Read The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells Online


The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897. The first appearance in book form was published by William Heinemann of London in 1898. It is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and his younger brother in London as the Earth is invaded by Martians. Written between 1895The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897. The first appearance in book form was published by William Heinemann of London in 1898. It is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and his younger brother in London as the Earth is invaded by Martians. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste the southern country outside London. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British Imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears and prejudices. At the time of publication it was classified as a scientific romance, like his earlier novel The Time Machine. The War of the Worlds has been both popular and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors....

Title : The War of the Worlds
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ISBN : 9781537168258
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The War of the Worlds Reviews

  • Joeji
    2019-01-17 11:19

    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 ways, "War of the Worlds" (2006) was a close to dead-on adaptation of the original Victorian novel. Just a few words on why you should like, or if you don't like, respect "War of the Worlds" as a movie:It avoids alien movie cliches:1. There are no characters (Presidents, generals, etc.) who tell you what is going on on a global scale--all information is through rumors. 2. You do not see a major city destroyed nor any iconic landmarks. 3. Instead of humanity banding together to defeat a common foe, the characters and others they interact with are left increasingly fragmented and isolated. That being said, Speilburg's "War of the Worlds" adapts much of the plot line and themes from the original novel. Instead of the 1950s version which pits a united front against the aliens (Cold War adapted), the original Victorian novel has a character travel isolated. Wells' narrater, like Tom Cruise, finds himself on a ferry-crossing, holed up with a panicked priest (who conflated with the artillery-man, provides us with a freaky Tim Robbins. Robbins even shares a few lines with the artillery-man). The ending is much the same, a kind of "Now what?" sense pervades. And of course, Morgan Freeman's opening and closings, are practically word by word from the novel. The movie is also a great window into some of the novel's most important themes. "War of the Worlds," is a very Post-9/11 movie. There is the dust, the annhilation of things we find familiar, clothing floats from the sky in mimic of office paper...There is a pervading fear of complete and nonsensical annhiliation. Whereas the 1950s adaption pits humanity against an enemy, the updated version worries itself with unknown enemies who spring from the ground. And, Speilburg, not one to be subtle, has Dakota Fanning ask Tom Cruise, "Is it the terrorists?"That being said, the Victorian novel is a catelogue of Victorian anxieties. This is the age of colonialism, afterall, and suddenly England is beset by a much more powerful force, unexpected, and completely foreign. 'Reverse' colonialism? The aliens take England's resources, kill off its people, and even cover the landscape with alien plant-life. And perhaps the most over-arching anxiety of all: Darwin. Here we have evolution at its cruelest; then consume us (drinking our blood like in Bram Stoker's Dracula). Just when humanity seems at its lowest, nature kicks in and saves the day. The ending seems anti-climatic now, but you have to remember that H.G. Wells did not have a pop-reference that included Will Smith destroying the mother-ship. So my point is, "War of the Worlds" is an amazing book and good movie, and one can inform the other. "This is not a war any more than it's a war between men and ants."

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2019-01-05 03:20

    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 their place, and brings down to Earth a whole new enemy at a time when science fiction did not exist and science itself was oft thought of as fiction.In Surrey, a professor is caught up in the invasion of Martians as they sweep through London and its surrounding boroughs after witnessing several explosion on the planet Mars at the Ottershaw observatory. We follow the un-named professor and his brother in first-person narrative, seeing through their eyes this invasion and the destruction caused.The air was full of sound, a deafening and confusing conflict of noises-the clangorous din of the Martians, the crash of falling houses, the thud of trees, fences, sheds flashing into flame, and the crackling and roaring of fire. Dense black smoke was leaping up to mingle with the steam from the river, and as the Heat-Ray went to and fro over Weybridge its impact was marked by flashes of incandescent white, that gave place at once to a smoky dance of lurid flames.The first thing one needs to reference is the radio adaptation of 1938, which was narrated by Orson Welles and caused panic due to its news-bulletin style: those listening thought it was the truth. Whilst reading the novel, there is no doubt that the imagery, style and prose of H.G. Wells purported this panic. It is written with such imagination that it's difficult not to imagine oneself standing on the side of a crater as Martians crawl sluggishly out of their spaceships.It is not often that I can forgive a book its downfalls due to the time of its writing. (It's all very well to accept that, for the most part, racism and sexism and things of that ilk were at many times in history acceptable behaviour, but enjoying a book from a period with those things in this day and age is a thing I find difficult to do.) However, in the case of The War of the Worlds I think it is vitally important to read the book with the exact time and place it was written in history to be lodged within your mind alongside every word you read.We have a primitive form of speculative fiction, the very foundations of what we now call science fiction. At the time, H.G. Wells was writing fiction that had scientific and imaginative leanings, but no-one would dare think that perhaps the fiction was not quite fiction after all. There is little mention of the Martians weaponry or technology except when it is in use: any modern-day writer of sci-fi would absolutely be telling you all about the nuts and bolts of the piece. We have primitive science, because that is what they had at the time of writing. Whilst the future may have been thought of, the idea of futuristic technology was as alien to them as the Martians and their technology are in the book.So, the excitement of the scientific exploration of futures is not to be found here. But the imagination of Wells is so beyond almost everything else that was around at the time and coupling it with popular militarist fiction means that this is an extremely important novel in the progression of English fiction. It is not surprising that Wells was, like Darwin himself, stuck inextricably between the truth of science and the tradition of religion.The story itself, if put in perspective-removed from its time period and thought of solely as a novel-is nothing special. The narrator is disjointed with his surroundings, the story disappointing in the way it ends and less dramatic and climactic than it could have been. The style of prose is lacking, the dialogue just standard and the characters just slight breezes on a warm day. In that, it would require a mere two or three stars: enjoyable, if a little boring. But this is a novel that should be remembered for when it was written.The imagination of a scientific man who is at odds with what is right and wrong. The spectacular birth of a new genre of, not only writing, but of thinking, too. The fact that even though my oestrogen levels were almost at zero, the reunion at the end made me cry my eyes out because it was written so perfectly, so unexpectedly.Of course, that film with that actor was better. Of course it was. We have perspective and technology now that means the original The War of the Worlds is pretty pathetic. It cannot possibly compete with our high standards of today, unless you have half a brain and take this novel for what it truly represents. Unless.

  • Apatt
    2019-01-24 08:23

    “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 as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”A beautiful opening to the book but I must say the Martians did a very poor job of scrutinising us human chappies and our little blue planet considering what transpires later. Ah, but I must not spoil the book even though I imagine most people reading this review (all three of them) already know how it ends. Which brings me to my next point, if you know the story of The War of The Worlds quite well already but have not actually read the book I urge you to read it, especially if you are a science fiction fan. I don't think there are many books in the pantheon of sci-fi as important as this one. This is the book that launched the alien invasion sci-fi trope and even manages to remain one of the best examples of it.H.G. Wells was literally* light years ahead of his time, the mind boggles to think what he was able to conceive in the 19th century; alien invasion, time travel, genetic engineering, all these when TV sets are still decades in the future. If historical importance is not much of an inducement for you and you are just looking for a thumping good read Mr. Wells is also at your service here. The War of The Worlds is often thrilling, skillfully structured and narrated with some unexpected moments of philosophising and surreal dialogue. I generally find that Wells wrote much better prose than most of today’s SF authors do.He even included some element of hard sf into his novels, here is an example from this book:“It is still a matter of wonder how the Martians are able to slay men so swiftly and so silently. Many think that in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light.”Yes, you may already have a fairly good idea of The War of The Worlds’ beginning middle and end without ever reading the book but you would miss Wells’ marvelously immersive and visual storytelling and the subtexts embedded in the original texts. The scene of naval battle between the military’s ironclads and the Martian tripods is vividly depicted and should please fans of military sf and general badassery. The slightly surreal chapter involving the artilleryman is a particularly interesting depiction of people who always seem to be brimming with ideas, plans and suggestions but never actually do anything.The story of The War of The Worlds is so potent that Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds 1938 radio broadcast “became famous for causing mass panic, although the extent of this panic is debated”. Still, even moderate panic is an amazing achievement for a radio drama.This book has of course been adapted into movies several times. Unfortunately a straight adaptation complete with the Victorian setting does not seem to have been made. The most recent adaptation being the 2005 Spielberg directed movie with Tom Cruise being the usual Cruisian hero, dodging Martian heat rays like nobody's business.For this reread I went with the free Librivox audiobook version, very well read by Rebecca Dittman.I hope to eventually read all of Wells’ sci-fi and perhaps his more mainstream books also. Anyway, never dismiss H.G. Wells' sci-fi as old hat because he invented the hat and it is still superior to most of today's headgear.* I have a bee in my bonnet about today's frequent (and incorrect) overuse of "literally".A quick note about the ending:(view spoiler)[The ending is the mother of all Deus Ex Machina, I suppose Wells may have written himself into a corner a bit here as Victorian Brits are never going to be much of a challenge for giant tripod riding aliens armed with heat rays and weird smoke guns.(hide spoiler)]Note:• Update May 6, 2017: Now the Beeb is making a proper Victorian era adaptation, hurrah!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-01-02 05:20

    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 which are the same, one is that the Martians attack Earth in these COOL THREE LEGGED METAL 70 FOOT HIGH HEAT RAY KICK ASS DEATH MACHINES and two is that they die in the same way which I won’t say here because that would be a giant spoiler but really it’s a bit feeble but I guess could happen because they came from Mars which don’t have bacteria. I don’t do biology so I don’t know if a whole PLANET can not have bacteria. Seems like also they couldn’t have had YOGHURT as well, but HG Wells does not make this clear. Nor Stephen Spielberg either. Now this book version I think is not the book of the movie, I think it came first so that may explain why the movie is better, because really this book is lame. Yes more realistic because like the main guy is no Tom Cruise, but less action. What happens is that the Martians land and like fry everyone up with the DEATH HEAT RAY and send out the BLACK SMOKE to finish off anyone left alive and the main guy hops around and hides and eats really gross stuff and just sees stuff. As for instance he sees the army get a lucky shot in and kill the one single Martian but then like his buddies just wipe out the whole British army. Boom, heatray zzzzz – GONE! Oh yeah the book is set in England which I thought was strange. Why not America like the movie? Anyway just when the guy has realized that from now on we’re just going to be MARTIAN FRENCH FRIES and kept in cages (when not heatrayed) then the Martians just like shrivel up and die. End of. So, in my opinion, I say watch the movie. Or you could go for the prog rock version, lol. Oh I guess I did give away the end. Okay, SPOILER – sorry. But everybody knows this story. It’s like saying oh in the end Dracula dies with a steak in his arse. It’s a known fact.

  • Evgeny
    2019-01-05 09:24

    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 investigate. Signed, Lloyd Gray, Chief of Astronomical Division" . . . Professor Pierson, could this occurrence possibly have something to do with the disturbances observed on the planet Mars? Martians are coming!!! Run for your lives!!! Boo!!! Hey, what has Orson Welles got that I have not got? Now that I scared you let us go back to the review. This is one of the best known science fiction stories of H.G. Wells (among with The time Machine and The Invisible Man) as well as the one of the first ones. In case you somehow missed it the book tells the tale of Martian invasion on Earth.These guys decided Mars became too cold, but luckily they have a really nice cozy planet practically next door: our own Earth. They came and proceeded to beat the crap out of humans using so-called heat ray (which strongly reminds laser weapons, except that laser was not invented at the time of the book publication). And so the fashion showI mean total destruction of humanity began starting with British Islands (I found it strange that Martian decided this place was the best landing point; by pure laws of probability Russian Empire was the obvious candidate just because they had the largest territory). Other than being the fist book that introduced the idea of alien invasion (since that time beaten to the death and beyond by pulp media) and aforementioned laser there are quite a few interesting themes in here if you read carefully: colonialism - its ugly sides, religious hypocrisy, and relations between humans and animals - usually the former kill the later. It might be the very first dystopian novel written way before the term came to be. I freely admit that the book is great, but personally I like both The time Machine and The Invisible Man better simply because I am not a big fan of dystopia. This is the only reason for one less star of the otherwise perfect rating. P.S. Who would have thought Martians were anti-vaxers?

  • Jeff
    2019-01-11 03:22

    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 Martians, they’re probably color blind or something." "Oops, too late, you’re toast.” Or “Maybe the A-bomb will work this time. Nope, you’re toast.”I also liked to imitate the heat ray sound when I re-enacted the movie later: “Dododododoodododoodleydo”. It was a combination of a yodel and the sound the cat would make when its tail would get caught under the rocking chair.“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. Barbie’s dream house is toast.“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. You can’t use the Barbie car to escape, Ken, you sexless loser. *imitation explody sound as the Barbie car and Ken go up in a ball of flame*“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. GI Joe, Batman, a Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em robot, and a one-armed cowboy hurl a huge pillow from the sofa at the Martians, thus ending the invasion. Get your asses back to Mars, bitches.For Wells, this was a pioneering book, its tropes were to be dug up and used over and over again. Wells does here as Wells does in his other books – throws in some social commentary: If the British lorded over much of the known world back then, foisted itself on “lesser” cultures, why could it not get it’s comeuppance by being stomped around by a more powerful foe – in this case, obese, slow-assed, turd-like aliens from Mars.This was a buddy read with those Pantless connoisseurs of fine, classic literature and is another example of a classic book that doesn’t suck donkey balls.

  • Carmen
    2018-12-26 05:33

    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 our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. 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. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.Hmmmmm, how fucking amazing is this? Actually, the whole first chapter of this book, titled, "THE EVE OF WAR" is pretty amazing. Very enjoyable. The book loses something when it adopts our MC telling us about his experiences during the invasion, but Wells rescues himself with some breathtaking breakdowns of morality, ethics, war horrors, and survival. Not to mention class differences.Wells is also, like Faber in Under the Skin, using aliens and science fiction to push a vegan agenda."You can't be serious, Carmen. H.G. Wells was not pushing a vegan agenda."CARMEN: *sips coffee* *looks at you*Oh, yes, he absolutely was, and vegans of today who are interested in reading works of fiction which promote vegan lifestyles can enjoy both this book and Faber's book and perhaps incorporate them into a vegan book club. I mean, surely vegans must get tired of what can sometimes be self-righteous and pompous propaganda which exists in vegan non-fiction. Not to mention it is often fucking depressing, especially the books that talk about the suffering of animals in graphic detail. Even if something like veganism was not popular in Wells time and place, you can easily see how this is a vegan book. The book makes some (what must be at the time: earthshattering) conclusions about humankind. This is a book like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which, when you read it now, it seems like old hat, but in its day must have just blown people away with its radical concepts.Imagine humans NOT being the masters of all they survey. Imagine humans encountering beings smarter, stronger, and more ruthless then themselves, which see humans simply as ants, cockroaches, or rabbits - to be exterminated and/or eaten. That's what we are dealing with here, and it cannot be denied that Wells revolutionized and charged the genre of science-fiction much the way Mary Shelley did with her revolutionary, mind-blowing Frankenstein.A lot of people read FRANKENSTEIN today and are disappointed. It's so old-fashioned. It's nothing like the media trained you to think it was. It's slow, it's old. You might read WAR OF THE WORLDS or DRACULA or DR. JEKYLL and feel the same way. But you have to understand that at the time, these authors were completely slaying people's long-held beliefs and way of thinking. Some of the old sci-fi/horror classics hold up, and some don't. DR. JEKYLL is particularly weak IMO, but DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN hold up very well (IMO). I loved both and think they are still very arresting and relevant today.So how does WAR OF THE WORLDS hold up? Amazing first chapter that blows you out of the water.And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.And before we judge them 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 its inferior races.Think of everything humanity does to animals, and the genocide, war, and slavery it inflicts on other human beings. Wells keeps bringing this up throughout the novel in a rare show of clear-eyed thinking about humanity, especially for an Englishman in 1898.Now, the book loses something when we start following our MC around and experiencing the invasion with him. But the book saves itself in a few ways.One, Wells's writing.Few people realise the immensity of vacancy in which the dust of the material universe swims....Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance.He's got a lot of good writing in this book and some great turns of phrase.Secondly, he decides not only to take down humanity's vanity and confidence, but also seeks to offer commentary on religion, class differences, and morality and ethics especially in the context of war. It's staggering how much he chooses to bite off here, but such takedowns engage the reader throughout the book.He also doesn't skimp on the horror - not only the horrors and ravages of war, but the horror of the aliens and what they do to humans. It's honestly terrifying and Wells successfully scared me and made me disgusted. I think he made his MC deliberately a member of the intelligentsia instead of a soldier, because - let me tell you - this book would have been completely different if told from the POV of someone who was a combat veteran. And that's on purpose. As the soldier he meets points out to him, after you've seen some shit then shit isn't as shocking."I saw what was up. Most of the people were hard at it, squealing and exciting themselves. But I'm not so fond of squealing. I've been in sight of death once or twice; I'm not an ornamental soldier, and at the best and worst, death - it's just death. And it's the man that keeps on thinking comes through."The way Wells wraps up the book, the way he brings everything to a close, is also fucking brilliant. It may seem cliched or old hat NOW, but you have to realize it was mindblowing back then. Much like the concept of Jekyll/Hyde.Now. I'm not saying that just because a book has cultural relevance and significance and is a classic in its genre that it's automatically good. Because I don't believe in that shit. Instead, I found myself actually enjoying and liking this book. That doesn't happen to me with every classic. Not every classic holds up. But classics that I enjoy and hold up for me (P&P, S&S, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Jane Eyre) don't please EVERYONE. I understand that old-fashioned books, language, and plotting can be boring and stupid to modern readers. And there are classics that come off that way to me, as well. So YMMV. I've certainly read classics that I've absolutely hated, and this might be one of those for you as well. While reading this book it seemed achingly familiar to me. I think I've probably read this before. Maybe a decade ago or so, I don't know. It's also possible that this book is SO entrenched in pop culture that I just thought I'd read it, but I don't think so. But I'm going to list it here as my first reading since I can't specifically remember reading it before.I like Wells's points here. - His pushing of a vegan agenda; extraordinary for a man of his time. - His takedown of religion and interpretation of God and what God entails. Not atheist, but a super interesting viewpoint of his time, cackling that 'God is not an insurance agent' and surmising that it's equally likely that humanity's new Martian masters also pray to God and expect God's protection. - His portrayal as a curate (clergy) as a weak, spineless, helpless and selfish individual. - His takedown and analysis of class differences, especially when the MC gets into a discussion with a soldier about humanity's future. - His discussion of the horrors of war - not only what the enemy is inflicting upon you, but what war's victims end up doing to each other. His analysis of the terrible things people find themselves doing to survive, and if that can be forgiven or not when normality is restored.Those who have escaped the dark and terrible aspects of life will find my brutality, my flash of rage in our final tragedy, easy enough to blame; for they know what is wrong as well as any, but not what is possible to tortured men. But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity.I mean, take your pick, he just slays here with his cultural and social commentary. I find him lacking and tone-deaf on the plight of women, but I can't have everything. At least not from this author. >.< LOLTL;DR - Hmmmmmmmm. Reading the sci-fi and horror classics can be very illuminating and oftentimes rewarding. That was the case here. Even though I don't think this book is a strong structurally as FRANKENSTEIN or DRACULA (the plot meanders a bit), Wells certainly hammers home not only his revolutionary and life-changing ideas, but puts forth some true literary gems.Although it isn't perfect, I am still giving it five stars. With some caveats.Also, I want to restate that this won't be for everyone. Strange night! Strangest in this, that so soon as dawn had come, I, who had talked with God, crept out of the house like a rat leaving its hiding place - a creature scarcely larger, an inferior animal, a thing that for any passing whim of our masters might be hunted and killed. Perhaps they also prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have learned nothing else, this war has taught us pity - pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.Read with Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantaloonless Buddy Read group, February 2018

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-01-17 07:35

    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 did. 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 Martians trying to take over Earth (starting with Great Britain), there's critique of colonialism, religious hypocrisy, and even how humans treat animals. The way people react in a crisis is given just as much attention as the Martians' actions.Upping my rating from 3 stars to 4.5 on reread, partly in recognition of how advanced this book was for its time in some of its concepts, and the influence it's had on the SF genre.February 2018 group read with the Non-Crunchy Classics Pantaloonless crew.

  • Denisse
    2019-01-04 03:20

    Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #41 A book by an author you've never read before stupidly haven't read before I should say And for my 2015 Reading Resolutions: 5 classics (5/5) :’D completed!! Excellent. Not just very interesting for all the technology and science it has, but outstanding in describing human behavior and criticizing Victorian society. Very thrilling at parts, philosophically emotional at others and well written. Highly recommended for any sci-fi fan. The ending might be a little Deus Ex Machina for some, but I love simple endings that make sense. Wells indeed a very good storyteller. “En los últimos años del siglo diecinueve nadie habría creído que los asuntos humanos eran observados aguda y atentamente por inteligencias más desarrolladas que la del hombre y, sin embargo, tan mortales como él; que mientras los hombres se ocupaban de sus cosas eran estudiados quizá tan a fondo como el sabio estudia a través del microscopio las pasajeras criaturas que se agitan y multiplican en una gota de agua.”Lo que mas me gusto de este libro es que no solo es “un ataque alienígena” lo que esta describiendo el autor, si no que usa este concepto para explicar realidades del ser humano. Si hoy aparece un autorillo con la misma idea general, solo estará escribiendo una divertida y entretenida historia con aliens, y ya. Puede que este bien escrito, puede que sus personajes sean buenos, pero carecen de cierta profundidad, profundidad que Wells maneja a la perfección con La Guerra de los Mundos. Lo más interesante de esta historia es cuando fue escrita, porque impactan más ciertas acciones o pensamientos de los personajes. Justo cuando el hombre se sentía más invencible, viene Wells a desinflarles el ego. Hay tantas cosas tan buenas en este libro, no se ni como hacer la reseña. El libro es una mezcla de muchas cosas, filosofía, supervivencia, intriga, tácticas de guerra, suspenso, desastre, incluso un poco de gore podría decir. Hay ciertas escenas bastante asquerosas de imaginar. Para ser un libro tan corto y rápido, cada trama se maneja muy bien porque no tiene ni una palabra de relleno. Cada personaje equivale a una forma de pensar o actuar del humano, no esperen personajes para agregarlos a sus listas de “fav-characters” “in-love-with-charachters” o en mi caso “heros-i-love”. Yo creo que Wells escribió esto mas para hacer recapacitar a la gente de esa época y leerlo ahora en 2015 es para entender la situación en la que se encontraban en ese tiempo. La escritura es bastante intensa de una forma muy inteligente y sin sobredramatismo. Tiene unas descripciones muy buenas que a cualquier fan del hard sci-fi se le harán increíbles. Todo lo referente a la anatomía de los marcianos me encanto. La descripción del lado oscuro del hombre también esta muy bien escrita de forma muy psicológica. “y en los marcianos tenemos la prueba innegable de la supresión del aspecto animal del organismo por la inteligencia”A mi me gusta mucho la película con el Tom Cruise pero OJO; no le hace justicia, esa es la típica buena película americana, con el típico buen protagonista americano. Lean el libro!Me encanta el final porque (view spoiler)[AMO LA MICROBIOLOGIA! Y fue lo primero que pensé, se los juro. “Cualquier cosa que no sea de este mundo va a tener muchos problemas ajustándose a nuestras condiciones planetarias, pero lo principal son los microorganismos. LO PRINCIPAL! Sobretodo si su única forma de alimentación es por medio de la succión de sangre. Wells se lo saco de la manga? Tal vez. No importa a mi me gusto mucho. :D(hide spoiler)]Mucho que decir, pero ya hice la reseña muy larga :( siempre me pasa D: Hay una razón por la que este es el mejor libro de aliens y es porque no solo es sobre aliens. Recomendado, especialmente si traes ganas de un buen libro sci-fi. Pero pasa de el si no te va mucho la vena psicológica. Este NO es un libro de acción. "Quizá el futuro les pertenezca a ellos y no a nosotros."

  • Susan Budd
    2019-01-12 04:29

    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. Wells made much the same observation.At the end of The War of the Worlds, the unnamed narrator returns to his house and sees the paper he had been working on before the war began. “It was a paper on the probable development of Moral Ideas with the development of the civilizing process” (194). There’s one for the wastepaper basket! As with much science fiction, the aliens in The War of the Worlds reveal more about us than about them.Throughout the book, Wells compares Man with the lower animals. And it becomes increasingly uncomfortable. At the start, we are microbes under the Martians’ microscope. We might be able to pass over the metaphor without much thought if only he didn’t go on to compare us to monkeys, lemurs, dodo birds, bison, ants, frogs, rabbits, bees, wasps, and rats ~ animals we exploit or exterminate without compassion. The narrator doesn’t fail to make the connection between the Martians’ treatment of humans and our treatment of animals. When he discovers that the Martians regard human beings as food, he is able to shift his perspective and see the human diet from the point of view of an animal that is typically regarded as food: “I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit” (139).Moreover, it is not only animals that we destroy. Other humans are also fair game. “And before we judge of them 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 its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?” (5).If only moral growth went hand-in-hand with intellectual growth! But apparently evolution doesn’t work that way. So a look at the Martians is a look into a mirror. It is also a look into our own future. And it is a future difficult to look upon. The Martians are ugly. And not just on the outside. Evolution has turned them into little more than heads. Thanks to natural selection, their bodies function with marvelous efficiency. They need not eat, sleep, or engage in sexual intercourse. They communicate by telepathy. Through Darwinian adaptation, they lost what they did not need to survive and developed what they did need. And what they needed was intellect, not character. Heads, not hearts. Is this where our species is headed? Wells was an advocate of Darwinism and if the Martians represent the future of Man, then The War of the Worlds must be read as a cautionary tale. The Epilogue supports this interpretation:“If the Martians can reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men, and when the slow cooling of the sun makes this earth uninhabitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the thread of life that has begun here will have streamed out and caught our sister planet within its toils. Should we conquer?” (198-199).Should we conquer? If we don’t want to become blood-sucking heads without hearts we had better not! On the contrary, we had better learn compassion for those over whom our superior intelligence gives us power. “Surely, if we have learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity —pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion” (166).

  • Jean
    2019-01-20 07:29

    Was H.G. Wells schizophrenic? I'm just wondering because his novels fall into 2 distinct groups. There are the gently humorous novels such as "Kipps" or "The History of Mr Polly" - and then there are his SF novels, of which The War of the Worlds is surely the most famous.His prescience is startling. Not only was he writing in the pre-atomic age, but it is as well to remember that this book was written over a century ago (1898) which is even before powered flight (though only just!) I now want to read "War in the Air" to see if his imagination mirrored a potential reality as accurately as this.The story-line is gripping, and (view spoiler)[the descriptions of society's rapid decline into chaos (hide spoiler)] immensely powerful. H.G. Wells is particularly good at seeing the individual's experience set against the whole devastating picture, (shifting between the viewpoint character and his brother), which draws the reader into the story.

  • Fernando
    2019-01-24 10:21

    "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 que tenía Herbert George Wells era ampliamente superior a la de Julio Verne a punto tal que el visionario francés lo admitía sin reparos. Pero además de esta característica tan marcada en sus novelas, Wells nos alertaba sobre los posibles peligros que involucraba a la tecnología en poder de los hombres, sobre los riesgos de los avances científicos y los alcances de la ciencia sobre el planeta.Sumado a esto, es importante reconocer también que Wells profundizaba en el costado psicológico del ser humano ante tantos cambios inesperados y en cómo el hombre tiene que lidiar con estos.En tan sólo cuatro años, Wells había escrito cuatro novelas inolvidables: "La guerra de los mundos", "El hombre invisible", "La máquina del tiempo" y "La isla del Dr. Moreau", lo que demuestra su poderío narrativo que perdura aún hasta nuestros días."La Guerra de los Mundos" no es solamente un libro sobre la invasión de la Tierra a partir de la llegada de los marcianos. Tiene muchos elementos más que la hace una novela muy entretenida para ser tan corta y, como comentara anteriormente, nos muestra otro costado: el de la reacción del hombre ante la pérdida de su libertad. A lo largo de la historia, hemos conocido acerca de las distintas invasiones y en todas ellas el patrón común es precisamente ese, el de la libertad perdida. Usualmente pondemos el ojo en el vencedor, pero no prestamos atención al vencido o dominado y en cómo influye en éste el hecho de ser sometido en todos los aspectos. Es sobre esa faceta en donde Wells ahonda el desarrollo de su novela, porque para ser sinceros, si reemplazamos a los habitantes de la tierra, por ejemplo con un ejemplo cualquiera, por los polacos, luego de la invasión nazi en 1939 a Polonia, veremos que ese sufrimiento es exactamente igual al que nos cuenta el narrador de esta historia.La opresión que viven los habitantes de la Tierra puede compararse a la de este pueblo o a cualquiera que haya experimentado un suceso similar. Para ello y a la par de lo que sucede con la caída de los distintos cilindros a Inglaterra, Wells comienza a relatarnos las reacciones de los hombres que sufren el asedio y de cómo va esto trastocando su vida.Durante el transcurso de la novela nos encontramos con grandes diferencias entre los seres humanos como sucede entre el narrador y el cura y también con el artillero. Distintas maneras de pensar nos llevan a un contrapunto interesante. En primer lugar descubrimos que insólitamente la falta de fe y esperanza repercute totalmente en el cura, que es casualmente quien por su posición ante precisamente esa fe es quien más debe reconfortar al débil. En este caso no funciona y creo que se debe a una crítica que Wells entabla hacia la Iglesia como constitución. Desconozco si era o no creyente pero pude notar que por momentos el narrador (que es tal vez un Wells encubierto) nos daba una imagen paranoica, frágil y temerosa de alguien que supuestamente debe mostrarnos exactamente lo contrario.En el caso del artillero, se desarrolla una personalidad completamente opuesta. La de aquellos hombres que bajo la influencia de la invasión a la que están sujetos intentan tomar partido para su beneficio o pactando secretas sumisiones a cambio de una traición a los suyos o en otros casos queriendo intentar una represalia que es imposible llevar a cabo y es ahí en donde el autor pone al descubierto nuestras defectos, ambicione o debilidades como personas.El punto del artillero es de todas maneras muy válido, pues éste pone de manifiesto que la supervivencia de los seres humanos está ligada directamente a que entendamos que, ante un dominio tan brutal como el que ejercen los marcianos, éstos estarán unidos o dominados. En nosotros está descubrir la verdad.Un dato interesante que descubrí durante el tramo final de la segunda parte es que los marcianos comienzan a rociar toda la zona con un una nube letal negra, principalmente en la ciudad de Londres que en ese libro equivale a la Nueva York de las películas de Hollywood, y este detalle me recordó a la de la nevada mortal con la que comienza la mítica historia gráfica de Hector Oesterheld en "El Eternauta". Tal vez, a partir de esta novela haya habido algún tipo de inspiración en el autor argentino para desarrollar su historia.Para finalizar, simplemente dejo una pequeña reflexión e interrogante, ya que sabemos que esto es ficción, que la ficción es justamente la creación de mundos a partir de la realidad, que se han escrito muchos libros sobre el tema y que se filmaron centenares de películas pero, si un día nos despertáramos con la noticia de una invasión extraterrestre...Tú, querido/a lector/a: ¿cómo reaccionarías?

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2019-01-01 06:36

    "I felt no condemnation; yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted me. In the silence of the night, with that sense of nearness of God that sometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath and fear."Hey, I finally get the addition of the rapidly growing red weed that's in one in favorite game of all time, SNES Zombies Ate my Neighbors. These martians weren't hunting cheerleaders though!While the wording style is eloquent, beautiful, it fails to hold rapt focus. I think the main issue is the story is so distant from characterization and mainly fills itself out by describing everything - martians, their instruments, the lands, the horrors, the pit.There's a few pieces of dialogue but mainly the lone traveler is kept with the company of his own mind, but still the author tells us little. The character has a wife but little else is known besides his slightly philosophical nature and definite strokes of luck and fortune. He escapes much while others just happen to not make that same fortunate escape.Being a classic written in another time, the science and plausibility isn't as advanced with its sketching as something today would be -- but it was incredibly inventive, especially for its time period. We've copied this work on art in so many ways since. Originality is something that shines for The war of the worlds - we can only hope to be suitable imitators.On the surface it is a story about the doom of man when the sky opens to release those vicious Martians - but the author enjoys later telling tales of how the human race is doomed and sort of deserves it because we have doomed others, the earth, and been unmerciful to the land, animals, and those tribes or peoples different from us. Wells raises the point of mankind ruthlessly wiping out others due to greed and savagery, without our current day giving it ample remorseful respect. Bringing up animals, here is one quote among many that points the same theme out --" inferior animal, a thing that for any passing whim of our masters might be hunted and killed. Perhaps they also prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have learned nothing else, this war has taught us pity -- pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion."H.G. Wells keeps the philosophy strong by also taking pains to show that, while the Martians are a horrifying creation we have a right to fear, we ourselves are scary to animals and other races we've conquered.Does compare the monstrosity of the Martians with mad of how we destroy the world or have taken no mercy in history on previous human tribes. When describing the horrors of the Martians feeding, the author then states, "The bare idea of this is no doubt repulsive to us, but at the same time I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit."An interesting concept - especially because of the radio forecast that led to historic panic - and the creativity of its times. On the downside, the lack of characterization gives a lack of attachment for the reader other than sci-fi colored curiosity. Description only stays interesting up to a point. I've seen that some find the ending anti-climactic, but I loved it. It's fitting, makes reasonable sense, was happy in its way, horrible in its way, suiting in its way."He had swept it out of existence, it seemed, without any provocation, as a boy might crush an ant hill, in the mere wantonness of power."

  • Becky
    2019-01-05 10:40

    As I was reading this, two thoughts struck me. The first was that this book was less about Martians than it was about how humanity views itself as the "Kings of the Earth". Mankind has always had this annoying tendency to think that whatever serves us is good and right, despite whatever injury is done to the Earth and any other living creature on it in obtaining whatever it is that we want. The Martian invasion served only to open our eyes to this blindness and willful ignorance. I appreciated some of the artilleryman's ideas on cohabitation, in so far as he compared the surviving humans to rodents or small animals -- the Martians (as the "New Kings of the Earth") will let us be, as we mean them no harm-- unless they run out of food, that is. Isn't this really how animals must see us? I think so. Too bad that's not true... Humans will hunt, kill and exploit for the sport of it, not just for survival. The invasion in the book awakens us to the fact that there is always someone bigger, badder and meaner out there to hunt humans as if we are now the animals. But I digress! My second thought was that it was really odd that all 7 of the mentioned Martian cylinders landed in England. I mean, even if we expand this to include Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we are talking about an area of 151,502 square miles. Compare this to Asia at 17,700,000 square miles or even Europe at 3,930,000 square miles. (Figures are from Google.)About 3/4 through the book, it's mentioned that other cylinders are probably wreaking havoc on other parts of the world. I suppose it must be assumed that they had some trajectory and that the cylinders were shot at the same time each day to follow it, but then why only aim at one area if world domination is your goal? In this one particular, I could not suspend my disbelief to allow for 7 out of 10 cylinders to hit such a small area of the planet.I am probably over-thinking this... I feel better after getting all of that off of my chest though! I did really enjoy the story itself, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's short enough so that it is not a daunting read, but it contains such a large story that it is immensely entertaining.

  • Owlseyes
    2019-01-10 04:44

    A few days ago I have read this juicy article on a Portuguese magazine (Visão): 5th September...still missing 3290 days for a visit to Mars. The article speaks about NASA's visit by 2030. Yet, a Dutch company* is preparing to anticipate NASA in a decade. A no-return voyage,vegetarians by force...and a water factory are some of the ideas approached.To my knowledge, though thousands worldwide had already applied, there are 8 Portuguese people ready to embark; but only 4 of them disclosed their names. Ages between 19 and 42. Maybe one of them up there 2023.Dreams that never end,...Mr Wells.-Martians, beware, it's "our turn"!Yes, this is truly a classic of science fiction; a book first published in 1898.It's about a Martian invasion: missiles launched from planet Mars carry strange creatures/machines inside...which, when out of its carrying cylinders, wreak havoc everyone and everything.Truly, a paranoid vision of a planet close to ours: a place that receives only "half of the light" of the sun, and whose hardened -hearts inhabitants "carry warfare" sunward. They see our green planet...while theirs got cooled. And their "intelligences are greater than ours".They watch us keenly.It's the end of the 19th century and astronomer Ogilvy at Ottershaw village,England, wonders about the "thing" they "were sending us". People used to scoffle at the idea of "Mars inhabitants": a vulgar one.And then for 10 nights a flame was watched: and it happened: the falling star reached Earth! Ogilvy tried to find it...though he had seen nothing. There was a thing buried on the ground: a hot huge cylinder in Horsell was 6 o'clock: and "there's a man inside it!".But nobody believes this report. The cylinder was of a yellowish white unfamiliar one: extraterrestrial. Excavations start. Stent, the Astronomer Royal is called Lord Hilton, lord of the Manor.Out of the cylinder came little tentacles,like a little grey snake....and then the bulk, that body mass...round eyes...arms like an octopus; there's horror around. An ungovernable terror is gripping the main character.The Deputy attempted to communicate with a white flag ...but that group was swept of existence,it became a group of specks.Fear.From the cylinder emanates a flash of light, a greenish's the light of destruction. "Three puffs of green smoke"...and the spinning mirror...the heat ray: forty people have died. More troops are deployed, another cordon of soldiers....and a squadron of hussars...and a regiment of 400,...a second cylinder had fallen on Earth. And yet, out of that area people carry on the routine.Some are curious to know how "they" live on another planet.Ogilvy said that it's impossible for Martians to live on Earth: due to the excess of oxygen and the gravitation force here being 3 times higher than Mars'.Meanwhile, the main character had his last civilized meal.Why hasn't the story been printed in a London paper yet? ... ("their things...") ("our things...")* or Mars? RT interviews Mars One hopefuls)One-way Ticket to Mars (RT Documentary)’s ‘Mars One’ Project Is ‘So Ambitious’ That Even the CEO Admits It’s Pretty ‘Crazy’Aug. 25, 2015 8:58am in: Do :“the analysis that we’ve made and the historical analysis that we’ve done, is that no, they cannot do this, and it is infeasible.” the way, the (European) Schiaparelli Lander is about to touch down on Mars19th October 2016...Sad news: it seems the Lander was "destroyed on impact". 24th October 2016 interesting testimony of these 3 volunteers, a Mozambican doctor, an Iraqi-American woman, and a UK Physicist.Three volunteers are on the shortlist to be among four people on the Mars One programme: November 2017

  • Benjamin Duffy
    2019-01-03 03:23

    I somewhat lazily and arbitrarily clicked this book onto my "science fiction" Goodreads shelf, but it isn't, not really. Sure, the monsters happened to come from Mars, but that isn't essential to the plot. They could just as easily have come from deep under the ground, from the bottom of the ocean, or from Mordor. All the story requires is that they be from Somewhere Else, and Mars fills that bill perfectly well.So, leaving aside the creatures' extraterrestrial origins, War of the Worlds succeeds on several levels. For one, it's one of the most gripping and legitimately frightening horror stories to come out of the 19th century; the intelligent, but overwhelmed and slightly unreliable narrator gives a desperate, panicky edge to the story. This suits the material perfectly: if you propose to chronicle the end of the world, a little panic goes a long way towards selling it.The story also succeeds as an ecological fable. As the story repeatedly compares the Martian invaders to humans as humans would be to rabbits or ants, the usual human view of the world as a pyramid with ourselves at the top is thrown into a new light. This is typical of Wells, as The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau are also thinly veiled parables about the philosophical issues of his day. The difference is that, unlike the class warfare fable of The Time Machine, or The Island of Dr. Moreau's exploration of evolution and what makes humans human, War of the Worlds's message still seems relevant today.For my money, this is H.G. Wells' best story, or at least the one that's aged the best. I was surprised at what an enjoyable and thought-provoking book this was - far better than any subsequent adaptations I've seen or heard. Accept no substitutes!

  • Phrynne
    2018-12-31 08:15

    I was amazed that I had never read this before! Of course it is exceedingly dated; that's what happens when you are over 100 years old! But the man had some amazing ideas about the future and this is epitomised by the way this book ends. For today's reader it is an obvious resolution but back in Wells' day, not so much! The story is short but wordy with story advancement delayed by the main character philosophising frequently and at length. However I enjoyed it greatly and can understand why it remains a popular piece of science fiction right through to today.

  • Joe Valdez
    2019-01-02 08:38

    The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The War of the Worlds, the classic of alien invasion and interplanetary paranoia by H.G. Wells. Published in serial format by Pearson's Magazine from April 1897 to December of that year, the story originated after the author's relocation to the town of Woking in Surrey County. It was here that Wells also wrote his comic novel The Wheels of Chance, as well as The Invisible Man, which has now been replaced as my favorite Wells invention with this one.The novel begins on a warm summer's night in June and unfolds from the point of view of an unnamed narrator, an academic in the field of philosophy who lives with his wife in Woking, southwest of London County and bordered on the north by the River Thames. A celestial alignment of Mars, Earth and the sun has generated much interest by members of the Astronomical Exchange, among them Ogilvy, a well-known astronomer and friend of the narrator's. Ogilvy believes the possibility of life on Mars to be absurd. The narrator isn't so sure about that. Early in the morning, a "falling star" is reported in the skies over Berkshire, Surrey and Middlesex. Ogilvy tracks the descent of what is assumed to be a meteorite to a "common", or public land, near the town of Horsell. Climbing into the sand pit where the object has been buried, Ogilvy discovers a huge cylinder, which he determines to be hollow. He runs to get help and news quickly spreads of "the dead men from Mars". While Ogilvy and a few other men from the Astronomical Exchange begin to excavate the cylinder, the narrator clings to rational thought, doubting there might actually be any intelligent life inside. He's dispatched to secure fencing needed to hold back the crowds that have begun to converge on the site. The narrator returns at dusk in time to witness the cylinder open. Expecting to see a man, onlookers are aghast at their first glimpse of a Martian in the flesh:Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the wedgelike lower lip, the incessant quivering of this mouth, the Gorgon group of tentacles, the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to greater gravitational energy of the earth--above all, the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes--were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous.A deputation including Ogilvy approaches the pit with a white flag in an attempt to communicate with the Martians. The party is met with what the narrator refers to as a "heat-ray", a flash of light which leaves the men charred and distorted beyond recognition. The narrator manages to flee the massacre and returns home to his wife. He's confident that the episode may all be a big misunderstanding and trusts that a company of soldiers heading to the site will sort everything out. Meanwhile, a second shooting star lights up the sky.By afternoon of the next day, guns are heard firing and the narrator observes damage to the spires and chimneys about town. Concluding their home is now in range of the Martian heat-rays, the narrator procures a horse and dog cart from the local pub owner, quickly fills it with valuables and spirits his wife to the town of Leatherhead, where her cousins live. He insists on returning the horse and cart as promised, but upon his return to Woking that night, encounters a pair of giant Martian tripods stepping through the pine trees.Higher than many houses and dangling steel tentacles, the tripods use their heat-ray to destroy the horse and cart. Through the hail and lightning of the dark, the narrator makes out the shapes of tripods on the march through the English countryside. Seeking shelter at home, he briefly takes in a soldier who initially can only mutter "They wiped us out--simply wiped us out." In the morning, the narrator sets out in search of his wife in the middle of, not a war, but the extermination of mankind.The War of the Worlds is one of those classic tales that through more than a century of radio, television and film I was sure that I knew. Initially, Wells' typically British stoicism and reserve -- the narrator witnesses his mates microwaved by a Martian death ray and returns home, composes himself and tells the little lady it'll be quite all right in the morning -- kept me removed from the story. It was headed toward two stars and a box checked next to "War of the Worlds, Wells, H.G."I caught up to the novel at the end of Book One, when the Narrator fishes himself out of the Thames and takes on a companion, a parish priest convinced divine retribution is at hand. The men become unwilling partners, plundering houses for food until a Martian cylinder crashes nearby and traps them. The story became much more thrilling through here, with the danger up close and personal. Instead of running, the narrator is able to study the Martians for the first time, uncovering unpleasant facts of the invader's diet.Wells' "man on the street" reporting -- adapted by Orson Welles for his infamous 1938 Halloween radio broadcast -- has a unique way of putting the reader right in the middle of an invasion with a remarkable amount of verisimilitude. The heroics exhibited by his narrator are thankfully limited to his ability to stay alive and observe the enemy up close, as well as use his knowledge of the humanities to give what he's experiencing context.-- Wells cites the names of so many towns and villages that a tourist could probably find their way around London by reading this book. -- Next to New York, London has been destroyed by more science fiction writers than any other city. Panic takes the heaviest toll in The War of the Worlds. The scenes where the narrator wanders the empty city, certain he's the last survivor, were chilling.-- The biology and technology of the Martians are ingeniously drawn and truly menacing. I haven't seen an alien in film or television in quite some time that were as designed as well as the Martians.-- Wells does take an unnecessary detour, shifting focus to the narrator's brother as he flees the siege of London by poisonous black smoke, but even here, Wells' impeccable writing style kept me hooked:In Sunbury, and at intervals along the road, were dead bodies lying in contorted attitudes, horses as well as men, overturned carts and luggage, all covered thickly with black dust. That pall of cindery powder made me think of what I had read of the destruction of Pompeii. We got to Hampton Court without misadventure, our minds full of strange and unfamiliar appearances, and at Hampton Court our eyes were relieved to find a patch of green that had escaped the suffocating drift.I found the depictions of how rustic the England of Wells' day truly was to be captivating. Most of the country is connected by rail, but once you left the train stations, you were in the 19th century, with horse cart, carriage or bicycle the best options for travel. Without telephone, television, radio or aircraft to provide news, the reader's imagination is allowed to run amok between pages and fill in the details of the invasion.

  • The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
    2019-01-03 10:37

    H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds... Wells wrote this in 1898, at the turn of the century. My Grandfather was less than a year old. The world found it'self i the middle of the industrial revolution where steam power had taken over the world, and mankind suffered from an Ego that had led them to believe that they were invincible. It was a dangerous illusion. Within the next twenty years, Nature will wallop man in ways that man had never believed possible. In 1906 an earthquake will flatten Charleston South Carolina. In 1914, The H.M.S. Titanic will go to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean after striking an iceberg, taking hundreds to their death in the icy waters of the North Western Atlantic Ocean. The White Star Line would loose the sister ship to the Titanic, the Oceanic in an at sea accident. In 1908 A meteorite hits Tunguska Russian and flattens trees for miles and miles. These are just a few of the lessons Mother Nature unloaded on man, a measure of how tiny we are against the power of nature, or God, or just plain things we had never fathomed before.This is perhaps one of H.G. Wells finest works. Written in an era where lyrical prose had been the norm. Wonderful descriptions with powerful intelligent sounding words. While Edgar Rice Burrows and Arthur Conan Doyle explored "Brave New Worlds," full of dinosaurs and martians and beautiful princess hatched from eggs in the sand, H.G. Wells warned of danger. Where Jules Verne stopped with 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Wells forges ahead with a thread from a new direction, space, the final fronier. Wells warns us of danger, not so much in the extent of our exploration, but danger in the extent of our ego. Mankind was in for a tragic lesson. The point of a dystopian novel is not what brings the death of civilization, the point of a distopian novel is to warn us about something in ourselves. What will the earth be like in the end? Will mankind be dignified and face their demise with class, like the famous Quartet on the Titanic who played music to help keep the passengers calm even as the deck sank into the frigid Atlantic, in the last desperate moments will we revert to neanderthals and cave men, or, will the darkest motivations and ugliest side of our survival instincts raise our ugly souls as judgement day is called on Earth, not from God, but from Mars, the closest planet even remotely possible of having life, at least as far as we knew in 1898.This is a wonderful story, full of lyrical prose that raise hairs on the back of the neck with chilling clinical portrayal of man's basic dark side. At other times the desperation of the survivors wrenches hearts and strikes fear in the soul. This era produced some of the most colorfully and picturesque works of any time. Dead London will chill your bones. Well's world of rubble and burnt out husks slowly succumbing to the red weed standing against a darking sky while the few humans who hadn't fled hid in the wreckage like wraiths from "I Am Legend."All is not death and doom. There is dignity, and heroism. (view spoiler)[ My favorite part of this story, the H.M.S. Thunderchild! Wells tells of the invaders trying to stop the remnants of mankind from escaping to sea, hope seems lost. Then, "with deafening roar and whoosh of Spray," the Silent Gray Ironclad Thunderchild comes to life and charges full steam towards the Martians, Gun's blazing. The warrior's guns decapitate a fighting machine, then take a second, driving the Martians back for precious few minutes while the Dunkirk like flotilla escaped into the fog and out to see where they could not be reached.(hide spoiler)] What's important in a dystopian novel is how you live. The hint in the back of the mind that whispers like a martian hiss, "the way you will act in a crisis of epic proportions is not set by intentions, religion, prayers, but by how you live every day of your life now. The way I practice my life when there is no crisis, is a better indicator of how you will behave when a crisis comes. Do yo practice compassion? Do you practice love? Fairness?My comments here are my opinion, this may be as well, however, I'm reasonably certain it is an opinion shared. Everyone believes they know how War of the Worlds goes. Most everyone has seen the 1959 Movie Version where the martians flew around protected by force fields, or, the Latest version of the movie with Tom Cruise and Tim Robbins. Some may have seen the Tv series loosely based on the martian threat and the spin off that spawned.Do yourself a favor and read this book, regardless of how much you believe you know of it, don't short yourself the opportunity to experience the panic, highs and lows or pass on the wonderful lyrical words as were typical of an era before Televisions could show us all how things looked and Radios could let us hear any sound, new or alien to our ears. There is a special magic to the way writers wrote at the turn of the 19th century. This was a time when only words could describe the most unusual of places and things. This is a 5 star read. It's dark, but suitable for anyone old enough to read it.

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-01-06 04:40

    While it may seen inhumane to all the stockbrokers and their dependants, there is some vicarious pleasure to be had in the destruction of Surrey commuter towns by the Martians. The fear, confusion and rapid break down of late Victorian life following on from the initial attack is striking. The War of the Worlds is one of those science-fiction books that are full of contemporary fears - it is a pre World War One invasion fantasy like The Riddle of the Sands but with the German army transformed into the Martians. Zeppelins and U-Boats transformed into striding tripods and heat rays.The sun may not have set on the British Empire but the fear of destruction lurks everywhere. For Childers and Wells the threat is external and military rather than internal and social. Eventual victory doesn't represent change - just the continuity of militarism. As a vision of Imperial Britain's place in the world it is incredibly narrow and fearful - the application of fight or flight as the only choices in international relations, but as events a few years later would show this was a way of seeing the world that was widespread across Europe.An interesting feature, particularly maybe from the perspective of empire, is that the aliens are not defeated they self-destruct in an accelerated version of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Martian Empire - if you are going to keep your empire, mere technological superiority is not enough, one needs inner vigilance too otherwise you'll dive into decadence and start mixing your bodily fluids with sub-Martians, then before you know it - you are bird food. For once then, eugenics turns out to save us all.

  • Connie
    2018-12-26 05:44

    "The War of the Worlds" is an exciting first-person narration of a man who witnessed the Martians invading the Earth. Cylinders containing the Martians were shot from Mars and landed in England. The British army was defenseless against the Martian Tripods, three-legged fighting machines fitted out with a Heat-Ray and chemical "Black Smoke". The book was written in 1898, prior to World War I, but the Martian weapons were similar to lasers and chemical warfare. Wells uses the ideas of Darwin to describe the Martians who had evolved to possess huge brains.Great Britain was a colonial power when this book was published, so it was a turnabout to read that Great Britain was being attacked by a civilization far superior in technology. Streams of refugees were fleeing from the invaders. Rumors and confusion existed in the era before rapid communication.It's not surprising that "The War of the Worlds" has been adapted into films, comic books, games, and radio dramas. People thought that a 1938 radio drama by Orson Welles was a genuine news broadcast which incited panic in some American listeners. This science fiction classic is full of suspense and kept my interest.

  • Eva
    2019-01-22 06:42

    Having read this magnificent book which was first published in 1898 (!) I cannot but feel sadness for the fact that we no longer have people whose imagination stretches that far. Who have we produced in mankind in the last couple of decades with such an advanced scientific as well as philosophical mind I wonder. H. G. Wells was ahead of his time yes, but not only in terms of technology but also in terms of human behavior. All these blockbuster movies that come out every year containing the destruction of the world from hurricanes, flouds and other species are just regurgitations of what he wrote. Where is our originality, our advancement and our gift to the later generations? This was a book read in one breath. I am generally not a fan of the descriptive novel but I traveled the streets of England as if I was there. I will definitely be reading more H.G Wells.

  • Ron
    2018-12-24 04:21

    More and more I have become interested in reading the predecessor classic novels like The War of the Worlds. Shamefully, this was actually my first H.G. Wells books, and although I have seen the movies, there is nothing like reading the book itself. After researching, I realized that Wells book is not the first science fiction novel, but I’ve noticed hints of its influence within the pages of other novels I’d read (from Kim Stanley Robinson to Stephen King).It is also relevant to horror and fear, and I don’t think it’s lost much of its edge in that category. Evidently, Orsen Welles scared the crap out of a lot of people in 1938 during his radio broadcast using a modified version of The War of the Worlds. Since then, we have learned a lot more about Mars. Back in the late 19th century, the pictures and knowledge of the planet were fuzzy. I like that Wells used his big imagination to strike the imagination of readers. His vision of the Martians and their attack on our world is outstanding. Within the story there is also a personal story. The book speaks to human loss, but also to hope and triumph.Because I love time travel novels, I surprised even myself by choosing this as my first Wells novel, over The Time Machine. I listened to The War of the Worlds by audiobook. I tend to miss more by audio. For those of you like me, I think reading is the best choice.

  • Willa
    2019-01-04 04:34

    This book is brilliant! To think that Wells wrote it before anyone else had imagined visitors from other planets coming to Earth is simply incredible... The influence on the genre continues to this day... Well-deservedly, I might add...But not only is this book a great example of science fiction, it's also a commentary on social practices... Wells points every so often to the feelings of the humans and compares them to the feelings of 'lower' animals who must contend every day with the effects human activities have on their lives and the order they've established... It really made me pause and think about the results of dozens, maybe hundreds, of my actions every day on the world around me and its inhabitants...Isaac Asimov, in the afterword, also points out the parallels to the way natives in many lands were treated by Europeans as they explored, spread over, and colonized the world... So, Wells gives us much more than an exciting and frightful picture of a potential alien invasion, but also turns the camera on each of us, illuminating our self-centered views and ethnocentrisms...

  • Maria
    2019-01-20 07:18

    I've been on a sci-fi kick lately, and this classic had to make the list. I couldn't put this book down. I was engrossed from beginning until the final page; I read this in less than 24 hours! From my understanding, this is the one of the first books written related to an invasion on Earth by aliens. I found myself in awe that this was written in the late 1890's. The ideas were very advanced and unique. Perhaps what I thought was the book's strongest aspect was how it mixed philosophy and psychology into this end of the world tale. Our narrator, whose name is never given, has a front row seat to the invasion of the Martians. He tells us his personal experience in Southern England along with the happenings of his brother in London. Both tales begin from the landing of the first Martian. I enjoyed the discovery of the Martians and progression to chaos as society digests having the concept of extraterrestrial life. Wells doesn't shy from exploring the darker side of humanity as life as we know it as questioned and destroyed. Another strong plus for me is the exploration of the science on how the Martians physiologically became what they are and comparing this to the possible evolution of the human race. The narrator describes their behavior and explores their anatomy. From these observations, the reader learns that the Martians are calculated, ruthless, and seemingly without emotion. Before I discuss this in light of the movie, I want to touch on the progression of the story. (view spoiler)[I found the rise of the Martians, their use of technology chilling as they did not want to just destroy the human race but were more interested in submitting them so they could become in essence cattle bred for nourishment. Their powerful rise destroys communication and travel across England and spreads practically immediately. No where is safe. When one is accidentally taken down, they adapt and move on to a more ruthless manner of subduing their prey. Finally, their end is upon them. It is perfectly fitting and plausible to me that they would die from exposure to the bacteria and microorganisms that we have adapted. This is a beautiful concept. It's so simple and yet so realistic. (hide spoiler)]The Spielberg movie (released in 2005) is a broad stroke of the book set in modern times and from what I recall loosely based upon what I've read. I'll watch it again soon so I can have a complete understanding of the differences.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-21 03:40

    من روائع هـ. ج. ويلزمختلفه عن الفيلم كتير تفاصيل كتير جدااااااااااا احداث في منتهي الروعه عبقريييييييه الروايه دي وكعادة الكاتب ديما يبهرني بطريقة تفكيره التقدميه واللي سابقه الفتره الزمنيه اللى كان فيها بمسافات طويله عنده دايما خلفيه علميه عن كل موضوع بيكتب عنه زي رواية آلة الزمن اللى قرأتها ليه من فتره طويله وكانت اول كتاب اقرأه لويلزوصف دقيق لشكل الآلات الخاصه بالمريخيين لدرجة اني بقيت مش قادره اتخيل المنظر دا والتفاصيل دي كلها في الفتره اللى هو فيها سنة 1898الروايه مكونه من كتابين او جزئين الاول اسمه قدوم المريخيين والثاني اسمه الأرض في قبضة المريخيين شخصية البطل هو كاتب المفترض معروف لم يقم بذكر اسمه يصف لنا البطل علي لسانه وفي كتابه ما حدث بالتفصيل من بداية رؤيته للمريخيين عند اول هبوط ليهم حتي سيطرة المريخيين علي الارض وقتلهم كل ما يقابلهم من كائنات حيه ومحاولاته للوصول لزوجته اللي وصلها عند ابن عمه في مدينه تانيه واعتقاده انها ماتت واعتقادها انه مات واللي معتقد انه نفس قصة الفيلم بتاع توم كروز لازم يقرأ الروايه لانها وضحت حاجات كتير جداااا ما كانتش واضحه في الفيلم دا اولا وكمان الفتره الزمنيه مختلفه تماما فبالتالي الاحداث هتعتبر مختلفه تماما بما فيهم كمان البطل نفسه واختلافه الشديد عن بطل الفيلم

  • Paul
    2018-12-29 04:41

    The Martians are coming!THE MARTIANS ARE COMING!!!A-hem... Second on my list of all-time favourite classics to re-read this year is H.G. Wells' phenomenal 'The War Of The Worlds'. Contrary to popular belief, this book is not the first book about an alien invasion, but it is the first book about alien invasion that anybody but the most knowledgeable science fiction geeks will have heard of.The plot is simple: Mars attacks Earth, us inferior humans can't do anything about it and (view spoiler)[then the Martians get wiped out by Earth germs because they have no natural immunity to them (hide spoiler)]. It's a simple plot but plot isn't what the book's about.The reason I love this book so much is because it does a fantastic job of showing how powerless humanity would be if attacked by extra-terrestrial beings. Stephen Hawking famously said that he hopes extra-terrestrial life doesn't find us because they would have to be much more advanced technologically than us and history has shown us that when a more advanced civilisation meets a less advanced civilisation it's pretty much always really bad news for the less advanced civilisation. As much as the Roddenberry fans among us might dream of peaceful contact between species from distant worlds, Hawking probably has a point.This book was actually criticised when it was first published (serialised in a newspaper or magazine; I forget which) for being too graphic and, while it's pretty tame by today's standards, it was a lot closer to the knuckle than the vast majority of the works being published at the time. It's actually pretty gross in places. (That's not meant as a criticism.)Some of it seems a bit silly to the modern reader, mainly because the knowledge we have of Mars and space travel and the like is much greater today, but if you can get past that you'll get sucked in.The Martians may not be coming... because they don't exist... but somebody is probably out there... and, you never know, they may well be watching us... keenly and closely...What's that bright green light in the sky? That's really weird... no, no... AAAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

  • Azumi
    2019-01-17 09:33

    Desde que terminé de leer los libros de la saga “Trilogía Victoriana” de Félix J. Palma, con H.G. Wells y sus libros como protagonistas absolutos, me quedó la espinita de leerme algo de Wells.La historia es archiconocida pero me ha encantado leerla de la mano de su creador.Me ha gustado el tono de caos y desolación que presenta la historia y el hecho de que no sepamos el nombre del narrador me parece un acierto total. La explicación final de (view spoiler)[que los marcianos mueren debido a los virus y bacterias de la tierra (hide spoiler)] me ha parecido magistral. Siento que es un libro que nunca va a pasar de moda.Mención aparte merecen las estupendas ilustraciones de Alvim Correa que me han acompañado en la lectura. Son una maravilla. Por favor, si es que le ha puesto ojitos a los trípodes marcianos ¿puede haber algo más cuco? XD["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Erika
    2019-01-17 09:20

    Now I want to read anything & everything with extraterrestrials. & watch more X Files

  • Ben Babcock
    2018-12-26 09:15

    It's easy to be a jaded reader of science fiction, especially if you grew up with the conveniences of Star Trek, Star Wars, and the reality of spaceflight. So it's important to remember that writers like H.G. Wells never got to see the famous Blue Marble photograph of Earth; they never got to see what our planet looks like from space—something most of us take for granted in this era. This awareness, our conception of the Earth as a big blue marble, has become so pervasive as to make descriptions like this seem ... odd:...our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.(Emphasis mine.) Wells didn't grow up with the Apollo missions; he only dreamed of men walking on the moon. So to write a story about Martians invading Earth, one saturated with speculation that uses the most cutting-edge science available to him in the 1890s, is all the more amazing and deserving of praise. The War of the Worlds is not a novel of the ages because of its story or characters—indeed, it lacks both—but because it is a testament to the power of one's imagination.It's a good thing The War of the Worlds is short, because a book at any length in this style quickly becomes dull. The first thing that struck me is how Wells names so few of his characters. I'm pretty sure under ten characters in the book are named, and all of them are killed off in the first couple of chapters. The narrator and his wife go nameless; supporting characters are simply identified as "the boy" or "my brother," "the curate," "the artilleryman." That's not to say the characters lack personalities. Although none seem three-dimensional, Wells takes the time to invest the main characters with a cynical sort of human nature: the narrator vacillates between misguided optimism and extreme pessimism; the brother soon finds his own altruism erode in the face of Martian-induced anarchy; the curate goes mad; the artilleryman seizes upon impractical, Nietzschean visions. In a way, the dearth of names is appropriate to what Wells accomplishes: set pieces, scenery with dialogue, rather than actual characters decorate the scenes of The War of the Worlds. Through these inanimate beings, Wells shows us how he thinks civilization—because this is Britain, after all!—would behave during an apocalypse.The narrative itself is extremely procedural. In addition to the nameless characters, who lend to the narrative its feeling of an anonymous article recounting "the terrible Martian invasion," the narrator often goes off into clinical descriptions of the events that befall him and his own interactions with the Martians. This book is all tactics and no strategy.No, where Wells truly excels is his portrayal of the Martians as the Other and his exploration of how humanity reacts to the invasion of the Other, to absolute and utter catastrophe. The Martians never parley with humanity, neither to threaten nor to deliver ultimatums. They are taciturn and methodical, ruthlessly organized in their effort to dominate the Earth. Our entire understanding of them is predicated on the narrator's perception, on his perhaps fallible assignation of thoughts and desires to the Martians. They are, he supposes, doing this out of a need to survive—Mars being a dying planet—but it's worth noting that this is total supposition; for all we know, the Martians were utterly malevolent and their planet was fine.The Martians certainly bring out a certain malevolence in humanity. There's no shortage of books that show the dark side of humanity, of course. But the alien invasion story is unique because of its ability to render us, as a species, totally impotent:For that moment I touched an emotion beyond the common range of men, yet one that the poor brutes we dominate know only too well. I felt as a rabbit might feel returning to his burrow and suddenly confronted by the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the foundations of a house. I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heels. With us it would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to run and hide; the fear and empire of man had passed away.This is not the first time Wells compares us to animals; earlier in the book he compares his initial underestimation of the Martians as tantamount to the dodos' lackadaisical attitude toward the first sailors on Mauritius. However, the sentiment doesn't truly sink in until Wells' narrator re-encounters the artilleryman, who sums it up: "We're beat.... This isn't a war. It never was a war, anymore than there's war between man and ants."From here, the book briefly digresses into a dim vision of humanity's future under the heels of the Martians. The scary thing is, I can see it happening. Our greatest strength as a species is how adaptable we are—but that strength can also be a disadvantage. Civilizations have grown comfortable under the rule of tyrants (just don't ask for the recipe for Soylent Green...); I was ready to envision humanity under the Martians.It's worth remembering too that this all happens, and was written, before World War II. But does this sound familiar?It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate benefit for men; it has robbed us of that serene confidence in the future which is the most fruitful source of decadence, the gifts to human science it has brought are enormous, and it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind.Finally, everyone knows how the story ends, even though few people probably even read the entire book: the Martians are felled by tiny, microscopic bacteria, because "there are no bacteria in Mars." Of all the science in this book—much of which is accurate, by the way, if not precise—that is the most ironic statement, for scientists currently searching for life on Mars, past or present, are focusing on finding that life under a microscope. So fortunately for us, I don't think the Martians will be aiming their rockets at Earth anytime soon.