About 2 months ago, I bought a new phone and I was so happy that I could download a free ebook app with some free books. The first book I noticed was The War of The World. When I saw the movie, I didn’t know that that movie was based on a book published in 1898. I was intrigued and straight away downloaded it. I didn’t read it immediately because I was in the middle of other book. When I finally finished my previous book, I straight away read TWOTW.
Although it left me sleepy almost all the time, I still think the book was really good. What made me sleepy was certainly not the story because I marveled at Wells’s imagination. For someone who lived in late 19th century, his imagination of destruction by being from another planet was really amazing. I wondered how people at his time reacted toward his book…he lived in the era where most writers wrote about life drama. H.G. Wells’s bravery to come up with a sci-fi book about human annihilation totally awed me.
However, even though I marveled at the idea I still couldn’t keep my eyes open after the story had reached certain point. I can’t quite explain why I fell asleep after 5 or 6 pages…I guess it’s something in the way the words were arranged, you know the old English way. It wasn’t as difficult as Dickens’s but it lingered too long in one description. I think the only book that can keep me awake with its long description is The Lord of The Rings, even after reading it more than once I still read every word written in the book. Other than TLOTR, I often drifted away in long description and finally sleep took over me.
The first one third of the book was really interesting and engaging. I read it enthusiastically and wondered what the Martians will do next (although I have seen the movie but I don’t remember anything as the movie didn’t impress me at all). The book was written from a perception of a well educated man. He began his story with intriguing opening sentences:
“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.”
He explained some bizarre events which happened prior the coming of the invasion. One day, a cylinder fell from the sky. People gathered around it to see what was inside it. The cylinder opened it’s ‘door’ from inside and then the Martian came out of it.
“A big grayish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather.”
He gave full description of the Martian is a way that fascinated me…again because it was written in late 19th century. The Martians who had landed on earth had no intention to befriend with human, they came with one single thought, to take over the earth.
The man realized the situation before everyone else. He straight away brought his wife away from Woking (the town he lived in) with a borrowed cart. He promised to return the vehicle and left his wife to go back to Woking…but Woking was no longer like when he left it.
“I looked again out of the open window. In one night had become a valley of ashes. The fires had dwindled now. Where flames had been there were now streamers of smoke; but the countless ruins of shattered and gutted houses and blasted and blackened tress that the night had hidden stood out now gaunt and terrible in the pitiless light of dawn”
He met an artillery man and journeyed together. The man wanted to go back to his wife, the journey back was not as easy as before. The Martians used huge machines with three tentacles and shot heat ray and poisonous black powder. To find his wife, he had to avoid the Martians and looked for food in the unusual ways.
Although the book is about invasion by Martians but it focused more on how human or people reacted when facing such sudden and deadly war. There were so many descriptions of how people acted toward the Martians and the devastation of the impact of Martians’ advanced weapons on human civilization. The descriptions were often too long and that was the reason I started falling asleep. I was fine the first one third of the book but the two third of it was a battle between wanting to read it and wanting to close my eyes.
I am glad I finally able to finished it…overall, it’s a very good book and I plan to read H.G. Wells’s other books. I already have The First Men in The Moon on my ebook shelf…but I won’t read it any time soon because I already have another books lining up. I am also happy that I finished this book before March because it means that I can take part on Carl’s The 2013 Science Fiction Experience at Stainless Steel Droppings. You can see the participants reviews by clicking the image on the right >>
Title: The War of The World
Author: H.G. Welsh
One of my favorite quotes, but a bit of spoiler (blacken it to read it)
…Slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.