Friday, 18 July 2014

The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells
(Penguin Books)

The night after a shooting star is seen streaking across the sky, a cylinder is discovered near London. Armed with just a white flag, the locals approach the mysterious object – only to be burned alive by heat-rays as horrific, tentacled invaders emerge.
Soon, the whole of human civilization is under threat, as powerful Martians move across the land in massive killing machines, armed with black gas and burning rays. The aliens are determined to win the Earth for themselves.

I always said I’d read this one day and I finally have. It was pretty much well worth the wait too.

Like the Time Machine, which I read last year, the protagonist / narrator remains a nameless figure. His journey remains also at the heart of the book. Like the main fellow you are very much along for the ride as he stumbles from one encounter to another. His adventures are as mundane as they are extraordinary such as when trapped in the cellar for days on end with an increasingly mad curate he barely relates the activities of the Martians outside and instead focuses on the struggle within over their food supplies.

I must admit I didn’t expect it to be as readable as it turned out to be but then so was Time Machine. Wells had such an easy and personable style that you’re easily drawn along by his characters and absorbed by his plots. Wish I’d read this sooner and I think I need to tackle the Invisible Man next.

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