The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells Amazing Book, 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 mans... 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 Earths 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 Englands military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how its clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler First thing first - THE WAR OF THE W ORLDS is what they used to call "a cracking good yarn". Wells knew that his readers were picking up his work primarily to take off on a fantastic adventure, and he did not disappoint, delineating a thrilling, chilling "scientific romance" with the skill of a born storyteller. Certainly the narrative won't pack quite the same punch to today's more jaded reader as it did in the late 19th century, but its power to haunt is still very much present; I doubt that there are many images in the history of fiction more nightmarish than a monstrous Martian tripod bearing down on a panicked mob of hapless humans. If WOTW stopped there, it would be remebered primarily as fodder for big- screen popcorn flicks, the text itself largely forgotten. As it is, the novel today is routinely hailed as a classic and has, rather incredibly, stayed continuously in print since it was first published 112(!) years ago. There are, I think, a couple of good reasons for this. First of all, unlike the majority of science fiction before, say, Ray Bradbury came along, Wel ls could actually write - he was a respectibly good prose stylist. This is demonstrated especially well in the opening and closing chapters of the novel and in the cutting humor of the narrator's rejoinders to the character known as "the curate," a hysterical clergyman I found to be eerily reminiscent of contemporary televangelist/wackjob Pat Robertson ("Think of what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before to men!", the narrator tells him, as the curate identifies the Martian invasion as the Apocalypse of the Lord; "Do you think God had exempted Weybridge? He is not an insurance agent.") The other reason I believe W OTW remains as relevant (if not moreso) today as it was the day it was published is this: WOTW was written at a time when the British Empire was wantonly using its military might to get what it wanted - sometimes (as Wells himself points out in the opening chapter) wiping out entire populations with apparent carelessness. With WOTW, Wells was attempting to illustrated to his (mostly British) readership how the shoe might feel on the other foot. How does this relate to us? Well, I doubt this is a popular point to make, and I'm sure I'll get more than a few "not helpful" votes for saying this (go ahead and click on the button if you feel you need to - it's right down there), but America has not made a lot of friends with its own foreign policy over the years, and we have experienced events that have (hopefully) given US pause and have (hopefully) made US see how the shoe feels on the other foot. I am not trying to justify the actions of either ourselves or our enemies here - personally, I find violence in almost any form repugnant and feel that it almost always creates more problems than it solves - I'm simply trying to suggest that a novel like this one may be helpful in bringing some important matters into perspective for the contemporary reader. In conclusion, let me simply say this is as excellent a novel for modern readers as it was for readers of the past, and one that set the bar very high indeed for those who would follow in Wells' footsteps. For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!
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