Title: The War of the Worlds
Author: H.G. Wells
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Classics, Science fiction
Dates read: 24th – 26th November 2019
Publisher: Cantebury Classics
5th sentence, 74th page: Save for the sound we lay quite still in the scullery; I for my part scarce dared breathe, and sat with my eyes fixed on the faint light of the kitchen door.
With H.G. Wells’ other novels, 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. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.
This is a surprisingly intense story. The last few H.G. Wells books that I’ve read have felt a little more humorous, and so this one kind of took me by surprise. It is far more dark and dangerous. A little more serious and definitely one I’m going to have to read again multiple times to truly understand what I’ve actually been reading. Although, even on my first read through… I seriously enjoyed it and can completely understand why it is a classic!
I’m always a sucker for a first person POV. And it’s not something I tend to come across so much in classics that were written in the 1800s. Actually, off the top of my head, it’s the first classic of this era that I’ve enjoyed the first person POV. It gave a unique voice and feeling to the story that I really wasn’t expecting. And one I was kind of sad to close the pages on. Although, again, very different from the glimpses I’ve caught of the movie.
Although I absolutely ripped through this story and found it quite easy to get through. It was still quite an intense read. There is a lot going on throughout and there are multiple moments when you really just have to sit back and absorb what you’ve just read.
I can see the roots of a lot of modern stories in this novel. You can understand why Wells is one of the forefathers / founding fathers of the science fiction genre. I’m so glad that I’ve had the pleasure of reading this, and I look forward to pursuing it a few more times in my future.