The War of The World by H.G. Wells

TWOTWAbout 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.

13sfexp22001I 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 >>

Book Detail:

Title: The War of The World
Author: H.G. Welsh
Language: English
Rating: 3,5 books

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.

23 thoughts on “The War of The World by H.G. Wells

    1. Thank you Jason.
      I didn’t know there’s a movie in 50s, I watched the Tom Cruise one and wasn’t that impressed.

      Yeah…I was quite surprised too that it was actually set on London. I wonder if anyone interested in making a movie exactly at the same time as the book…you know, the period time.

  1. Well done for finishing this one. It is something I would like to read but I think I will probably save it for next year’s challenge.
    Thanks for the review.
    Lynn 😀

      1. I will. It will be good to compare thoughts – but almost a year until my next foray into sci fi. I’m looking forward to Carl’s Once Upon a Time event now with a whole host of different books ready to read.
        Lynn 😀

        1. Will you not read sci-fi till next year? I am already reafong sci-fi by my fav author, Stephen King 🙂

          I love how Carl manages to host many reading events in a year…I also have some books to read for once upon a time.

          1. I will read some sci-fi undoubtedly but it’s likely to be when I’m bursting at the seams to read something – like the next book in Hugh Howey’s series – I loved Wool. The other books I want to read but I’ve been this patient so it’s no big deal to wait for a few more months.
            Lynn 😀

  2. I recently finished The Invisible Man and found it a bit dry. I hope to read his other works since I think they are on my 1001 list, including this one. Might write my review today if I get the chance. I hope all is well!

  3. I have never read the book, but liked the original 1950’s movie. There is also a famous radio drama that was performed by Orson Wells in 1938 which caused a real-life panic. It’s very good. You can get the mp3 of it online.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂
      I have only watched the Tom Cruise one and didn’t really like it. I am intrigued with the radio show…I hope I can find it somewhere, it’s been a while since my last radio show or audio book.

  4. I don’t think I ever got around to reading this book, or indeed most of what he has written, even though he is the granddaddy of a field I considered mine for many years. I still write some SF/F now and then, but I’m a Romance writer now.

      1. I like his stories, but not his wording 🙂 I probably stumble over it as much as you do, and have put his books down and forgotten to pick them up again more than once. I like Arthur C Clark better.

        1. I see what you mean…I like Charles Dickens’ stories but having a lot of problems reading his books.
          Arthur C Clark? I have never heard of him before…will see if I can find his books.

  5. Absolutely love this book. I read this in almost one go when I got locked out of my house once. It managed to terrify me, even though I was sat in my garden, in broad daylight. I love how it is from the point of view of an everyday, average man, not considering the battle to get rid of the Martians, just the struggle to survive. That’s the part of the story that was lost in the film, even though I kind of enjoyed that too. Great review!

    1. That’s also the reason why I like the book…because of trying to survive not a battle. But I admit that in some parts I got a bit bored because it lingered too long in one scene. But overall I like it.

      Thank You for sharing your love toward the book, Ben 🙂

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