H. G. Wells' best-selling classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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. The hoard of scientific knowledge has practically exploded since that time and also, people have read dozens of sci-fi books, watched countless sci-fi films and played a range of space invader-type computer games. It is easy to forget that when Wells wrote this book, his ideas were new - generated by him alone - and he, himself, had never had the chance to read a story about extra-terrestrial life. I'm full of admiration for this author.
This particular version of "The War of the Worlds", the Penguin Classics publication, has a few extras that I found helpful and interesting. There are Biographical Notes by Patrick Parrinder that briefly describe the life of Herbert George Wells and mention some of his other books, of which there were many. There is a fairly long Introduction by Brian Aldiss which actually repeats some of the information offered in the Biographical Notes and then provides a much fuller description of Wells, his life, his relationships, his motivations and how the War of the Worlds expresses some of his feelings about how technologically advanced societies have subjugated or exterminated more primitive cultures. The Martians' murderous colonization of England could be a metaphor for England's equally destructive colonization of Tasmania for example. Wells subtly hints to the reader that the Martians' lack of moral sense or compassion does not distinguish them from us. Patrick Parrinder then suggests Further Reading and provides Notes on the Text and, finally "The War of the World" begins. The story itself takes up less than 180 pages so it's relatively short. But then there's more: at the end of the book there's an Appendix with a Note of Places in the Novel, including a map, and then, absolutely finally, there are further Notes relating to each individual chapter.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction.
The plot is simple, yet brutal. With their home planet becoming increasingly inhospitable, the Martians fire cylinders at the Earth. These land around London- capital of the world's greatest super-power. The un-wary locals investigate, and the cylinders open to reveal writhing, tentacled aliens. Wells orchestrates the ensuing violence brilliantly, depicting their cool, calculating destruction of humanity and the enslavement of mankind. There are moments of epic battle, moments of personal survival, and moments of claustrophobic horror.
I won't say more, because it will simply ruin the novel. It probably won't affect you as badly as it does me, but my mental scars have engrained themselves in my brain. This won't stop you enjoying one the most influential and captivated science fiction novels ever written.
Many people know the Orson Wells radio adaptation. Others know the Jeff Wayne musical adaptation. A lot will remember the 1950s film that runs very loosely to the original. Most of you will have now seen Spielberg's excellent cinematic update. However, all of these incarnations have lost that bit of magic Wells weaves into his story-telling. That it was written without any prior influence or any previous template may be why The War of the Worlds is one of the most distinctive and impacting pieces of literature I've ever read.
I am a huge Sci Fi fan and have over the last year or so started to read a lot of "clasic" sci fi, I had yet to read any of Wells' books, after watching the movie (and listening to Jeff Waynes musical) I decided to get hold of the book and read it, boy was I in for a suprise...
This book felt to me like modern sci fi, it had none of the quaintness or clichies that I have grown used to when reading clasics, it grabbed me from the 1st page and led me on a roller coaster of emotions, it created a geniune sense of fear and forboding for the characters and it left me scratching my head as too its age. I know this was written over a hundred years ago but it honestly doesn't feel that it was.
The science was good and too my mind still holds water, I fail to see why other people question the heat rays, lack of wheels, or the microbobes / bacteria.... Wells said in his discusion of the Martians that they had either out evlovled these or they had never existed on Mars (yes I know with my knowledge of how life started on Earth this seems unlikely) but we are talking about an author who was in his day talking about cutting edge science, and who says that life has to evolve elsewhere the same as it did on Earth....
Mind you nevermind that, if you haven't read this book I would HIGHLY recomend that you do, this is a book that truely is a Classic.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions