The War of the Worlds
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The War of the Worlds

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  108,532 ratings  ·  2,844 reviews
Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 9th 2005 by Classics Illustrated Junior (first published 1897)
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Joe
Jun 26, 2007 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artillerymen
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 mov...more
Becky
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 s...more
Benjamin Duffy
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 succeed...more
Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost ("As the Pirate Aarhgs")
H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds...

Wells wrote this in 1898, at the turn of the century. My Grandfather was less than a year old. The world found it'self i the middle of the industrial revolution where steam power had taken over the world, and mankind suffered from an Ego that had led them to believe that they were invincible. It was a dangerous illusion. Within the next twenty years, Nature will wallop man in ways that man had never believed possible. In 1906 an earthquake will flatten Charleston...more
Willa
This book is brilliant! To think that Wells wrote it before anyone else had imagined visitors from other planets coming to Earth is simply incredible... The influence on the genre continues to this day... Well-deservedly, I might add...

But not only is this book a great example of science fiction, it's also a commentary on social practices... Wells points every so often to the feelings of the humans and compares them to the feelings of 'lower' animals who must contend every day with the effects h...more
Jan-Maat
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 in...more
Rabindranauth
Is there life on Mars? A question the Father of Science Fiction looks at in an all too terrifying manner in one of his most famous novels, The War of The Worlds.

It all begins when a massive cylinder crash lands in England, a cylinder that no one can claim ownership for. In a time where the thought of humans someday being capable of flight would be absurd, these cylinders were quite the phenomenon. Soon, reports filter in that this mysterious cylinder is just one of many that have crashed seeming...more
Kennis
First of all, I wish I never saw any of the movies before reading it because I couldn't get the imagery from them out of my head as I read. It was super annoying. Fucking Tom Cruise. In any case, I gotta say that I really didn't care for it. The radio show was probably much more captivating than the book. The way it was told, in third person and everything having taken place in the past, was just not working for me. The story was intriguing enough to keep me going, but boy did I feel like not fi...more
Ben Babcock
It's easy to be a jaded reader of science fiction, especially if you grew up with the conveniences of Star Trek, Star Wars, and the reality of spaceflight. So it's important to remember that writers like H.G. Wells never got to see the famous Blue Marble photograph of Earth; they never got to see what our planet looks like from space—something most of us take for granted in this era. This awareness, our conception of the Earth as a big blue marble, has become so pervasive as to make descriptions...more
Marvin
Finally! A five-star novel by H. G. Wells!

I'm not sure if I read this in my childhood or not. I think not. If I didn't, I should have since I read almost every other H. G. Wells novel as a boy. And this is far and above his best. It is the granddaddy of alien invasion stories and still holds up rather well. Wells foresaw a number of science fiction themes in this book, alien invasion, post-apocalyptic, he even toys with the idea of terra-forming. His descriptions of the Martians and their ensuin...more
Candiss
Unlike many of its contemporaries, The War of the Worlds holds up quite well, even today. The book's style of language is a bit formal, perhaps, when compared to modern parlance, but it's not plodding or overly tiresome. Wells had a prodigious imagination, and although he was (appropriately for his time period) quite genteel about it, he doesn't shy from describing the horrific. He weaves an engaging, not-at-all-pleasant story of hostile alien invasion by a technologically-superior race in a tim...more
Kaph
Verdict: This may be first iteration of a now-familiar paradigm but it still has a few shocks and surprises up its sleeve. Certainly better than that Tom Cruise crap.

In my review for The Time Machine I commented on how incredible it was that this ancient book which has spawned so many of our now familiar sci-fi elements should still read as fresh and inventive. I’m afraid I cannot bestow similar praise upon The War of the Worlds. I’m afraid it’s just a case of H.G. Wells being a bit too ahead of...more
Adam Collings
An absolute classic of science fiction. We take alien invasion stories for granted these days, but when people read The War of the Worlds for the first time, they were experiencing something absolutely new. It is impressive to think that this book was written in the nineteenth century.

There is a lot of action in this book, and the description gave me vivid pictures in my head. I really did enjoy the clash of alien technology in Victorian England. I'd actually like to see a movie adaptation that...more
Stephen
3.0 stars. A must read for Science Fiction fans. Didn't love it as much as I thought I would as I found it a bit dated. Stil, this was well written and was certainly ground-breaking in its time. Definitely worth a read.
Jonathan
It has arisen to my attention that this interesting work of fiction demands from me its own review. In fact I don't believe I have attended to many of Mr Wells' works as of this stage of my existence. This shall have to be amended once I have taken over the world holidays...

I appreciate H.G.Wells' work immensely but for some odd reason I like this less than I like The Invisible Man. Perhaps it is the psychological horror prevalent in his other noted novel - the idea of a man being alienated and...more
Simon
Coming to a book that you've not only heard so much about before hand, but pretty much know what happens due to countless adaptations in other mediums, I was worried it would disappoint. How could it possibly live up to expectations or offer me any surprises? However, an undisputed classic of the genre can only be ignored for so long.

The last Wells novel I read dampened my expectations somewhat but that was one of his more minor and less well remembered books (When the Sleeper Wakes). This is pe...more
Jean
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...more
Linda
The novel was first published in book form in 1898, and is one of the first books containing a meeting with extra terrestrials. Wells was before his time with his reasoning science tone throughout the book. He has thought of everything, nothing is ignored. His knowledge about science is fascinating.

A shooting star turns out to be something totally different and the beginning of a war the human race could never have imagined, let alone anticipated. When a cylinder crasch into the earth, it doesn'...more
Stefan
I read this a few years ago in one of my literature classes, but I'm finally getting around to reviewing it.

I truly and genuinely enjoyed this book. Yes, it is quite dated, but the concept still holds pretty well today and his imaginings of the alien race and why they have developed in the ways that they have show just how forward thinking Wells was for his day. Also, the alien technology that he came up with is very far ahead of his time especially the robotic machines that the aliens use, the...more
Skyler Myers
Jan 06, 2014 Skyler Myers rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in classic sci-fi
"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. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their li...more
Chris
Jan 13, 2008 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora



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...more
Evan
The War of the Worlds may not be the greatest science fiction novel ever written, but it is possibly the purest.

Stately, economical prose, sometimes reaching delightful peaks of intensity and suspense. Grand, cleanly-thought-out ideas whose full expression produces in the reader a sense of wonder. A plot whose primary function is to showcase the grand ideas in a dramatic fashion. And passages on science that are short, speculative essays.

One chapter, "The Man on Putney Hill," is the blue print f...more
Jim
This is a classic that anyone even slightly interested in SF should read. Don't read it completely literally. Keep in mind the themes that it is espousing in its dated, stilted manner. It's short & has spawned so many spin-offs & hype that ignorance of what Wells actually wrote is a pity. There is a lot more to this novel than just first alien contact or apocalypse. The man(soldier)-in-the-street POV & our salvation inspire a lot of thought even today - make that especially today. Ye...more
Manny
It just occurred to me that the ending is remarkably similar to the one in Disney's The Sword in the Stone. You know, the magic duel between Merlin and Madame Mim - she cheats and turns herself into a dragon, but he then wins by turning himself into a microbe. I wonder if it's a random coincidence, or if H.G. Wells gave them the idea?
Kate (Phoenix Reads)
video review here

Even during this time period, humans have always been fascinated by other planets and the possibility of life on them. We have always considered the possibilities of planets such as Venus, Mars, and even Saturn but I doubt our imagination stretches to just these planets alone. There are also other galaxies that thousands of lightyears away, so it's naturally a hard thing to accept that we are the only planet with life on the entire universe.

Ok so this book just focuses on Mars,...more
Alex
I've always thought that labels such as “Grandfather of Science Fiction” were a bit of a disservice to Wells, tying his achievements down to a particular genre in such a way that almost dismisses the fact that, besides pretty much inventing Science Fiction in literature, he's also one of the most striking and powerful writers that English language literature has ever produced; and that this book contains some of the most haunting scenarios ever penned.

In today's world in which evolutionary theor...more
Werner
Jul 01, 2008 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Science fiction fans
This was not only the genre's first alien-invasion yarn, but remains one of the most gripping and realistic treatments of the theme. Personally, I would rank it as Wells' best novel. (The passage of time, of course, has given it an interesting twist; rather than becoming "dated," it essentially acquires an alternate-world quality, so that we're seemingly looking in on a parallel Earth that was invaded by Martians in 1899. The book's 1899 setting is an integral part of its charm; the various movi...more
Paul
This is the first time that I have ever read the War of the Worlds. I have been meaning to for a while now, but just never quite got around to it.

It is written as a narrative, from the perspective of one gentleman who lives very close to the landing site of the first Martian invader. He goes to see the landing site at Horsell sandpits, and is there when the first Martian attacks. Following more aggressive attacks from the invaders, he sends his wife of to Leatherhead to be with family, and he he...more
Shaun
As a piece of literary history, The War of the Worlds is a five star book. As a contemporary read, it is less impressive.

I also recently finished reading The Invisible Man and in each book, the writing, while sensual and descriptive, lacked something. In both cases, I felt minimally invested in the main character. Some of this is perhaps stylistic and the result of when these books were written.

That said, Wells' imagination is amazing. His vision of the Martians as a possible evolution of the hu...more
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880695
In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol...more
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“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.” 68 likes
“Be a man!... What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think of what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before to men! Did you think that God had exempted [us]? He is not an insurance agent.” 27 likes
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