Thursday, April 26, 2012

The War of the Worlds (book), by H.G. Wells

There is a place in my heart for the classics. And as a lover of science fiction, it was high time I picked up this novel.

Written in the late 1800s, this classic is no stranger to most readers and movie-goers, so I won't bore you with the details of the plot. All I really want to say is that it was tough to get through this one.

Admittedly, I'm conscious of the fact that I found this story fairly boring, likely due to my modern mind. Today's stories are filled with suspense, plot twists, sub plots, and various story lines that interweave. It seems that in H. G. Well's days, a single linear story was enough, and the subject matter was more important than the exposition of the matter.

I've read a few Jules Verne books (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth), as well as other H. G. Wells novels (The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man). As far as sheer enjoyment goes, I enjoyed this one the least of those listed here. Verne's 20,000 Leagues was a phenomenal book, and I also really enjoyed Wells's Invisible Man. The War of the Worlds doesn't compare by today's standards in my opinion.

It should be noted, however, that every time I put myself in the place of someone in the late-1800s/early-1900s, I could easily understand how this book would have been revolutionary. 50 years before Roswell, 70 years before the moon landing, H. G. Wells was already writing about space travel and aliens. He paved the way for much of today's science fiction and I will forever be grateful for that.

Is The War of the Worlds a literary classic? A revolutionary novel that deserves a place in history? Absolutely. But if I am to be honest and base my rating and critique on how much I enjoyed the book, on how interesting and captivating it was, then I have to say that it bored me and I couldn't wait to finish it so that I could move on to something else.

My Rating: 1.5/5
My Recommendation: If you're a science-fiction reader, then you should read this if nothing else then for context in your genre of choice. Otherwise, based on the shallow and dull story, I say look elsewhere for a more interesting novel.

1 comment:

darlindarla said...

While his writing may be dated the plot and content was certainly prophetic. Considering none of today's technology was invented yet I consider him to be quite a visionary. I would recommend it as a must read, not for the pleasure of the read but for the contents. Coincidentally the audio book of War of the Worlds is being previewed on the Book Report (
and if you aren't in the broadcast area you can listen via the net.