H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds

ISBN 13: 9781461149781

The War of the Worlds

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9781461149781: The War of the Worlds
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While the individual elements of Wells’ novel were not entirely original, he was unique in the way that he combined them to create the quintessential story of alien invasion. At the same time, Wells anticipated several technological and military advances, including chemical weapons, lasers, and robotics. The War of the Worlds thus pioneered a subgenre in science fiction, providing a major inspiration for other authors, while also encouraging future scientists who would later partially credit him with inspiring what became the Apollo space program. The powerful themes and presentation of The War of the Worlds are so universal that, since its publication in 1898, the book has never been out of print.

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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. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler

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