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The War of the Worlds (Step Into Classics (Pb)) [Hardcover]

Mary Ann Evans , H. G. Wells , Paul Wenzel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (571 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 1991 Step Into Classics (Pb)
The War of the Worlds is split into two parts, Book one: The Coming of the Martians, and Book two: The Earth under the Martians. The novel is narrated by a writer of philosophical articles who throughout the narrative struggles to reunite with his wife, while witnessing the Martians rampaging through the southern English counties. Part one also features the tale of his brother, who accompanies two women to the coast in the hope of escaping England as it is invaded.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 94 pages
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (1 Aug 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0780792580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0780792586
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (571 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,304,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Phoenix have reissued six of his classic science fiction novels, and they make fascinating reading. (THE HERALD) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

H. G. Wells' classic vision of interplanetary warfare and a Martian invasion of Earth. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sci-Fi, ahead of its time 22 July 2005
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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Gets Under My Skin 5 July 2005
I read this at the tender age of 11, and it terrified me. In a pop culture where aliens have big eyes and abduct people, the original tale of alien invasion couldn't be more unique. Wells wrote this at the end of the 19th Century. Many see it as a sharp metaphor about British colonialism, something Wells touchs upon overtly in the first chapter. It's a story open to interpretation, but it works best as a gut-wrenchingly dark sci-fi story that's distinctly different to common perceptions of the genre.
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.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic sci-fi first 6 April 2005
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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