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The War of the Worlds (1898)

by H. G. Wells

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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14,036259290 (3.75)668
As life on Mars becomes impossible, Martians and their terrifying machines invade the earth.
1890s (20)

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English (240)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  Danish (4)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (257)
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
H.G. Wells' science fiction classic "The War of the Worlds" actually holds up fairly well, despite all of the years that have passed since he wrote it. (Mostly in the fiction department -- the science not as much, but it's still all tolerable.)

Our narrator is on the front lines when the Martian invasion of Earth begins and gives a first-hand account of humanity's struggle.

It's an enjoyable and quick read. ( )
  amerynth | Jul 29, 2020 |
This is one of the few genuine classics of science fiction. (Classics are at least 100 years old in my view.) The earliest novel of extra-terrestrial invasion that I am aware of, and surely the most famous ever written, it has a high reputation to live up to.

1898 and missiles from Mars arrive - friendly overtures by humans are rebuffed with a Heat-Ray and war such as had never been seen before erupts.

The novel starts famously and brilliantly, "No-one would have believed in the last years of the Nineteenth Century...." Indeed the novel appears to be something of a warning against the sin of hubris. Humanity complacently assumes that nothing can threaten its dominance of the home planet; the Martians believe nothing can conquer their technological might.

Wells describes mechanised, industrial warfare before such a thing had been seen - chemical warfare, something akin to a maser (long before the quantum mechanics has developed sufficiently to predict the phenomenon), mechanised flight and armoured personel carriers.

His descriptions of battle are vivid but even more impressive is his description of the consequences - mass panic and flight and associated horrors.

Being a genuine science fiction writer, Wells cannot help but to describe his Martians and the workings of their machines in great detail but these are in fact the weakest passages, being more or less bolted on rather than arising naturally from the narrative.

Certainly this book is worthy of its reputation and it deserves to be read by all who know the rough outline of the story from film, radio or record. ( )
2 vote Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Holds up really well! I'm using this novel, originally published serially, in a new class examining human rights through the lens of speculative fiction (including sci-fi). The 1897 story provides a number of ways to talk about human rights: the laws of war (do they apply during an alien invasion, ACK!), the devastation of an invading imperialist force (take that, British empire), and how the story reveals our fears in the political moment (a series of war that rather unpredictably created the maelstrom of World War I). In addition to his fiction, Wells was a utopian, pacifist, and early believer in world government and human rights. We also read his "Rights of Man," an influential political treatise that set out the pressing need for international cooperation and universal rights on the eve of World War II. In the 1938 radio play, the location moves to New Jersey and the eve of World War II. Then we watched the opening of Spielberg's War of the Worlds (which I found still quite well done) and its frame of this being an attack not on one nation (Britain/US) but on the globe -- and the pressing argument, embedded in the film, that unless we are united across the world, we are easy prey to war (alien or otherwise). ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
I was impressed that this book still felt so plausible given what we know now about Mars. ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
This is my classic read pick for May 2020. It bears little resemblance to the 1950s movie version I so loved as a kid--pretty much only the heat ray and the twist ending. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. It's an intense read. Wells nailed the human psychological aspect in how people responded in different ways to the alien attack. I also enjoyed how steeped the book is in the Victorian era in which it was written. It adds a lot to the drama when you must rely on bicycles, horses, trains, ships, and telegraph wires. A classic still well worth reading over a century after it was written. ( )
  ladycato | May 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
Mr. Wells's dramatic power is of the strongest, and through "The War of the Worlds" deals with death, destruction, and ruin, he has known how to manage a terrible topic in a clever and ingenuous way.

» Add other authors (122 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, H. G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Asimov, IsaacAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barrett, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnett, VirgilCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Card, Orson ScottIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarke, Arthur C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crüwell, G. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delgado, TeresaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fredrik, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frost, Adam H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gemme, Francis R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goble, WarwickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunn, JamesAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Θωμόπουλος… Γιάννης Γ.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, TomIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrinder, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santos, DomingoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawyer, AndyNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmölders, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, AlexanderNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targete, J.P.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ungermann, ArneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be inhabited? ... Are we or they Lords of the World? ... And how are all things made for man?-- KEPLER (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy)
First words
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.
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Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Please do not combine with any abridgements, adaptations, annotated editions, etc.
ISBN 1402552459 is an unabridged audio version of the novel
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Haiku summary
Mars attacks England.
Earth's defenses are no match,
But-- ah, ah, ACHOO!

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441038, 0451530659, 0141045418, 0141199040

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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