The War of the Worlds

wotwTitle: The War of the Worlds.

Author: H.G. Wells.

Summary: Man had not yet learned to fly when H.G. Wells conceived this story of a Martian attack on England. Giant cylinders crash to Earth, disgorging huge, unearthly creatures armed with heat-rays and fighting machines. Amid the boundless destruction they cause, it looks as if the end of the world has come.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

Review: I was so disappointed with this book, i don’t now how to begin. I read and loved Wells’ The Time Machine, and expected to love The War of the Worlds just as much.

The setting, apocalyptic England due to an alien invasion, is the perfect kind of science fiction tale i love. Alas, i did not love this book. I kept subconsciously comparing it to John Wyndham, and while the story is something he might write, the writing style is all wrong. Also bad.

Everything is told so methodically, so factually and straightforward. There is no drive or thrill. Even descriptions of emotions lack emotion. It reads more like an essay or simply a timeline of events, rather than an actual crazy life-and-death adventure story.

The characters lacked any character. The unnamed narrator of the book comes across as simply an anonymous (and stereotypical) Englishman; he has no real personality. Even the aliens are described only in appearance and movement, with physical facts; there is so little on how they make the narrator feel.

I loved the world created and the apocalyptic/alien invasion setting, but the book as a whole is so lacking. For the time it was written the concepts in the book are incredible, but ideas aren’t enough. There is no real story, at least not one i felt in the least invested in.

I found it so hard to pick this book up each time to carry on reading. The setting and genre of the book are the only things that kept me going until the end.

After The Time Machine i expected much better. I am now decidedly ambivalent about reading more of Wells’ work.

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About Wendleberry
I'm odd.

5 Responses to The War of the Worlds

  1. Kurobana says:

    That’s how Wells is, though. He uses “science” (though it’s mostly impossible) to give credence to his stories in place of superstition. “War of the Worlds” may not be the most fun to read, but it’s brilliant because it was one of the first “scientific romances”. I kind of enjoy his dryness, it really works for scifi. I’d recommend reading “The Invisible Man” — it’s a novel about loneliness and alienation through the lens of someone who has turned himself invisible… and it’s a lot more emotional. 🙂

    • Wendleberry says:

      I loved the science and science fiction aspect of the book. His imagination is spectacular… it’s just a shame the narrative was lacking. The story he was trying to tell was really good, how he told it was not.

  2. ablightedone says:

    I read this in middle school, and it was difficult for me to focus on because of the lack of thrill and straightforward. I’m surprised I finished it at that age, but I really wanted to know how it ended. I wanted to know what happened on the big scale, but I don’t remember caring about the narrator. I think it took me a lot longer than I expected to finish it. It’s the only Wells I’ve read, too. I need to give some of his other work a shot. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you!

    • Wendleberry says:

      I agree with you. I was interested in how things turned out, in what happened with the aliens. But only the large-scale end of the story; i didn’t give two hoots about the narrator–he was so boring!
      If you want to read more Wells i would recommend The Time Machine. I really enjoyed that one.

  3. Pingback: The Invisible Man | Marvel At Words

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