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 (original 1898; edition 2005)

by H.G. Wells

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,419172311 (3.74)429
Title:The War of the Worlds
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:NYRB Classics (2005), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 250 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Science Fiction

Work details

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

1001 (46) 1001 books (53) 19th century (122) alien invasion (81) aliens (190) British (59) British literature (63) classic (357) classics (321) ebook (108) England (66) English literature (55) fantasy (65) fiction (984) H.G. Wells (61) invasion (71) Kindle (68) literature (141) Mars (89) martians (73) novel (166) own (55) read (141) science fiction (1,766) sf (166) sff (68) to-read (140) unread (97) war (84) Wells (43)
  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. 30
    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. 22
    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.
  7. 11
    The Hopkins Manuscript by R. C. Sherriff (chrisharpe)
  8. 01
    Two Planets by Kurd Lasswitz (jannis)
  9. 35
    The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (chrisharpe)

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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 429 mentions

English (156)  Danish (4)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (170)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
1950's martians invade earth. I suppose for the 1950's this was a great sci-fi book. The writing is lovely and descriptive, even though the plot advances slowly. I feel that many of the sub-plots are never developed. I read the free Kindle-version from Amazon and at about the 70% mark pages were out of order, repeated, etc, for about 7-10 pages. ( )
  tess_i_am48 | Jun 10, 2014 |
Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together. The legendary hosts of Goths and Huns, the hugest armies Asia has ever seen, would have been but a drop in that current. And this was no disciplined march; it was a stampede--a stampede gigantic and terrible--without order and without a goal, six million people, unarmed and unprovisioned, driving headlong. It was the beginning of the rout of civilisation, of the massacre of mankind. Pg. 82

The War of the Worlds is rather a misnomer as it didn't play out as war. Not even close. It was an one sided annihilation and unfortunately, man was on the short end of the stick in this battle. Aliens from Mars have arrived and their purpose seems to be the complete destruction of London and the surrounding countryside. All efforts to counterattack have proven futile and men are forced to hide and run like rats, like vermins, the lowliest of the lows. Salvation seems a miracle while the extinction of the human race, inevitable.

My first taste of Wells was rather hit and miss. Miss in that there were way too many references to places that I've never heard of before. They are most likely real places, but I wouldn't know either way. It was like a study of all the smallest and tiniest locales surrounding London and I was in desperate need of a map. The hit was the actual aliens themselves. Perhaps if there was more of a focus on the aliens, their thoughts, their motives, instead of the all places they destroyed, it would have made for a more interesting read. Either way, I haven't given up on Mr Wells and hopefully his next book will leave a more lasting impression. ( )
  jolerie | May 26, 2014 |
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells may have inspired the movie but they are two completely different thing. The book takes place in 1800s England where something horrific happens. The Martians home planet of Mars is dying. So they pack up and go to the closest habitable planet... Earth. The un-named narrator probably has the worst luck and your just around for the wild ride that would suck to be in.

In the time period that the story takes place in people never even had the idea of extraterrestrial life until it sat on their front steps. Wells did an excellent job of showing the death and fear that had a very strong presence through the whole ordeal. Since it takes place in the 1800s the narrator talks like he is from the 1800s so some of it can be hard to follow.

The only things that I would criticize is the way that Wells would almost seem to choose a word and then use it a ridiculous amount of times. Such as in the beginning he use the word scarcely a lot and some variation go the word fancy. And the other thing is the repetition of events. The same thing would happen over and over just different places with different circumstances. Otherwise the book was better than other books that I have read. ( )
  br14jasm | May 25, 2014 |
H.G. Wells' gift to Halloween ( )
  schmicker | Apr 19, 2014 |
4.5 Originally posted at Fantasy Literature: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-war-of-the-worlds/

??It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.ƒ?

H.G. Wellsƒ?? earliest novels had a major impact on science fiction. The War of the Worlds, first serialized in Pearsonƒ??s Magazine in 1897 and published in novel form in 1898, is one of our earliest examples of the First Contact theme. In Wellsƒ?? story several spaceships from Mars land in England, creating vast craters. At first the English are either amused or indifferent until Martians pop out and start terrorizing them with heat rays, ƒ??fighting machines,ƒ? ƒ??black smokeƒ? and a Martian plant that begins spreading across England. The English are not prepared to fight this kind of war and, because itƒ??s the late nineteenth century, are unable to communicate their situation quickly enough to the outside world. By the time the Martians make their way to London, it looks like the entire human race is doomed.

The story is related in the first person by an unnamed narrator, a writer who lives in Surrey and observes the landing of one of the Martian ships, the building of their fighting machines, and the mass slaughter of his countrymen. He has a wife who he sends to a relativeƒ??s house, though it isnƒ??t long before he realizes that sheƒ??s probably not safe there either. We also hear from our narratorƒ??s brother and another character who let us know whatƒ??s going on in other parts of England where the Martians have landed. At one point our narrator and another man are trapped together in a partly destroyed house at the edge of one of the craters. For two weeks they must try to get along with each other, sharing very little food and water. During this time they are able to observe the Martiansƒ?? activity, which is horrifying, but they must stay hidden and silent so the Martians donƒ??t notice them. This is not a favorable situation for maintaining oneƒ??s sanity.

The plot of The War of the Worlds is exciting but the best part of the novel is its imagery and language. The tall fighting machines which walk on long jointed legs and have tentacles that grab people are horrifying, as is the image of the craters and the intrusive red weed that grows wild and threatens to overrun our planet. Even the domestic scene at the beginning of the story is eerie and foreboding:

ƒ?? I remember that dinner table with extraordinary vividness even now. My dear wifeƒ??s sweet anxious face peering at me from under the pink lamp shade, the white cloth with its silver and glass table furniture ƒ?? for in those days even philosophical writers had many little luxuries ƒ?? the crimson-purple wine in my glass, are photographically distinct. At the end of it I sat, tempering nuts with a cigarette, regretting Ogilvyƒ??s rashness, and denouncing the shortsighted timidity of the Martians.

So some respectable dodo in the Mauritius might have lorded it in his nest, and discussed the arrival of that shipful of pitiless sailors in want of animal food. ƒ??We will peck them to death tomorrow, my dear.ƒ? I did not know it, but that was the last civilized dinner I was to eat for very many strange and terrible days.

Or this one in which he vividly contrasts the glory and the humility of man:

Since the night of my return from Leatherhead I had not prayed. I had uttered prayers, fetish prayers, had prayed as heathens mutter charms when I was in extremity; but now I prayed indeed, pleading steadfastly and sanely, face to face with the darkness of God. Strange night! Strangest in this, that so soon as dawn had come, I, who had talked with God, crept out of the house like a rat leaving its hiding place ƒ?? a creature scarcely larger, an inferior animal, a thing that for any passing whim of our masters might be hunted and killed. Perhaps they also prayed confidently to God. Surely, if we have learned nothing else, this war has taught us pity ƒ?? pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.

H.G. Wellsƒ?? interest in Darwinƒ??s ideas about natural selection are obvious and he seemed particularly interested in the evolution of intelligence (this was also a major theme in his novel The Time Machine).

Wells also doesnƒ??t miss opportunities to mock the personalities and social customs of some of his fellow Englishmen. There is some of this when heƒ??s trapped with the man in the house, but my favorite example is when he meets a man who has grandiose plans for kicking the Martians off Earth and recruits our narrator to join up. This part is just funny.

Thereƒ??s so much for the modern science fiction reader to enjoy in The War of the Worlds. Itƒ??s a classic which has never been out of print and its story has inspired not only sequels and pastiches but also movies, dramatizations, music, and comics. If youƒ??re only familiar with it from one of those secondary sources, I highly recommend reading Wellsƒ?? original. Itƒ??s in the public domain so itƒ??s easily found for free, but I recommend the audio version narrated by Simon Vance who is one of the top narrators in the business. You can get this superb version for only 99?› if you use the Wispersync deal from Amazon and Audible. (Purchase the Kindle version for free and then purchase the audio version (by Simon Vance!) for 99?›.) ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (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.Authorprimary authorall 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

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 supplement

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 Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original publication date
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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

References to this work on external resources.

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

(see all 8 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 44 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.74)
0.5 1
1 21
1.5 25
2 114
2.5 43
3 474
3.5 145
4 733
4.5 80
5 403


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

See editions

Penguin Australia

Four 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

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,214,108 books! | Top bar: Always visible