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The War of the Worlds Paperback – 31 Mar 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141441038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141441030
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (615 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The creations of Mr. Wells . . . belong unreservedly to an age and degree of scientific knowledge far removed from the present, though I will not say entirely beyond the limits of the possible." --Jules Verne

Book Description

H. G. Wells' classic vision of interplanetary warfare and a Martian invasion of Earth. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched1 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 scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Chris M. O'brien on 22 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Having heard the Musical Version of War of the Worlds when i was a kid and with the new movie coming out, I thought I'd buy the origianl book and see if it was any good. It is fantastic! A real piece of genius from a visionary H G Wells. I just couldn't put it down and would recommend to anyone, sci-fi fans this is a definate must read. Just don't go and see the film after reading it cause there was no way it was going to live up to the book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rod Williams on 17 May 2006
Format: Paperback
The problem with the current public perception of this novel is that it suffers from a certain level of subsequent re-imagining in various forms, from Orson Welles' 1938 historic real-time broadcast through to the 1953 film; Jeff Wayne's truncated but brilliant concept album version and - in the Nineties - an execrable American TV series which is best forgotten, as is the dire Spielberg film in relation to the far superior novel.

Re-reading this afresh is a liberating experience and an affirming one since Wells' original version is as chilling and compulsive a read as I remember it, and dispels some of the subsequent myths which have arisen more from the original American film version than from the book. The Martians, for instance, do not have three eyes or travel in threes. Apart from the fact that their fighting machines are tripods there is no other mention of 'threes'.

One legacy of other versions is that it is now difficult to read without imagining Richard Burton's voice narrating in one's head, which is not on the whole, a bad thing.

Wells' problem in limiting his book to first person narrative is that he is faced with having to describe both the Martian arrival and initial attacks in Woking, and then their subsequent rout of London, which he does by giving a retrospective account of his brother's escape from the Capital. It's a clumsy device which telegraphs the fact that he is eventually reunited with his brother and that the Martians are defeated, but this is a minor criticism of what is the definitive novel of Earth invasion which features most importantly Wells' sharply observed characters and the range of reactions of humanity to such an event.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Half Man, Half Book on 24 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first time that I have ever read the War of the Worlds. I have been meaning to for a while now, but just never quite got around to it.

It is written as a narrative, from the perspective of one gentleman who lives very close to the landing site of the first Martian invader. He goes to see the landing site at Horsell sandpits, and is there when the first Martian attacks. Following more aggressive attacks from the invaders, he sends his wife of to Leatherhead to be with family, and he heads into London. He meets with various individuals, some of which he gets on with, and has to hide with a curate who he doesn't like much, as the Martians rampage across the south east.

It is quite forward looking for a Victorian / Edwardian science fiction book. He is trying to describe lasers and other devices, but he does not have the technological vocabulary to describe them as we would now. The dialogue is quite stilted, but given the time this was written and set, I would not expect anything different. What Wells does manage to convey is the terror that the population, and himself and his companions experience, and the despair and helplessness that he feels.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ever since this novel was first published it has always proved to be popular with the reading public. A tale told in the first person narrative we read about how suddenly Martians invade the Earth. The narrative takes place in the South of England and is still quite gripping, with the Martians in their machines and their death rays causing havoc and destruction.

Like most people I have read this story countless times, but I have never got bored with it. Influencing other writers in the field with their own 'invasion' stories this is a story that will never go away or age. If you have never read this before then snatch up this edition whilst it is free.

You do have an active table of contents here, and there is also the beginning excerpt of Felix J Palma's 'The Map of the Sky' at the back of this book, after the main story. I should point out that you will see occasionally small numerals in the text of this, but there are no footnotes. The reason for this is that the publisher, Simon and Schuster, have allowed the main text to be used, but not the footnotes as they publish that in a complete 'enriched' edition.

As well as a sci-fi novel this can be seen as so many other things, an allegory for instance of Imperialism, as well as other topics. As I noted above, there are no footnotes for this particular edition, but lets be honest, I seriously doubt that you would need any, and no, the tiny numbers that appear where there would be one doesn't detract from reading the novel.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Sally-Anne on 6 April 2005
Format: Paperback
The narrator, who's name we never learn, recounts the terrible events that took place six years earlier, which alerted the people of Earth to the danger from space. Strange lights, like huge spouts of flaming gas are observed on the surface of Mars - a curiosity that stimulates much speculation in the newspapers. Later, when great cylinders begin to drop from the sky onto areas around London and disgorge weird creatures that immediately start fabricating machines of war, it becomes clear that these lights were the first signs of an invasion from Mars. Mars is a dying planet so the Martians need to find a new home. They have no thought of sharing with the indigenous inhabitants of the planet they've chosen to colonize. The initial, innocent, friendly approach by some of the residents of the village close to the first landing is repelled with lethal force. Soon their intentions become all too obvious. The Planet Earth and all its animals (including human kind), vegetation and minerals are nothing more than resources to be consumed or otherwise exploited by the Martians. Their technology is far superior to ours and they employ it with cold and shocking efficiency. How can the people of late 19th century England resist such overwhelming power? The situation is grim indeed, and once England has been vanquished, the Martians mean, of course, to conquer the rest of Britain and then the rest of the world.
When you consider that this book was first published in 1898, and that up to that time no other author had written a tale about invasion from beyond our planet, the original ideas H G Wells poured into this work are very impressive.
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