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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

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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