Untrue Stories

6. The Wonderful Visit

Episode Summary

Orwell, Wells and their pals gather in 1948 for the astonishing season finale.

Episode Notes

Orwell, Wells and their pals gather in 1948 for the astonishing season finale. 

Wells arrives back on  the Isle of Jura with an uninvited guest, where things come to a head as even more time travelling science fiction writers arrive to interfere. 


The music was by Robin Johnson, and sound effects were sourced from freesound.org.

A transcript of this episode is available here

This episode marks Untrue Stories' first season finale. Producing Untrue Stories is the most fun I've had for ages. I'd like to thank everybody in the cast for being part of my daft thing, and the audiodrama communities on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, who are all much nicer than the ambient niceness on those hellsites. We're of course indebted to all the speculative fiction writers we've messed about with—George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Ursula Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Asimov, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Alice Ilgenfritz Jones, Ella Merchant, John Wyndham, and any I've forgotten—and to you for listening. Thank you!

If you've enjoyed the show, we'd love it if you could leave us a rating on iTunes, Spotify, Podchaser or your favourite podcast site/app — and tell your friends! 

Follow us on 

If you would like to help cover our costs, you can tip us at ko-fi.com/untruestories or buy Untrue Stories merch at our zazzle store

Robin can be contacted at robindouglasjohnson@gmail.com. Share and Enjoy!

Episode Transcription

ROBIN: The story you are about to hear is untrue.

LISELLE: Previously on Untrue Stories...

[From mini-episode "Exile to Hell"]

[FX: Clinking of prison locks]

ORWELL: Isaac Asimov.

ASIMOV: I ended up in here 'cause I wouldn't make your stupid robots?

ORWELL: Have you heard of Room 101? Where we keep the worst thing in the world.

[From episode 4]

ORWELL: This meeting of the People's Glorious Board of Dictatorship is hereby—

[FX: Gun click]

ORWELL: Ray Bradbury? What are you doing?

BRADBURY: I believe it's called a coup-de-tat. Take him away.

[From episode 5]

WELLS: Morlocks!

MORLOCK: If we choose to feast on our fellow humans' succulent flesh, what of it? It's delicious.

MORLOCK: Raaarrr!

WELLS: Aaargh!

[FX: Bicycle accelerating. Footsteps running through grass. Boing! Thump]

WELLS: Aaah!

[Roars/screams warp into bicycle bell]

[FX: Sci-fi timey-wimey temporal conduit noise]

WELLS: [Shouting over the noise] Let... go of me!

MORLOCK: [Shouting] No!

WELLS: The bicycle's... not supposed... to carry two.

MORLOCK: If I let go... what will... happen to me?

WELLS: It's safe... You'll fall... into the temporal conduit... and undergo rapid... hyperchronic... calcification.

MORLOCK: What... does that mean?

WELLS: You'll turn... into a skeleton.

MORLOCK: You said... it was safe.

WELLS: I meant... for me.

MORLOCK: I'll take... my chances... on the bike, thanks.

WELLS: I can't steer!


WELLS: We'll be lucky if we don't end up in the Precambrian—


[FX: Timey-wimey noise comes to a crescendo, then stops. Sound like a cork popping from a bottle. Rain. Bagpipes. Bike crashing into plant]


WELLS: I'm sorry, Mrs Watchett.

MORLOCK: Looks late Anthropocene to me.

MRS WATCHETT: I've been cultivating that bush for twenty years.

WELLS: So... since... 1928?

MRS WATCHETT: Yes, well done.

WELLS: [Triumphantly] Yes!

MORLOCK: Good cycling. Apart from when you hit the rosebush.

MRS WATCHETT: Can't be helped. What's your blue friend's name?

WELLS: I'm not sure he has one.

MORLOCK: Not have one? It's Nebogipfel. Thank you for asking, Mrs Watchett.

MRS WATCHETT: Good to meet you, Mr Nebogipfel. Mr Wells, your niece is in the house with Mr Orwell, some sort of policewoman with a raygun, [slightly confused] another one of yourself, and an old gentleman in an iron lung. I'm off to meet Mrs Finnegan for a bun. Whatever you're getting up to, just clean up afterwards, eh.

[FX: Garden gate

Shuffle of plants. Squeak of glass being rubbed]

WELLS: Don't press your nose on the window. You look like a child outside a sweet shop.

[FX: Muffled sound of dialogue from episode 4, accompanied by the pneumatic pump of an iron lung.]

MORLOCK: I've never seen this many pureblood humans in one place before.

WELLS: This is the day Big Brother came back. He's the fellow in the iron lung.

MORLOCK: Ah, tinned food. Who's the tall chap with the feet that look like they'd go well with parsnips?

WELLS: That's actually the same fellow only younger. George Orwell. Another writer. We don't get on very well. He says the future's going to be horrible. I suppose he's right.

MORLOCK: [Mildly offended] I'm standing right here, you know.

WELLS: In about thirty years he'll take over the world and throw me in a prison camp. That last bit's a guess, but it's the sort of thing he'd do. And the lady in the uniform is called Rutherford. She's a sort of time-travelling policeman. And the other lady—

MORLOCK: Is that Julia?

WELLS: Yes. Bit younger, but—oh. Julia must have rigged the bike to bring us back here. I certainly wasn't controlling it myself. And she said if I brought you here, you could sort everything out. Any idea what you're supposed to do? And don't say "eat someone".

MORLOCK: What if I am supposed to eat someone? We're in the past. May as well step on some butterflies.

[FX: Door opening.]

WELLS: We can't go in there!

MORLOCK: Why not?

WELLS: Anything could happen.

MORLOCK: Sounds fun.

[FX: Door opening]

RUTHERFORD: Big Brother says you should both come in.

[FX: Rain fades.

Iron lung noise fades in.]


WELLS: Hello, Big Brother. Hello, Julia. Hello, Rutherford. Hello, Wells... George.

ORWELL: Hello, again.

WELLS: Hello, Wells.

ORWELL: This is going to get confusing. Can one of you wear a hat, or something?

WELLS: Er, all right. You take the hat, Wells.

ORWELL: Give him the hat, Wells.

WELLS: No, Wells, you have the hat. I insist.

RUTHERFORD: One of you wear the hat. It doesn't matter who.

WELLS: All right, I'll wear the hat. There, is that better?

JULIA: Er, which one of you is which?

WELLS: I'm the one with the hat.

JULIA: Oh, of course.

WELLS/WELLS: [Simultaneously] Good.

RUTHERFORD: Wells, you might not know this yet, but you're a fugitive. I'm going to have to arrest one of you. Or maybe both.

BIG BROTHER: Stand down, Rutherford. I haven't got to that bit yet.

OLD WELLS: [Tinny effect] George, you said I could tell this bit.

ORWELL: There's... two of you in there?

OLD WELLS: Move over.

BIG BROTHER: I am moving.

[FX: Metal clangs]

OLD WELLS: You're on my half.

BIG BROTHER: You're on my half.




BIG BROTHER: Get your elbow out of my face.

OLD WELLS: Get your face out of my elbow!

[FX: Shuffling]

OLD WELLS: Hullo everybody!

JULIA: Another Wells? How old are you?

OLD WELLS: [Cheerily] It's not polite of you to ask, and it's certainly not polite of me to incinerate you with the heat ray built into this modified iron lung, so don't ask again. Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

No one would have believed, in the middle-to-late years of the twentieth century, that a chap like George here could actually succeed in overthrowing a superpower. With infinite complacency, men went about their affairs, serene in their assurance of—

BIG BROTHER: Get on with it.

OLD WELLS: [Snapping] All right. [Petulantly, quickly] One day I was listening to the radio.

[FX: Iron lung fades out.

Radio fades in.]

RADIO ANNOUNCER: [From episode 4] And the newcomer, George Arthur Orwell, three hundred and thirty-two seats.

WELLS: Good lord, he's done it.

[FX: Electric doorbell buzzes.

Radio voice continues, muted. Door opens.]

WELLS: Do I know you?

RUTHERFORD: Chief Inspector Rutherford, Thought Police.

WELLS: Thought Police?

RUTHERFORD: It's a new thing. Let me explain. You heard of the Gestapo? Stasi? KGB?


RUTHERFORD: Hah! Lollipop men. Take him!

[FX: Violent scuffling. Glass breaking.]

WELLS: Hey! [Muffled] Ow! What's the bag for?

RUTHERFORD: It's traditional. Move out!

[FX: Scuffling and radio fade out. Quietly, as the scene fades:]

CONSTABLE: One moment, guv.

[FX: Glass smashing]


[Helicopter fades in.]

WELLS: Where are you taking me?

RUTHERFORD: Inner Hebrides Joycamp. Formerly Jura. It's a long ride.

WELLS: Joycamp? [Uncertainly] That sounds nice?

RUTHERFORD: It isn't. It's a prison colony.

WELLS: Why's it called a joycamp?

RUTHERFORD: That's Newspeak. Another of Big Brother's ideas.

WELLS: Newspeak? Big Brother?

RUTHERFORD: Did you even read the book?

WELLS: No. It was boring and didn't have any airships.

RUTHERFORD: Newspeak is a revision of the English language that makes propaganda easier and original thought more difficult. Basically, we call things what they're not.

WELLS: Oh. We used to call that Opposite Day.

RUTHERFORD: What? No, it's not like that at all.

WELLS: Oh, I see! Not like Opposite Day.

RUTHERFORD: Stop winking.

WELLS: How d'you know I'm winking? You put this bag on my head.

RUTHERFORD: I just know. We'll start simple. My desig is Thinkpolchief Rutherford. What's your desig?

WELLS: My name's not Herbert.

RUTHERFORD: [Impatiently] No, that's not it.

[FX: Helicopter fades out and in to indicate passage of time.]

RUTHERFORD: I have two bitedogs. Do you have beastrades?

WELLS: No. But in smallhood I kept—

RUTHERFORD: Keeped. We getted rid of all unregular constructs, remember.

WELLS: Keeped... rabbits?


WELLS: Hopcats.

RUTHERFORD: My amusecrafts contain kickmatch, hillwalk, and stringmake. Have you amusecrafts?

WELLS: Yes. I pluslike writing liebooks, riding my twowheel, playing—er, golf?

RUTHERFORD: Bougeball.

WELLS: —bougeball, and timetravel.

RUTHERFORD: Just timetrav. And where do you home?

WELLS: I home in Hampstead.


WELLS: [Grimly] I home in Inner Hebrides Joycamp.

RUTHERFORD: Plusgood, Herbert. You get a star.

[FX: Helicopter fades out.

Iron lung noise fades back in.]

OLD WELLS: I was put in Nerdblock, with all the other science fiction writers who'd refused to be part of George's regime.

BIG BROTHER: [Fading] Yes, and it was too good for you.

[FX: Iron lung fades out.

Prison canteen ambience fades in—ehoey conversations, clinking of cutlery]

ASIMOV: [Muttering] So George or Big Brother asks me to make him a bunch of robots. And I refuse.

WELLS: Anyone sitting here?

ASIMOV: It ain't reserved. [Muttering] Then he says it's not because of the robots, it's because in some parallel timeline I wrote a shitty review of his book.

WELLS: Asimov... I know you got your Room 101. That was a rotten trick.

ASIMOV: And I hated the book because the book didn't have robots. I mean, what sorta book doesn't have robots? But this world, right, this is the book, ain't it? Some time travelling putz writes it down and takes it back in time and gets it published. So the reason there's no robots in that book, is I didn't make 'em.

LE GUIN: Mind if I sit here?

ASIMOV: I can't stop you.

WELLS: Excuse my friend Isaac. He got his 101 yesterday. Please join us. Oh, but I'm forgetting my manners.

[FX. Click. Radio crackle]

TELESCREEN: Zero one eight one Wells H.G.! No hat-doffing in the canteen.

[FX: Zap]

WELLS: —aagh!

[FX: Radio crackle stops. Click.

Chair being pulled up]

LE GUIN: Ursula Le Guin. What is this slop, anyway?

WELLS: Mashed triffid. I heard John Wyndham got put in charge of agriculture.

ASIMOV: They dangle your dreams in front of you, then pull 'em away.

LE GUIN: That's how they got me. My dream, my solution to all of this—politics, the culture wars, everything—

ASIMOV: There is no solution.

LE GUIN: And that was my solution. There've always been two sides and there always will be. Once we accept that, all we needed was for one of the sides to move.

WELLS: Move where?

LE GUIN: To another planet, of course.

WELLS: [Dawning realisation] You're the one that tried to steal the spaceship.

LE GUIN: That's right. The Integral. Designed by Zamyatin himself. Fifty of us, all science fiction writers. Years of planning. A clean break from history, a new start for humanity, just the good guys, moving to Mars. Enough supplies to set up a colony for thousands, and then we'd send shuttles back for the rest. Launch night came. We raided the base at midnight, got aboard the ship... much too easily. Started the countdown. But when it got to zero—nothing. It never was a spaceship. It was my Room 101. They swept in and they took me first and they put me in here. I never saw what happened to the rest of them.

ASIMOV: If they were science fiction writers, they would have been brought here. Unless—

LE GUIN: Yeah. Unless.


WELLS: I'm sorry.

LE GUIN: So what was your Room 101?

WELLS: My Room 101? All of this. Oceania, this future... George Orwell being right.

ASIMOV: But he wasn't right. Not if he had to make the world this way himself. That's like betting on a bougeball game and then landscaping the course.

WELLS: You know, a funny thing happened yesterday. He poked his head into my cell.

LE GUIN: Orwell? He was here? Is that what the lockdown was about?

WELLS: Yes. Just said he'd catch up with me later. [Conspiratorially] But he grabbed my hand, and he surreptitiously passed me this scrap of paper.

[FX: Paper unfolding]

ASIMOV: What's it say?

WELLS: "Omelas".

ASIMOV: That mean anything?

LE GUIN: Let me see that!

WELLS: Well? What does it mean?

LE GUIN: It's from a story. One of mine. Omelas is a utopian city... but the happiness of thousands depends on the suffering of one. It's what inspires them to build a better world.

WELLS: That doesn't make any sense to me.

LE GUIN: It's not for you. It's for me.

[FX: Prison ambience fades out]

WELLS: [Fading] Why'd he give it to me, then?

[FX: Iron lung fades back in]

OLD WELLS: Hang on... weren't there two more of me when I started speaking?

JULIA: I think so.

RUTHERFORD: Yeah, there were two.

ORWELL: Were there?

JULIA: Yes, because one of them had a hat and one didn't.

WELLS: Yes, there was another one of me. Sitting right here in between me and—


MORLOCK: What? Oh. Oh, the two of you sort of... merged.

WELLS: I didn't feel anything.

MORLOCK: I saw it, you... merged.

WELLS: Did you—

MORLOCK: [Belch]

WELLS: That's my shoelace hanging out of your mouth.

MORLOCK: Well... maybe I had just one...

WELLS: You pale blue—


ORWELL: Calm down, Wells.

WELLS: Calm down?! He ate me! And my hat!

MORLOCK: You're still here, aren't you? It's not like I took the last one.

[FX: Distant sci-fi bleeping, continuing throughout this the scene, and occasional short bursts of X-files-esque music]

ORWELL: Something's happening outside.

WELLS: Didn't take the last one? [Worked up] This isn't about politeness! I mean, I don't think there's an entry for 'cannibalism' in Hartley's Book of Etiquette, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable.

ORWELL: I'm going to get a better look.

[FX: Door opens. Bleeping and music are briefly louder and clearer. Door shuts.]

BIG BROTHER: Oh, that's our cue. We should be getting away.

JULIA: What's that in the sky??

OLD WELLS: Nice seeing you all. Sorry you got eaten, Herbert. If I'd remembered I'd have said something.

LE GUIN: [Tinny filter] Is this where I get out?

[FX: Door]

MORLOCK: How many of you are in there?

WELLS: I don't know, a medium side portion maybe.

MORLOCK: Oh, get over it.

LE GUIN: Move your leg, Wells... mmph...

[FX: Metal clangs]

OLD WELLS: Well, don't go that way... ow!

LE GUIN: Sorry... can you sort of...

OLD WELLS: Er, if I move this way, maybe you can climb over...


[FX: Slump]

LE GUIN: ...Aaaand I'm out. Thanks for the ride, boys.

JULIA: Guys, there's something happening out there.

LE GUIN: Oh yeah. There is. Come on, let's go see.

[FX: Door opens and closes.]

BIG BROTHER: Right. Now we're going.

OLD WELLS: Yes, that's us off. Anyone need a lift?

RUTHERFORD: Can you drop me off a couple of days ago? Got to meet a man in a tree.

OLD WELLS: Of course. The more the merrier. Climb in.

[FX: Footsteps on metal ladder. Clanging]

RUTHERFORD: If you could maybe—give me a hand?


RUTHERFORD: Sorry! [Tinny filter] Cozy, isn't it? Oh, I nearly forgot. Herbert George Wells, you're under arrest for thoughtcrime. Gonna have to take a detour to drop you off at the joycamp.

OLD WELLS: Oh, that's quite all right. That's where I meet George and tell him we have unfinished business. The day he got deposed. Remember, George? When you got deposed?

BIG BROTHER: Yes, thank you, I remember getting deposed.

OLD WELLS: That was your 101, wasn't it? Getting deposed. By young Ray Bradbury, as I recall.

BIG BROTHER: Yes, it was Bradbury. But then he got deposed as well.

RUTHERFORD: Then I loaded the both of you in the helicopter but when we landed, Bradbury was gone and Wells was there.

OLD WELLS: Ah, that's because after we're done here, we're going to sneak into the helicopter...

[FX: Iron lung fades out.

Helicopter noise fades in. Muffled dialogue from episode 4, in the background under this scene.]

ORWELL: [Muffled] Where are you taking us? Untie me.

RUTHERFORD: Can’t do that just yet, sir.

[Dialogue from episode 4 continues in background throughout the scene.

FX: Time travel arrival noise.

Footsteps descending a metal ladder. Fabric rustling]


OLD WELLS: Ssshhhh... [Quietly] it's all right, Ray, we're here to rescue you. Now I'm just going to put the bag on my head... if you could tie my wrists? Ah, that takes me back.

BRADBURY: Is that an iron lung?

BIG BROTHER: Get in, Bradbury.

[FX: Footsteps on metal ladder]

BRADBURY: [Tinny filter] Big Brother? But you're right over—

[Pause. ORWELL's dialogue from episode 4 can be heard clearly.]

BIG BROTHER: Consider this an executive pardon. I'll explain on the way. See you later, Wells. Or earlier, or whatever.

OLD WELLS: See you soon, George!

[Time travel departure noise. Background dialogue and helicopter noise stop.

Iron lung noise fades back in, as well as bleeping, now accompanied by continuous eerie music]

OLD WELLS: Very neat operation it's going to be.

WELLS: So where will—where did Bradbury go?

OLD WELLS: Funny you should ask, Herbert, because if I recall correctly, you're about to find out.

ORWELL: (Distant) Wells! Get out here, you'll want to see this!

OLD WELLS: Good luck from here on, because I'm afraid this is where it starts to get a bit complicated.

WELLS: Bye, Herbert!

[FX: Door]

OLD WELLS: Cheerio, Nebogipfel.

MORLOCK: Safe journey.

WELLS: And don't eat me again, you little rascal. Push that button, would you, George?

BIG BROTHER: I can't reach that button, it's on your side—

[FX: Metal clanging]

OLD WELLS: Well, your knee's in the way—

RUTHERFORD: I've got it. It's this one, right?

[FX: Sci-fi noise like a large piece of equipment charging up...]

OLD WELLS: No, that's the heat—

[FX: Very loud ZAP!]

OLD WELLS: —ray.

[FX: Bricks fall. Fire starts crackling, continuing for the rest of the scene.]

MORLOCK: Aaaaagh!

BIG BROTHER: You've squashed the Morlock!

OLD WELLS: [Quietly] Oh dear.

[FX: Garden gate swing.]


OLD WELLS: This is the temporal displacement button.

[FX: Time travel departure noise.

Sci-fi music slows and becomes lower.]

JULIA: Something's landing!

ORWELL: What the hell is it?

LE GUIN: It's a flying saucer, what d'you think it is?

[Music stops. Noise of something touching down.]

MRS WATCHETT: My nasturtiums!

[FX: Hiss of hydraulid door opening. Footsteps on metal. Short burst of X-Files-esque music.]

LE GUIN: Everyone, these are the Martians. Kim Stanley Robinson.

ROBINSON: How's it going?

LE GUIN: Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant.

MERCHANT: Evenin'.

LE GUIN: Edgar Rice Burroughs. And Ray Bradbury.

BRADBURY: The others are all waiting for you, back in Omelas.

LE GUIN: Omelas. [Laughter] You sneaky bastards.

[Theme music starts quietly, fading in under the remaining lines]

BRADBURY: I'm sorry we couldn't tell you, Ursula. But someone had to stay down here. Knowing you were stuck in that joycamp eating mashed triffid, that's what drove us. Humbled us. Made us strive for a better planet.

ORWELL: That makes no sense at all.

LE GUIN: It's okay. I get it. I wrote it.

WELLS: What's going on? What is this, The War of the Worlds?

BRADBURY: No, no, no. [Pause] That's what comes next.

[Theme music reaches full volume, then fades under credits]

ROBIN: Untrue Stories was written and produced by Robin Johnson, and starred Robin Johnson as George Orwell and Big Brother, Patrick Spragg as H. G. Wells, H. G. Wells and H. G. Wells, Liselle Nic Giollabhain as Chief Rutherford, Rachel Pulliam as Ursula Le Guin, Alexander Walsh as Isaac Asimov, Tara Court as Julia, Canavan Connolly as the Morlock, David Court as Ray Bradbury, and Joanna Lawrie as Mrs Watchett, with additional voices by Eve Morris, Alexander Walsh and Robin Johnson. The music was by Robin Johnson and sound effects were sourced from freesound dot org. Producing the first season of Untrue Stories is the most fun I have had for ages. I would like to thank everybody in the cast for being part of my daft thing, the audiodrama communities on twitter, facebook and reddit, who are all much nicer than the ambient niceness on those hellsites. We're of course indebted to George Orwell, H. G. Wells, Ursula Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and every other speculative fiction writer we've played with, and to you for listening.

If you've enjoyed the show and you'd like to help us out, the best way you can do that is tell your friends about us. The second best way is to leave us a positive rating or review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Goodpods, or whatever site or app you use. And the third best way is to donate a little money to cover our hosting costs, via our ko-fi tip jar or by buying merchandise from our redbubble store. You can find those links in this episode's show notes, along with our social media. Follow us at untrue underscore stories on twitter, untrue dot stories on instagram, and untruestoriespodcast on facebook. Untrue Stories will be returning with more exciting, astonishing and entirely untrue adventures in season two.

Thank you!