Herbert George Wells's (1866-1946) career as an author was fostered by a childhood mishap. He broke his leg and spent his convalescence reading every book he could find. Wells earned a scholarship at the Norman School of Science in London. Wells's "science fiction" (although he never called it such) was influenced by his interest in biology. H.G. Wells gained fame with his first novel, The Time Machine (1895). He followed this with The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War Of The Worlds (1898).
Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler