Emily's Reviews > The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
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Jun 05, 2012

really liked it

It seems to me that Wells has two main points he wants us to glean from his novel of a Martian attack on Earth. First, that we should probably be nicer to animals and others we consider of inferior intelligence because how would we like it if someone treated us like that? And, second: London is the most important city on Earth.
I agree with the former point, and think he went about hammering his opinion home in an extremely effective way. I suppose the second was much more true back in the day in which this was written, but it constantly seemed unlikely to this modern reader that the Martians would launch all of their invasion pods at the relatively small and water-locked realm of the UK.
I did appreciate that the main character is not a President or other Important Person dealing with this Serious Invasion. Although this work is seminal in the sci-fi genre, it seemed refreshing to view these events as narrated by someone who might be considered the "average Joe" who just happened to continually have very close encounters with the Martians and still manage to survive.
The writing is surprisingly readable, again for this modern reader. I have struggled in the past with the verbiage of "classic literature," particularly in that vocabulary and definitions of common words have shifted over the years, and that a straightforward sentence in that era can come to mean something quite different. Examples: "incredible" and "wonderful" are currently words used nowadays to convey a positive sense of awe, when they used to be much more value-neutral words, just conveying a sense of disbelief. It was a little confusing to have them applied to events that today might more likely be called "terrible" and "horrible."
Finally, I'd like to direct parties interested to a little short story I heard on Escape Pod not to long ago (which was what induced me to finally read this book). "Ulla" by Daniel Schwabauer is an interesting take on the events of this book told from the point of view of an invader as he converses via "think pad" with his love back on the home world. You can listen to it here: http://escapepod.org/2006/12/07/ep083... or read it here: http://www.danschwabauer.com/pdf/fict...
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