Book Review: War of the Worlds by H G Wells

With Curiosity Rover recently landing on Mars it made me want to read this book about people from Mars coming to visit us. Like a lot of older books I started reading this expecting that I would probably find it too old fashioned to properly enjoy. I found that I soon forgot about the time and was absorbed by the story.

The story of aliens coming to land on earth has been covered many times since this book has been written but I can’t think of any such story that has the depth of imagination on display in this book. Wells seems to have a knack for telling a huge story from a personal viewpoint that makes you feel like you are there, hiding the hedges while the Martians are stomping about with their heat-ray.

The central character is perhaps a little bit fusty compared to modern action heroes but I found him likeable and authentic. I particularly enjoyed the section of the book where he teams up with a Curate, which goes quickly sour and ends in … well it ends interestingly anyway.

The descriptions of the Martians and their habits are fascinating but the reaction of the people of England in the wake of the invasion is perhaps a bigger part of the story. While communication methods might have moved on a lot since this book was written I can imagine that reaction from the general population might be very similar. 

This is a short book that doesn’t dwell much on character but does provide a fascinating insight into how society might react if we were to be invaded by Martians. The writing is excellent and the pace zips along right until the end.

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