The War of the Worlds
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The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897, published simultaneously in Pearson's Magazine in the UK and Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The first appearance in book form was published by William Heinemann of London in 1898. It is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and that of his younger brother in London as Earth is invaded by Martians. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste to the southern country outside London. Book One also imparts the experience of his brother, also unnamed, who describes events as they deteriorate in the capital, forcing him to escape the Martian onslaught by boarding a paddle steamer near Tillingham, on the Essex coast.
was walking through the roads to clear my brain for the afternoon, and then—fire, earthquake, death! As if it were Sodom and Gomorrah!2 All our work undone, all the work—What are these Martians?” “What are we?” I answered, clearing my throat. He gripped his knees and turned to look at me again. For half a minute, perhaps, he stared silently. “I was walking through the roads to clear my brain,” he said. “And suddenly—fire, earthquake, death!” He relapsed into silence, with his chin now sunken
opposite flashed from darkness into yellow illumination. Up the street came galloping a closed carriage, bursting abruptly into noise at the corner, rising to a clattering climax under the window, and dying away slowly in the distance. Close on the rear of this came a couple of cabs, the forerunners of a long procession of flying vehicles, going for the most part to Chalk Farm station, where the North-Western special trains were loading up, instead of coming down the gradient into Euston. For a
like a great city, and in the glare you can just see them moving. By daylight you can’t. But nearer—I haven’t seen them—” (he counted on his fingers) “five days. Then I saw a couple across Hammersmith way carrying something big. And the night before last”—he stopped and spoke impressively—“it was just a matter of lights, but it was something up in the air. I believe they’ve built a flying-machine, and are learning to fly.” I stopped, on hands and knees, for we had come to the bushes. “Fly!”
altogether strange. I remember, clearly and coldly and vividly, all that I did that day until the time that I stood weeping and praising God upon the summit of Primrose Hill. And then I forget. Of the next three days I know nothing. I have learned since that, so far from my being the first discoverer of the Martian overthrow, several such wanderers as myself had already discovered this on the previous night. One man—the first—had gone to St. Martin’s-le-Grand, and, while I sheltered in the
command to the other one, a mere stripling. The younger man assiduously removed a key from a chain around his neck, unlocked the door, and ushered the group inside, closing the door behind him. I questioned several museum employees and found out that no one was completely sure what was inside the room, which they dubbed the Chamber of Marvels. When I asked the head curator what it contained, his response took me aback. Things people would never have thought existed, he said with a self-satisfied