- The War of the Worlds.
- H. G. Wells.
- 208 pages.
- Science Fiction.
- My Rating: It’s OK Book Review.
‘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…’
So begins H. G. Wells’ classic novel in which Martian lifeforms take over planet Earth. As the Martians emerge, they construct giant killing machines – armed with heatrays – that are impervious to attack. Advancing upon London they destroy everything in their path. Everything, except the few humans they collect in metal traps.
Victorian England is a place in which the steam engine is state-of-the-art technology and powered flight is just a dream. Mankind is helpless against the killing machines from Mars, and soon the survivors are left living in a new stone age.
With BBC showing a new adaptation of The War of the Worlds (which I am finding disappointing) I thought that I would read the original book. Released over 120 years ago The War of the Worlds is an alien invasion story where Martians come to Earth. Bar a couple of chapters it is almost entirely told from the perspective of a single unnamed individual. As such, it is an account about one man’s struggle for survival in the face of the Martian invasion and the events that he witnesses as he traverses the ruined London landscape.
The characterisation is lacking, the narrator and most of the various characters that he meets throughout the story are not even given names. But, the thought that mankind might not be the dominant species in the universe is, was and always will be scary. Whilst the characterisation falls by the wayside there is drama and the tension are both present throughout the narrative with Wells doing a decent job of showcasing a terrifying look at how powerless humanity would be if an alien invasion occurred.
Wells writing is descriptive but archaic and can often read as quite stilted and wooden. However, that is an issue found with most if not all classic books, they have aged, they are dry like cracked parchment and it is simply, a sign of the times and how the English language and writing have changed. Regardless, yes, the writing has dated but the story itself is timeless and The War of the Words is an enjoyable old-fashioned book and a classic of the SFF genre.
Purchase The War of the Worlds.
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