Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The War of the Worlds (Classic SF Novel)

Mars. Alien Invasion. Falling Stars. Cylinders. Tentacles. Heat Ray Guns.

H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds was published in 1898. The story continued to terrify audiences in its radio and 1953 and 2005 movie adaptations. It is science fiction with a touch of horror. It is the first story most of us think about when we hear “alien invasion.” 

Briefly, the novel has two storylines. The dominate storyline centers on the experiences of the narrator. A minor storyline centers on his brother, who escapes London. The story begins with flashes on Mars. It moves on to falling stars that turn out to be large cylinders. Layer by layer H.G. Wells makes the aliens more terrifying and the humans more helpless to stop them. Near the end of the story the narrator is trapped in a building for two weeks, where he ends up having direct contact with the aliens.

If I had known nothing about the plot, I would have had nightmares after I finished the book. I still found myself frightened. For anyone who has any interest in science fiction, this is a must read.

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