is an attachment on the end, which allows them to pick up single pieces of coal as well.  There must be at least two, so as to hold those black smoke tubes "Gun-wise."  I suspect a third for the heat ray, though that may be hard mounted, and probably a few more for picking up people.  Some claim six, which seems a suitable number, others claim twelve, which, with a separate housing for the heat ray, would give us a Martian’s tentacle for each appendage, one for each leg, one for the heat ray, and one for each arm.  I'm guessing they have no more than sixteen tentacles.  What would they do with all of those!  It may be, however, that there are only two, adding to the "manlike" appearance of these three legged giants.

The body is perhaps the most poorly described portion.  It is mentioned specifically only a few times, when the Martian at Weybridge gets its head blown off, brown fluid spews out of the body.  At his first viewing of the Fighting machine, he says that the basket is located behind the body.  Thus, if we find the height of the cage, we may obtain a good approximation of the height of the body.

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