Jeffery Moulton's Reviews > The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
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's review
Sep 11, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction, 2011-books
Read from August 03 to September 09, 2011

So much has already been said about this book as to make pretty much anything I say superfluous at best. So I won't focus on the cultural commentary or the foresight into technology or any of those things. I am strictly going to focus on the book's entertainment value.

War of the Worlds is HIGHLY entertaining. It follows the exploits of an unnamed narrator as he flees invading Martians bent on world domination. It details the first encounters with the Martians, their deadly arsenal of weapons and machines, and the near-complete destruction of the world—or England, anyway.

Though from the Victorian romantic tradition, the prose is quick and paints a desperate picture, and while it may be more conservative than modern stories in describing death, it doesn't shy away from it either. The result is a tense story with lush descriptions and a fascinating new world.

The book was the first alien invasion story and spawned and entire genre, and it is easy to see why.

I was especially fascinated by the idea that, in the face of such tremendous technology, humans have little chance. It is only the force of nature that can stop the invaders and reclaim the earth. It leaves the reader considering the pride and arrogance of mankind in the face of something as small and powerful as a bacteria. But I digress.

The biggest weakness of the book is it's characters. They are only vaguely painted, including the main protagonist. Few have names and those that do are almost always secondary characters. Their motivations are well described, but their personalities and histories are left a nearly blank sheet. They simply exist and are impacted by the happenings around them.

But the strengths of the book far outweighed any problems with the characters. The book is easily one of the most entertaining classics I've read, and a must-read for any science-fiction aficionado. I recommend it.

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