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on October 12, 2006
H.G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds as a warning to the complacent, world-dominating British citizens of his era to not take the status quo for granted. The arrogance of some British politicians in particular rubbed Wells entirely the wrong way, particularly their sentiment that the British had an 'obligation' to 'civilize' the world (read: colonize) for its own good. Well's book was a rock thrown at that attitude-on-a-pedestal, and although he didn't knock it down, he made his point- and in spectacular fashion. In one way, the Martians *were* the conquering British, with their superior weapons and baffling ways that must have seemed incomprehensible to the natives of Africa and other areas colonized by force. Wells' dark tale was also a warning that even the British- despite their firm belief in their world destiny- could be squashed like so many bugs by an indifferent cosmos that didn't give one whit about the British (or anyone else's) false boast of superiority. In the end, though, it's a hopeful book- just as the Martians died off because they weren't biologically suited to live in this world, Wells also foretells the end of the British Empire because the British (alien) way was not the native way of life in the colonies, suggesting that the British wouldn't survive there long; the natives would eventually prevail. And they did. On top of all that, it's rousing entertainment that can be read just for its drama and suspense.

And that's why it's still in print a hundred years later.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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on August 30, 2006
I've said it before, so I'll say it again: Wells was way ahead of his time.

At the end of the 19th century Wells was already conceiving the possibility that we are being watched by entities whose intelligence is far superior to our own. And though those beings may be more advanced, they regard our form of life as being a simple setback to be quickly removed. Our solar neighbor, Mars, sends its children down to earth to being the decimation of the human race. In the opening of the novel, large metallic pods crash on our soil, and from their craters, emerge as massive tri-pod walking machines. These tri-pods go about the business of burning all of civilization to ashes. They spew noxious gas that suffocates those that inhale it, and fire concentrated lasers that scorch the earth to dust. Within a few days, all of England is turned into a smoking ruin by these walking terrors.

The novel is set in the perspective of a young philosopher/writer (whom is never given a name) as he travels across England and witnesses the horrible destruction and transformation of his home country, trying his hardest to stay clear of the death-machines. It was interesting to read something from the perspective of someone who has no name, and to read about his terror, not only over the ruin of England, but the destruction of organized society. No man made creation, no human endeavor, nothing our earthly minds can construct is able to save us from the death that walks on 3 legs. You actually get to watch a man's mind turning towards hopelessness and insanity.

In the end, the invaders are destroyed by the tiniest of organisms our planet has to offer. The moment they introduced themselves into our environment, they had lost the battle. Wells may have been attempting to show his audience that we can never be to confident in man's resourcefulness, and never to become to high on our ideas of superiority over this world.

This was, and is a good lesson to learn and keep close to heart. I definitely recommend this book to any sci-fi fan out there. It's a one of a kind, and the parent of it's genre.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon July 16, 2006
We are in 1898 England. Yep we see something happening on the surface of Mars. Later what looks like a meteor comes to earth. Once we realize the significant of the situation (or think we do) Different people approach the situation in different ways. The true story is how the different people meet the situation.

Many people want to equate this story with real potential invasions others as the bad guys vs. the good guys. However from the very first we see that they are the greater (more evolved) intelligence and we are the equivalent of vermin or the ants that are being held under the magnifying glass. From our point of view they seem like cruel creatures, from theirs is indifference. Their way of consuming nourishment is appalling yet look at what and how we eat.

The writing its self is of the time in which Wells lived so the descriptions of our world may seem a little alien to today's younger readers. However the suspense is still there and the story will hold their attention.

Do not miss the 1953 movie. Even thought it adds more religious overtones it is still pretty much the same story with similar characters. Of course this one names the narrator and adds a love interest.
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on July 20, 2005
Written in 1898 by visionary author H.G. Wells, "The War of the Worlds" stands today not only on its own merits as a thrilling, terrifying work of the imagination, but as the granddaddy of all the extraterrestrial-invasion fiction that has saturated the media of this century. One is even tempted to proffer the possibility that, had it not been for Wells's seminal work, we may not have witnessed the UFO phenomenon that has manifested itself throughout the past 50 years or more. "The War of the Worlds" involves the abrupt landings of the Martians, fleeing their dying planet, in England, and their immediate campaign to subjugate human beings whose blood they need as sustenance. Through the use of fearsome weapons such as poison gas, and a heat-beam (Wells anticipating the laser) that incinerates everything in its path, the Martians( hideous octupi-like creatures, and their miraculous machinery) reduce much of London and the surrounding areas to smoldering ruin. This mass destruction Wells narrates in horrifying detail through the first-person of his protagonist, a writer-philosopher. In addition to serving as our eyes as civilization is apocalyptically laid to waste, the philosopher gives voice to the socialist Wells's views on humanity's vain view of its preeminent place in the cosmos, as well as to use the Martians' seemingly unstoppable domination as a way of comparing it to the British Empire's treatment of its subjugated populations. For all who have thrilled to the writings of Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Bradbury, as well as the films "The Thing", "Invaders from Mars", up through "Independence Day", we may give thanks to "The War of the Worlds", the progenitor of the hundreds of excitingly imaginative invasions of our paltry little planet. Give the book a shot. Pick up a copy! In addition to War of the Worlds, another book I'd like to recommend, is The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez, a non Sci-fi novel I stumbled on by accident on Amazon and really love.
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H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" is a straightforward, tightly-written, and innovative little novel (barely 200 pages of actual author text in most editions) that helped define Science Fiction as a genre. It also inspired a slew of imitators and is the subject of countless adaptations (with no fewer than three film versions in 2005 alone) Its standard-setting plot of alien invasion and conquest continues to drive its diverse progeny in their many forms. Nevertheless, the basic story at the heart of this multimedia frenzy remains fresh, exciting, relevant, and (for the most part) has barely aged a day since its original publication in 1898.

The 2005 Penguin Classics edition is a great way to experience Wells' original work first-hand. This edition includes two insightful -- and somewhat overlapping -- introductions from Patrick Parrinder and Brian Aldiss, generous annotations, and (most helpfully) a map with notes detailing the narrator's journey throughout the story. All of these features are immensely helpful to readers unfamiliar with the history of the novel, Wells, or the Victorian London portrayed in the story. Even long-time fans of the novel are likely to find some extra little detail that will broaden their appreciation for what Wells achieved with this early effort.
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on July 4, 2005
Written in 1898 by visionary author H.G. Wells, "The War of the Worlds" stands today not only on its own merits as a thrilling, terrifying work of the imagination, but as the granddaddy of all the extraterrestrial-invasion fiction that has saturated the media of this century. One is even tempted to proffer the possibility that, had it not been for Wells's seminal work, we may not have witnessed the UFO phenomenon that has manifested itself throughout the past 50 years or more. "The War of the Worlds" involves the abrupt landings of the Martians, fleeing their dying planet, in England, and their immediate campaign to subjugate human beings whose blood they need as sustenance. Through the use of fearsome weapons such as poison gas, and a heat-beam (Wells anticipating the laser) that incinerates everything in its path, the Martians( hideous octupi-like creatures, and their miraculous machinery) reduce much of London and the surrounding areas to smoldering ruin. This mass destruction Wells narrates in horrifying detail through the first-person of his protagonist, a writer-philosopher. In addition to serving as our eyes as civilization is apocalyptically laid to waste, the philosopher gives voice to the socialist Wells's views on humanity's vain view of its preeminent place in the cosmos, as well as to use the Martians' seemingly unstoppable domination as a way of comparing it to the British Empire's treatment of its subjugated populations. For all who have thrilled to the writings of Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Bradbury, as well as the films "The Thing", "Invaders from Mars", up through "Independence Day", we may give thanks to "The War of the Worlds", the progenitor of the hundreds of excitingly imaginative invasions of our paltry little planet. Give the book a shot. Pick up a copy! In addition to War of the Worlds, another book I'd like to recommend, is The Losers' CLub: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez, a non Sci-fi novel I stumbled on by accident on Amazon and really love.
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on June 25, 2005
Written in 1898 by visionary author H.G. Wells, "The War of the Worlds" stands today not only on its own merits as a thrilling, terrifying work of the imagination, but as the granddaddy of all the extraterrestrial-invasion fiction that has saturated the media of this century. One is even tempted to proffer the possibility that, had it not been for Wells's seminal work, we may not have witnessed the UFO phenomenon that has manifested itself throughout the past 50 years or more. "The War of the Worlds" involves the abrupt landings of the Martians, fleeing their dying planet, in England, and their immediate campaign to subjugate human beings whose blood they need as sustenance. Through the use of fearsome weapons such as poison gas, and a heat-beam (Wells anticipating the laser) that incinerates everything in its path, the Martians( hideous octupi-like creatures, and their miraculous machinery) reduce much of London and the surrounding areas to smoldering ruin. This mass destruction Wells narrates in horrifying detail through the first-person of his protagonist, a writer-philosopher. In addition to serving as our eyes as civilization is apocalyptically laid to waste, the philosopher gives voice to the socialist Wells's views on humanity's vain view of its preeminent place in the cosmos, as well as to use the Martians' seemingly unstoppable domination as a way of comparing it to the British Empire's treatment of its subjugated populations. For all who have thrilled to the writings of Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Bradbury, as well as the films "The Thing", "Invaders from Mars", up through "Independence Day", we may give thanks to "The War of the Worlds", the progenitor of the hundreds of excitingly imaginative invasions of our paltry little planet. Give the book a shot. Pick up a copy! In addition to War of the Worlds, another book I'd like to recommend, is The Losers' CLub: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez, a non Sci-fi novel I stumbled on by accident on Amazon and really love.
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on July 7, 2004
I don't know if H.G. Wells can take all the credit for pioneering modern science fiction, but his 1898 novel "The War of the Worlds" is certainly a revolutionary stroke, apparently the first conception of what a hostile extraterrestrial invasion would be like. The invaders here are Martians, who, as Wells describes, are superevolved beyond humans, having had to sharpen their intelligence and develop superior technology in order to survive their planet's cold climate. Looking with jealousy towards their larger, warmer sunward planetary neighbor, they have decided to take over Earth, where they can build a new civilization.
Meanwhile on Earth, astronomers, their telescopes pointed towards Mars, notice strange luminous flashes on the surface of the red planet; these, it can be surmised, are the Martians launching their interplanetary spacecrafts towards their target. A few months later the crafts land in the English countryside one at a time; it turns out the Martians have traveled in gigantic cylinders which contain all their equipment, including their land vehicles--tall walking tripods with rotating control centers that look like hooded human heads--which evidently are stored in parts and need to be assembled. These machines have weapons that deploy "Heat-Rays" which roast anything on contact and dense black powder which poisons the air and water. With these undeniably cool toys, the Martians have no problems advancing towards London and decimating every living thing in their path.
Undiplomatic and incommunicative with earthlings, the Martians are cold-blooded killers with possibly the ultimate goal of enslaving the human species for labor in their colonies. The Martian beings themselves are described as vaguely globular, tentacular monsters that are mostly brain and little else, creatures seemingly borrowed from the distant future of Wells's imagination in "The Time Machine." What I found most original and bizarre about them was Wells's description of their machinery, which does not use wheels or any kind of angular mechanism, but rather complex systems of sliding parts on curved surfaces--in other words, their mechanisms approximate biomechanisms. Their cleverness is indeed formidable, but their information about Earth is lacking in one important area which causes their downfall.
The human characters in the novel are hardly worth mentioning, especially the narrator, which is probably why he doesn't have a name; he is used simply as an eyewitness to relate the events. The Martians and their incredible machines were the only things that really drew my interest because Wells is at his best when he invokes the horror of the unknown rather than the realities of human behavior. Upon its first appearance, this novel must have struck many Victorians as distastefully grotesque, the idea of a cataclysmic war (at the dawn of the century that invented the cataclysmic war) the willful nightmare of a madman; but Wells was a visionary if not the most elegant writer, and visionaries sometimes shock us.
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on June 10, 2004
H.G. Wells, is one of the first the introduce readers with the idea of aliens from mars taking over the earth, and triggered many writers later to write books involving martians. In the masterpiece, Wells introduces many ideas and masterfully blends them into his story.
England is in trouble as cylinders of metal carrying martians constantly crash on the earth every 24 hours. Each cylinder carries a walking tripod, that has a heat beam attached, a beam that melts and burns anything it hits. As more aliens come, they bring gasses that can kill a human just when they inhale it.
All seems lost for the main character as he tries to dodge martians, and return to leatherhead, where his wife has taken refuge. He is forced to hide from the martians byhimself, for almost everyone is dead.
Hope of survival is almost noting for humans, when they find out the martians have developed flying machines, to promote their world wide destruction, but something happens to the martians......
This is a great book and I am very pleased that I took the time the read it, even though some parts were very slow.
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on May 16, 2004
In "The War of the Worlds" Martians come down from space and start their conquest of our home Earth. The Martians, with their heat rays and giant robotic machines, are attempting to conquer Earth and use it as their new home because Mars has become uninhabitable. This story is told from an English man's point-of-view, with vivid descriptions telling what it was like when the Martians came down and waged their war on Earth. The story takes the reader through a chaotic and suspenseful journey seen through the eyes of one man trying to survive.
In my opinion the story was well written, overall. It was just a bit too retro science-fiction for me. The plot mainly revolves around a man's travels while he is trying to escape the onslaught of the Martians. I lost interest about mid-way through the book, because the plot became redundant. The character descriptions in the book were good, as well as the descriptions of the Martians. There was good visual depiction of the destruction that took place as the Martians conquered more territory. I think the conclusion could have been a little more climactic. Although it was clever, it just wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. Although the concept of this story is interesting, I would not recommend this book to teens that enjoy futuristic adventure.
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