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The War of the Worlds

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  216,995 ratings  ·  6,546 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Modern Library (first published May 1898)
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Daniel Por
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Mackie H.G Wells is trying to make a point about British Imperialism through his book. His goal is to show people how England's colonies might feel by…more H.G Wells is trying to make a point about British Imperialism through his book. His goal is to show people how England's colonies might feel by having the peaceful English countryside razed and innocent people slaughtered and the peoples inability to fight back against an immense foreign power. The normality the Narrator feels with all of the violence holds a parallel to the violence used in colonies to keep the people under control, and how it became a common occurrence. (less)

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Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

The War of the Worlds goes beyond the of-the-time popular military invasion fiction, which took away the standard protagonist/antagonist arc of single characters and popped whole countries or tribes in their place, and brings down to Earth a whole new enemy at a time when science fiction did not exist and science itself was oft thought of as fiction.

In Surrey, a professor is caught up in the invasio

“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.”

A beautiful opening to the book but I must say the Martians did a very poor
Paul Bryant
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
This was not anything like the Tom Cruise movie so be warned. If you’re expecting an action story about a divorced union container crane operator with a 10 year old daughter you ain’t gonna find it here. They changed like 99% of everything around. As far as I could see there are only two things which are the same, one is that the Martians attack Earth in these COOL THREE LEGGED METAL 70 FOOT HIGH HEAT RAY KICK ASS DEATH MACHINES and two is that they die in the same way which I won’t say here bec ...more
Leonard Gaya
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Paraphrasing Whitehead, I would say that the safest general characterisation of the science-fiction tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to H. G. Wells. Indeed, The War of the Worlds is probably the most influential novel of the whole science fiction genre, as well as a significant part of the horror category. I remember reading this short novel as a child and being viscerally engrossed and terrified. Rereading it now made me aware of a few more things. First I realised how thi ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I hadn't read this classic (1898!) science fiction novel since I was probably a teenager, and I didn't particularly care for it much back then, but I let myself get roped into a group read of it, partly because it's so short. And also my literary diet needs more classics. And you know? I'm glad I did.

The War of the Worlds is a lot more thoughtfully written than I had remembered. In between deadly heat rays, huge tripod machines striding around the country killing everything in their path, and b
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read you a wire addressed to Professor Pierson from Dr. Gray of the National History Museum, New York. "9:15 P. M. eastern standard time. Seismograph registered shock of almost earthquake intensity occurring within a radius of twenty miles of Princeton. Please investigate. Signed, Lloyd Gray, Chief of Astronomical Division" . . . Professor Pierson, could this occurrence possibly have something to do with the disturbances observed on the planet Mars?
War of the Worlds
Martians are com

One of my favorite movies growing up was the old War of the Worlds movie – the ‘50’s film, not the itty-bitty Tommy remake. I had to watch it each and every time it played on television. The same running dialogue would go on inside my head: “Cowardly dudes, don’t wave that white flag, they’re Martians, they’re probably color blind or something."

"Oops, too late, you’re toast.”

Or “Maybe the A-bomb will work this time. Nope, you’re toast.”

I also liked to imitate the heat ray sound when I re-enact
Susan Budd
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You would think that as Man grows in intelligence he would likewise grow in morality. But you would be wrong. Or at least, that is what history teaches us. About a hundred years before Harvard professor Robert Coles wrote his now famous article “The Disparity Between Intellect and Character,” H.G. Wells made much the same observation.

At the end of The War of the Worlds, the unnamed narrator returns to his house and sees the paper he had been working on before the war began. “It was a paper on th
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone; Vegans
Recommended to Carmen by: Non-Crunchy Group
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 our 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 lit ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it

Well with GR telling me I haven’t read any books this year (doh !), I thought I’d finish my first.

In all seriousness this is a re-read because I want to go on to Stephen Baxter’s The Massacre of Mankind, which is part of one of this years numerous challenges (why do I do this to myself ?)
Anyway GR says this is my 2nd read of this classic book (hah, what does GR know), whereas in fact it is probably my 5th or maybe 6th. To me it is certainly 4.5 stars and is enjoyable for so
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Denisse by: My brain, tired of Young Adult Bullshit XD
Shelves: best-adult-books
Read for the 2015 Reading Challenge: #41 A book by an author you've never read before stupidly haven't read before I should say And for my 2015 Reading Resolutions: 5 classics (5/5) :’D completed!!

Excellent. Not just very interesting for all the technology and science it has, but outstanding in describing human behavior and criticizing Victorian society. Very thrilling at parts, philosophically emotional at others and well written. Highly recommended for any sci-fi fan. The ending might be a
Bill  Kerwin

In fiction, the fate of the successful innovator is seldom a happy one; the writer who invents an original plot or fresh theme may seem predictable, even shallow, to later readers, once that plot or theme—appropriated by scores of imitators—no longer shines like new. So it is with H.G. Wells and his The War of the Worlds (1897). Invading creatures from outer space became a cliché of “golden age” science fiction, and a double-cliche after the drive-in movies of the ‘50’s. H.G.’s “bug-eyed monster
Jul 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
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
Bionic 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
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
"I felt no condemnation; yet the memory, static, unprogressive, haunted me. In the silence of the night, with that sense of nearness of God that sometimes comes into the stillness and the darkness, I stood my trial, my only trial, for that moment of wrath and fear."

Hey, I finally get the addition of the rapidly growing red weed that's in one in favorite game of all time, SNES Zombies Ate my Neighbors. These martians weren't hunting cheerleaders though!

While the wording style is eloquent, beautif
Donna Backshall
Wow. I knew this, but I didn't KNOW this, until I re-read his 1898 novel, The War of the Worlds: H.G. Wells was eerily and impressively ahead of his time.

I'll admit, The War of the Worlds was hardly an easy read. The dispassionate and overly formal style of writing/reporting constantly dragged me back to a long ago time and place almost as foreign as Mars itself. His "speculative philosophy", as he put it, interweaving themes of colonialism and the subjugation of humankind as a whole, was evide
Raeleen Lemay
Sadly... Not exactly what I was hoping for. The beginning was super interesting, as I loved how the Martians were introduced and the confusion that surrounded them was great. However, the book really dragged on from there, and became quite repetitive and bogged down by excessive detail. This book could have easily been under 100 pages long, but it's actually closer to 200 which felt very dragged out for this simplistic story. Definitely not my favorite Wells!
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
Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and

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
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably everyone knows the basic plot, so there is no need to elaborate -- Martians come, they kick humanity's collective ass. The story is narrated by an average (if well-educated) guy who happens to see the arrival and survive, and is scrambling around trying to find food without getting seen in the process. Contra the movies, he is not heroic or important to the outcome of the invasion, which I thought an intriguing authorial choice.

A couple aspects that were interesting to me:

--The narrator
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
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was amazed that I had never read this before! Of course it is exceedingly dated; that's what happens when you are over 100 years old! But the man had some amazing ideas about the future and this is epitomised by the way this book ends. For today's reader it is an obvious resolution but back in Wells' day, not so much! The story is short but wordy with story advancement delayed by the main character philosophising frequently and at length. However I enjoyed it greatly and can understand why it ...more
Joe Valdez
The next stop in my end-of-the-world reading marathon was The War of the Worlds, the classic of alien invasion and interplanetary paranoia by H.G. Wells. Published in serial format by Pearson's Magazine from April 1897 to December of that year, the story originated after the author's relocation to the town of Woking in Surrey County. It was here that Wells also wrote his comic novel The Wheels of Chance, as well as The Invisible Man, which has now been replaced as my favorite Wells invention wit ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This iconic alien invasion adventure is so revolutionary forward thinking, every Sci-Fi film or tv show owes a massive debt to this story!

I’d imagine everyone would be familiar with either the 1953 or 2005 movies, there’s also the famous 1938 radio broadcast that caused a huge panic in America.
Those are all good adaptations, but what I practically loved about the book was the invasion starting in Woking!

London and the surrounding towns and boroughs are integral to the story, places that I’ve vis
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
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
Jul 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
Once again I find myself in the minority.


This book left such a bad impression in me that I haven't been able to bring myself to rise the slightest interest to even watch the movie.

Mayy Wilde-Shakespeare
" 'This isn't a war, said the artilleryman. 'It never was a war, any more than there's war between man and ants.' "

I really enjoyed the Invisible Man, so I thought I would enjoy this even more. But unfortunately, I didn’t.

Let me start off with saying that I think H G Wells is one of the best writers ever to lived. I mean, his writing really is superb. He did not fail to impress me with his way of expressing words in this peculiar novel. So I think we’ve established that I think he is a great WRI
Connie G
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
"The War of the Worlds" is an exciting first-person narration of a man who witnessed the Martians invading the Earth. Cylinders containing the Martians were shot from Mars and landed in England. The British army was defenseless against the Martian Tripods, three-legged fighting machines fitted out with a Heat-Ray and chemical "Black Smoke". The book was written in 1898, prior to World War I, but the Martian weapons were similar to lasers and chemical warfare. Wells uses the ideas of Darwin to de ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This was a lovely book. I was expecting something much simpler (as I wasn't very impressed by The Time Machine), but this turned out to be very strong and interesting. First of all, who could say no to a world of aliens with scary death machines and yet also a world where they use bicycles to escape from them? (and I imagine those would be the large-wheeled curious ones, and not our typical bikes). Then, also a world in which monsters come from another planet, and yet, there is pretty much no re ...more
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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 scho ...more
“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.” 137 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.” 68 likes
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