War of Words

I found it really interesting to read one of the first of the popular apocalyptic novels. For only about 40 years after Jules Verne, the science fiction genre has developed a lot. H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” reads much closer to a modern story telling with deeper character development and heavier plot structure. Even still, there’s another good leap between today’s novels.

It’s also interesting to read, because it’s one of the FIRST ALIEN invasion stories.  It can be marked a classic simply by the genre it created.  Unfortunately, since it’s exploring new ground, it’s very basic in it’s characterization and plot.  Presented from a first-person limited point of view, the protagonist’s knowledge of the national events comes purely from his own experience and understanding, which leaves a lot of holes.  There are a few chapters from his brother’s perspective (of fleeing London), but his brother’s never even given a name!

Still, for it’s time – Wow.  Like Jules Verne, Wells explores an idea thoroughly and brings it to life in his story.  One such main idea in “The War of the Worlds” is: What if mankind wasn’t the dominant species?  (Que Twilight Zone Theme)  Also, what other book can claim to stir panic and hysteria with a dramatized broadcast?  If you’ve got an hour, youtube it and imagine how crazy it would be to dial your radio to this on Oct. 30, 1938.

For all this, I’m giving it a ***3.5*** stars.  I liked it more than the average 3, but it’s not quite a 4, since our age is now desensitized to the alien invasion tale and requires more details in characters and plots.

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