The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. That's a pretty well-known and classic title in the world of science fiction. This novel is, as I learned in my course, the father of the genre; it is the first footprint made in a now wide-spread and fast-selling family of books. The War of the Worlds is a story of aliens vs. humans in an uneven battle of technology and lifestyle. As human beings, we see ourselves as advanced and merciful creatures; however, in the face of extraterrestrial beings, we are fearful and under equipped. The novel follows the journey of one man and his brother, experiencing the same terrors of alien threat but in different places in Europe. The aliens, mechanical creatures that reflect the image of a tripod, have unimaginable technologies that allow their domination over humanity. But these aliens are defeated by something they could not foresee and something the humans will forever be thankful for: microbiology.
I'm expecting quite a few people reading this to have either done one of the following: read the novel or watched the Tom Cruise movie. If you've done both, you'll know there is some disconnect between the two, so I shall leave the movie out of my review.
The War of the Worlds was originally published in 1898, so it's safe to say the literature and writing-style has aged considerably; but the story itself holds quite well. Being over 100 years old, the cultural context plays a significant role in the characters presented to the reader. H.G. Wells used archetypal writing to reflect his opinions and the world around him. For example, the Curate represented how the church and religious figures would react in the event of an invasion; the artilleryman represented the army and how they would react; his brother represented science and how their stable or open minds would give them an edge during invasion. H.G Wells was not only a science fiction writer, but he was an incredible executor of literary devices. I understand why Wells is so respected in the genre; he dreamed up these intelligent creatures and the concept of flying spacecraft. He had an imaginative mind.
|The Many Covers of WOTW - http://drzeus.best.vwh.net/wotw/wotw.html|
Stepping back from the analysis of Wells' writing, and his pure genius of genre creation, my overall opinion of the book is less idealistic. Though the concept of aliens vs. humans was new in 1898, the idea in our present day society is old and overindulged. As a reader of many science fiction books, it was as though I'd read the story already; of course that isn't Wells' fault. I just wish the story was timeless. If I were to also push this aside, I'm still left with the dry literature and the lack of character presence. Since the writing used archetypal characters, you don't bond with them or learn about them as you go: you already know them. Discovery of character is my favourite part of reading!
Overall I would rate The War of the Worlds 3/5 because I have to give H.G Wells credit for the incredible feat he conquered over 100 years ago. He created a genre of novel that is well respected today and my favourite one to fall back to. However, being published in 1898, the story and writing have aged which means the captivation is lost.
Until next time,
Happy Reading Fellow Bookworms :)
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