The War of the Worlds (1898) is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians equipped with advanced weaponry. It is a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth. The novel is narrated by an unnamed writer of scientific articles. Throughout the narrative he struggles to reunite with his wife, while witnessing the Martians rampaging through the southern English counties. The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian fears and prejudices. At the time of publication it was classed as a scientific romance. Since then, it has influenced much literature and other media, spawning several films, radio dramas, comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors.
This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "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..."
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