“For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.”
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Published in 1898 by William Heinemann
Format: paperback; 248 pages
Also From This Author: The Time Machine, The Invisible Man
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My Rating: 4/5
Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.
As an amateur fan of early science fiction, I am just amazed at H.G. Wells’s creativity and imagination. He wrote this book before the Wright brothers had even developed a way for man to fly, and yet he was able to effortlessly describe flying capsules crashing to Earth in the dawn of an alien invasion. I have always been so amazed at people who are able to imagine the idea of something before it is even tangible. I don’t have that type of intuition or innovation, so I really admire people who do.
This was not my first experience with The War of the Worlds. I remember seeing the 2005 film version with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and being absolutely absorbed in the story. I was terrified and wondrous at the same time. So when I finally started reading this book I was happy to find that The War of the Worlds was as suspenseful and thought-provoking on page as it was on-screen.
One of my favorite aspects of science fiction is the social commentary. I love that science fiction is more about analyzing the human condition than it is about the technology and the futuristic settings. H.G. Wells was a huge part of the social science fiction movement, and in The War of the Worlds this is seen in the relationship between the narrator and the Curate as the world they know is falling apart. This relationship was the most interesting part of the novel for me.
Read This Book If…:
…you enjoy Sci-Fi, especially early Sci-Fi
…you’re looking for a book that can speak to all generations
…you’re a lover of suspense!
…curiosity gets the better of you sometimes
I don’t know why I hesitated for so long before finishing an H.G. Wells novel! I love so many movie adaptations of his works, it’s no surprise really that I’d love his books too. Next H.G. Wells book I’ll read will be The Time Machine (which happens to be one of my favorite movies!).
Are you a fan of H.G. Wells? What are some of your favorite early science fiction works?