Welcome to the Martians! We now live in a world stranger than science fiction | Salon.com

In an age of surging authoritarianism, our world is increasingly like science fiction – and not in a good way

By Tom Engelhardt, Published November 26, 2021 4:00AM (EST)

Donald Trump | Aliens (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Who knew that Martians, inside monstrous tripodal machines taller than many buildings, actually ululated, that they made eerily haunting “ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla” sounds? Well, let me tell you that they do — or rather did when they were devastating London.

I know that because I recently reread H.G. Wells’s 1898 novel “War of the Worlds,” while revisiting an early moment in my own life. Admittedly, I wasn’t in London when those Martian machines, hooting away, stalked boldly into that city, hungry in the most literal fashion imaginable for human blood. No surprise there, since that was almost a century and a quarter ago. Still, at 77, thanks to that book, I was at least able to revisit a moment that had been mine long enough ago to seem almost like fiction.

Editor’s Note: This is about authoritarianism, Trump, and attacks on American Democracy.

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