This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Classic™ includes a glossary and reader’s notes to help the modern reader contend with Wells’ vocabulary, use of science, and British references. Originally written for a magazine in 1897, The War of the Worlds became an instant, popular favorite. Long before our modern fascination with flying saucers and brightly glowing UFOs, H. G. Wells anticipated a close encounter between puny Earthlings and seemingly all-powerful Martians. A flash of light observed coming from the red planet sets the stage for a terrifying invasion, against which Earth’s modern weapons are useless. Throughout the epic battle, Wells points out that humans just might not have the talent or ability to defeat an extraterrestrial rival. Could we become slaves to a race of alien monsters? Will their heat-ray destroy all of London and decimate the rest of civilization? Can one man save the world? The War of the Worlds is a science fiction masterpiece that has fascinated us for more than a century, through at least three different movies, the infamous Orson Welles radio broadcast, and even a Broadway musical. Few books have captured the popular imagination as forcefully as this H. G. Wells novel.
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