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The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
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The War of the Worlds (original 1898; edition 2005)

by H.G. Wells

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,800183295 (3.73)473
Member:MadSeason
Title:The War of the Worlds
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:NYRB Classics (2005), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 250 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction, Science Fiction

Work details

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (1898)

  1. 151
    The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (clif_hiker)
  2. 91
    I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Patangel)
  3. 51
    The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (sturlington)
  4. 20
    The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher (ecureuil)
  5. 20
    Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle (Medicinos)
    Medicinos: La place de l'Homme au sommet de la hiérarchie pensante est précaire.
  6. 10
    The Hopkins Manuscript by R. C. Sherriff (chrisharpe)
  7. 21
    Far Rainbow/The Second Invasion from Mars by Arkady Strugatsky (leigonj)
    leigonj: 'The Second Invasion from Mars' describes the Martians' renewed efforts to conquer by other means. Clever. Styles and stories are very different however.
  8. 00
    Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (sturlington)
  9. 00
    Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card (sturlington)
  10. 00
    Two Planets by Kurd Lasswitz (jannis)
  11. 35
    The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (chrisharpe)
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» See also 473 mentions

English (167)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (181)
Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
Martians attack!

If you somehow have remained ignorant of the details of this classic story, be aware that there are major spoilers in this review.

I have only recently started reading the works of H. G. Wells, and I'm sorry I waited so long. We tend to assume that books written over 100 years ago will be difficult reads, filled with convoluted sentences, arcane words and obtuse themes. But Wells is actually a simple, straightforward and highly evocative writer. I thought The Time Machine was moody and poetic. Surprisingly, The War of the Worlds was scary, suspenseful and humbling.

The basic story should be familiar to most from the famous radio and movie adaptations. Martians unexpectedly arrive on Earth in cylindrical spaceships and quickly construct huge, three-legged war machines that immediately lay waste to the country around them. Wells' descriptions of the tripods looming of the smoke, hunting the comparatively tiny humans with heat rays and poisonous gas, are chilling. Wells describes the panic that overtakes London so precisely that the reader feels like one of the fleeing mob. In one of the more horrifying scenes, the unnamed narrator -- hiding in the basement of a destroyed house -- watches the Martians just outside as they drain and ingest the blood of their captives. Modern horror has to work hard to be this scary.

In the face of overwhelmingly superior technology, man is reduced to a helpless, panicked animal. People are compared to ants scurrying in the road or to rabbits run to ground. Just a few days after the Martians land, civilization is effectively over. This is no feel-good Independence Day-type story. People don't rise up to save the day. The most frightening aspect of this novel is that it lays bare how truly powerless we are.

Of course, the Martians are defeated by an even tinier foe: bacteria against which they have developed no immunology. While this development is something of a deus ex machina, the ending is still perfectly plausible. But will humankind learn from this experience? That remains to be seen.

Reading the science fiction classics (2011). ( )
  sturlington | Feb 18, 2015 |
Joplin Library Book Club selection for May 2010 ( )
  anitatally | Feb 7, 2015 |
One of the earliest stories of conflict between man and extraterrestrial beings, written in 1898, this is a pretty extraordinary book. The narrator is unnamed, a writer of philosophy and in this story he expresses various points of philosophy. This book has never gone out of print and has remained popular. That is pretty extraordinary, too. This story is not big on characters and none of them have names. It is written as a factual telling of invasion and rule by Martians. This book presents science facts, technology and ecological points in its telling. Another theme is apocalypse. People feared the end of the age as 1899 drew closer. There is a mix of Christianity and such constructs as natural selection/Darwinism. At one point, it felt the narrator’s experience was like the experience of Noah disembarking the Ark to a world of destruction and carian with carian birds eating the dead. While there seems to be Christian themes in the book there is the characterization of the curate’s emotional weakness and self centeredness that resulted in the need to kill him (natural selection). ( )
  Kristelh | Feb 6, 2015 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12108814
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
Before I read this, my father told me how people heard it on the radio and thought it real. That possibility really colored the novel for me. As a kid, I read it and all the while, thought "what if this really happened?" The power of a book to do that to an audience held a great curiosity for me.
In middle school, I didn’t understand all the nuances of the work, especially not the way it presents the idea of social Darwinism. But the idea of visitors from another world being defeated so easily by mere bacteria, opened up my brain to many questions regarding the larger world outside my window, outside my "pale blue dot."
I loved the fear in this book, the feeling of the unknown and what if.
Read the full review here: www.ravenoak.net ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 167 (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 (337 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, H. G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Francis R. GemmeIntroductionmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Asimov, IsaacAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barrett, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Card, Orson ScottIntroductionsecondary 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, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gunn, JamesAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Θωμόπουλος… Γιάννης Γ.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrinder, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santos, DomingoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawyer, AndyNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, AlexanderNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, AlexanderNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

The War of the Worlds & A Dream of Armageddon & The Land Ironclads. Heron Collected Works of Wells by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine / The War of the Worlds / The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds / The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The Collector's Book of Science Fiction by H. G. Wells by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Invisible Man; The First Men in the Moon; The Food of the Gods; In the Days of the Comet; The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

The war of the worlds, The time machine, and selected short stories by H. G. Wells

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Epigraph
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)
Dedication
TO
MY BROTHER
FRANK WELLS
THIS RENDERING
OF HIS IDEA
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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(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
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Night after night, the bright lights can be seen dropping from the sky.
Traveling thousands of miles through space, the Martians are landing on Earth!
The strange, ugly creatures have three spindly legs and large metallic bodies. They have already destroyed London.
Who or what can stop them from taking over the entire world?
Audio CD
Haiku summary
Mars attacks England.
Earth's defenses are no match,
But-- ah, ah, ACHOO!
(MJMunn)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:52 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

'The War of the Worlds' is Wells' classic science fiction tale of a Martian invasion of Earth. Having already destroyed London, it seems that no-one can stop the intellectually superior Martians from taking over the whole planet.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 49 descriptions

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Audible.com

24 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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