…SF addict …

Friday, September 10, 2010

No-one would have believed.....


Just finished The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells-and enjoyed it very much, as I knew I would, though I was quite surprised by the brevity of the novel, 164 pages in the collection I have it in (H.G.Wells, the Complete Fiction volume I)-I always imagined it would be a doorstop of a book!

We all are familiar with this story from the movies but how many have actually read the book? I have to say that no movie thus far produced is close to the ideas and story set forth in this book. The aliens themselves are described briefly in  passing with little detail yet are truly alien (no body, just a large round head with a large eyed face and a single large auditory receptor at the back) but it is the machines in which they ravage London and its surrounds that take centre stage. In the book, unlike the movies, they are gargantuan tripods, setting the earth afire with Heat Rays and black dust, trampling all underfoot somewhat in the manner of the At-Ats in Star Wars, only much larger!


At one point later in the story it almost becomes a last-man-alive story as our hero makes his way across a ravaged and dead London, all about him death and decay and the prospect of a lost humanity-quite eerie at that point! There's also a degree of scientific scrutiny-Wells was not just a fantasist-he knew his stuff, or at least where to get the latest scientific  information from, and used it well here. For a novel written in 1898 the depictions of events and of mars itself are quite relevant and accurate, given the state of scientific progress at the time! Mars is no wild frontier as found in Edgar Rice Burrough's adventures, but a cold, dusty world.
Excellent!




8 comments:

j purdie said...

Actually, can't say I've ever seen War of The Worlds in a bookstore. Must check the 'classics' section next time I'm in one: most likely it will be in there with Dickens, Austen etc. As you say, everyone knows it from the movies so there would no doubt be a 'why bother' attitude to the original.

Larry said...

Oh I can asure you its nowt like the films-definitely worth hunting out!
I'm now reading a sequel to the book written in the same year, by scientist cum writer Garrett P. Serviss, which takes off from where Wells's book finishes, but from the American point of view! I will review it on here when done.

mffanrodders said...

So how does Jeff Wayne's version compare to the classic literature? (Sorry Larry, but as a child of the seventies, that will always be my War of the Worlds. :)

Larry said...

No comparison Rodders-theyre chalk and cheese! I like the book for its SF content but I like the Jeff Wayne album too-it just has special childhood memories for me.

j purdie said...

You might also want to seek out The Space Machine by Christopher Priest - if you haven't read it already. I have a paperback copy and it is a lighter read than a lot of his other work. Written as a tribute to H. G. Wells and I enjoyed it when I read it years ago.

Larry said...

Thanks John I'll look out for that one! I've not read any Priest (tho I did enjoy the film 'The Prestige', based on one of his books)

Talking of Wells tributes you should check out The Saliva Tree, a novella by Brian Aldiss, written in the style of Wells-very good that one!
(Aldiss is chairman or VP of the H G Wells Society)

Giovanni Gelati said...

I must say I really enjoy your blog, the layout the whole nine yards, nice job. I like the genre a bit but not as much as you. Your enthusiasm really carries through.good luck.

Larry said...

Thank you Giovanni for the kind words!