Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Science Fiction

A classic science fiction novel written in 1898 (yes, that long ago!) sees martians from Mars lands in Horsell Commons in London. People surround the cylinder, curious to find out what it is and what is inside. The narrator (of whom we never learn his name) is one of the group, witnessing a brown tentacled octopus-like being come out of the cylinder. Then, the martian uses a heat ray to kill the majority of the crowd. The narrator barely escapes.

More cylinders land on Earth and the martians start building 3-pronged machines. This raises the martians high in the air, allowing them to use their heat ray more widely. They also have a black inky-like material that kills all humans on contact. The narrator has some close run ins with these martians, including being stuck in a home for 11 days because another cylinder landed outside the home and trapped him there. At the end, you know what's going to happen, but this books takes you on a journey to get there.

Parts of this book were captivating and parts were fall-asleep boring. I don't think I've ever read a book that fluctuated between the two many times. Whenever the narrator was in trouble, that's when the story got interesting. Was he going to survive? Were the martians going to find and kill him? I also enjoyed reading about how the martians were different from humans. However, there were a few chapters that followed the narrator's brother, which I found rather pointless.

It was interesting to read a science fiction book that was written so long ago. I'm not sure I would recommend it though. It waxed and waned too much for me.

First Line: "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 scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."


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