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Broadcast Hysteria, October 30, 1938: War of the Worlds

On the night of October 30, 1938, 23-year-old Orson Welles conducted a radio broadcast of the H. G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, sending an innocent audience into the belief that there was actually an alien invasion taking place. Avid radio listeners across the U.S. heard a startling report of mysterious creatures and terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. Listeners bombarded police and radio stations and newspapers with calls and pleas throughout the night. If this was a planned publicity stunt, Welles would never admit to it. He would innocently go before the press the next day to say that he had no idea he would cause such a stir. By looking at the long forgotten script drafts and memories of Welles's collaborators - capturing behind-the-scenes chaos -- we can only point to the innocence of the participants . No one knowingly expected to deceive the listeners.

Could this happen again in today's environment? With the over abundance of online media and constant barrage of information from various sources, one would think that today's listeners would catch on quick to this type of deception. However, as topsy-turvy as the world has seemed in 2020, an alien invasion would not be far off the realm of possibility! To imagine an alien invasion, a reader needs only reach for a book. Whether it's the original War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells or Stephen King's take on extraterrestrial visitors, pick up a great Science Fiction novel this Halloween!

Childhood's end / Arthur C. Clarke.

Dreamcatcher : a novel / Stephen King.

Infected : a novel / Scott Sigler.

Invasion of the body snatchers / Jack Finney.

Live free or die / John Ringo.

Starship troopers / Robert A. Heinlein.

Stinger / Robert R. McCammon.

The taking / Dean Koontz.

The war of the worlds / H.G. Wells.

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Shannonh's picture

Keep it creepy with a good book this Halloween

Trying to keep your Halloween 2020 safe? Why not stay home with a creepy read?  Nothing gets the heart a-pumpin' better than a spine-tingling tale of suspense, ghosts, zombies, haunted houses and unknown monsters.  As Stephen King once put it, "Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Whether we can name our monsters or not, the library can provide a host of distractions that seem to come from all sides. Do you read scary stories for the adrenaline rush or the visceral reactions they illicit? Some even read these in hopes of vanquishing their own demons. By vicariously facing your fears in a novel, you're able to tame them or at least convince ourselves that they are not so dangerous.  So, for all you readers out there, keep it safe; keep it sane; read a book.  Danger doesn't linger on every corner.  It's just hanging out waiting for fear and horror to show up!

Bird box / Josh Malerman. 

The cabin at the end of the world : a novel / Paul Tremblay. 

Dracul / Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker.

The haunting of Hill House / Shirley Jackson.

The historian : a novel / Elizabeth Kostova.

The invited / Jennifer McMahon.

The little stranger / Sarah Waters.

Rebecca / Daphne Du Maurier.

The thirteenth tale : a novel / Diane Setterfield.

World War Z : an oral history of the zombie war / Max Brooks.

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Shannonh's picture

When you like your horror with a side of laughs...

Athough I am a long-time lover of gothic fiction, sometimes I want something a little bit different.  I want the cheers and jeers of comedy mixed with my terror!  (And 2020 has already provided the menacing plot to a horribly-conceived novel in and of itself!) For that special blend of comedy magic mixed with the dread of horror, Grady Hendrix has several engaging books, along with his unique 



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