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The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

In the story, an English gentleman narrates the events of a violent and fast paced Martian invasion.

The frightening images of people fleeing from gigantic tripod machines and the prospect of life under Martian rule have served as a bottomless well of inspiration for popular culture. The novel has served as a template for many derivative or inspired works, including comics, countless books, a tv series, several films, a bestselling musical, and the famous Orson Wells broadcast. Overall, The War of the Worlds has become an early milestone in and inspiration for the invasion genre.

The novel demonstrates Wells’ typical pessimistic outlook on human nature and offers a good deal of critisism on society and people’s ignorance and vanity. The War of the Worlds can be read as an indictment of European colonial actions around the globe at that time – with which the injustice of the Martian invasion can be compared. Wells has since been credited with predicting quite a number of technologies, such as laser-like rays, industrial robot-like machines, and chemical-warfare.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The sun, shining through the smoke that drove up from the tops of the trees, seemed blood red, and threw an unfamiliar lurid light upon everything.

"Stop here," said I; "you are safe here"; and I started off at once for the Spotted Dog, for I knew the landlord had a horse and dog cart. I ran, for I perceived that in a moment everyone upon this side of the hill would be moving. I found him in his bar, quite unaware of what was going on behind his house. A man stood with his back to me, talking to him.

"I must have a pound," said the landlord, "and I've no one to drive it."

"I'll give you two," said I, over the stranger's shoulder.

"What for?"

"And I'll bring it back by midnight," I said.

"Lord!" said the landlord; "what's the hurry? I'm selling my bit of a pig. Two pounds, and you bring it back? What's going on now?"

I explained hastily that I had to leave my home, and so secured the dog cart. At the . . . Read More