So, you may have seen the War of the Worlds movie with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. Evidently quite a few people have seen it, it’s doing pretty darn well at the box office. Have you read the book? As of last night, I can answer ‘yes’ to that question.
This book, although a bit difficult to read at times, was a terrific read. When it works, boy does it! HG Wells had a killer imagination.
Originally published in 1898, the story of one man’s journey thru Martian-infested England is terrifying and vivid. The narrator of the tale tells us his own experiences for a good majority of the book, but then also tells his own brother’s experiences.
Starting out with the green cylinders dropping from the sky and the natural human curiosity to see what’s going on with these new objects from the sky, the aliens assemble themselves and almost immediately make use of their ‘heat ray’ (the Spielberg movie still uses it, somewhat. In the book, it doesn’t vaporize them, just burns them to a crisp).
There is definitely a doomed feeling to all the narrator tells us. The Martians originally can’t raise themselves up out of the pit they’ve created (the cylinders falling from the sky) due to Earth’s gravity but once they make their way out of the pits and into their tripods, none of the observers are laughing.
HG Wells has several times in the book where he shows what could almost be construed as sympathy towards the Martians. Is he a ‘martian-lover’? Not at all, but there seems to be a bit of an allegorical lean of his tale. He turns the finger on humanity and says that we have become the ants of the world, we have become the ones who get trampled on.
There is some very good points to be made in the book, besides the fact that it’s just an amazing read. Like I said before, it can be a difficult read in a few places. HG Wells was British and he uses language pertinent to the time period. A lot of the locations are townships in England that I didn’t recognize. I really DID enjoy it though, a lot more than I thought I might.
I have nothing but praises for HG Wells and his novel. I’m interested in reading some of his other works now, possibly ‘The Invisible Man’. If he can deliver the thrills like he did in War of the Worlds, I just may have to read more of his.