|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.