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With HG Wells Other Novels, The War Of The Worlds Was One Of The First And Greatest Works Of Science Fiction Ever To Be Written Even Long Before Man Had Learned To Fly, HG Wells Wrote This Story Of The Martian Attack On England These Unearthly Creatures Arrive In Huge Cylinders, From Which They Escape As Soon As The Metal Is Cool The First Falls Near Woking And Is Regarded As A Curiosity Rather Than A Danger Until The Martians Climb Out Of It And Kill Many Of The Gaping Crowd With A Heat Ray These Unearthly Creatures Have Heads Four Feet In Diameter And Colossal Round Bodies, And By Manipulating Two Terrifying Machines The Handling Machine And The Fighting Machine They Are As Versatile As Humans And At The Same Time Insuperable They Cause Boundless Destruction The Inhabitants Of The Earth Are Powerless Against Them, And It Looks As If The End Of The World Has Come But There Is One Factor Which The Martians, In Spite Of Their Superior Intelligence, Have Not Reckoned On It Is This Which Brings About A Miraculous Conclusion To This Famous Work Of The Imagination


10 thoughts on “The War of the Worlds

  1. says:

    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.


  2. says:

    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 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 paperThere 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 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 than it s a war between men and ants.


  3. says:

    I didn t listen to the novel novel, but I listened to a radio adaptation performed by some fan favorite cast members of Star Trek Leonard Nimoy is amazing.It was cool as hell.And hilarious.Because it doesn t really have a Big Battle or anything that humanity has to do to overcome these invaders They just show up, and we watch in horror as they thoroughly hand us our asses.Eventually, they justdie off because regardless of their superior intelligence firepower they didn t get their shots before they landed on Earth.So.Basically, humans were saved because Mars was full of anti vaxxers And if it happened on Mars, who s to say it can t happen here Perhaps the true moral of the story is that by unlocking space travel, we can rid ourselves of some of our less desirable brethren by letting them roam around the universe unchecked I like to think that this story had a happy ending for than just the Earthlings An L.A Theatre Works full cast performance featuring John de Lancie, Meagan Fay, Jerry Hardin, Gates McFadden, Leonard Nimoy, Daryl Schultz, Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner, Tom Virtue and Wil Wheaton.


  4. says:

    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 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


  5. says:

    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 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.


  6. says:

    Paraphrasing Whitehead, I would say that the safest general characterisation of the science fiction tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to H G Wells Indeed, The War of the Worlds is probably the most influential novel of the whole science fiction genre, as well as a significant part of the horror category I remember reading this short novel as a child and being viscerally engrossed and terrified Rereading it now made me aware of a few things First I realised how this book sums up and, in a way, accomplishes some of the things H G Wells had experimented before Just to name a few the Darwinian conflict between two similar species The Time Machine , the fascination for freakish life forms The Island of Dr Moreau , the chase around working class London and its surrounding area The Invisible Man.It is possible that H G Wells s remarkable book was perceived, at the close of the 19th century, as just a fin de si cle catastrophic story similar to, say, Mad Max or Terminator at the end of the 20th Though in hindsight, The War of the Worlds is much than that It is indeed the kernel and the seed of all the later tales of extraterrestrial invasion and tropes of apocalyptic destruction, from H P Lovecraft e.g The Colour Out of Space to Arthur C Clarke e.g Childhood s End , Robert Heinlein e.g The Puppet Masters , Ray Bradbury e.g The Martian Chronicles , Arkady Strugatsky e.g Roadside Picnic , Margaret Atwood e.g Oryx and Crake , Michael Faber e.g Under the Skin , Cormac McCarthy e.g The Road , Ted Chiang e.g Story of Your Life , Emily Mandel e.g Station Eleven , or Jeff VanderMeer e.g Annihilation Not to mention films and TV Alien, Independence Day, The Walking Dead, and so many that I forget as I write this short note.What strikes me the most is the fact that Wells depicts humanity in the shoes of the invaded party, and pictures the invaders as an alien race of bloodthirsty mollusks which, in itself, sounds like a veiled but stark criticism of Western imperialism and sense of superiority But, as it turns out, Wells s prophetic vision was not so much that of a War of the Worlds with extraterrestrial invaders, but precisely a vision of the World War between fellow humans, that would break out some twenty years later, with a technological arsenal not unlike that of the Martians cf mechanised artillery, chemical warfare, surgical strikes Later still, when the Second World War began, and the Nazis were about to invade the whole of Europe, Orson Welles remembered this old tale about a Martian invasion and turned it into an incredibly relevant radio sensation The masses of refugees, described by H G Wells, fleeing the war in a disorderly and life threatening manner is a sight anyone may witness even today, despite all the concrete walls or steel fences that are supposed to stop them.In short, this is an unavoidable masterpiece The only reproach I could make is regarding the ending, where the deadly flu epidemic the Martians eventually suffer from feels a bit like a disappointing Deus ex Machina As a side note historically, things unfolded the other way around when, say, Spanish Conquistadors landed on the shores of the New World They didn t win against the Aztec and Inca Empires so much because of the superiority of their weapons, religion or culture, but because they were bringing the smallpox virus along with them first major and unwitting case of biological warfare.Jeff Wayne produced a compelling musical version of The War of the Worlds in the 1970s that would please any fan of Mike Oldfield Wells s novel has been brought to the screen a significant number of times, one of the most recent ones being Steven Spielberg s adaptation 2005 , with Tom Cruise, which I should watch afresh Edit Rewatched the 2005 film adaptation Steven Spielberg took a few liberties with the book, setting the story in present day Connecticut One very clever unfaithfulness, however, is having the aliens not come from Mars, but from underground a nod to The Time Machine, no doubt Spielberg isn t new to the alien first contact genre But this is an outright nightmarish and nail biting take on what had once been a benevolent musical spaceship or a heart warming horticultural E.T longing for home in this film, aliens also play the trombone and are versed in landscaping, but they spray their gardens with human blood Spielberg s War of the Worlds comes after the intense and graphic scenes of the Omaha Beach assault in Saving Private Ryan and is roughly in the same vein Some scenes, like the innumerable bodies suddenly floating down a glistening river, or the empty cloths raining from a blazing sky are strangely beautiful and horrifying In the midst of the gruesome devastation, Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins and Dakota Fanning are exceptional, playing the parts of regular people, suddenly overwhelmed with PTSD and facing the brutal ending of all things Breathtaking.


  7. says:

    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


  8. says:

    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 classics And you know I m glad I did The War of the Worlds is a lot 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.


  9. says:

    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 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.


  10. says:

    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 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 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.