Tuesday, 15 January 2013
War of the Worlds
“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.” Thus begins one of the most terrifying and morally prescient science fiction novels ever penned. Beginning with a series of strange flashes in the distant night sky, the Martian attack initially causes little concern on Earth. Then the destruction erupts—ten massive aliens roam England and destroy with heat rays everything in their path. Very soon humankind finds itself on the brink of extinction. H. G. Wells raises questions of mortality, man’s place in nature, and the evil lurking in the technological future—questions that remain urgently relevant in the twenty-first century.
I always said I’d read this one day and I finally have. It was pretty much well worth the wait too.
Like the Time Machine, which I read last year, the protagonist / narrator remains a nameless figure. His journey remains also at the heart of the book. Like the main fellow you are very much along for the ride as he stumbles from one encounter to another. His adventures are as mundane as they are extraordinary such as when trapped in the cellar for days on end with an increasingly mad curate he barely relates the activities of the Martians outside and instead focuses on the struggle within over their food supplies.
I must admit I didn’t expect it to be as readable as it turned out to be but then so was Time Machine. Wells had such an easy and personable style that you’re easily drawn along by his characters and absorbed by his plots. Which I’d read this sooner and I think I need to tackle the Invisible Man next.