This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds (1898)

by H. G. Wells

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,112242294 (3.75)631
1890s (20)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 631 mentions

English (225)  Spanish (6)  French (5)  Danish (4)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
History students are often advised to go back to the source material and this is not a bad practice for Science Fiction fans neither. This week I watched ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ on afternoon television, the Walt Disney version with Kirk Douglas playing a two-fisted all-American blockhead. It was fun but one day I intend to get round to reading the original text by Jules Verne. For now, I’m reading HG Wells.

‘The War Of The Worlds’ has not been so badly treated by Hollywood though it has been Americanised and updated. In the book, the Martians land in Surrey, near London, and there are quite detailed descriptions of the geography at that time. Inherent in the text, too, are hints about the values and customs of the late Victorian era. A man reporting on the initial strange events is ignored by most because he looks a bit wild and isn’t wearing a hat. More striking, to the modern reader, are the limitations of the technology in 1898, particularly communications. The Martians can land and get organised quite slowly. By the time anyone is taking them seriously, it’s too late. Nowadays, the world would know within five minutes. Back then, a policeman on a bicycle had to report back to his station and they might send a telegram to London. Horse-drawn carriages and trains were the fastest transport. The only media was newspapers, which came out the following morning. This is not very effective for coping with a sudden invasion.

The story is told in the first person by an unnamed protagonist who is dwelling quietly in Mayberry Hill, near Woking. He also tells us a bit about his brother’s adventures in London, which he clearly found out later.

It all starts when, from the observatory near his home, explosions are seen on the surface of the planet Mars. Shortly after, a mysterious object falls from space and lands on Horsell Common. Various adventures follow and I won’t spoil the plot.

The prose is quiet, measured, very restrained and English. John Wyndham, who later wrote an excellent invasion story of his own, ‘The Day Of The Triffids’, had a similar style. It’s interesting that Science Fiction was reasonably respectable until it was taken over by the American pulps. It wasn’t literature exactly but was popular in the same way as ‘The 39 Steps’ or ‘King Solomon’s Mines’. The lurid covers of the pulp magazines demeaned the genre and it took a long time to become respectable again. Robert Heinlein getting a story into the Saturday Evening Post was seen as a giant leap forward. On the other hand, the sensible French, apparently, have always regarded Jules Verne as literature. They took the same attitude to Poe, Lovecraft and comic books. There is a lot to admire about those cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Of course, some of the language in ‘The War Of The Worlds’ is a bit dated and has even changed its meaning nowadays. This, for example, from the last page of Chapter 14: ‘His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating.’ Titter ye not! The word meant speaking suddenly in those days. Doctor Watson was forever ejaculating at Holmes. Everything dates! Future viewers of our era may wonder why everyone says ‘like’ every other word and describes everything – absolutely everything – as ‘amazing’. Given a choice, I would much rather have a bit of ejaculating.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/ ( )
3 vote bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
God is this bad! It's very poorly and confusingly written. The second part is slightly improved and almost readable, but the first 60% or so was so awful that I had a difficult time not quitting the book altogether. Basically, if you don't have a detailed understanding of the geography around London, including all the small villages within a 30- or 50- or something-mile radius, you've no clue what's happening. It's all told in terms of going from one obscure village to another. Which is to say, there are a lot of irrelevant details, but not much useful descriptive detail. Plus, the writing is pedestrian at best. Hell, I've read more interestingly written things in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

I'm believe the Martians landed somewhere to the southwest of London, but I was never sure of that. Apparently, the Martians launched 10 space probes toward earth, but only six landed, and they were all within a small target area clustered somewhere outside of London (southwest?). I've no idea what happened to the others. I've no idea what happened in much of the book, actually. Lots of things were frightening, grotesque, monstrous, etc. but I've no real idea why things were so.

I have no idea how this book became a classic. It gets 2*s because I managed to finish it, but as 2* books go, it was a hell of a lot worse than the egregious Wuthering Heights. I've now read three books by H. G. Wells, and vow never to waste another minute on the crap he spewed out.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Oh, HG Wells.

I'm going to skip the antisemitic part entirely, because seriously? Not cool. Just know that there's a few pages in there that are really messed up.

HG Wells' greatest strength is his inventiveness and his disturbingly realistic portrayal of how a martian invasion could take over Great Britain in about a week. He's really good, and he knows it. The description of the martians is worthy of HP Lovecraft. The unstoppable rise of the martians, trundling across the fields in their tripods, is the stuff of nightmares. Also a weirdly accurate prediction of stuff that would later happen in World Wars I and II.

But Wells fails utterly and totally on character. It says a lot that nearly all his characters are unnamed. Our narrator has almost no personality, serving largely to narrate the larger events and occurrences. What little personality he does show is rather dislikable. Wells also has a bad habit of allowing his characters to mount a soapbox and monologue on for several pages on Wells' own opinions and views. It's tiresome, frankly.

I can see why HG Wells, and The War of the Worlds in particular, is considered a classic. But Wells has some definite failings as an author. Which is a shame, because when he gets it right, he hits it out of the park. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
“the Martians are coming!”

And they have Heat-Rays and Black Smoke to kick some English tushies! And they do!
But as exciting as this all sounds, this book is rather boring. It's mostly about running and hiding and being frightened out of one's mind. No "war" to speak of. But lots of histrionics. Lots. I really wish I could have smacked the narrator's face. Lots. Also, the localities are very casually mentioned, and as I'm not familiar with those places, it made no impact on me whatsoever. In fact, the listing of places became a big part of my boredom. Where is he running? Then where? Ah, who gives a damn. In fact, I rooted for the Martians! Dang. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | May 12, 2019 |
H.G. Wells ist einer der bedeutendsten Science-Fiction-Autoren und gilt neben dem Franzosen Jules Verne, dem Amerikaner Hugo Gernsback und dem Deutschen Kurd Laßwitz als einer der Mitbegründer der Science-Fiction-Literatur. Auch wenn Wells auch realistische Romane geschrieben hat, sind im deutschsprachigen Raum besonders seine beiden Romane „Der Krieg der Welten“ und „Die Zeitmaschine“ am populärsten.

Das schöne an „Der Krieg der Welten“ ist, dass es nicht altert. Wells erzählt die Geschichte der Marsianer-Invasion nüchtern-sachlich und erinnert dadurch an einen Reporter, der die Sachlage zusammenfasst. Während viele Science-Fiction-Romane heutzutage Wert auf Action und Tempo legen, treibt Wells die Geschichte eher langsam voran. Er wechselt den Blickwinkel zwischen dem namenlosen Erzähler und dessen Bruder. Man muss sich auf dieses Buch einlassen. Darauf, dass die verwendete Rhetorik nicht unserer heutigen Sprache entspricht, sondern dem klassischen Stil der damaligen Zeit folgt. Das kann es unter Umständen Lesern, die mit klassischer Literatur bisher nicht viel oder gar nichts zu tun hatten, etwas schwierig machen, denn der Lesefluss wird dadurch stark verändert im Vergleich zu dem, was man von heutiger Literatur gewöhnt ist. Andererseits macht genau diese Rhetorik das Buch unterhaltsam, weil man sich Zeit nehmen muss, um es zu lesen und zu verstehen. Einen Pageturner im modernen Sinne hat man mit diesem Roman nicht vor sich. Hingegen eine spannende Geschichte über eine Alieninvasion in England. Der wechselnde Blickwinkel berichtet außerdem von der Invasion Londons, was grad für mich als frisch gebackener London-Fan ganz besonders spektakulär war.

Wenn man sich die Zeit anschaut, in welcher dieser Roman geschrieben wurde, kann man viele unterschiedliche Interpretationen in die Geschichte legen. Davon gibt es sogar schon eine ganze Reihe, die sich im Laufe der Jahrzehnte immer wieder wandelten.

Weltberühmt wurde „Der Krieg der Welten“ 1938, als Orson Wells und das Mercury Theatre ein Hörspiel inszenierten, das am Vorabend von Halloween im Radio übertragen wurde. Dabei wurde die Geschichte kurzerhand nach New Jersey verlegt und das Hörspiel als fiktive Radioreportage übertragen. Angeblich soll das Hörspiel zu einer Massenpanik geführt haben, aber derlei Berichte sollte man mit Vorsicht genießen. Irritiert waren manche Hörer aber wohl trotzdem, weil sie das Hörspiel für eine reale Berichterstattung hielten.

Das Buch wurde mehrfach verfilmt, unter anderem 2005 von Stephen Spielberg, mit Tom Cruise in der Hauptrolle. Wer mich kennt, weiß, dass ich Tom Cruise in Filmen meide wie die Pest, aber den Film musste ich damals trotzdem sehen.

„Der Krieg der Welten“ ist ein absoluter Klassiker der Science-Fiction-Literatur. Für Neuleser dieses Genres vielleicht nicht der beste Einstieg, weil es eben nicht mit modernen Science-Fiction-Romanen vergleichbar ist, aber trotzdem ein Buch, an das man sich wagen sollte, wenn man es bisher noch nicht getan hat. Ich habs grad erst wieder gelesen, weil ich die Fortsetzung „Das Ende der Menschheit“ von Stephen Baxter bei mir liegen habe, die darauf wartet, gelesen zu werden. ( )
  Powerschnute | Mar 21, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (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 (142 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, H. G.Authorprimary 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
Ungermann, ArneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Is retold in

Has the (non-series) sequel

Has the adaptation

Is abridged in

Is parodied in

Is replied to in


Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a study

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary
Mars attacks England.
Earth's defenses are no match,
But-- ah, ah, ACHOO!

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375759239, Paperback)

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 man's..."

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 Earth's 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 England's military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

As life on Mars becomes impossible, Martians and their terrifying machines invade the earth.

» see all 81 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.75)
0.5 1
1 38
1.5 28
2 152
2.5 51
3 673
3.5 164
4 1036
4.5 93
5 564

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.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 137,385,885 books! | Top bar: Always visible