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H.G. Wells has been called the father of science fiction,
and with genre-defining classics like The War of the Worlds and
The Time Machine, it’s obvious why.
The War of
the Worlds
is as vivid and powerful today as the day it was written.
In this collection, which also includes the full text of The War of the
Worlds, fourteen of science fiction’s greatest talents come
together to discuss, with insight and humor, one of science
fiction’s most important works.
Essays
include:

• “H. G. Wells’ Enduring Mythos of
Mars,” in which Stephen Baxter provides the history of
man’s investigators of Mars and explains why Wells was right after
all
• “Just Who Were Those Martians, Anyway?” in
which Lawrence Watt-Evans explains how ridiculously incompetent the
Martians were as interplanetary invaders, and why
• “In
Working’s Image,” in which Mercedes Lackey takes us to a
different alien world: Wells’ hometown of Working during the late
19th century
• “The Tiniest Assassins,” in which
Mike Resnick suggests that Wells gets one tiny thing wrong

The Hugo-winning “The Soul Selects Her Own Society” (the
only reprint in this anthology), in which Connie Willis describes the
unfortunate encounter between Emily Dickinson and Wells’
Martians

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Reviews for The War Of The Worlds: Fresh Perspectives On The H. G. Wells Classic (Smart Pop series):

4

Apr 15, 2017

Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

The War of the Worlds goes beyond the of-the-time popular military invasion fiction, which took away the standard protagonist/antagonist arc of single characters and popped whole countries or tribes in their place, and brings down to Earth a whole new enemy at a time when science fiction did not exist and science itself was oft thought of as fiction.

In Surrey, a professor is caught up in the Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

The War of the Worlds goes beyond the of-the-time popular military invasion fiction, which took away the standard protagonist/antagonist arc of single characters and popped whole countries or tribes in their place, and brings down to Earth a whole new enemy at a time when science fiction did not exist and science itself was oft thought of as fiction.

In Surrey, a professor is caught up in the invasion of Martians as they sweep through London and its surrounding boroughs after witnessing several explosion on the planet Mars at the Ottershaw observatory. We follow the un-named professor and his brother in first-person narrative, seeing through their eyes this invasion and the destruction caused.

The air was full of sound, a deafening and confusing conflict of noises-the clangorous din of the Martians, the crash of falling houses, the thud of trees, fences, sheds flashing into flame, and the crackling and roaring of fire. Dense black smoke was leaping up to mingle with the steam from the river, and as the Heat-Ray went to and fro over Weybridge its impact was marked by flashes of incandescent white, that gave place at once to a smoky dance of lurid flames.

The first thing one needs to reference is the radio adaptation of 1938, which was narrated by Orson Welles and caused panic due to its news-bulletin style: those listening thought it was the truth. Whilst reading the novel, there is no doubt that the imagery, style and prose of H.G. Wells purported this panic. It is written with such imagination that it's difficult not to imagine oneself standing on the side of a crater as Martians crawl sluggishly out of their spaceships.

It is not often that I can forgive a book its downfalls due to the time of its writing. (It's all very well to accept that, for the most part, racism and sexism and things of that ilk were at many times in history acceptable behaviour, but enjoying a book from a period with those things in this day and age is a thing I find difficult to do.) However, in the case of The War of the Worlds I think it is vitally important to read the book with the exact time and place it was written in history to be lodged within your mind alongside every word you read.

We have a primitive form of speculative fiction, the very foundations of what we now call science fiction. At the time, H.G. Wells was writing fiction that had scientific and imaginative leanings, but no-one would dare think that perhaps the fiction was not quite fiction after all. There is little mention of the Martians weaponry or technology except when it is in use: any modern-day writer of sci-fi would absolutely be telling you all about the nuts and bolts of the piece. We have primitive science, because that is what they had at the time of writing. Whilst the future may have been thought of, the idea of futuristic technology was as alien to them as the Martians and their technology are in the book.

So, the excitement of the scientific exploration of futures is not to be found here. But the imagination of Wells is so beyond almost everything else that was around at the time and coupling it with popular militarist fiction means that this is an extremely important novel in the progression of English fiction. It is not surprising that Wells was, like Darwin himself, stuck inextricably between the truth of science and the tradition of religion.

The story itself, if put in perspective-removed from its time period and thought of solely as a novel-is nothing special. The narrator is disjointed with his surroundings, the story disappointing in the way it ends and less dramatic and climactic than it could have been. The style of prose is lacking, the dialogue just standard and the characters just slight breezes on a warm day. In that, it would require a mere two or three stars: enjoyable, if a little boring. But this is a novel that should be remembered for when it was written.

The imagination of a scientific man who is at odds with what is right and wrong. The spectacular birth of a new genre of, not only writing, but of thinking, too. The fact that even though my oestrogen levels were almost at zero, the reunion at the end made me cry my eyes out because it was written so perfectly, so unexpectedly.

Of course, that film with that actor was better. Of course it was. We have perspective and technology now that means the original The War of the Worlds is pretty pathetic. It cannot possibly compete with our high standards of today, unless you have half a brain and take this novel for what it truly represents. Unless. ...more
4

Jun 22, 2007

I acknowledge that I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the recent "War of the Worlds" movie. The reason for this has to do more with the original book than Tom Cruise or Steven Speilburg's tendency to wittle everything, including alien attacks, down to simple family problems. In a lot of ways, "War of the Worlds" (2006) was a close to dead-on adaptation of the original Victorian novel.

Just a few words on why you should like, or if you don't like, respect "War of the Worlds" as a I acknowledge that I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the recent "War of the Worlds" movie. The reason for this has to do more with the original book than Tom Cruise or Steven Speilburg's tendency to wittle everything, including alien attacks, down to simple family problems. In a lot of ways, "War of the Worlds" (2006) was a close to dead-on adaptation of the original Victorian novel.

Just a few words on why you should like, or if you don't like, respect "War of the Worlds" as a movie:

It avoids alien movie cliches:
1. There are no characters (Presidents, generals, etc.) who tell you what is going on on a global scale--all information is through rumors.
2. You do not see a major city destroyed nor any iconic landmarks.
3. Instead of humanity banding together to defeat a common foe, the characters and others they interact with are left increasingly fragmented and isolated.

That being said, Speilburg's "War of the Worlds" adapts much of the plot line and themes from the original novel. Instead of the 1950s version which pits a united front against the aliens (Cold War adapted), the original Victorian novel has a character travel isolated. Wells' narrater, like Tom Cruise, finds himself on a ferry-crossing, holed up with a panicked priest (who conflated with the artillery-man, provides us with a freaky Tim Robbins. Robbins even shares a few lines with the artillery-man). The ending is much the same, a kind of "Now what?" sense pervades. And of course, Morgan Freeman's opening and closings, are practically word by word from the novel.

The movie is also a great window into some of the novel's most important themes. "War of the Worlds," is a very Post-9/11 movie. There is the dust, the annhilation of things we find familiar, clothing floats from the sky in mimic of office paper...There is a pervading fear of complete and nonsensical annhiliation. Whereas the 1950s adaption pits humanity against an enemy, the updated version worries itself with unknown enemies who spring from the ground. And, Speilburg, not one to be subtle, has Dakota Fanning ask Tom Cruise, "Is it the terrorists?"

That being said, the Victorian novel is a catelogue of Victorian anxieties. This is the age of colonialism, afterall, and suddenly England is beset by a much more powerful force, unexpected, and completely foreign. 'Reverse' colonialism? The aliens take England's resources, kill off its people, and even cover the landscape with alien plant-life.

And perhaps the most over-arching anxiety of all: Darwin. Here we have evolution at its cruelest; then consume us (drinking our blood like in Bram Stoker's Dracula). Just when humanity seems at its lowest, nature kicks in and saves the day. The ending seems anti-climatic now, but you have to remember that H.G. Wells did not have a pop-reference that included Will Smith destroying the mother-ship.

So my point is, "War of the Worlds" is an amazing book and good movie, and one can inform the other.

"This is not a war any more than it's a war between men and ants."

...more
4

Aug 29, 2019



I didn't listen to the novel-novel, but I listened to a radio adaptation performed by some fan-favorite cast members of Star Trek. <--Leonard Nimoy is amazing.
It was cool as hell.



And hilarious.
Because it doesn't really have a Big Battle or anything that humanity has to do to overcome these invaders. They just show up, and we watch in horror as they thoroughly hand us our asses.



Eventually, they just...die off because (regardless of their superior intelligence & firepower) they didn't get

I didn't listen to the novel-novel, but I listened to a radio adaptation performed by some fan-favorite cast members of Star Trek. <--Leonard Nimoy is amazing.
It was cool as hell.



And hilarious.
Because it doesn't really have a Big Battle or anything that humanity has to do to overcome these invaders. They just show up, and we watch in horror as they thoroughly hand us our asses.



Eventually, they just...die off because (regardless of their superior intelligence & firepower) they didn't get their shots before they landed on Earth.
So.
Basically, humans were saved because Mars was full of anti-vaxxers.



And if it happened on Mars, who's to say it can't happen here? Perhaps the true moral of the story is that by unlocking space travel, we can rid ourselves of some of our less desirable brethren by letting them roam around the universe unchecked?
I like to think that this story had a happy ending for more than just the Earthlings.



An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: John de Lancie, Meagan Fay, Jerry Hardin, Gates McFadden, Leonard Nimoy, Daryl Schultz, Armin Shimerman, Brent Spiner, Tom Virtue and Wil Wheaton.

...more
5

Sep 26, 2018

Paraphrasing Whitehead, I would say that the safest general characterisation of the science-fiction tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to H. G. Wells. Indeed, The War of the Worlds is probably the most influential novel of the whole science fiction genre, as well as a significant part of the horror category. I remember reading this short novel as a child and being viscerally engrossed and terrified. Rereading it now made me aware of a few more things. First I realised how Paraphrasing Whitehead, I would say that the safest general characterisation of the science-fiction tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to H. G. Wells. Indeed, The War of the Worlds is probably the most influential novel of the whole science fiction genre, as well as a significant part of the horror category. I remember reading this short novel as a child and being viscerally engrossed and terrified. Rereading it now made me aware of a few more things. First I realised how this book sums up and, in a way, accomplishes some of the things H. G. Wells had experimented before. Just to name a few: the Darwinian conflict between two similar species (The Time Machine), the fascination for freakish life forms (The Island of Dr Moreau), the chase around working-class London and its surrounding area (The Invisible Man).

It is possible that H. G. Wells’s remarkable book was perceived, at the close of the 19th century, as just a fin de siècle catastrophic story — similar to, say, Mad Max or Terminator at the end of the 20th. Though in hindsight, The War of the Worlds is much more than that. It is indeed the kernel and the seed of all the later tales of extraterrestrial invasion and tropes of apocalyptic destruction, from H. P. Lovecraft (e.g. The Colour Out of Space) to Arthur C. Clarke (e.g. Childhood's End), Robert Heinlein (e.g. The Puppet Masters), Ray Bradbury (e.g. The Martian Chronicles), Arkady Strugatsky (e.g. Roadside Picnic), Margaret Atwood (e.g. Oryx and Crake), Michael Faber (e.g. Under the Skin), Cormac McCarthy (e.g. The Road), Ted Chiang (e.g. Story of Your Life), Emily Mandel (e.g. Station Eleven), or Jeff VanderMeer (e.g. Annihilation)… Not to mention films and TV: Alien, Independence Day, The Walking Dead, and so many more that I forget as I write this short note.

What strikes me the most is the fact that Wells depicts humanity in the shoes of the invaded party, and pictures the invaders as an alien race of bloodthirsty mollusks — which, in itself, sounds like a veiled but stark criticism of Western imperialism and sense of superiority. But, as it turns out, Wells’s prophetic vision was not so much that of a War of the Worlds with extraterrestrial invaders, but precisely a vision of the World War between fellow humans, that would break out some twenty years later, with a technological arsenal not unlike that of the Martians (cf. mechanised artillery, chemical warfare, surgical strikes). Later still, when the Second World War began, and the Nazis were about to invade the whole of Europe, Orson Welles remembered this old tale about a Martian invasion and turned it into an incredibly relevant radio sensation. The masses of refugees, described by H. G. Wells, fleeing the war in a disorderly and life-threatening manner is a sight anyone may witness even today, despite all the concrete walls or steel fences that are supposed to stop them.

In short, this is an unavoidable masterpiece. The only reproach I could make is regarding the ending, where the deadly flu epidemic the Martians eventually suffer from feels a bit like a disappointing Deus ex Machina. As a side note: historically, things unfolded the other way around when, say, Spanish Conquistadors landed on the shores of the New World. They didn’t win against the Aztec and Inca Empires so much because of the superiority of their weapons, religion or culture, but because they were bringing the smallpox virus along with them — first major and unwitting case of biological warfare.

Jeff Wayne produced a compelling musical version of The War of the Worlds in the 1970s that would please any fan of Mike Oldfield. Wells’s novel has been brought to the screen a significant number of times, one of the most recent ones being Steven Spielberg’s adaptation (2005), with Tom Cruise, which I should watch afresh.

Edit: Rewatched the 2005 film adaptation. Steven Spielberg took a few liberties with the book, setting the story in present-day Connecticut. One very clever unfaithfulness, however, is having the aliens not come from Mars, but from underground (a nod to The Time Machine, no doubt). Spielberg isn’t new to the alien-first-contact genre. But this is an outright nightmarish and nail-biting take on what had once been a benevolent musical spaceship or a heart-warming horticultural E.T. longing for home — in this film, aliens also play the trombone and are versed in landscaping, but they spray their gardens with human blood. Spielberg’s War of the Worlds comes after the intense and graphic scenes of the Omaha Beach assault in Saving Private Ryan and is roughly in the same vein. Some scenes, like the innumerable bodies suddenly floating down a glistening river, or the empty cloths raining from a blazing sky are strangely beautiful and horrifying. In the midst of the gruesome devastation, Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins and Dakota Fanning are exceptional, playing the parts of regular people, suddenly overwhelmed with PTSD and facing the brutal ending of all things. Breathtaking. ...more
4

Aug 15, 2013

PLEASE SEE POSTSCRIPT

Well with GR telling me I haven’t read any books this year (doh !), I thought I’d finish my first.

In all seriousness this is a re-read because I want to go on to Stephen Baxter’s The Massacre of Mankind, which is part of one of this years numerous challenges (why do I do this to myself ?)
Anyway GR says this is my 2nd read of this classic book (hah, what does GR know), whereas in fact it is probably my 5th or maybe 6th. To me it is certainly 4.5 stars and is enjoyable for so PLEASE SEE POSTSCRIPT

Well with GR telling me I haven’t read any books this year (doh !), I thought I’d finish my first.

In all seriousness this is a re-read because I want to go on to Stephen Baxter’s The Massacre of Mankind, which is part of one of this years numerous challenges (why do I do this to myself ?)
Anyway GR says this is my 2nd read of this classic book (hah, what does GR know), whereas in fact it is probably my 5th or maybe 6th. To me it is certainly 4.5 stars and is enjoyable for so many reasons. The book itself is well written, as per usual from HG, it is not just a science fiction book but an in depth look or even examination of human nature and lastly I spent my childhood growing up and walking around the villages and countryside where the cylinders landed, so expected to see a Martian at any moment. How can I not like it, I know the roads the “writer” walks, cowers and scuttles along through the course of the story.
Let’s hope Mr Baxter can live up to this high standard with his authorised sequel.

PS I have added this postscript as some witty people have enquired if I was wandering the lanes and byways of this book with HG Wells. Now I maybe approaching my prime (cough cough) but I’m not Victorian 😂😂 ...more
5

Aug 29, 2011



“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.”

A beautiful opening to the book but I must say the Martians did a very poor

“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.”

A beautiful opening to the book but I must say the Martians did a very poor job of scrutinising us human chappies and our little blue planet considering what transpires later. Ah, but I must not spoil the book even though I imagine most people reading this review (all three of them) already know how it ends. Which brings me to my next point, if you know the story of The War of The Worlds quite well already but have not actually read the book I urge you to read it, especially if you are a science fiction fan. I don't think there are many books in the pantheon of sci-fi as important as this one. This is the book that launched the alien invasion sci-fi trope and even manages to remain one of the best examples of it.

H.G. Wells was literally* light years ahead of his time, the mind boggles to think what he was able to conceive in the 19th century; alien invasion, time travel, genetic engineering, all these when TV sets are still decades in the future. If historical importance is not much of an inducement for you and you are just looking for a thumping good read Mr. Wells is also at your service here. The War of The Worlds is often thrilling, skillfully structured and narrated with some unexpected moments of philosophising and surreal dialogue. I generally find that Wells wrote much better prose than most of today’s SF authors do.

He even included some element of hard sf into his novels, here is an example from this book:

“It is still a matter of wonder how the Martians are able to slay men so swiftly and so silently. Many think that in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light.”

Yes, you may already have a fairly good idea of The War of The Worlds’ beginning middle and end without ever reading the book but you would miss Wells’ marvelously immersive and visual storytelling and the subtexts embedded in the original texts. The scene of naval battle between the military’s ironclads and the Martian tripods is vividly depicted and should please fans of military sf and general badassery. The slightly surreal chapter involving the artilleryman is a particularly interesting depiction of people who always seem to be brimming with ideas, plans and suggestions but never actually do anything.

The story of The War of The Worlds is so potent that Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds 1938 radio broadcast “became famous for causing mass panic, although the extent of this panic is debated”. Still, even moderate panic is an amazing achievement for a radio drama.

This book has of course been adapted into movies several times. Unfortunately a straight adaptation complete with the Victorian setting does not seem to have been made. The most recent adaptation being the 2005 Spielberg directed movie with Tom Cruise being the usual Cruisian hero, dodging Martian heat rays like nobody's business.

For this reread I went with the free Librivox audiobook version, very well read by Rebecca Dittman.

I hope to eventually read all of Wells’ sci-fi and perhaps his more mainstream books also. Anyway, never dismiss H.G. Wells' sci-fi as old hat because he invented the hat and it is still superior to most of today's headgear.

* I have a bee in my bonnet about today's frequent (and incorrect) overuse of "literally".

A quick note about the ending:
(view spoiler)[The ending is the mother of all Deus Ex Machina, I suppose Wells may have written himself into a corner a bit here as Victorian Brits are never going to be much of a challenge for giant tripod riding aliens armed with heat rays and weird smoke guns. (hide spoiler)]

Note:
• Update May 6, 2017: Now the Beeb is making a proper Victorian era adaptation, hurrah! ...more
4

Jan 04, 2017

This was not anything like the Tom Cruise movie so be warned. If you’re expecting an action story about a divorced union container crane operator with a 10 year old daughter you ain’t gonna find it here. They changed like 99% of everything around. As far as I could see there are only two things which are the same, one is that the Martians attack Earth in these COOL THREE LEGGED METAL 70 FOOT HIGH HEAT RAY KICK ASS DEATH MACHINES and two is that they die in the same way which I won’t say here This was not anything like the Tom Cruise movie so be warned. If you’re expecting an action story about a divorced union container crane operator with a 10 year old daughter you ain’t gonna find it here. They changed like 99% of everything around. As far as I could see there are only two things which are the same, one is that the Martians attack Earth in these COOL THREE LEGGED METAL 70 FOOT HIGH HEAT RAY KICK ASS DEATH MACHINES and two is that they die in the same way which I won’t say here because that would be a giant spoiler but really it’s a bit feeble but I guess could happen because they came from Mars which don’t have bacteria. I don’t do biology so I don’t know if a whole PLANET can not have bacteria. Seems like also they couldn’t have had YOGHURT as well, but HG Wells does not make this clear. Nor Stephen Spielberg either. Now this book version I think is not the book of the movie, I think it came first so that may explain why the movie is better, because really this book is lame. Yes more realistic because like the main guy is no Tom Cruise, but less action. What happens is that the Martians land and like fry everyone up with the DEATH HEAT RAY and send out the BLACK SMOKE to finish off anyone left alive and the main guy hops around and hides and eats really gross stuff and just sees stuff. As for instance he sees the army get a lucky shot in and kill the one single Martian but then like his buddies just wipe out the whole British army. Boom, heatray zzzzz – GONE! Oh yeah the book is set in England which I thought was strange. Why not America like the movie? Anyway just when the guy has realized that from now on we’re just going to be MARTIAN FRENCH FRIES and kept in cages (when not heatrayed) then the Martians just like shrivel up and die. End of. So, in my opinion, I say watch the movie. Or you could go for the prog rock version, lol. Oh I guess I did give away the end. Okay, SPOILER – sorry. But everybody knows this story. It’s like saying oh in the end Dracula dies with a steak in his arse. It’s a known fact. ...more
4

Feb 03, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read you a wire addressed to Professor Pierson from Dr. Gray of the National History Museum, New York. "9:15 P. M. eastern standard time. Seismograph registered shock of almost earthquake intensity occurring within a radius of twenty miles of Princeton. Please investigate. Signed, Lloyd Gray, Chief of Astronomical Division" . . . Professor Pierson, could this occurrence possibly have something to do with the disturbances observed on the planet Mars?

Martians are Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read you a wire addressed to Professor Pierson from Dr. Gray of the National History Museum, New York. "9:15 P. M. eastern standard time. Seismograph registered shock of almost earthquake intensity occurring within a radius of twenty miles of Princeton. Please investigate. Signed, Lloyd Gray, Chief of Astronomical Division" . . . Professor Pierson, could this occurrence possibly have something to do with the disturbances observed on the planet Mars?

Martians are coming!!! Run for your lives!!! Boo!!! Hey, what has Orson Welles got that I have not got? Now that I scared you let us go back to the review.

This is one of the best known science fiction stories of H.G. Wells (among with The time Machine and The Invisible Man) as well as the one of the first ones. In case you somehow missed it the book tells the tale of Martian invasion on Earth.

These guys decided Mars became too cold, but luckily they have a really nice cozy planet practically next door: our own Earth. They came and proceeded to beat the crap out of humans using so-called heat ray (which strongly reminds laser weapons, except that laser was not invented at the time of the book publication). And so the fashion show

I mean total destruction of humanity began starting with British Islands (I found it strange that Martian decided this place was the best landing point; by pure laws of probability Russian Empire was the obvious candidate just because they had the largest territory).

Other than being the fist book that introduced the idea of alien invasion (since that time beaten to the death and beyond by pulp media)

and aforementioned laser there are quite a few interesting themes in here if you read carefully: colonialism - its ugly sides, religious hypocrisy, and relations between humans and animals - usually the former kill the later.

It might be the very first dystopian novel written way before the term came to be. I freely admit that the book is great, but personally I like both The time Machine and The Invisible Man better simply because I am not a big fan of dystopia. This is the only reason for one less star of the otherwise perfect rating.



P.S. Who would have thought Martians were anti-vaxers? ...more
4

Feb 08, 2014

I hadn't read this classic (1898!) science fiction novel since I was probably a teenager, and I didn't particularly care for it much back then, but I let myself get roped into a group read of it, partly because it's so short. And also my literary diet needs more classics. And you know? I'm glad I did.

The War of the Worlds is a lot more thoughtfully written than I had remembered. In between deadly heat rays, huge tripod machines striding around the country killing everything in their path, and I hadn't read this classic (1898!) science fiction novel since I was probably a teenager, and I didn't particularly care for it much back then, but I let myself get roped into a group read of it, partly because it's so short. And also my literary diet needs more classics. And you know? I'm glad I did.

The War of the Worlds is a lot more thoughtfully written than I had remembered. In between deadly heat rays, huge tripod machines striding around the country killing everything in their path, and bloodthirsty Martians trying to take over Earth (starting with Great Britain), there's critique of colonialism, religious hypocrisy, and even how humans treat animals. The way people react in a crisis is given just as much attention as the Martians' actions.

Upping my rating from 3 stars to 4.5 on reread, partly in recognition of how advanced this book was for its time in some of its concepts, and the influence it's had on the SF genre.

February 2018 group read with the Non-Crunchy Classics Pantaloonless crew. ...more
4

Jun 25, 2014

Wells sort of made a bet and wanted to have it covered both ways: in which shape will Apocalypse come?

Humanity wiped out by super-humans ruling over invincible machines?

Or wiped out by a tiny bacteria?

Choose your ending! And enjoy a vintage science fiction writer while you wait ...
4

Feb 20, 2018



One of my favorite movies growing up was the old War of the Worlds movie – the ‘50’s film, not the itty-bitty Tommy remake. I had to watch it each and every time it played on television. The same running dialogue would go on inside my head: “Cowardly dudes, don’t wave that white flag, they’re Martians, they’re probably color blind or something."



"Oops, too late, you’re toast.”

Or “Maybe the A-bomb will work this time. Nope, you’re toast.”



I also liked to imitate the heat ray sound when I

One of my favorite movies growing up was the old War of the Worlds movie – the ‘50’s film, not the itty-bitty Tommy remake. I had to watch it each and every time it played on television. The same running dialogue would go on inside my head: “Cowardly dudes, don’t wave that white flag, they’re Martians, they’re probably color blind or something."



"Oops, too late, you’re toast.”

Or “Maybe the A-bomb will work this time. Nope, you’re toast.”



I also liked to imitate the heat ray sound when I re-enacted the movie later:

“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. It was a combination of a yodel and the sound the cat would make when its tail would get caught under the rocking chair.

“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. Barbie’s dream house is toast.

“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. You can’t use the Barbie car to escape, Ken, you sexless loser. *imitation explody sound as the Barbie car and Ken go up in a ball of flame*

“Dododododoodododoodleydo”. GI Joe, Batman, a Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em robot, and a one-armed cowboy hurl a huge pillow from the sofa at the Martians, thus ending the invasion. Get your asses back to Mars, bitches.

For Wells, this was a pioneering book, its tropes were to be dug up and used over and over again. Wells does here as Wells does in his other books – throws in some social commentary: If the British lorded over much of the known world back then, foisted itself on “lesser” cultures, why could it not get it’s comeuppance by being stomped around by a more powerful foe – in this case, obese, slow-assed, turd-like aliens from Mars.



This was a buddy read with those Pantless connoisseurs of fine, classic literature and is another example of a classic book that doesn’t suck donkey balls.


...more
4

May 21, 2007


In fiction, the fate of the successful innovator is seldom a happy one; the writer who invents an original plot or fresh theme may seem predictable, even shallow, to later readers, once that plot or theme—appropriated by scores of imitators—no longer shines like new. So it is with H.G. Wells and his The War of the Worlds (1897). Invading creatures from outer space became a cliché of “golden age” science fiction, and a double-cliche after the drive-in movies of the ‘50’s. H.G.’s “bug-eyed
In fiction, the fate of the successful innovator is seldom a happy one; the writer who invents an original plot or fresh theme may seem predictable, even shallow, to later readers, once that plot or theme—appropriated by scores of imitators—no longer shines like new. So it is with H.G. Wells and his The War of the Worlds (1897). Invading creatures from outer space became a cliché of “golden age” science fiction, and a double-cliche after the drive-in movies of the ‘50’s. H.G.’s “bug-eyed monsters” no longer chill us as they did the thrilled readers of more than a hundred years ago.

That’s not H.G. Wells fault, though, for they are certainly bad-ass “bug-eyed monsters,” as “bug-eyed monsters” go. Bear-sized land-octopi with a circle of little mouth-tentacles (shades of Cthulhu!), they make their way around England in walking tanks (tripodal fighting machines equipped with a deadly heat-ray and an even deadlier cloud of black gas), sustaining themselves by draining the blood from any available human (or—in a pinch—a sheep or two) while emitting strange whistles of delight.

Still, scary stuff like this got old a long time ago, and I found myself bored with the whole monster invasion thing (as I suspect you might too). But then I paused, dipped a bit into literary history, and soon realized that The War of the Worlds was a more interesting work than I had suspected.

Ever since the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, dozens of English novels had been written under the umbrella of the “invasion literature” genre, beginning with Chesney’s The Battle of Dorking (1871), which featured a German invasion of England. The name of the invading country varied in these books—often Germany, sometimes France—but all the novels tended to feature surprise attacks, the devastation of Southern England (including London), and the inadequacy of English military preparedness. By the time Wells published his short novel in 1897, the genre of “invasion literature” had prepared an enthusiastic audience for his books.

Of course Wells enjoyed the invasion genre, and thought that the addition of Martians would “up the ante,” making The War of the Worlds the invasion novel to end all invasion novels. But I believe his intentions were more complex and richer than this.

I believe that what Wells admired most about the invasion genre was that it shattered the complacency of the English middle class, demonstrated that not only the horrors but—perhaps worse—the profound disruptions of war were possible even here, here at the heart of the Empire: the destruction of villages, the separation of families, the forced movement of whole populations. The problem with the invasion genre, though, was that its villains were too specific, too localized, too susceptible to British dislike of the Hun, mistrust of the Frog. Such parochial prejudices diminished the profound experience of disruption.

But what if the invading forces were not men at all, but beings from another planet, organisms that did not look or act like men? If so, then the writer could use the genre’s images of dislocation and disruption—the burning houses, the victims of a black gas, the horde of Londoners fleeing in terror—to say something about the vulnerability of the human race itself, a race all too convinced of their own imperial destiny.

I’ll end with this passage in which the principal narrator, who has just experienced the demolition of his hiding place and the death of his only companion (a selfish, vexatious, half-mad curate) looks out upon a landscape transformed by Martian war. For that moment I touched an emotion beyond the common range of men, yet one that the poor brutes we dominate know only too well. I felt as a rabbit might feel returning to his burrow and suddenly confronted by the work of a dozen busy navvies digging the foundations of a house. I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heel. With us it would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to run and hide; the fear and empire of man had passed away. ...more
4

Jun 27, 2017

You would think that as Man grows in intelligence he would likewise grow in morality. But you would be wrong. Or at least, that is what history teaches us. About a hundred years before Harvard professor Robert Coles wrote his now famous article “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character,” H.G. Wells made much the same observation.

At the end of The War of the Worlds, the unnamed narrator returns to his house and sees the paper he had been working on before the war began. “It was a paper on You would think that as Man grows in intelligence he would likewise grow in morality. But you would be wrong. Or at least, that is what history teaches us. About a hundred years before Harvard professor Robert Coles wrote his now famous article “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character,” H.G. Wells made much the same observation.

At the end of The War of the Worlds, the unnamed narrator returns to his house and sees the paper he had been working on before the war began. “It was a paper on the probable development of Moral Ideas with the development of the civilizing process” (194). There’s one for the wastepaper basket! As with much science fiction, the aliens in The War of the Worlds reveal more about us than about them.

Throughout the book, Wells compares Man with the lower animals. And it becomes increasingly uncomfortable. At the start, we are microbes under the Martians’ microscope. We might be able to pass over the metaphor without much thought if only he didn’t go on to compare us to monkeys, lemurs, dodo birds, bison, ants, frogs, rabbits, bees, wasps, and rats ~ animals we exploit or exterminate without compassion.

The narrator doesn’t fail to make the connection between the Martians’ treatment of humans and our treatment of animals. When he discovers that the Martians regard human beings as food, he is able to shift his perspective and see the human diet from the point of view of an animal that is typically regarded as food: “I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit” (139).

Moreover, it is not only animals that we destroy. Other humans are also fair game.

“And before we judge of them too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?” (5).

If only moral growth went hand-in-hand with intellectual growth! But apparently evolution doesn’t work that way. So a look at the Martians is a look into a mirror. It is also a look into our own future. And it is a future difficult to look upon. The Martians are ugly. And not just on the outside.

Evolution has turned them into little more than heads. Thanks to natural selection, their bodies function with marvelous efficiency. They need not eat, sleep, or engage in sexual intercourse. They communicate by telepathy. Through Darwinian adaptation, they lost what they did not need to survive and developed what they did need. And what they needed was intellect, not character. Heads, not hearts.

Is this where our species is headed? Wells was an advocate of Darwinism and if the Martians represent the future of Man, then The War of the Worlds must be read as a cautionary tale. The Epilogue supports this interpretation:

“If the Martians can reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men, and when the slow cooling of the sun makes this earth uninhabitable, as at last it must do, it may be that the thread of life that has begun here will have streamed out and caught our sister planet within its toils. Should we conquer?” (198-199).

Should we conquer? If we don’t want to become blood-sucking heads without hearts we had better not! On the contrary, we had better learn compassion for those over whom our superior intelligence gives us power. “Surely, if we have learnt nothing else, this war has taught us pity —pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion” (166). ...more
5

Feb 01, 2018

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 our 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. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their 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 our 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. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

Hmmmmm, how fucking amazing is this? Actually, the whole first chapter of this book, titled, "THE EVE OF WAR" is pretty amazing. Very enjoyable. The book loses something when it adopts our MC telling us about his experiences during the invasion, but Wells rescues himself with some breathtaking breakdowns of morality, ethics, war horrors, and survival. Not to mention class differences.

Wells is also, like Faber in Under the Skin, using aliens and science fiction to push a vegan agenda.

"You can't be serious, Carmen. H.G. Wells was not pushing a vegan agenda."

CARMEN: *sips coffee*
*looks at you*

Oh, yes, he absolutely was, and vegans of today who are interested in reading works of fiction which promote vegan lifestyles can enjoy both this book and Faber's book and perhaps incorporate them into a vegan book club. I mean, surely vegans must get tired of what can sometimes be self-righteous and pompous propaganda which exists in vegan non-fiction. Not to mention it is often fucking depressing, especially the books that talk about the suffering of animals in graphic detail. Even if something like veganism was not popular in Wells time and place, you can easily see how this is a vegan book.

The book makes some (what must be at the time: earthshattering) conclusions about humankind. This is a book like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which, when you read it now, it seems like old hat, but in its day must have just blown people away with its radical concepts.

Imagine humans NOT being the masters of all they survey. Imagine humans encountering beings smarter, stronger, and more ruthless then themselves, which see humans simply as ants, cockroaches, or rabbits - to be exterminated and/or eaten. That's what we are dealing with here, and it cannot be denied that Wells revolutionized and charged the genre of science-fiction much the way Mary Shelley did with her revolutionary, mind-blowing Frankenstein.

A lot of people read FRANKENSTEIN today and are disappointed. It's so old-fashioned. It's nothing like the media trained you to think it was. It's slow, it's old. You might read WAR OF THE WORLDS or DRACULA or DR. JEKYLL and feel the same way. But you have to understand that at the time, these authors were completely slaying people's long-held beliefs and way of thinking. Some of the old sci-fi/horror classics hold up, and some don't. DR. JEKYLL is particularly weak IMO, but DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN hold up very well (IMO). I loved both and think they are still very arresting and relevant today.

So how does WAR OF THE WORLDS hold up? Amazing first chapter that blows you out of the water.

And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.

And before we judge them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races.

Think of everything humanity does to animals, and the genocide, war, and slavery it inflicts on other human beings. Wells keeps bringing this up throughout the novel in a rare show of clear-eyed thinking about humanity, especially for an Englishman in 1898.

Now, the book loses something when we start following our MC around and experiencing the invasion with him. But the book saves itself in a few ways.

One, Wells's writing.

Few people realise the immensity of vacancy in which the dust of the material universe swims.
...
Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance.

He's got a lot of good writing in this book and some great turns of phrase.

Secondly, he decides not only to take down humanity's vanity and confidence, but also seeks to offer commentary on religion, class differences, and morality and ethics especially in the context of war. It's staggering how much he chooses to bite off here, but such takedowns engage the reader throughout the book.

He also doesn't skimp on the horror - not only the horrors and ravages of war, but the horror of the aliens and what they do to humans. It's honestly terrifying and Wells successfully scared me and made me disgusted.

I think he made his MC deliberately a member of the intelligentsia instead of a soldier, because - let me tell you - this book would have been completely different if told from the POV of someone who was a combat veteran. And that's on purpose. As the soldier he meets points out to him, after you've seen some shit then shit isn't as shocking.

"I saw what was up. Most of the people were hard at it, squealing and exciting themselves. But I'm not so fond of squealing. I've been in sight of death once or twice; I'm not an ornamental soldier, and at the best and worst, death - it's just death. And it's the man that keeps on thinking comes through."

The way Wells wraps up the book, the way he brings everything to a close, is also fucking brilliant. It may seem cliched or old hat NOW, but you have to realize it was mindblowing back then. Much like the concept of Jekyll/Hyde.

Now. I'm not saying that just because a book has cultural relevance and significance and is a classic in its genre that it's automatically good. Because I don't believe in that shit. Instead, I found myself actually enjoying and liking this book. That doesn't happen to me with every classic. Not every classic holds up. But classics that I enjoy and hold up for me (P&P, S&S, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Jane Eyre) don't please EVERYONE. I understand that old-fashioned books, language, and plotting can be boring and stupid to modern readers. And there are classics that come off that way to me, as well. So YMMV. I've certainly read classics that I've absolutely hated, and this might be one of those for you as well.

While reading this book it seemed achingly familiar to me. I think I've probably read this before. Maybe a decade ago or so, I don't know. It's also possible that this book is SO entrenched in pop culture that I just thought I'd read it, but I don't think so. But I'm going to list it here as my first reading since I can't specifically remember reading it before.

I like Wells's points here.
- His pushing of a vegan agenda; extraordinary for a man of his time.
- His takedown of religion and interpretation of God and what God entails. Not atheist, but a super interesting viewpoint of his time, cackling that 'God is not an insurance agent' and surmising that it's equally likely that humanity's new Martian masters also pray to God and expect God's protection.
- His portrayal as a curate (clergy) as a weak, spineless, helpless and selfish individual.
- His takedown and analysis of class differences, especially when the MC gets into a discussion with a soldier about humanity's future.
- His discussion of the horrors of war - not only what the enemy is inflicting upon you, but what war's victims end up doing to each other. His analysis of the terrible things people find themselves doing to survive, and if that can be forgiven or not when normality is restored.

Those who have escaped the dark and terrible aspects of life will find my brutality, my flash of rage in our final tragedy, easy enough to blame; for they know what is wrong as well as any, but not what is possible to tortured men. But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity.

I mean, take your pick, he just slays here with his cultural and social commentary. I find him lacking and tone-deaf on the plight of women, but I can't have everything. At least not from this author. >.< LOL


TL;DR - Hmmmmmmmm. Reading the sci-fi and horror classics can be very illuminating and oftentimes rewarding. That was the case here. Even though I don't think this book is a strong structurally as FRANKENSTEIN or DRACULA (the plot meanders a bit), Wells certainly hammers home not only his revolutionary and life-changing ideas, but puts forth some true literary gems.

Although it isn't perfect, I am still giving it five stars. With some caveats.

Also, I want to restate that this won't be for everyone.

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 - 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 - pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion.

Read with Non-Crunchy Cool Classic Pantaloonless Buddy Read group, February 2018 ...more
5

Apr 15, 2013

Wow. I knew this, but I didn't KNOW this, until I re-read his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds: H.G. Wells was eerily and impressively ahead of his time.

I'll admit, The War of the Worlds was hardly an easy read. The dispassionate and overly formal style of writing/reporting constantly dragged me back to a long ago time and place almost as foreign as Mars itself. His "speculative philosophy", as he put it, interweaving themes of colonialism and the subjugation of humankind as a whole, was Wow. I knew this, but I didn't KNOW this, until I re-read his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds: H.G. Wells was eerily and impressively ahead of his time.

I'll admit, The War of the Worlds was hardly an easy read. The dispassionate and overly formal style of writing/reporting constantly dragged me back to a long ago time and place almost as foreign as Mars itself. His "speculative philosophy", as he put it, interweaving themes of colonialism and the subjugation of humankind as a whole, was evidently political in its foundation. But it was fascinating to recognize he also set the stage for 20th century speculative and science fiction. As a sci-fi junkie, I am grateful for his ingenious contribution to this genre.

Especially remarkable were artilleryman's imaginings, which are remarkably familiar to any reader of 20th century speculative or science fiction. The artilleryman posits a Martian-controlled future, where humans survive underground (figuratively and literally) and carve out a rebellious life. He envisions humanity playing the part of an inferior or even insignificant race to the alien overlords, until such time we can develop the perfect opportunity to overthrow them. Fast forward A CENTURY, and we've got Skynet's Terminators bearing down on us.

So often I find myself searching for this week's (this minute's?) next great read, but what I need to be doing is seeking out more of the classics to add to my reading list. Each novel surprises and enlightens me in ways I never expected, and enriches my appreciation of those contemporary works I voraciously consume. ...more
5

Jun 30, 2013

Was H.G. Wells schizophrenic? I'm just wondering because his novels fall into 2 distinct groups. There are the gently humorous novels such as "Kipps" or "The History of Mr Polly" - and then there are his SF novels, of which The War of the Worlds is surely the most famous.

His prescience is startling. Not only was he writing in the pre-atomic age, but it is as well to remember that this book was written over a century ago (1898) which is even before powered flight (though only just!) I now want to Was H.G. Wells schizophrenic? I'm just wondering because his novels fall into 2 distinct groups. There are the gently humorous novels such as "Kipps" or "The History of Mr Polly" - and then there are his SF novels, of which The War of the Worlds is surely the most famous.

His prescience is startling. Not only was he writing in the pre-atomic age, but it is as well to remember that this book was written over a century ago (1898) which is even before powered flight (though only just!) I now want to read "War in the Air" to see if his imagination mirrored a potential reality as accurately as this.

The story-line is gripping, and (view spoiler)[the descriptions of society's rapid decline into chaos (hide spoiler)] immensely powerful. H.G. Wells is particularly good at seeing the individual's experience set against the whole devastating picture, (shifting between the viewpoint character and his brother), which draws the reader into the story. ...more
0

Jun 15, 2011

While it may seen inhumane to all the stockbrokers and their dependants, there is some vicarious pleasure to be had in the destruction of Surrey commuter towns by the Martians. The fear, confusion and rapid break down of late Victorian life following on from the initial attack is striking.

The War of the Worlds is one of those science-fiction books that are full of contemporary fears - it is a pre World War One invasion fantasy like The Riddle of the Sands but with the German army transformed While it may seen inhumane to all the stockbrokers and their dependants, there is some vicarious pleasure to be had in the destruction of Surrey commuter towns by the Martians. The fear, confusion and rapid break down of late Victorian life following on from the initial attack is striking.

The War of the Worlds is one of those science-fiction books that are full of contemporary fears - it is a pre World War One invasion fantasy like The Riddle of the Sands but with the German army transformed into the Martians. Zeppelins and U-Boats transformed into striding tripods and heat rays.

The sun may not have set on the British Empire but the fear of destruction lurks everywhere. For Childers and Wells the threat is external and military rather than internal and social. Eventual victory doesn't represent change - just the continuity of militarism. As a vision of Imperial Britain's place in the world it is incredibly narrow and fearful - the application of fight or flight as the only choices in international relations, but as events a few years later would show this was a way of seeing the world that was widespread across Europe.

An interesting feature, particularly maybe from the perspective of empire, is that the aliens are not defeated they self-destruct in an accelerated version of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Martian Empire - if you are going to keep your empire, mere technological superiority is not enough, one needs inner vigilance too otherwise you'll dive into decadence and start mixing your bodily fluids with sub-Martians, then before you know it - you are bird food. For once then, eugenics turns out to save us all. ...more
5

May 11, 2015

Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #41 A book by an author you've never read before stupidly haven't read before I should say And for my 2015 Reading Resolutions: 5 classics (5/5) :’D completed!!

Excellent. Not just very interesting for all the technology and science it has, but outstanding in describing human behavior and criticizing its time. Very thrilling at parts, philosophically emotional at others and overall, well written. Highly recommended for any sci-fi fan. The ending might be a Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #41 A book by an author you've never read before stupidly haven't read before I should say And for my 2015 Reading Resolutions: 5 classics (5/5) :’D completed!!

Excellent. Not just very interesting for all the technology and science it has, but outstanding in describing human behavior and criticizing its time. Very thrilling at parts, philosophically emotional at others and overall, well written. Highly recommended for any sci-fi fan. The ending might be a little Deus Ex Machina for some, but I love simple endings that make sense. Wells indeed a very good storyteller.



“En los últimos años del siglo diecinueve nadie habría creído que los asuntos humanos eran observados aguda y atentamente por inteligencias más desarrolladas que la del hombre y, sin embargo, tan mortales como él; que mientras los hombres se ocupaban de sus cosas eran estudiados quizá tan a fondo como el sabio estudia a través del microscopio las pasajeras criaturas que se agitan y multiplican en una gota de agua.”


Lo que mas me gusto de este libro es que no solo es “un ataque alienígena” lo que esta describiendo el autor, si no que usa este concepto para explicar realidades del ser humano. Lo más interesante de esta historia es cuando fue escrita, porque impactan más ciertos pasajes.

El libro es una mezcla de muchas cosas, filosofía, supervivencia, intriga, tácticas de guerra, suspenso, desastre, incluso un poco de gore podría decir. Hay ciertas escenas bastante asquerosas de imaginar. Para ser un libro tan corto y rápido, cada trama se maneja muy bien porque no tiene ni una palabra de relleno. La escritura es bastante intensa de forma inteligente y sin sobredramatismo. Tiene grandes descripciones para ser admiradas por cualquier fan del hard sci-fi. Sobretodo lo referente al final del libro.

“y en los marcianos tenemos la prueba innegable de la supresión del aspecto animal del organismo por la inteligencia”

Recomendado, especialmente si traes ganas de un buen classico sci-fi. Pero pasa de el si no te va mucho la vena psicológica. Este NO es un libro de acción.


"Quizá el futuro les pertenezca a ellos y no a nosotros." ...more
3

Jul 29, 2008

As I was reading this, two thoughts struck me.

The first was that this book was less about Martians than it was about how humanity views itself as the "Kings of the Earth". Mankind has always had this annoying tendency to think that whatever serves us is good and right, despite whatever injury is done to the Earth and any other living creature on it in obtaining whatever it is that we want. The Martian invasion served only to open our eyes to this blindness and willful ignorance.

I appreciated As I was reading this, two thoughts struck me.

The first was that this book was less about Martians than it was about how humanity views itself as the "Kings of the Earth". Mankind has always had this annoying tendency to think that whatever serves us is good and right, despite whatever injury is done to the Earth and any other living creature on it in obtaining whatever it is that we want. The Martian invasion served only to open our eyes to this blindness and willful ignorance.

I appreciated some of the artilleryman's ideas on cohabitation, in so far as he compared the surviving humans to rodents or small animals -- the Martians (as the "New Kings of the Earth") will let us be, as we mean them no harm-- unless they run out of food, that is. Isn't this really how animals must see us? I think so. Too bad that's not true... Humans will hunt, kill and exploit for the sport of it, not just for survival.

The invasion in the book awakens us to the fact that there is always someone bigger, badder and meaner out there to hunt humans as if we are now the animals.

But I digress!

My second thought was that it was really odd that all 7 of the mentioned Martian cylinders landed in England. I mean, even if we expand this to include Ireland, Scotland and Wales, we are talking about an area of 151,502 square miles. Compare this to Asia at 17,700,000 square miles or even Europe at 3,930,000 square miles. (Figures are from Google.)

About 3/4 through the book, it's mentioned that other cylinders are probably wreaking havoc on other parts of the world. I suppose it must be assumed that they had some trajectory and that the cylinders were shot at the same time each day to follow it, but then why only aim at one area if world domination is your goal?

In this one particular, I could not suspend my disbelief to allow for 7 out of 10 cylinders to hit such a small area of the planet.

I am probably over-thinking this... I feel better after getting all of that off of my chest though! I did really enjoy the story itself, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It's short enough so that it is not a daunting read, but it contains such a large story that it is immensely entertaining. ...more
5

Oct 15, 2019

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke (Introduction)

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. —H. G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds.

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialized in 1897. The War of the Worlds was one of the first The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke (Introduction)

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. — H. G. Wells (1898), The War of the Worlds.

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialized in 1897. The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England.

The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears, and prejudices. Wells said that the plot arose from a discussion with his brother Frank, about the catastrophic impact of the British, on indigenous Tasmanians. What would happen, he wondered, if Martians did to Britain what the British had done to the Tasmanians? The Tasmanians however lacked the lethal pathogens to defeat their invaders. ...

عنوان: ج‍ن‍گ‌ ج‍ه‍ان‌ه‍ا؛ نویسنده: جرج هربرت (اچ‌. ج‍ی‌.) ول‍ز‏‫؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1999 میلادی

عنوان: ج‍ن‍گ‌ ج‍ه‍ان‌ه‍ا؛ نویسنده: اچ‌. ج‍ی‌. ول‍ز‏‫؛ مت‍رج‍م: ع‍ل‍ی‌ ف‍اطم‍ی‍ان‌؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: وزارت فرهنگ وارشاد اسلامی، سازمان چاپ وانتشارات، نشر چشم انداز‏‫، 1377؛ در 254 ص؛ مصور، شابک: 9644220749؛ خلاصه شده از نسخه اصلی؛ چاپ دیگر: 1379؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 19 م
عنوان: جنگ دنیاها؛ نویسنده: اچ.‌جی. ولز ؛ مترجم: گروه ترجمه انتشارات آریانگار؛ تهران: آریانگار، ‏‫1389؛ ‬در 64 ص، رنگی؛ شابک: 9786009214389؛
عنوان: جنگ دنیاها؛ نویسنده: جرج هربرت ولز؛ مترجم: سیدرضا مرتضوی؛ تهران : آفرینگان‏‫، 1394؛ در 64 ص؛ شابک: 9786006753935؛
عنوان: جنگ دنیاها؛ نویسنده: اچ.جی. ولز؛ مترجم: میرپویا حسینی‌اصل‌اسکویی؛ تهران: انتشارات قافیه‏‫، ‏‫1397؛ در 64 ص؛ شابک: 9786226605496؛

جنگ دنیاها عنوان رمانی علمی-تخیلی ست، که «اچ. جی. ولز» نویسنده ی انگلیسی، در سال 1898 میلادی نگاشته و منتشر کرده است. این رمان شرح تجربیات یک راوی گمنام است، که در حومه ی شهر لندن، شاهد هجوم موجودات بیگانه‌ ای از «مریخ» می‌شود. «جنگ دنیاها»، یکی از نخستین رمان‌هایی است، که ستیز بین نژاد بشر، و موجودات ماورایی را، با واژه هایش به تصویر می‌کشد. با الهام از این رمان، کتابهای مصور، مجموعه‌ های تلویزیونی، و فیلم‌های سینمایی بسیاری ساخته شده است. «استیون اسپیلبرگ» نیز، در سال 2005 میلادی، با اقتباس از این کتاب، فیلمی با شرکت «تام کروز» را کارگردانی کردند. لندن، سالهای پایانی سده ی نوزدهم میلادی: مدتی است برجستگیها و انفجارهایی در سطح سیاره‌‌ ی مریخ، به چشم می‌خورد. چند دانشمند در رصدخانه های مختلف، متوجه این پدیده ‌ی شگفت انگیز شده اند. آیا روی این سیاره، موجودات هوشمندی زندگی می‌کنند؟ کسی پاسخی برای این پرسش ندارد، تا اینکه شیئی به زمین اصابت می‌کند. نخست به نظر می‌رسد، این شیء شهاب سنگ باشد، اما شهاب سنگی در کار نیست....؛ جنگ دنیاها، نوشته‌ ی ه«ربرت جورج ولز»، یکی از نخستین آثاری است، که ستیز انسان و موجودات فضایی را بازگو میکند. این اثر خواندنی و هیجان انگیز از آن روز الهام بخش نویسندگان بسیاری بوده است. «موجودات مریخی به سبب استفاده ی بسیار از هوش خود، تنها مغزی بزرگ و دهانی از آنان باقی مانده است و با آشامیدن خون انسان نیرو میگیرند. در مقابل اما دستاوردهای فنون و آلات جنگی آنان چندین برابر بزرگ‌تر از ماشین جنگی انگلیس است و مردم در برابر آن زبون و هراسانند و جز تن دادن به مرگ راه چاره‌ای ندارند. (اندیشه ی نوشتن رمان جنگ جهان‌ها زمانی برای نویسنده پدید آمد که استعمارگران اروپائی با حمله به جزیره تاسمانی در نزدیکی استرالیا، مردم بیگناه و بومی آن جزیره را میکشتند. نویسنده با برادرش فرانک، درباره ی این جنگ گفتگو میکرد که برادرش گفت: فرض کن که موجودات سیاره‌ای دیگر از آسمان فرود آیند و سراسر انگلیس را به تسخیر خود درآورند!)» ا. شربیانی ...more
3

Aug 26, 2017

"I felt no condemnation; yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted me. In the silence of the night, with that sense of nearness of God that sometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath and fear."

Hey, I finally get the addition of the rapidly growing red weed that's in one in favorite game of all time, SNES Zombies Ate my Neighbors. These martians weren't hunting cheerleaders though!



While the wording style is eloquent, "I felt no condemnation; yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted me. In the silence of the night, with that sense of nearness of God that sometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath and fear."

Hey, I finally get the addition of the rapidly growing red weed that's in one in favorite game of all time, SNES Zombies Ate my Neighbors. These martians weren't hunting cheerleaders though!



While the wording style is eloquent, beautiful, it fails to hold rapt focus. I think the main issue is the story is so distant from characterization and mainly fills itself out by describing everything - martians, their instruments, the lands, the horrors, the pit.

There's a few pieces of dialogue but mainly the lone traveler is kept with the company of his own mind, but still the author tells us little. The character has a wife but little else is known besides his slightly philosophical nature and definite strokes of luck and fortune. He escapes much while others just happen to not make that same fortunate escape.

Being a classic written in another time, the science and plausibility isn't as advanced with its sketching as something today would be -- but it was incredibly inventive, especially for its time period. We've copied this work on art in so many ways since. Originality is something that shines for The war of the worlds - we can only hope to be suitable imitators.

On the surface it is a story about the doom of man when the sky opens to release those vicious Martians - but the author enjoys later telling tales of how the human race is doomed and sort of deserves it because we have doomed others, the earth, and been unmerciful to the land, animals, and those tribes or peoples different from us. Wells raises the point of mankind ruthlessly wiping out others due to greed and savagery, without our current day giving it ample remorseful respect.

Bringing up animals, here is one quote among many that points the same theme out --

"...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 -- pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion."

H.G. Wells keeps the philosophy strong by also taking pains to show that, while the Martians are a horrifying creation we have a right to fear, we ourselves are scary to animals and other races we've conquered.

Does compare the monstrosity of the Martians with mad of how we destroy the world or have taken no mercy in history on previous human tribes. When describing the horrors of the Martians feeding, the author then states, "The bare idea of this is no doubt repulsive to us, but at the same time I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit."

An interesting concept - especially because of the radio forecast that led to historic panic - and the creativity of its times. On the downside, the lack of characterization gives a lack of attachment for the reader other than sci-fi colored curiosity. Description only stays interesting up to a point.

I've seen that some find the ending anti-climactic, but I loved it. It's fitting, makes reasonable sense, was happy in its way, horrible in its way, suiting in its way.

"He had swept it out of existence, it seemed, without any provocation, as a boy might crush an ant hill, in the mere wantonness of power."

...more
2

Jul 07, 2018

Sadly... Not exactly what I was hoping for. The beginning was super interesting, as I loved how the Martians were introduced and the confusion that surrounded them was great. However, the book really dragged on from there, and became quite repetitive and bogged down by excessive detail. This book could have easily been under 100 pages long, but it's actually closer to 200 which felt very dragged out for this simplistic story. Definitely not my favorite Wells!
4

Mar 29, 2012



A few days ago I have read this juicy article on a Portuguese magazine ("Visão"): 5th September...still missing 3290 days for a visit to Mars.

The article speaks about NASA's visit by 2030. Yet, a Dutch company* is preparing to anticipate NASA in a decade. A no-return voyage, vegetarians by force...and a water factory are some of the ideas approached.

To my knowledge, though thousands worldwide had already applied, there are 8 Portuguese people ready to embark; but only 4 of them disclosed

A few days ago I have read this juicy article on a Portuguese magazine ("Visão"): 5th September...still missing 3290 days for a visit to Mars.

The article speaks about NASA's visit by 2030. Yet, a Dutch company* is preparing to anticipate NASA in a decade. A no-return voyage, vegetarians by force...and a water factory are some of the ideas approached.

To my knowledge, though thousands worldwide had already applied, there are 8 Portuguese people ready to embark; but only 4 of them disclosed their names. Ages between 19 and 42. Maybe one of them up there ...in 2023.





Dreams that never end,...Mr Wells.
-Martians, beware, it's "our turn"!





Yes, this is truly a classic of science fiction; a book first published in 1898.

It's about a Martian invasion: missiles launched from planet Mars carry strange creatures/machines inside...which, when out of its carrying cylinders, wreak havoc everyone and everything.

Truly, a paranoid vision of a planet close to ours: a place that receives only "half of the light" of the sun, and whose hardened-hearts inhabitants "carry warfare" sunward. They see our green planet...while theirs got cooled. And their "intelligences are greater than ours". They watch us keenly.

It's the end of the 19th century and astronomer Ogilvy at Ottershaw village, England, wonders about the "thing" they "were sending us". People used to scoffle at the idea of "Mars inhabitants": a vulgar one.

And then for 10 nights a flame was watched: and it happened: the falling star reached Earth!

Ogilvy tried to find it...though he had seen nothing. There was a thing buried on the ground: a hot huge cylinder in Horsell Cadron...it was 6 o'clock: and "there's a man inside it!".

But nobody believes this report. The cylinder was of a yellowish white metal...an unfamiliar one: extraterrestrial. Excavations start. Stent, the Astronomer Royal is called upon...so Lord Hilton, lord of the Manor.




Out of the cylinder came little tentacles, like a little grey snake....and then the bulk, that body mass...round eyes...arms like an octopus. There's horror around. An ungovernable terror is gripping the main character.


The Deputy attempted to communicate by holding a white flag ...but that group was swept of existence, it became a group of specks.

Fear.

From the cylinder emanates a flash of light, a greenish smoke...it's the light of destruction. "Three puffs of green smoke"...and the spinning mirror...the heat ray: forty people have died.



More troops are deployed, another cordon of soldiers....and a squadron of hussars...and a regiment of 400,...a second cylinder had fallen on Earth.




And yet, out of that area people carry on the routine.Some are curious to know how "they" live on another planet.

Ogilvy said that it's impossible for Martians to live on Earth: due to the excess of oxygen and the gravitation force here being 3 times higher than Mars'.

Meanwhile, the main character had his last civilized meal. Why hasn't the story been printed in a London paper yet?
...

("their things...")




("our things...")

*http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/22/wor...
http://www.mars-one.com/en/roadmap2015

UPDATES:
http://rt.com/news/158216-mars-one-wa...
(Girlfriend or Mars? RT interviews Mars One hopefuls)

One-way Ticket to Mars (RT Documentary) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfKzhj...

Group’s ‘Mars One’ Project Is ‘So Ambitious’ That Even the CEO Admits It’s Pretty ‘Crazy’
Aug. 25, 2015 8:58am in:http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/...

Sydney Do :“the analysis that we’ve made and the historical analysis that we’ve done, is that no, they cannot do this, and it is infeasible.”

http://marsmobile.jpl.nasa.gov/multim...

By the way, the (European) Schiaparelli Lander is about to touch down on Mars
19th October 2016
...
Sad news: it seems the Lander was "destroyed on impact".
24th October 2016


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2...
Quite interesting testimony of these 3 volunteers, a Mozambican doctor, an Iraqi-American woman, and a UK Physicist.
Three volunteers are on the shortlist to be among four people on the Mars One programme:
https://www.theguardian.com/news/vide...
25th November 2017

UPDATE
It seems the mission is over. Pity.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...
7th May 2019.

Mars Attacks! BBC Unveils 'War of the Worlds' Trailer
in:
https://www.space.com/war-of-the-worl... ...more
4

May 16, 2018

Probably everyone knows the basic plot, so there is no need to elaborate -- Martians come, they kick humanity's collective ass. The story is narrated by an average (if well-educated) guy who happens to see the arrival and survive, and is scrambling around trying to find food without getting seen in the process. Contra the movies, he is not heroic or important to the outcome of the invasion, which I thought an intriguing authorial choice.

A couple aspects that were interesting to me:

--The narrator Probably everyone knows the basic plot, so there is no need to elaborate -- Martians come, they kick humanity's collective ass. The story is narrated by an average (if well-educated) guy who happens to see the arrival and survive, and is scrambling around trying to find food without getting seen in the process. Contra the movies, he is not heroic or important to the outcome of the invasion, which I thought an intriguing authorial choice.

A couple aspects that were interesting to me:

--The narrator several times mentions that how humans are feeling as the Martians prey upon them must be similar to the helplessness and fear that animals feel when we hunt and kill them. The Martians are abhorrent to us because they are killing us, and also look hideous to us, but that's perspective. From their point of view they are doing nothing wrong. I wonder if their have been any reception studies done on how Wells' contemporaries felt about this position?

--I haven't heard this mentioned, but WoW is in fact an alternate-history novel, or set in a similar parallel universe, because it is mentioned in passing that this invasion occurred in the recent past and now we have all sorts of new technology thanks to remainders of Martian vehicles, and also there is greater global cooperation. Has anyone ever written a follow-up novel in this setting? It seems like such an obvious idea (especially with the end point that the Martians could attack again and Earth needs to prepare) that I cannot believe no author has done it, but I haven't encountered such a book.

p.s. Why is the cover bright pink? Doesn't really suit the tone of the book, and I doubt that was colored by Gorey.

...more
4

Dec 13, 2011

I somewhat lazily and arbitrarily clicked this book onto my "science fiction" Goodreads shelf, but it isn't, not really. Sure, the monsters happened to come from Mars, but that isn't essential to the plot. They could just as easily have come from deep under the ground, from the bottom of the ocean, or from Mordor. All the story requires is that they be from Somewhere Else, and Mars fills that bill perfectly well.

So, leaving aside the creatures' extraterrestrial origins, War of the Worlds I somewhat lazily and arbitrarily clicked this book onto my "science fiction" Goodreads shelf, but it isn't, not really. Sure, the monsters happened to come from Mars, but that isn't essential to the plot. They could just as easily have come from deep under the ground, from the bottom of the ocean, or from Mordor. All the story requires is that they be from Somewhere Else, and Mars fills that bill perfectly well.

So, leaving aside the creatures' extraterrestrial origins, War of the Worlds succeeds on several levels. For one, it's one of the most gripping and legitimately frightening horror stories to come out of the 19th century; the intelligent, but overwhelmed and slightly unreliable narrator gives a desperate, panicky edge to the story. This suits the material perfectly: if you propose to chronicle the end of the world, a little panic goes a long way towards selling it.

The story also succeeds as an ecological fable. As the story repeatedly compares the Martian invaders to humans as humans would be to rabbits or ants, the usual human view of the world as a pyramid with ourselves at the top is thrown into a new light. This is typical of Wells, as The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau are also thinly veiled parables about the philosophical issues of his day. The difference is that, unlike the class warfare fable of The Time Machine, or The Island of Dr. Moreau's exploration of evolution and what makes humans human, War of the Worlds's message still seems relevant today.

For my money, this is H.G. Wells' best story, or at least the one that's aged the best. I was surprised at what an enjoyable and thought-provoking book this was - far better than any subsequent adaptations I've seen or heard. Accept no substitutes! ...more

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