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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

Community Reviews

Written in 1897, The War of the Worlds is one of the earliest stories about mankind and aliens. Many consider this book to be the inception of the science fiction genre.

This story is relatively straightforward: An unknown man is going about his life in jolly old England when aliens invade, causing

I swear that I read this when I was younger, but when I went to add this to Goodreads as a re-read (it was the January selection for my Completist Book Club), I did not find it in my list. And, because this is one of those books that has a plot people tend to know because of movies and/or its genera

you've heard of The Book Was Better, now get ready for The Old-Timey Radio Adaptation Was Better

this was very impressive for its time, but...

hard to live up to a radio show so immersive and captivatingly realistic it tricked a bunch of dweebs from the past into thinking we were being invaded by alie

I didn't listen to the novel-novel, but I listened to a radio adaptation performed by some fan-favorite cast members of Star Trek. <--Leonard Nimoy is amazing.
It was cool as hell.

And hilarious.
Because it doesn't really have a Big Battle or anything that humanity has to do to overcome these invaders.

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. — H. G.

Paraphrasing Whitehead, I would say that the safest general characterisation of the science-fiction tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to H. G. Wells. Indeed, The War of the Worlds is probably the most influential novel of the whole science fiction genre, as well as a significant

Invading aliens have never been that ridiculously incompetent

That´s an often seen problem in classic sci-fi, the authors didn´t really care about thinking too much about logic or readers' problems with suspension of disbelief, they just wanted to tell their story. As long as there were no other gen

Read as part of the Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

The War of the Worlds goes beyond the of-the-time popular military invasion fiction, which took away the standard protagonist/antagonist arc of single characters and popped whole countries or tribes in

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