Friday, October 19, 2007

Book Review: War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

Ever since I was little, I loved the story of War of the Worlds. I saw the original movie (not the Tom Cruise version), I listened to the original radio production... I just never read the original book. For some reason best known to fate, I never read the classic version by H. G. Wells.

Well, I opted to rectify that this last week. I started the book, which was a gift from my parents over the weekend, and it was difficult to put it down. The story is written as an autobiography regarding the events starting one weekend in June, when Martians landed on Earth, and began their reign of terror upon the inhabitants of late 19th Century London. The story is classic, having been remade in various forms throughout entertainment. Aliens, killing men that resist, and eventually eating those that don't. Yes, it's a classic tale.

But other than the story, the real captivation into this world is the prose. It's been years since I have read anything from the turn of the century that wasn't a translation of a more ancient text. Description was heavy, palpable, almost visual in what was and was not included. Written in the first person (as it was a fictitious autobiography), you are brought along the adventures of a philosopher as he struggles to understand the world that was turned upside down by an alien force of immense power. Forced to accept his position as vermin in the new order that has apparently consumed him, he walks down levels and levels of emotion, with a new character taking a different route and getting lost. It's also interesting to see how the main character takes the events of the fall of the Martians, and the eventual restoration of Man as the dominant life form on the planet.

All in all, this book is fascinating, and keeps a hold of you by virtue of the prose alone. If you enjoy a good story, love good prose, and wish to have a non-supernatural book to enjoy for Halloween, I would highly recommend reading it.

Next up? I think I will find some Jules Vernes stories I haven't read. ^_^

3 comments:

RyanE said...

FYI, for those who don't want to find War of the Worlds at a bookstore:

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/36

And the Jules Verne books:

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/v#a60

RyanE said...

Funny, it stripped the rest of my URL's... I guess you can just do the search like I did.

Jeremy Robb said...

Thanks Ryane! Project Gutenberg books are excellent sources. ^_^