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The World of H.G. Wells

Van Wyck Brooks

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .of "light and clean and shimmering shapes of silvered steel"; steel and iron have for him the transcendental charm that harebells and primroses had for Wordsworth. A world like that in The Sleeper Awakes—a world of gigantic machines, air fleets, and the "swimming shadows and enormous shapes" of an engineer's nightmare—is only by afterthought, one feels, the speculation of a sociologist. It expresses the primitive relish of a constructive instinct. It expresses also a sheer curiosity about the future.

In a chapter of his book on America Wells has traced the development of what he calls his prophetic habit of mind as a passage through four stages: the millennial stage of an evangelical childhood when an imminent Battle of Armageddon was a natural thing to be looked for; the stage of ultimate biological possibilities; the stage of prediction by the rule-of-three; and a final stage of cautious anticipation based upon the study of existing facts—a gr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I hadn't read this classic (1898!) science fiction novel since I was probably a teenager, and I didn't particularly care for it much back then, but I let myself get roped into a group read of it, partly because it's so short. And also my literary diet needs more classics. And you know? I'm glad I...more

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 invest...more

"Las obras de Mr. Wells pertenecen, sin duda, a un tiempo y un grado de conocimiento científico futuro muy alejado del presente, pero no completamente fuera de los límites de lo posible."
Julio Verne

Ya lo he afirmado en reseñas anteriores. La capacidad de anticipación a la tecnología y el futuro...more

الإنسان لا يحيا و لا يموت هباء
و لكن اتى النهار الذي ستعرف فيه المدينة اي هول كانت ترقد فوقه لالاف السنين
لقد انطلق الرعب في الشوارع في صورة مركبات ثلاثية الارجل ..يوقظها برق فتخرج من باطن الارض
لتحرق و تدهس و تنشر الفناء و تسرق الامان ..و يلاحظ ان ويلز حرص على ان يكون الشر كامنا في باطن ارضنا..بي...more

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 signific...more

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...more

“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 almo...more

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...more

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 w...more

One of my favorite movies growing up was the old War of the Worlds movie – the ‘50’s film, not the itty-bitty Tommy remake. I had to watch it each and every time it played on television. The same running dialogue would go on inside my head: “Cowardly dudes, don’t wave that white flag, they’re Mar...more

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