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H.G. Well's 1898 science fiction classic, The War of the Worlds, tapped into society's fears about worldwide security and an impending war in Europe. However, it wasn't until forty years later that The War of the Worlds became infamous. On October 30, 1938, the United States was certain that it was under siege by vicious Martians. Thousands of people called the police, many ran from their homes in terror, and some even sought medical attention for shock and hysteria. Martians weren't really invading: Orson Welles, a famous actor, was performing a radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds that conviced listeners an invasion could happen anytime and anywhere.
Published: Aladdin on
ISBN: 9781442458499
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I liked this much more than Well's The Time Machine! Interesting that this too has a first person narration in which the narrator is never named.more
Got it in a book sale one summer when I was quite young -- nine or so, I think -- and scared myself silly with it. Never quite got up the courage to revisit, since then. I remember liking it a lot, but I also remember the nightmares about alien invasions.more
Reading another H.G. Wells novel I first read decades ago was like reading it for the first time. All the film versions, the Orson Welles radio theater, and the derivatives, do not detract from Wells's story. He manages the trick of describing an alien invasion, an event of worldwide importance, from the point of view of an anonymous observer who happens to witness the first landing. The science is out-dated--no radios or computers, for example, but the story left me with a sense Wells himself must have had of the fragility and promise of human life.more
Like his other works, this is social commentary shrouded in science fiction. Much more likable protagonist than Verne's Axel, but tells a similar tale of late 19th century civilization.more
As my first foray into the world of Sci Fi, I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of everything, the emotional battles, the difficult people encountered and the scientific rationing of how to deal with and vanquish the Martians.

I even really enjoyed the Science vs Faith interplay, and relish the crushing defeat of the Martians at the hands of... well, I won't say for spoiler's sake.

H.G. Wells... I shall read more of you soon.more
As a science fiction fan, I have always been interested in reading The War of the Worlds, since it's the first of its kind. The modern movie with Tom Cruise put me off a little bit, even though I know it was vastly different than the novel. However, I finally got around to reading it and thought it was pretty good.Told mostly in first-person narrative, the novel starts off with cylinders landing on Earth. The Martians look like sickly, ungainly creatures barely able to survive on Earth, but then prove otherwise, using their heat rays and gigantic killing machines to wreak havoc on England.If you're looking for story with a lot of character development, look elsewhere. This is a novel solely focused on its plot. The narrator is basically the same person from beginning to end, just a little bit more jaded from war near the end. However, the plot is fantastic and moves along at a brisk pace. Wells does an excellent job in painting a picture of terror and war. I really enjoyed the suspense and thriller aspects of the novels. Also, it's simply interesting to see how this novel has influenced modern interpretations of science fiction and alien invasions.There are a lot of moments in this story that seemed convenient or forced; of course the main character would be trapped in a room with a peep hole so that he can observe the Martians and describe them; of course had a brother in London who lived to be able to relate those events, etc. This slightly bothered me, but it did further the story and provide a better picture of what was going on. Though I wish Wells would have used some other methods of conveying this information, I can see the dilemma of wanting to provide a seemingly-real firsthand account while also being able to provide all the details.Also, the narrator bothered me. He always seemed to know best and know more than everyone else, and I didn't really see justification for those thoughts. But, that's more of a personal issue.I do think this is best enjoyed when you have some knowledge of the historical context in which its written. It is imbued with the scientific thoughts of its time, as well as political and social ideas. (Namely, the idea of colonialism.) Understanding all of that makes The War of the Worlds a much better and more interesting story.Overall, I liked this novel. It's interesting to see how our ideas of aliens and alien invasion stories have developed, and it's simply an entertaining, dramatic story -- there were times where I held my breath in anticipation for what would happen next. I would recommend this for fans of science fiction and classics lovers.more
Loved this book. Bit slow and lengthy at times but a great plot and great theme to it. Hardcore sci fi right here. :)more
Not quite the first alien invasion novel, or the first dystopian novel, or the first “contact” novel, but certainly the best that combined all three. Serialised beforehand and eventually published as a novel in 1898, this could be seen as the book that launched the whole new genre of science fiction. Sure H G Wells had dabbled before with The Time Machine, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Invisible Man and even The Wonderful Visit, but The War of the Worlds, puts it all together to make a wonderful reading experience. How it must have fired the imagination of Well’s Victorian audience, because it still has the power to resonate today. The story of the Invaders from Mars is well known to most readers and there have been comic strip versions, radio broadcasts and spectacular film versions, so there is no need to detail the plot here, but re-reading it this week still made some aspects leap off the page at me. For a start most of the action takes place in the south west Home Counties that surround London, I was born and bred in that area and so when Wells places his startling events around Chertsey and Weybridge and then Twickenham, Richmond and Barnes I am right there with him. This gives the whole novel a parochial feel for me and indeed it is parochial because most of the action takes place in those sleepy small towns that in Victorian times were not a part of Greater London. The books big theme is an alien invasion and yet it all appears to be happening next door to where I lived. Of course at the time of writing, England was probably the most powerful of the colonial powers and so setting an invasion of the world around the outskirts of London made perfect sense.Well’s novel takes place in his present day and so the novel has a wonderfully authentic Victorian feel, here people are fleeing from the monstrous war machines on bicycles and horses and carts, the army is very slow to respond and when it does it feels amateurish, there is no ease of communication and people are unaware of what is happening around them but when they do see the carnage, there is shock, then fright, then confusion It must have felt very real to Well’s Victorian readers and it felt real for me reading it in 2013. Wells uses a first person survivor of the invasion to tell his story and this enhances the reality of the events described.There are some unforgettable scenes here; the flight from London with the narrators brother trying to cross a small road jam packed with vehicles, the battle between the Martians and the iron clad “Thunderchild” that takes place just off the English coast, the Martian war machine hunting humans along the river Thames and finally the eerie scenes in an almost deserted London when the Martians death calls reverberate around the city.The book is in two parts and the first part details the dramatic events leading upto the Martian take over. Part two is more reflective, perhaps a little slower, but it is full of atmosphere and a kind of horror. This is dystopia and Wells reinforces the major themes with some telling conversations with the narrator’s two main protagonists. The curate who attaches himself to the narrator is shown as weak, almost helpless, his faith of no use in the circumstances. Then there is the artillery man dreaming of leading a guerrilla war against the Martians, but in practice his methods are foolhardy and he is naïve and quickly becomes disheartened. Wells/the narrator says in the opening chapter when he reflects back on events:“And before we judge them (the Martians) too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon the inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their huiman likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination wages by European immigrants……..”Survival of the fittest and natural selection are themes that surface throughout this book.Wells was writing before the advent of the two world wars but at a time when “Invasion literature” was popular, invasion by Germany that is rather than Martians, but some of the devastation and panic amongst people seems prophetic of events that would soon become familiar. This is his description of the flight from London:“Never before in the history of the world has such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. The legendary hosts of Goths and Huns, the hugest armies Asia has ever seen would have been but a drop in the current. And this was no disciplined march; it was a stampede - a stampede gigantic and terrible - without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.” . This has got to be one of the first and one of the best science fiction novels. It is a novel with both a message and a warning: chock full of literary merit. It is still a great read today and if you have never got round to reading it I would encourage you to do so. It is free and in the public domain. A five star bookmore
When an unidentified object lands just south of London, residents are left dumbfounded. Could it really be aliens from Mars? When actual aliens emerge from the pods, all of London is left running for its collective life as the aliens begin a methodical destruction of the planet. We follow the narrator as he makes his way back to his wife, suffering under the trampling of the Martians and witnessing horrors he never imagined possible. The War of the Worlds is written as if it were a factual account of the narrator’s experiences. I liked that. It takes what could be a basic story and makes it feel very visceral. It did annoy me that I knew absolutely nothing about the narrator beside the fact that he was a scientist and was married. He does recount one part of the story as a second hand account from his brother but that’s all you get to know about him. I found that frustrating.I did find this story much more interesting than The Time Machine and I think that had to do with the fact that there was a lot more action. In parts of The Time Machine, it felt as if little was happening but in The War of the Worlds, it was all action all the time. I do wish, and this goes for both books, that Wells had taken a few minutes to name his narrators; a pet peeve of mine. The intense dislike I had for The Time Machine didn’t appear when reading The War of the Worlds, in fact, I liked it better but if I had put this book down at any point, the possibly that I wouldn’t have picked it back up was there.more
Everyone knows this is about the Martians invading. Most people probably know even more of the plot from having seen various film adaptations. I haven't seen any of them, but even so I had a good idea of what the aliens looked like before I even opened the book (and not just because the cover of my edition has illustrations of them done by Edward Gorey). So I'll just go over the outline - Martians land on earth, Martians kill everything in sight with some combination of heat ray, poison gas, and feeding habits, humans are resigned to total domination, the end of the book offers some uncertain reprieve.With that over, let's talk about the themes explored in the book. Much like The Time Machine, Wells has opinions on man's fate that aren't all that positive. Hubris is obviously one of man's biggest failings, in Wells' view, both for thinking that we are alone in the universe, and for thinking that getting rid of extraterrestrial invaders will be an easy task. Parallels are also drawn between man's dominion over the animals and finding the shoe on the other foot as Martians gain dominance on earth. Ultimately, the book seems to say that problems exist for which humans aren't going to have the answers, and we'd better hope that the planet itself can rescue us.Recommended for: fans of future tech and/or Martians, microbiologists, anyone who's ever wondered if, in the event of an invasion, the English would offer tea to the interlopers.Quote: "At the time there was a strong feeling in the streets that the authorities were to blame for their incapacity to dispose of the invaders without all this inconvenience."more
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I think I read this before as a kid, but even if I hadn't, it's impossible to approach this book and expect much in the way of surprises. As enjoyable as the story is, it seems kind of surprising how completely it has soaked into the communal consciousness.

I can't tell if that's because of or in spite of how incredibly passive the book is. Essentially, none of the narrators or other main characters really do much of anything. The Martians are the primary actors, rendering everyone else completely impotent, but the reader is offered absolutely nothing in the way of forging a relationship with them. That's certainly (and brilliantly) realistic, but it also creates a strange and uncomfortable distance between the reader and the story.

Eh. What am I babbling on about. This is a summer movie, years ahead of its time.more
This is a good old fashioned yarn. I read the book through in one or two sittings. HG created a sense of menace and despair through the book, which I loved. His descriptions were evocative of the times, and I could almost visualize the destruction taking place, as the book weaved along. The writing is, for our times, old fashioned, yet timeless. The almost forgotten craft of writing is something that was displayed through the book. I lost the part where the Martians were 'destroyed'. It would have been really nice to have had a nice description of this, but you can't have everything in life!If you want a good book to read by the fireside, then this is one I can recommend.more
After seeing various film versions, it was a pleasure to read the original, which is actually quite exciting and must have been tremendously so when it was first published. It reminded me of John Wyndham, so maybe it's the British approach, but that made it even more enjoyable. I especially appreciated Wells' philosophizing over the position the invasion put the humans in: that of the rats or ants to us.more
Really liked this book; I genrally like HG Wells' books, and this is definitely one of his better works. His descriptions of the Martians are great, as are the descriptions of the desolation and chaos in the time after the arrival of these aliens.One thing I found strange and somewhat annoying is the insistence that the Martians are/have been human-like. Even after it becomes obvious that they do not look like us at all, it is claimed that they must have evolved from human-like beings. But why would this be the case? Isn't it possible that on Mars, where the environment is so different from our own, evolution went in a completely different direction and that these creature were never human-like, but are simply different from us? I find it annoying that Wells discards this possibility completely, when to me it seems strange to think that aliens are necessarily human-like.more
This is the Daddy (Granddaddy?) of all alien invasion stories. I had to remind myself that while it seemed unoriginal in places, it is in fact the original that more recent books have copied. Martians land on earth just outside London and begin a program of domination. Eventually they succumb to bacterial infection so humanity is saved through no action of their own. Some of the alien technology is truly prophetic, e.g. the heat-ray (laser). And the examination of human reaction under such dire circumstances was fascinating. The language is rather dated, but for me that added to the charm.more
I remember i borrowed this book from my school library a few years ago. This was the my first H.G. wells book. It is a wonder how the Wells imagination was so modernistic. The portrayal of the aliens , the idea of an airship, the overall settings were so evocative i could imagine everything going on in my head. its a must readmore
I read this a few years ago in one of my literature classes, but I'm finally getting around to reviewing it. I truly and genuinely enjoyed this book. Yes, it is quite dated, but the concept still holds pretty well today and his imaginings of the alien race and why they have developed in the ways that they have show just how forward thinking Wells was for his day. Also, the alien technology that he came up with is very far ahead of his time especially the robotic machines that the aliens use, the use of biological warfare, and his aliens' use of a heat ray (similar to a laser.) Once past the forward, which is a bit of a mix of philosophy and scientific pontification (a bit heavy but interesting none-the-less,) I found Well's writing style to flow very well and keep the reader engaged with the characters and action. What starts out as an investigation of a mysterious object that has fallen from the sky quickly turns to a struggle to survive a hostile alien take-over. The story follows one main character and his discoveries of the scope and totality of the take-over operation. The War of the Worlds is a very well-written and thought out novel from the early development of the Science Fiction genre that I would highly recommend both to those who just enjoy a good sci-fi tale and to those who are serious about researching the origins of the genre.more
A great fun read. Easy to see how the radio drama got people stirred up.more
I thought that this was a great book. The idea of aliens invading our planet was great. When this was first read everyone thought that it was real and that made me interested in the book in the first place. It made me think, wow, this has to be good if people think that it is actually true. I liked the fact that this book had original ideas that people had not really thought about. Aliens with lasers that can evaporate people and that they can send gasses into the air that kill people by making them suffocate. This was a great idea for a story and I think that the book was fantastic. It came out when my grandfather was my age and that makes it cool that i am reading it now. I think that anyone that likes science fiction or anything like that should read this book and see how they like it. This book is about aliens that come from outerspace for no apperent reason other than to wipe out the human race. First, there is only one capsule that people know about. When it opens and people see what is inside they are afraid. They should be especially since the aliens start killing the people as soon as they get up. The humans cannot do anything to stop them. Even when they try to use tanks, they can't really do anything because the aliens just repair each other. By the end, there is one character that thinks he is alone in the world then he finds out that the only people that are still alive have gone crazy. It was a good book and I think that I will read it again.more
Wonderful progam. This radio drama is most enjoyable and keeps your attention throughout.more
This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "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..."Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat.more
If you somehow have remained ignorant of the details of this classic story, be aware that there are major spoilers in this review.I have only recently started reading the works of H. G. Wells, and I'm sorry I waited so long. We tend to assume that books written over 100 years ago will be difficult reads, filled with convoluted sentences, arcane words and obtuse themes. But Wells is actually a simple, straightforward and highly evocative writer. I thought The Time Machine was moody and poetic. Surprisingly, The War of the Worlds was scary, suspenseful and humbling.The basic story should be familiar to most from the famous radio and movie adaptations. Martians unexpectedly arrive on Earth in cylindrical spaceships and quickly construct huge, three-legged war machines that immediately lay waste to the country around them. Wells' descriptions of the tripods looming of the smoke, hunting the comparatively tiny humans with heat rays and poisonous gas, are chilling. Wells describes the panic that overtakes London so precisely that the reader feels like one of the fleeing mob. In one of the more horrifying scenes, the unnamed narrator -- hiding in the basement of a destroyed house -- watches the Martians just outside as they drain and ingest the blood of their captives. Modern horror has to work hard to be this scary.In the face of overwhelmingly superior technology, man is reduced to a helpless, panicked animal. People are compared to ants scurrying in the road or to rabbits run to ground. Just a few days after the Martians land, civilization is effectively over. This is no feel-good Independence Day-type story. People don't rise up to save the day. The most frightening aspect of this novel is that it lays bare how truly powerless we are.Of course, the Martians are defeated by an even tinier foe: bacteria against which they have developed no immunology. While this development is something of a deus ex machina, the ending is still perfectly plausible. But will humankind learn from this experience? That remains to be seen.more
The classic tale that is now legendary for causing a panic as a radio play many years later. Wells was fascinated by the "canals" on Mars, and that shows in his story of Martians attacking the world. One place where this story has an edge on so many of the genre is the way Wells manages to use an obvious scientific fact as a resolution to the story. So often science fiction contains much more fiction than science.more
Great early Science Fiction. Enjoyed the suspense of it. The questions it created such as: What did the Marsians really look like? Was the same scenerio ocurring throughout the world or only in England? And more. I have more of his books to read to complete my list of Manly books. I look forward to reading more.more
It is a good book,and it is very interesting,anyway,i think it is a also serious story.For this book tols us some very realistic things.Whatever you are a person or you are an object,all of us are a part of the world,and we should respect the objective law to protect it.If it has a day when Mars invaded the earth,what should we do??It is a difficult and a little absurb question to answer,but it is very reality..Not everything can be solved with weapon,we must protect everything by ourselves,the book is an art,i think..more
I've listened to the radio drama. I've seen a couple of movie/tv versions. But I'd never read the book. I've read a little bit of Wells but have never gotten around to this one. My son saw it on our shelf and wanted to know if he could read it so I decided to preview it for him first to be sure. After finishing it, I told him he could read it. He hasn't started it yet, but I'm curious to see what he thinks.The writing style is definitely late 19th-century. There's a lot of the "high" language style present in a lot of other 1800s literature. It's a very descriptive and thoughtful writing style paying careful attention to even small details and drawing the reader in with intricate attention to the characters's emotional attachment to surroundings and events.Additionally, H.G. Wells does an exquisite job in supplying fabulous details for the "science" portion of his science-fiction. He provides concrete information regarding astronomical studies of the day including references to astronomers, scientific magazines, various studies, and more. I didn't bother to cross-reference all of the details he provided. But they all had a definite ring of veracity. Some of them I was fairly certain I've read or at least heard reference in other documents I've read. Wells did a fabulous job of mixing the truth of science with the intense fiction of an invasion from Mars.I also really enjoyed the psychological analysis of the humans and the Martians. The narrator often takes a moment to ponder the motivations and beliefs of the Martians and compares those to our own human beliefs during our own conquests (whether of other humans or of "lower life forms"). It provided an interesting parallel line of thought to think of the Martians as doing the same thing we had done...simply fighting for survival/expansion and exterminating/controlling life forms deemed to be inferior.Overall, this was an engaging read and a lot of fun. While some of the writing and the details are antiquated, nearly all of the story and its concepts can be almost immediately dropped into our own 21st century world and be just as stark and terrifying. As for a recommended reading audience, I'm not really apprehensive about having my 11 year old read it. There were a handful of characters who "cursed" and there was one reference to sexuality (though in a very scientific means...discussing the apparently asexual reproduction method of the Martians). As to be expected, there was a lot of violence and death, but it was generally distanced and when it was "in your face", it was presented more analytically than grotesquely. More than the actual content, I think the language and writing style will be more likely to slow down a younger reader.If you haven't read this one, you really should. I keep intending to read more Wells and other early sci-fi. It's a lot of fun..especially when it holds up so well even after a century or more.****4 out of 5 starsmore
I enjoyed reading this classic by H.G. Wells and can understand how it inspired so many authors to explore 'alien invasion' after reading it. The narrator describes the events of the invasion in the past tense, so I struggled to understand how those listening to the reading over the radio could possibly think it was happening in the present. As I was reading it, I was trying to identify 'the passage' that could have inspired such panic but alas, I couldn't. Once I gave up this quest I was able to enjoy the writing and the developing plot. The most poignant part of the book was when the soldier was discussing the fate of human beings in years and decades to come and how their relationships with the martians would change. The soldier also claimed to know what type of human being would die in the early stages of the invasion and the characteristics it would take to survive.I wanted to linger here and explore this further but the main character left the soldier and continued his journey to look for his wife, and this depth of analysis was cut short in my opinion.All in all, a great classic and an easy read.more
This 100+-year-old piece of sci-fi holds up amazingly well. Wells is an efficient, thoroughly readable storyteller, and this vivid imaging of a Martian attack is nothing short of fascinating.more
Wow! I read this over 20 years ago and only remembered that it was pretty good. This time around, I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it! Intense stuff! Those Martians are seriously Bad News.The story is probably more or less familiar to almost everyone, so I won't go over it again in too much detail. But Martians have invaded England, and they are not coming as friendly tourists. They are here to destroy. It takes them a while to get moving, but once they do, their Death Ray takes out everyone in sight. And then they get even more clever.There were two parts that really struck me as just amazing writing. The first was the scene in London when the entire population of the city is trying to get out. It's nothing but mass panic and complete chaos. Wells is extremely believable. The part about the man trying to save his gold coins while an enraged cabdriver runs him down was so vivid that it will stay with me for a long, long time.The other part I loved was when the narrator and the artilleryman were making plans for life under the Martians. The artilleryman is convinced they will all be rounded up and used as cattle, unless they are prepared to fight. As he was talking, I could imagine exactly what he meant, how everything would change forever.It's always good when a classic actually lives up to its reputation, and for me, this was definitely one of those times. Now I want to read The Time Machine again and see if that one is just as good. 5 stars.more
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Reviews

I liked this much more than Well's The Time Machine! Interesting that this too has a first person narration in which the narrator is never named.more
Got it in a book sale one summer when I was quite young -- nine or so, I think -- and scared myself silly with it. Never quite got up the courage to revisit, since then. I remember liking it a lot, but I also remember the nightmares about alien invasions.more
Reading another H.G. Wells novel I first read decades ago was like reading it for the first time. All the film versions, the Orson Welles radio theater, and the derivatives, do not detract from Wells's story. He manages the trick of describing an alien invasion, an event of worldwide importance, from the point of view of an anonymous observer who happens to witness the first landing. The science is out-dated--no radios or computers, for example, but the story left me with a sense Wells himself must have had of the fragility and promise of human life.more
Like his other works, this is social commentary shrouded in science fiction. Much more likable protagonist than Verne's Axel, but tells a similar tale of late 19th century civilization.more
As my first foray into the world of Sci Fi, I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of everything, the emotional battles, the difficult people encountered and the scientific rationing of how to deal with and vanquish the Martians.

I even really enjoyed the Science vs Faith interplay, and relish the crushing defeat of the Martians at the hands of... well, I won't say for spoiler's sake.

H.G. Wells... I shall read more of you soon.more
As a science fiction fan, I have always been interested in reading The War of the Worlds, since it's the first of its kind. The modern movie with Tom Cruise put me off a little bit, even though I know it was vastly different than the novel. However, I finally got around to reading it and thought it was pretty good.Told mostly in first-person narrative, the novel starts off with cylinders landing on Earth. The Martians look like sickly, ungainly creatures barely able to survive on Earth, but then prove otherwise, using their heat rays and gigantic killing machines to wreak havoc on England.If you're looking for story with a lot of character development, look elsewhere. This is a novel solely focused on its plot. The narrator is basically the same person from beginning to end, just a little bit more jaded from war near the end. However, the plot is fantastic and moves along at a brisk pace. Wells does an excellent job in painting a picture of terror and war. I really enjoyed the suspense and thriller aspects of the novels. Also, it's simply interesting to see how this novel has influenced modern interpretations of science fiction and alien invasions.There are a lot of moments in this story that seemed convenient or forced; of course the main character would be trapped in a room with a peep hole so that he can observe the Martians and describe them; of course had a brother in London who lived to be able to relate those events, etc. This slightly bothered me, but it did further the story and provide a better picture of what was going on. Though I wish Wells would have used some other methods of conveying this information, I can see the dilemma of wanting to provide a seemingly-real firsthand account while also being able to provide all the details.Also, the narrator bothered me. He always seemed to know best and know more than everyone else, and I didn't really see justification for those thoughts. But, that's more of a personal issue.I do think this is best enjoyed when you have some knowledge of the historical context in which its written. It is imbued with the scientific thoughts of its time, as well as political and social ideas. (Namely, the idea of colonialism.) Understanding all of that makes The War of the Worlds a much better and more interesting story.Overall, I liked this novel. It's interesting to see how our ideas of aliens and alien invasion stories have developed, and it's simply an entertaining, dramatic story -- there were times where I held my breath in anticipation for what would happen next. I would recommend this for fans of science fiction and classics lovers.more
Loved this book. Bit slow and lengthy at times but a great plot and great theme to it. Hardcore sci fi right here. :)more
Not quite the first alien invasion novel, or the first dystopian novel, or the first “contact” novel, but certainly the best that combined all three. Serialised beforehand and eventually published as a novel in 1898, this could be seen as the book that launched the whole new genre of science fiction. Sure H G Wells had dabbled before with The Time Machine, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Invisible Man and even The Wonderful Visit, but The War of the Worlds, puts it all together to make a wonderful reading experience. How it must have fired the imagination of Well’s Victorian audience, because it still has the power to resonate today. The story of the Invaders from Mars is well known to most readers and there have been comic strip versions, radio broadcasts and spectacular film versions, so there is no need to detail the plot here, but re-reading it this week still made some aspects leap off the page at me. For a start most of the action takes place in the south west Home Counties that surround London, I was born and bred in that area and so when Wells places his startling events around Chertsey and Weybridge and then Twickenham, Richmond and Barnes I am right there with him. This gives the whole novel a parochial feel for me and indeed it is parochial because most of the action takes place in those sleepy small towns that in Victorian times were not a part of Greater London. The books big theme is an alien invasion and yet it all appears to be happening next door to where I lived. Of course at the time of writing, England was probably the most powerful of the colonial powers and so setting an invasion of the world around the outskirts of London made perfect sense.Well’s novel takes place in his present day and so the novel has a wonderfully authentic Victorian feel, here people are fleeing from the monstrous war machines on bicycles and horses and carts, the army is very slow to respond and when it does it feels amateurish, there is no ease of communication and people are unaware of what is happening around them but when they do see the carnage, there is shock, then fright, then confusion It must have felt very real to Well’s Victorian readers and it felt real for me reading it in 2013. Wells uses a first person survivor of the invasion to tell his story and this enhances the reality of the events described.There are some unforgettable scenes here; the flight from London with the narrators brother trying to cross a small road jam packed with vehicles, the battle between the Martians and the iron clad “Thunderchild” that takes place just off the English coast, the Martian war machine hunting humans along the river Thames and finally the eerie scenes in an almost deserted London when the Martians death calls reverberate around the city.The book is in two parts and the first part details the dramatic events leading upto the Martian take over. Part two is more reflective, perhaps a little slower, but it is full of atmosphere and a kind of horror. This is dystopia and Wells reinforces the major themes with some telling conversations with the narrator’s two main protagonists. The curate who attaches himself to the narrator is shown as weak, almost helpless, his faith of no use in the circumstances. Then there is the artillery man dreaming of leading a guerrilla war against the Martians, but in practice his methods are foolhardy and he is naïve and quickly becomes disheartened. Wells/the narrator says in the opening chapter when he reflects back on events:“And before we judge them (the Martians) too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon the inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their huiman likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination wages by European immigrants……..”Survival of the fittest and natural selection are themes that surface throughout this book.Wells was writing before the advent of the two world wars but at a time when “Invasion literature” was popular, invasion by Germany that is rather than Martians, but some of the devastation and panic amongst people seems prophetic of events that would soon become familiar. This is his description of the flight from London:“Never before in the history of the world has such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. The legendary hosts of Goths and Huns, the hugest armies Asia has ever seen would have been but a drop in the current. And this was no disciplined march; it was a stampede - a stampede gigantic and terrible - without order and without a goal, six million people unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.” . This has got to be one of the first and one of the best science fiction novels. It is a novel with both a message and a warning: chock full of literary merit. It is still a great read today and if you have never got round to reading it I would encourage you to do so. It is free and in the public domain. A five star bookmore
When an unidentified object lands just south of London, residents are left dumbfounded. Could it really be aliens from Mars? When actual aliens emerge from the pods, all of London is left running for its collective life as the aliens begin a methodical destruction of the planet. We follow the narrator as he makes his way back to his wife, suffering under the trampling of the Martians and witnessing horrors he never imagined possible. The War of the Worlds is written as if it were a factual account of the narrator’s experiences. I liked that. It takes what could be a basic story and makes it feel very visceral. It did annoy me that I knew absolutely nothing about the narrator beside the fact that he was a scientist and was married. He does recount one part of the story as a second hand account from his brother but that’s all you get to know about him. I found that frustrating.I did find this story much more interesting than The Time Machine and I think that had to do with the fact that there was a lot more action. In parts of The Time Machine, it felt as if little was happening but in The War of the Worlds, it was all action all the time. I do wish, and this goes for both books, that Wells had taken a few minutes to name his narrators; a pet peeve of mine. The intense dislike I had for The Time Machine didn’t appear when reading The War of the Worlds, in fact, I liked it better but if I had put this book down at any point, the possibly that I wouldn’t have picked it back up was there.more
Everyone knows this is about the Martians invading. Most people probably know even more of the plot from having seen various film adaptations. I haven't seen any of them, but even so I had a good idea of what the aliens looked like before I even opened the book (and not just because the cover of my edition has illustrations of them done by Edward Gorey). So I'll just go over the outline - Martians land on earth, Martians kill everything in sight with some combination of heat ray, poison gas, and feeding habits, humans are resigned to total domination, the end of the book offers some uncertain reprieve.With that over, let's talk about the themes explored in the book. Much like The Time Machine, Wells has opinions on man's fate that aren't all that positive. Hubris is obviously one of man's biggest failings, in Wells' view, both for thinking that we are alone in the universe, and for thinking that getting rid of extraterrestrial invaders will be an easy task. Parallels are also drawn between man's dominion over the animals and finding the shoe on the other foot as Martians gain dominance on earth. Ultimately, the book seems to say that problems exist for which humans aren't going to have the answers, and we'd better hope that the planet itself can rescue us.Recommended for: fans of future tech and/or Martians, microbiologists, anyone who's ever wondered if, in the event of an invasion, the English would offer tea to the interlopers.Quote: "At the time there was a strong feeling in the streets that the authorities were to blame for their incapacity to dispose of the invaders without all this inconvenience."more
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I think I read this before as a kid, but even if I hadn't, it's impossible to approach this book and expect much in the way of surprises. As enjoyable as the story is, it seems kind of surprising how completely it has soaked into the communal consciousness.

I can't tell if that's because of or in spite of how incredibly passive the book is. Essentially, none of the narrators or other main characters really do much of anything. The Martians are the primary actors, rendering everyone else completely impotent, but the reader is offered absolutely nothing in the way of forging a relationship with them. That's certainly (and brilliantly) realistic, but it also creates a strange and uncomfortable distance between the reader and the story.

Eh. What am I babbling on about. This is a summer movie, years ahead of its time.more
This is a good old fashioned yarn. I read the book through in one or two sittings. HG created a sense of menace and despair through the book, which I loved. His descriptions were evocative of the times, and I could almost visualize the destruction taking place, as the book weaved along. The writing is, for our times, old fashioned, yet timeless. The almost forgotten craft of writing is something that was displayed through the book. I lost the part where the Martians were 'destroyed'. It would have been really nice to have had a nice description of this, but you can't have everything in life!If you want a good book to read by the fireside, then this is one I can recommend.more
After seeing various film versions, it was a pleasure to read the original, which is actually quite exciting and must have been tremendously so when it was first published. It reminded me of John Wyndham, so maybe it's the British approach, but that made it even more enjoyable. I especially appreciated Wells' philosophizing over the position the invasion put the humans in: that of the rats or ants to us.more
Really liked this book; I genrally like HG Wells' books, and this is definitely one of his better works. His descriptions of the Martians are great, as are the descriptions of the desolation and chaos in the time after the arrival of these aliens.One thing I found strange and somewhat annoying is the insistence that the Martians are/have been human-like. Even after it becomes obvious that they do not look like us at all, it is claimed that they must have evolved from human-like beings. But why would this be the case? Isn't it possible that on Mars, where the environment is so different from our own, evolution went in a completely different direction and that these creature were never human-like, but are simply different from us? I find it annoying that Wells discards this possibility completely, when to me it seems strange to think that aliens are necessarily human-like.more
This is the Daddy (Granddaddy?) of all alien invasion stories. I had to remind myself that while it seemed unoriginal in places, it is in fact the original that more recent books have copied. Martians land on earth just outside London and begin a program of domination. Eventually they succumb to bacterial infection so humanity is saved through no action of their own. Some of the alien technology is truly prophetic, e.g. the heat-ray (laser). And the examination of human reaction under such dire circumstances was fascinating. The language is rather dated, but for me that added to the charm.more
I remember i borrowed this book from my school library a few years ago. This was the my first H.G. wells book. It is a wonder how the Wells imagination was so modernistic. The portrayal of the aliens , the idea of an airship, the overall settings were so evocative i could imagine everything going on in my head. its a must readmore
I read this a few years ago in one of my literature classes, but I'm finally getting around to reviewing it. I truly and genuinely enjoyed this book. Yes, it is quite dated, but the concept still holds pretty well today and his imaginings of the alien race and why they have developed in the ways that they have show just how forward thinking Wells was for his day. Also, the alien technology that he came up with is very far ahead of his time especially the robotic machines that the aliens use, the use of biological warfare, and his aliens' use of a heat ray (similar to a laser.) Once past the forward, which is a bit of a mix of philosophy and scientific pontification (a bit heavy but interesting none-the-less,) I found Well's writing style to flow very well and keep the reader engaged with the characters and action. What starts out as an investigation of a mysterious object that has fallen from the sky quickly turns to a struggle to survive a hostile alien take-over. The story follows one main character and his discoveries of the scope and totality of the take-over operation. The War of the Worlds is a very well-written and thought out novel from the early development of the Science Fiction genre that I would highly recommend both to those who just enjoy a good sci-fi tale and to those who are serious about researching the origins of the genre.more
A great fun read. Easy to see how the radio drama got people stirred up.more
I thought that this was a great book. The idea of aliens invading our planet was great. When this was first read everyone thought that it was real and that made me interested in the book in the first place. It made me think, wow, this has to be good if people think that it is actually true. I liked the fact that this book had original ideas that people had not really thought about. Aliens with lasers that can evaporate people and that they can send gasses into the air that kill people by making them suffocate. This was a great idea for a story and I think that the book was fantastic. It came out when my grandfather was my age and that makes it cool that i am reading it now. I think that anyone that likes science fiction or anything like that should read this book and see how they like it. This book is about aliens that come from outerspace for no apperent reason other than to wipe out the human race. First, there is only one capsule that people know about. When it opens and people see what is inside they are afraid. They should be especially since the aliens start killing the people as soon as they get up. The humans cannot do anything to stop them. Even when they try to use tanks, they can't really do anything because the aliens just repair each other. By the end, there is one character that thinks he is alone in the world then he finds out that the only people that are still alive have gone crazy. It was a good book and I think that I will read it again.more
Wonderful progam. This radio drama is most enjoyable and keeps your attention throughout.more
This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "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..."Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat.more
If you somehow have remained ignorant of the details of this classic story, be aware that there are major spoilers in this review.I have only recently started reading the works of H. G. Wells, and I'm sorry I waited so long. We tend to assume that books written over 100 years ago will be difficult reads, filled with convoluted sentences, arcane words and obtuse themes. But Wells is actually a simple, straightforward and highly evocative writer. I thought The Time Machine was moody and poetic. Surprisingly, The War of the Worlds was scary, suspenseful and humbling.The basic story should be familiar to most from the famous radio and movie adaptations. Martians unexpectedly arrive on Earth in cylindrical spaceships and quickly construct huge, three-legged war machines that immediately lay waste to the country around them. Wells' descriptions of the tripods looming of the smoke, hunting the comparatively tiny humans with heat rays and poisonous gas, are chilling. Wells describes the panic that overtakes London so precisely that the reader feels like one of the fleeing mob. In one of the more horrifying scenes, the unnamed narrator -- hiding in the basement of a destroyed house -- watches the Martians just outside as they drain and ingest the blood of their captives. Modern horror has to work hard to be this scary.In the face of overwhelmingly superior technology, man is reduced to a helpless, panicked animal. People are compared to ants scurrying in the road or to rabbits run to ground. Just a few days after the Martians land, civilization is effectively over. This is no feel-good Independence Day-type story. People don't rise up to save the day. The most frightening aspect of this novel is that it lays bare how truly powerless we are.Of course, the Martians are defeated by an even tinier foe: bacteria against which they have developed no immunology. While this development is something of a deus ex machina, the ending is still perfectly plausible. But will humankind learn from this experience? That remains to be seen.more
The classic tale that is now legendary for causing a panic as a radio play many years later. Wells was fascinated by the "canals" on Mars, and that shows in his story of Martians attacking the world. One place where this story has an edge on so many of the genre is the way Wells manages to use an obvious scientific fact as a resolution to the story. So often science fiction contains much more fiction than science.more
Great early Science Fiction. Enjoyed the suspense of it. The questions it created such as: What did the Marsians really look like? Was the same scenerio ocurring throughout the world or only in England? And more. I have more of his books to read to complete my list of Manly books. I look forward to reading more.more
It is a good book,and it is very interesting,anyway,i think it is a also serious story.For this book tols us some very realistic things.Whatever you are a person or you are an object,all of us are a part of the world,and we should respect the objective law to protect it.If it has a day when Mars invaded the earth,what should we do??It is a difficult and a little absurb question to answer,but it is very reality..Not everything can be solved with weapon,we must protect everything by ourselves,the book is an art,i think..more
I've listened to the radio drama. I've seen a couple of movie/tv versions. But I'd never read the book. I've read a little bit of Wells but have never gotten around to this one. My son saw it on our shelf and wanted to know if he could read it so I decided to preview it for him first to be sure. After finishing it, I told him he could read it. He hasn't started it yet, but I'm curious to see what he thinks.The writing style is definitely late 19th-century. There's a lot of the "high" language style present in a lot of other 1800s literature. It's a very descriptive and thoughtful writing style paying careful attention to even small details and drawing the reader in with intricate attention to the characters's emotional attachment to surroundings and events.Additionally, H.G. Wells does an exquisite job in supplying fabulous details for the "science" portion of his science-fiction. He provides concrete information regarding astronomical studies of the day including references to astronomers, scientific magazines, various studies, and more. I didn't bother to cross-reference all of the details he provided. But they all had a definite ring of veracity. Some of them I was fairly certain I've read or at least heard reference in other documents I've read. Wells did a fabulous job of mixing the truth of science with the intense fiction of an invasion from Mars.I also really enjoyed the psychological analysis of the humans and the Martians. The narrator often takes a moment to ponder the motivations and beliefs of the Martians and compares those to our own human beliefs during our own conquests (whether of other humans or of "lower life forms"). It provided an interesting parallel line of thought to think of the Martians as doing the same thing we had done...simply fighting for survival/expansion and exterminating/controlling life forms deemed to be inferior.Overall, this was an engaging read and a lot of fun. While some of the writing and the details are antiquated, nearly all of the story and its concepts can be almost immediately dropped into our own 21st century world and be just as stark and terrifying. As for a recommended reading audience, I'm not really apprehensive about having my 11 year old read it. There were a handful of characters who "cursed" and there was one reference to sexuality (though in a very scientific means...discussing the apparently asexual reproduction method of the Martians). As to be expected, there was a lot of violence and death, but it was generally distanced and when it was "in your face", it was presented more analytically than grotesquely. More than the actual content, I think the language and writing style will be more likely to slow down a younger reader.If you haven't read this one, you really should. I keep intending to read more Wells and other early sci-fi. It's a lot of fun..especially when it holds up so well even after a century or more.****4 out of 5 starsmore
I enjoyed reading this classic by H.G. Wells and can understand how it inspired so many authors to explore 'alien invasion' after reading it. The narrator describes the events of the invasion in the past tense, so I struggled to understand how those listening to the reading over the radio could possibly think it was happening in the present. As I was reading it, I was trying to identify 'the passage' that could have inspired such panic but alas, I couldn't. Once I gave up this quest I was able to enjoy the writing and the developing plot. The most poignant part of the book was when the soldier was discussing the fate of human beings in years and decades to come and how their relationships with the martians would change. The soldier also claimed to know what type of human being would die in the early stages of the invasion and the characteristics it would take to survive.I wanted to linger here and explore this further but the main character left the soldier and continued his journey to look for his wife, and this depth of analysis was cut short in my opinion.All in all, a great classic and an easy read.more
This 100+-year-old piece of sci-fi holds up amazingly well. Wells is an efficient, thoroughly readable storyteller, and this vivid imaging of a Martian attack is nothing short of fascinating.more
Wow! I read this over 20 years ago and only remembered that it was pretty good. This time around, I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it! Intense stuff! Those Martians are seriously Bad News.The story is probably more or less familiar to almost everyone, so I won't go over it again in too much detail. But Martians have invaded England, and they are not coming as friendly tourists. They are here to destroy. It takes them a while to get moving, but once they do, their Death Ray takes out everyone in sight. And then they get even more clever.There were two parts that really struck me as just amazing writing. The first was the scene in London when the entire population of the city is trying to get out. It's nothing but mass panic and complete chaos. Wells is extremely believable. The part about the man trying to save his gold coins while an enraged cabdriver runs him down was so vivid that it will stay with me for a long, long time.The other part I loved was when the narrator and the artilleryman were making plans for life under the Martians. The artilleryman is convinced they will all be rounded up and used as cattle, unless they are prepared to fight. As he was talking, I could imagine exactly what he meant, how everything would change forever.It's always good when a classic actually lives up to its reputation, and for me, this was definitely one of those times. Now I want to read The Time Machine again and see if that one is just as good. 5 stars.more
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