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The War of the Worlds | [H. G. Wells]

The War of the Worlds

First published by H. G. Wells in 1898, The War of the Worlds is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator intones, "No one would have believed in the last years of the 19th century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's."
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Publisher's Summary

First published by H. G. Wells in 1898, The War of the Worlds is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator intones, "No one would have believed in the last years of the 19th century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's."

Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first, the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity, even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100 feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat.

With horror, the narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much as corralled.

(P)2009 Tantor

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  •  
    Peter South Windsor, CT 11-01-13
    Peter South Windsor, CT 11-01-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Great story. Great read."
    Any additional comments?

    Having never read "The War of the Worlds," I thought it was about time. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the narration.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 08-27-15
    Jennifer 08-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Classic for a good reason"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a classic for good reason! This was so "outside of the box" originally, but I think it is still absolutely fantastic.!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DB 08-04-15
    DB 08-04-15 Member Since 2015

    just good books

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    "Very good Sci Fi"
    Any additional comments?

    HG Wells had a very good imagination. I have seen a couple movies based on this book so I already knew the story. But, the story telling was better than I anticipated. The book grabs you early and I listened intently as the invasion transpired. The middle of the book drags a little as there seems to be several chapters describing the desolation caused by the martians. The problem was that it seemed to be rehashing how bad everything was destroyed over and over again.

    The ending picks up as there's a philosophical discussion about our existence. Knowing that HG Wells was an atheist, which is evident regarding the numerous references to evolution through the book, I was ready for him to exercise his beliefs here. I was surprised that while he showed a clergyman as insane, the narrator himself prays to God and thanks God for their salvation from the martians.

    Anyway, this is a well written story and hard to believe it was from the late 1800s. Simon Vance was great as usual.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Alameda, CA, United States 07-02-15
    Chris Alameda, CA, United States 07-02-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Classic Science Fiction"

    This is classic SciFi. Science has come on since it was written, but when read with that understanding this is still a very good, though by modern standards short, book. If you want a high tech futuristic experience then go somewhere else, but for a steam punk sort of experience then this is still an excellent book.

    Oddly when I think of The War of the Worlds I think of the Justin Hayward album, so I expect this to be read by Richard Burton, which is an unfair hurdle for any speech artist to approach.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Parish 05-04-15
    G. Parish 05-04-15 Member Since 2013

    Blind Bard

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    "The War is Coming"

    This is just as exciting as it purports to be. If you want to know more of the coming invasion listen to this tale.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Young in another realm 04-29-15
    M. Young in another realm 04-29-15

    horror mistress

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    "It's Okay."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Not really. It's a book that was written way before it's time.


    Would you recommend The War of the Worlds to your friends? Why or why not?

    Sure, to those who love science fiction. It's hard to get behind if you aren't into science fiction.


    What aspect of Simon Vance’s performance would you have changed?

    It was just ok. Not spectacular. His voice was nice though. Nothing about it rubbed me the wrong way.


    Was The War of the Worlds worth the listening time?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Von Zumwalt 02-02-15
    Von Zumwalt 02-02-15
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    "War of the worlds"

    A wonderful classic and the audible narrated by Simon Vance was great. I'm hooked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 10-28-14
    David 10-28-14 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "The first, the greatest alien invasion story"

    It's pretty much impossible not to know the plot of this hundred-year-old sci-fi classic, the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, the inspiration for all Mars fiction ever since, even stories without Martians. The ravaging of London, the iconic tripods, the inhuman, ululating Martians, probably everyone is familiar with Wells' story even if only a fraction have actually read the book.

    I'm guilty of not reading the original until now, though I've read and watched countless adaptations and tributes.

    Wells's story moves along with the first person narrator experiencing the coming of the Martians, falling in cylinders shot from a great cannon on Mars. At first they seem weak and helpless, being just gelatinous bodies without the strength to move about in Earth's gravity, and even after they display their heat ray, no one really considers them an existential threat - the army will show up soon enough to sort them out.

    Once they rise up on their hundred-foot-tall tripods, however, they prove to be an unstoppable force. The British army gives them a bit of a fight at first - the Martian war machines are not impervious to artillery shells - but between poison gas and heat rays, they're soon killing everything in their path, laying London to waste, and driving six million people into panicked flight.

    The narrator makes his way across a ruined London, finds himself trapped in a house beneath a Martian war party, and experiences the horror of their dining habits and the madness of his fellow survivors.

    As a straightforward sci-fi story, of course, this was a frightening tale of alien invasion. But it's also frightening in its description of what almost becomes a post-apocalyptic landscape. The great metaphor of The War of the Worlds, of course, is the domination of less technologically advanced civilizations by stronger ones who feel entitled to take what they need and prey on their inferiors. In other words, Wells describes the British being treated as they have treated others, and the coming of the Martians is no less devastating to England than the coming of the English must have seemed to the natives of Africa, India, and North America. Wells makes this point very effectively without ever harping on, hence one could choose to totally miss it and see the novel as just a SF war story. But then you'd be missing the true dimensions of the horror Wells is describing.

    As a novel, The War of the Worlds is more of a travelogue, in the style of Wells's 19th century contemporaries, than an adventure story. The narrator never actually does much, just bears witness to what the Martians do. The strength of the story is in the gruesome details about the Martians, and the havoc they visit upon hapless Earthmen.

    It may appear to be faded with age, but it must have been quite the hair-raiser back in the day, as evidenced by the famous Orson Welles broadcast that terrified America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Andrews Anywhere, USA 09-30-14
    C. Andrews Anywhere, USA 09-30-14 Member Since 2015
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    "A triumph of storytelling!"

    Seriously, The War of the Worlds is a triumph of storytelling. It's a magnificent story, brilliantly worded. It's just boring.

    Simon Vance does an amazing job of narrating Wells' story. So beautify articulated, vivid images flood the mind seemingly without fail. Heat rays, fires, the ruins of London.

    Yet I couldn't help but wonder when the book was going to be over. How many more minutes I had to listen – it seemed as much a chore as a pleasure. Then again, I have never been one for the "classics." So please, as with any other online review, take my words with a grain of salt.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 05-12-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 05-12-14 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping tell of terror"

    A classic in the SciFi genre and a very chilling read. Very dated at times but the world on the brink of snuffing on humanity makes for a gripping read. The sub plot of preserve fence against all odds comes through loud and clear.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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