The War Of The Worlds,, Paperback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Penguin English Library Edition of The War of the Worlds by H.

G. Wells 'Death!' I shouted. 'Death is coming! Death!' In this pioneering, shocking and nightmarish tale, naive suburban Londoners investigate a strange cylinder from space, but are instantly incinerated by an all-destroying heat-ray.

Soon, gigantic killing machines that chase and feed on human prey are threatening the whole of humanity.

A pioneering work of alien invasion fiction, The War of the World's journalistic style contrasts disturbingly with its horrifying visions of the human race under siege. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141199047

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There is little new that can be said about this classic SF novel, the first great invasion of Earth novel published by the father of the genre in 1898, and the precursor for so many that have followed since. This is, of course, a re-read, prompted by my having recently got into the mood by listening to Jeff Wayne's musical version, and watching both the 1953 George Pal film version (with excellent special effects for the time) and the 2005 Stephen Spielberg one (much better than I remembered from my first viewing). The description is dramatic and the imagery vivid, and in 1898 this would have been very graphic and, aside from the obvious features of the historical period, much of this reads like more recent science fiction novels in its uncompromising description of death, destruction and the worst of human behaviour as the massive tide of humanity escapes from the oncoming Martian war machines and their deadly heat-rays. The narrator, his wife and his brother are unnamed, as are the artilleryman and the curate, and there are very few named characters except for the astronomer Ogilvy and one or two others at the very beginning. This allows Wells to focus on the driving narrative. It is very short, only 141 pages, but this shows how a great novel does not need to be many hundreds of pages long. Tremendous stuff.

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