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Editorial Reviews

Alexander Spencer performs H.G. Wells's nineteenth-century science-fiction classic with precise, well-calculated pacing. At first, when the sighting of a meteor shower over London is reported, Spencer’s delivery is deliberate, matter-of-fact, and measured, but as the story progresses and the terror of the alien invasion grows, his account becomes appropriately intense. Spencer narrates descriptions of the Martians, their destructive, deadly weapons, and their unspeakable acts with growing horror. As the truth of what the invaders have in mind dawns on the speaker, Spencer becomes breathless, his voice rising in pitch and volume. Spencer’s spot-on storytelling skills enhance Wells’s tale of intergalactic devastation and chaos.

Publisher's Summary

Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds has done much to obscure the original work. Written at the turn of the 19th century, before "science fiction" existed as a genre, H.G. Wells' creation was a new departure in literature. The author's deep devotion to social reform led him to use the idea of an extraterrestrial invasion to theorize about a possible violent upheaval in society - instead of "Martians" think "Bolsheviks." Wells' book is a social prophecy, and doubtless that humanistic concern contributed to it becoming one of the seminal classics of science fiction.
(P)1980 by Recorded Books, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"To bring an entire novel to life without any dull spots is quite an achievement.¿" (Science Fiction Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 02-02-13

Brilliant, tight and prescient.

Brilliant, tight and prescient. Wells is working about 3 themes right on top of each other. He makes us the rabbits, the ants, the colonized and is able to explore not just themes of technology and evolution, but colonialism and imperialism.

The Spencer narration, however, just doesn't seem able to carry the full weight of Wells. It was clear, but his clipped reading seemed unable to make the Wells words flow easily.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A measured but emotional reading

I debated for a long time whether I preferred this version of "War of the Worlds" or the one by Sean Barrett (also available from Audible). I've decided on this one. The pace is slower -- a more charitable description would be "measured" -- but Alexander Spencer registers a far greater range of emotion. In the course of the story, his voice goes from a hoarse whisper to frantic horror to tremulous heartbreak.

The story itself is a terrifying one. There's plenty of violent combat for anyone who wants that, but even more terrifying are the descriptions of the people of London in a panicked flight to the north and east; or the narrator's journey through a London devoid of life. In the latter respect it's easily the equivalent of recent horror films like "28 Weeks Later."

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Certainly a classic

Where does The War of the Worlds rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's one of my all-time favorites.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The War of the Worlds?

"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us." I mean, come on! The whole thing is like this! It's amazing!

What about Alexander Spencer’s performance did you like?

He did an awesome job! You felt like you were there with him as Martians attacked.

If you could rename The War of the Worlds, what would you call it?

I wouldn't dare try to rename this masterpiece!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story and great interpretation

This was our first audio book. We listen during a road trip in the car with our kids (6 and 9). The writing and the story was was beyond our kids age, but my husband and I loved it.

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  • Jes
  • Hobart, IN, United States
  • 12-21-11

Better than any movie

If you could sum up The War of the Worlds in three words, what would they be?

Better than Movie!

Any additional comments?

I saw the 'War of the World' with Tom Cruise coming out and I saw I could get it on the Kindle for free. I remember watching a black & white version of this movie when I was growing up. So, with this 'new' movie coming out I decided that it was time to read the book. It is completely different and better in every way. I never saw the Tom Cruise movie and don't intend too. It can't compare.

  • Overall
  • Carolyn
  • Glen Mills, PA, USA
  • 02-15-09

A Classic

The story is both suspenseful and beautifully crafted. The plot is familiar, having been borrowed from repeatedly since it was written, but still enjoyable. The story varies from the movies though you will recognize some scenes that have survived Hollywood re-writes. A worthwhile listen!

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  • jaye
  • GREENWICH, CT, United States
  • 09-23-12

just not a book for me

Would you listen to The War of the Worlds again? Why?

probably not, but i will probably keep it. i wanted to see what the radio show was based on. i would have been better off hearing that version....shorter.

Would you be willing to try another book from H.G. Wells? Why or why not?

maybe. if the subject was right.

What does Alexander Spencer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

that i could NEVER have forced myself to read the book even if i could (which i can't). i find the readers for the most part are great.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

it's the little things that get you in the end.

Any additional comments?

the book went on and on and i am not a si fi nut. but still it was interesting to find out what the radio show was based on.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful