Wells, H. G.

The War of the Worlds (1898)


This novel is early science fiction by H. G. Wells describing an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using tripod fighting machines, equipped with advanced weaponry. It is a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth. The novel is narrated by an anonymous journalist, living where the invaders land. Throughout the narrative he struggles to reunite with his wife and brother, while witnessing the Martians destroying Southern English counties and London. Finding London an abandoned ruin, and seeing little hope for humankind, he decides to sacrifice himself to the invaders, only to discover that they have succumbed to the effects of Earth bacteria, to which they have no immunity.

The plot has been related to Invasion Literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism and generally Victorian fears and prejudices. It has influenced much literature and other media, spawning several films, radio dramas, comic book adaptations, a television series and sequels or parallel stories by other authors.

The 1906 cover art by Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Correa shows a Martian fighting-machine battling with the warship Thunder Child.

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