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DEC
24
2016

**A XMAS MESSAGE FROM JEFF!**

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Hello Everyone

As the year draws to a close, I’m sure we’d all agree it’s been a rather extraordinary one by any measurement. We’ve witnessed wondrous and tragic events almost daily, plus political campaigns and referendums, with nations going left, right and every other direction, either democratically or by force. Are we facing the New Year with joy and a belief in the future, or a cynicism that leaves us with more questions and doubts than ever before?

Somehow, I find myself returning to HG Wells’ incredible story of Martians invading England at the height of Queen Victoria’s expanding Empire. It remains quite a remarkable work – particularly its core subjects of invasion and faith. They remain as extraordinarily topical today as they were when HG first authored his episodic adventure for Pearson’s Magazine in 1897, and before being novelised a year later after its popularity was assured.

Wells’ Martians were quite fantastic – virtually all brain with superior intelligence, and the might of their incredible weapons and machinery brought from their Red Planet - quite unstoppable.

While they weren’t in ‘human’ form, the Martians represented an all-conquering force of evil, travelling from their land into ours. Was ‘The War of The Worlds’ specifically written as a poke at Queen Victoria’s expanding territorial gains and colonisation of the conquered, as many have written about over the decades, or a wider statement from the author, to beware of the person or nation who shouts the loudest or who waves its flag the most vigorously?

But to me, the greatest and over-riding attribute of ‘The War of The Worlds’ is a story of ‘hope’ - a belief that somehow in spite of the terror that the Martians bring, there remains everything to live for. And it is that side of TWOTW that I’ve always returned to.

While credited as the first science fiction story written, it’s not a typical shoot-em-up-knock-em down tale of fantasy, but a tale that anyone can relate to because it takes place on Earth, in towns and villages we all recognise.

And its characters aren’t gifted with incredible super powers to defend our planet or the galaxy, they’re just everyday people who encounter the challenge of their own survival on Earth when faced with an unexpected threat but who remain steadfast, standing up for themselves, those they love and the land they live in.

I close then with an excerpt from ‘Brave New World’ and Gary Osborne’s poignant lyrics. Performed by The Artilleryman, a common soldier who when all else is failing around him, he’s the one who comes up with a plan for Mankind’s survival, a plan that offers ‘hope’ for the future once Evil is defeated.

Take a look around you
At the world we’ve come to know
Does it seem to be much more
Than a crazy circus show
But maybe from the madness
Something beautiful will grow
In a Brave New World
With just a handful of men
We’ll start - we’ll start all over again

The warmest of wishes for the Season and 2017.

HAPPY ULLADAYS!!!

JEFF
December 24, 2016

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