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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

This classic 1898 science fiction novel has teeth to it, and it’s not just the Martians. The War of the Worlds is a lot more thoughtfully written than I had remembered. In between deadly heat rays, huge tripod machines striding around the country killing everything in their path, and bloodthirsty Ma

Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read you a wire addressed to Professor Pierson from Dr. Gray of the National History Museum, New York. "9:15 P. M. eastern standard time. Seismograph registered shock of almost earthquake intensity occurring within a radius of twenty miles of Princeton. Please investiga

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. 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 (Introduction)

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 agains

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

I acknowledge that I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the recent "War of the Worlds" movie. The reason for this has to do more with the original book than Tom Cruise or Steven Speilburg's tendency to wittle everything, including alien attacks, down to simple family problems. In a lot of

You would think that as Man grows in intelligence he would likewise grow in morality. But you would be wrong. Or at least, that is what history teaches us. About a hundred years before Harvard professor Robert Coles wrote his now famous article “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character,” H.G. W

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost

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

This was not anything like the Tom Cruise movie so be warned. If you’re expecting an action story about a divorced union container crane operator with a 10 year old daughter you ain’t gonna find it here. They changed like 99% of everything around. As far as I could see there are only two things whic

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