As long as I could remember, I’ve read science fiction, using among very first stories I devoured more than 50 years ago being H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. It set the standard against which all future first-contact, alien-invasion stories are all judged, and remains entertaining today, nearly 125 years after it was printed serially in a British magazine. Why did the Royal Mint get the design for its just declared Herbert George Wells coin so wrong?

The 2 coin, available in multiple variations, pays tribute to 3 of Wells’ classic books: The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds.

Wait a minute, why does the tripod have four legs?

In a design choice that’s unfathomable, the Martian Tripod has four legs on the coin, not the 3 legs explained in the publication. The website Tor.com at a post printed Jan. 5 writes,”Four legs. C’mon.”

Additionally, since the science fiction website adds, the layout element for The Invisible Man is wrong as well. The figure is showing wearing a high hat; the character in the publication instead wore a”wide-brimmed hat” Additionally, the title character bandaged his face to obscure his invisibility in people when sporting clothing; he did not walk around with his invisible face not on view between his hat and suit of clothing. As one reader at Tor.com wrote in a comment, the figure appears more like”DC Comics villain Gentleman Ghost.”

Coin designer Chris Costello said of his design choices,”The figures from War of the Worlds have been depicted many times, and I wanted to create something original and contemporary. My design takes inspiration from many different machines featured in the book–including tripods as well as the handling machines which have five star legs and multiple appendages. We discussed several styles of hats for The Invisible Man, including the wide-brimmed hat cited in his book, and determined that the top-hat was easily recognized as Victorian era compared to the futuristic machine in the background. …”

While the plan is attractive and artistic license is all good and well, adding a leg into some Tripod is infuriating into some science fiction reader. It would be like turning Peter Rabbit into Peter the Cat.

The design of the Wells coin, sadly, may well turn off science fiction fans.

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