Tag Archives: HG Wells

H. G. Wells’ Crystal Egg as an immersive multimedia experience in London, UK (January 6 – 13*, 2018)

Here’s the promotional trailer,

Exciting, eh? Tash Reith-Banks writes about this immersive theatre experience in a January 5, 2018 article for The Guardian (Links have been removed),

HG Wells hold a special place in the hearts of many sci-fi enthusiasts and scientists alike. Best known for his novels The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Invisible Man, Wells’s work is renowned for its prescience and has been revisited and adapted many times, so modern do some of his fears and preoccupations seem.

The Crystal Egg is a short story written 1897. Set in a grimily familiar depiction of Victorian London, it is a disturbing piece combining an almost Dickensian family-run curiosity shop, a pleasing account of scientific method and altogether more eerie references to portals into other worlds and alien beings.

I asked the show’s producer, Mike Archer, and director, Elif Knight to talk me through their interest in Wells, the challenges of adaptation and how Victorian sci-fi sits alongside more contemporary fiction, film and television.

What drew you to HG Wells in general and this story in particular?

Mike Archer: I have been a fan of Wells’s work since I was a boy. I encountered The Crystal Egg in 2005 and was drawn to the idea of it extending the mythos of the invasion from Mars in The War of the Worlds.

Recently, I started to feel the story had something to say about things that are happening in the world right now. When we went back to the story, myself and my partner Luisa Guerreiro thought about how we could use The Crystal Egg as an inspiration, and wanted to adapt it into an invasion story for the now.

Elif Knight: I was aware of HG Wells as a very prescient writer of science fiction. The fact that he had predicted many of the inventions and developments of the 20th century – not least manned flight and the internet – demonstrated that his imagination was not just wide-ranging but also accurate. But the question arose: how to show what an extraordinary piece of work The Crystal Egg is? And when the producers offered me the Vaults as a location, I had my answer – to recreate for the audience the atmosphere of the late nineteenth century, so that they could get a sense of how astonishing Wells’s vision was at that time.

Were there any particular challenges in staging the story?

MA: Yes, several. The biggest for me, was how to honour the source material whilst making it engaging on a relatable level and feeling somewhat fresh. The book is very scientific in its vision, but that scientific vision alone doesn’t necessarily translate to a two hour show.

Denizens of the curiosity shop attempt to unlock the strange object’s secrets.
Denizens of the curiosity shop attempt to unlock the strange object’s secrets. Photograph: Morgan Fraser PR

I like sci-fi to feel real. For me the best kind is when you have a world that is recognisable and believable and sci-fi just so happens to be a part of it. I think that is where the semi-immersive nature of part of the show came from. Bringing the audience, themselves aliens in a foreign world, face-to-face with the creation of Wells. This means you have to have a believable world in which to play. We did a lot of research into the Seven Dials area, the context of the story’s creation and began to extrapolate it out.

EK: That was a challenge : to re-create the slums of Victorian London in the Vaults. For example, with a small cast we had to create a busy market day in the London of 1897. But that is where things get interesting; that’s where I have used other media and interesting sonic and filmic devices to bring the area to life.

Here’s more about the show from the Crystal Egg Live! event page,


An immersive adaptation of H.G. Wells’ mystery novel. Dive in to Victorian London deep underground, using multimedia to enhance your immersive experience.

They Are Watching!

London’s newest immersive, multi-media experience is about to land in a sci-fi extravaganza at The Vaults, Waterloo.

The Crystal Egg Live by H.G. Wells tells the story of Charley Cave. After watching his father dash into the night, Charley is taken in by Uncle Wace, an eccentric old man who, with his dysfunctional family, runs a curiosity shop in London’s Seven Dials Rookery.

When the body of his father is found in the river, Charley inherits the sole possession found with it – a  crystal egg. Believing the object to be of value, the family plan to sell it quickly and improve their lives. However one night Wace makes a chance discovery about this seemingly innocent item, a discovery that threatens to tear the family apart and plunge the world into a greater danger.

Old Lamp Entertainment invites you to The Vaults to uncover the secret for yourself. Fusing multiple art forms including light, sound, video, and performance; this production will bring to life the work of seminal writer H. G. Wells, author of ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Time Machine’ like never before.

Step back into 19th Century London to discover an object of immense power amongst the dusty relics of Wace’s curio shop, and come face to face with creatures of another world.

What would you do if you knew you were being watched? Watched by someone you were not even aware was there?


Preview: 6th January 2018  6.00pm

Performances: 7th- 13th January 2018  4.00pm & 7.30pm daily

Strictly limited run

Press Performance: 7.30pm on 7th January [2018]


£20 – Preview performances

£30 – General Admission

Prices exclude Booking fee

Book online, by phone or in person at V3, 100 Lower Marsh. SE1

To book Step-free or Access tickets, please call 02074019603


Entrance to THE CRYSTAL EGG is via our Leake Street entrance

There may be an age limitation; please phone ahead.

For anyone not familiar with The Vaults, there’s a comprehensive description fo the site and explanation for how to get there. Enjoy!

*’Jan. 6 – 15′ corrected to ‘Jan. 6 – 13’ on January 8, 2018.

Life in 2025 short story competition (for UK residents only)

If you live in the UK, want to write a short story based in the year 2025, and can submit said3000 word story by March 15, 2012, go here. For those who’d like a few more details before committing to a mouse click (from the Guardian’s Unleash your imagination competition page),

Fancy yourself as the next HG Wells, Cormac McCarthy or Margaret Atwood? The Guardian has teamed up with the FutureScapes project to invite all budding writers to submit their visions of the year 2025 to a short story competition.

The winner will have the honour of seeing their story appear alongside work by New York Times bestselling thriller writer Michael Marshall Smith, fantasy children’s author Marcus Sedgwick, Kate Harrison, creator of the Secret Shopper series, “sex and shopping” novelist Lesley Lokko and cultural commentator Markus Albers.

Thanks to changes in the environment, politics, culture and technology, our lives in 2025 are likely to be very different from now. The goal of FutureScapes, a collaboration between Sony and Forum for the Future, is to stimulate creative thinking around just how different our future will be. Not through wild and random imaginings, but informed by the technological changes and cultural shifts that are already underway today.

From 3D printing co-operatives to ultra-efficient energy solutions, the innovations that are being talked out right now may come to maturity over the next decade and radically alter our collective future. How will the human experience change as a result – at home, at work and at play?

Well, a reference to Margaret Atwood who writes what she prefers to call speculative fiction rather than science fiction but no eligibility for Canadians 0r others not resident in the UK. It’s understandable as I suspect they will be flooded with submissions. They do have some stories already from the writers they’ve mentioned (the ones whose stories will be published with the contest winner’s story)  along with some videos to provide inspiration.

Here are the rules (from the Unleash your imagination competition page),

1. The FutureScapes short story competition (the “Competition”) is open to UK residents aged 18 and over (“You”) subject to paragraph 2. below.

2. Employees or agencies of Guardian News & Media Limited (“GNM”, “We”) its group companies or their family members, or anyone else connected with the Competition may not enter the Competition.

3. By entering the Competition you are accepting these terms and conditions.

4. To enter the Competition, you must submit your details on this page, then email a story of no more than 3,000 words to futurescapes.2025@guardian.co.uk. Stories must be about life in 2025 and how and why life has changed. They should address how, in a changed world of 2025, we might need/use new technology to respond to environmental constraints and enhance our day-to-day lives. Stories should primarily be about people, not technologies. All stories must be previously unpublished. They must not reference Sony or any current or future Sony products, FutureScapes or Forum for the Future. It should not mention other existing consumer electronic brands or products. Please include a phone number. If You have any questions about how to enter or in connection with the Competition, please email us at yasmin.al-naama@guardian.co.uk with “FutureScapes short story” in the subject line.

5. You are responsible for the cost (if any) of sending your Competition entry to us.

6. Only one entry is permitted per person.

7. The closing date and time of the Competition is 11:59pm on Thursday 15 March 2012. Entries received after that date and time will not be considered.

8. You own the copyright to your Competition entry as its author.

9. By submitting an entry to the Competition, You give GNM and Sony:

a. Permission for your entry to be published on guardian.co.uk and grant GNM a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide licence to republish your Competition entry in electronic format and hard copy for purposes connected with the Competition; and

b. The right to use your name and town or city of residence for the sole purpose of identifying You as the author of your entry and/or as a winner of the Competition

c. Permission for your entry to be published on sony.co.uk/futurescapes

10. Your entry must be your own work, must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that You do not have permission to use and must not otherwise be obscene, defamatory or in breach of any applicable legislation or regulations. If We have reason to believe your entry is not your own work or otherwise breaches this paragraph 10, then We may not consider it.

Picking the winner
11 . A Guardian representative will create a shortlist of five stories from all Competition entries. A panel of judges will choose one winning entry from the shortlist. Full details of the judging process and the judges are available on request to yasmin.al-naama@guardian.co.uk

12. When choosing the winner, the judges will be looking for originality, well-crafted and thought-provoking pieces of writing.

13. The judges’ decision of who the winner and shortlisted writers are will be made on or before 22 March. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The Prizes
14. One winner will win the opportunity to have their short story published on this Guardian microsite, as well as on Sony’s website and promoted via Sony channels alongside the professional authors. The winner will also win a Sony Tablet and a Sony eReader. Four runners-up will receive a Sony e-reader.

15. The winner and runners-up will be notified by GNM by email on 22 March 2012. If the winner does not respond to GNM between 23 March and 25 March then the prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to declare an alternative winner from the shortlist. The four runners-up will have to respond to the phone call or email from GNM within 28 days or else they will also forfeit their prize and GNM shall be entitled to select other runners-up.

16. Details of the winner and their winning entry will also be published on guardian.co.uk/futurescapes on 28 March 2012 or (at GNM’s sole discretion) at a later date.

17. The prizes cannot be exchanged or transferred by You and cannot be redeemed by You for cash or any other prize. You must pay all other costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.

18. We retain the right to substitute the prize with another prize of similar value in the event that the original prize offered is not available.

Some other rules
19. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed.

20. We take no responsibility for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt.

21. Details of the winner can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: FutureScapes short story competition, Yasmin Al-Na’ama, Guardian News & Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU.

22. No purchase is necessary.

23. The winner may be required for promotional activity.

24. The Promoter of the Competition is Guardian News & Media Limited whose address is Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Any complaints regarding the Competition should be sent to this address.

25. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude the liability of GNM for death, personal injury, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation as a result of its negligence.

26. GNM accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by You as a result of entering the Competition or accepting any prize. GNM further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to You or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition.

27. GNM reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of GNM in all matters under its control is final and binding.

28. GNM shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.

29. The Competition will be governed by English law.

As for submitting your story, there’s a form that must be filled out on the Unleash your imagination competition page, once you’ve done that you can email your story to: futurescapes.2025@guardian.co.uk. Good luck!