The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This is the first book I finished reading on my recently bought Amazon Kindle. It is a short sci-fi book written over a century ago, in 1898, which made it quite interesting because the imagination from back then would come from a different perspective. In fact, there have been recent movies created based on this novel (The 2005 Hollywood film). The story revolves around the invasion of Earth by Martians, and many imaginations of the author are quite prescient.

The story introduces the concept of flight and space travel back when even aeroplanes were not created. The book describes explosions on the surface of Mars, which were actually spaceships taking off. It describes complex machinery and delicate mechanical parts used by the Martians. It incorporates laser heat canons and chemical warfare. Reading about the human military response was also quite interesting because 1898 involved cavalry, rifles and canons, which is very different from the precision weapons used today. In fact, by reading the narrative, I would believe that modern weapons could have thwarted the Martians described in the book. In my opinion, it shows how little we actually understand what extraterrestrial technology would be like. Our imagination today may still fall far short of the actual capabilities aliens would possess.

My new Kindle

Another interesting difference from contemporary novels was the lack of computers in the Martians’ technology. Many mechanical processes may have been automated, but there was still a lot of scope for computers in their daily actions. I mention computers since it was not invented at the time of writing this novel. The Martians did not wear any space suits, which was also quite interesting since nowadays, we are accustomed to seeing astronauts wearing space suits. I am not writing this as a critique but as an observation of how our imagination changes with knowledge of the present.

The book’s plot was intriguing. It followed the narrator’s escape and his observations of the Martians’ behaviour. It is an exciting and realistic plot and a short read (just 160 pages). Reading on a Kindle was a good experience since it does not strain the eyes like a computer screen which makes it quite similar to a physical book. The language is easy to read, especially considering it is over a hundred years old, and anyone who wants to read it should not hesitate to pick it up.

6 thoughts on “The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

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