The War of the Worlds (novel)

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An early science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds (1898), by H.G. Wells, describes the fictional turn of the twentieth century invasion of Earth by aliens, from Mars, who use laser/maser-like Heat-Rays, chemical weapons (the Black Smoke), and mechanical three-legged "fighting machines" that could potentially be viewed as precursors to the tank. After defeating the resistance the Martians devastate much of eastern England, including London, before being unexpectedly killed by terrestrial diseases, to which they have no immunity.

The book has been viewed as an indictment of European colonial actions in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Justification of the conquest of non-European peoples was usually along the lines of might-makes-right; i.e., the Europeans had vastly superior technology and so must be naturally superior people and so are perfectly justified in taking the lands for themselves. This argument gets flipped on its head with the arrival of comparatively technologically superior Martians who, according to the colonizers' own arguments, must therefore have every right to subjugate Europeans.

Wells seems to have taken great pleasure in the fictional devastation of locations where he had spent an unhappy childhood. The book has been adapted as a famous radio drama, as a movie, and as a bestselling concept album, all of which have played some part in maintaining the public's interest in the original novel.

Contents

Setting

The majority of the action takes place in the countryside of late 19th century southeast England. The narrator's hometown, Woking, is one of the many towns mentioned that lies on the outskirts of London. Other major action occurs near Southend, where the narrator's brother and his companions gain passage on a steamboat while fleeing to mainland Europe.

Influence

This theme of an alien invasion has remained a popular one ever since, some recent examples being Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the "Worldwar" series by Harry Turtledove, and the film Independence Day. Tim Burton's farcical Mars Attacks! shares many themes with The War of the Worlds, particularly the unexpected and unglorious demise of the Martian invaders.

A number of people have written stories that pay homage to The War of the Worlds, often telling how the invasion went in places other than Britain. Two notable stories of this type are "Night of the Cooters" by Howard Waldrop, in which a Martian war machine lands in Texas, and "Foreign Devils" by Walter Jon Williams, set in China. War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, is an anthology of such stories (ISBN 0553103539).

A French Canadian author, Jean-Pierre Guillet, wrote a sequel to the book called "La Cage de Londres", translated means "The Cage of London". After the aliens were defeated, they plotted revenge and came back prepared to finally enslave humanity and breed it for there bloody needs... The Cage of London is one of those breeding sites.

In the comic version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the invasion by the Martians is told by the perspective of The League, who are instructed to contact Doctor Moreau in so that they can unleash H-142, a biological weapon that is a hybrid of anthrax and streptococcus.

In the novel W. G. Grace's Last Case by Willie Rushton, W.G. Grace and Doctor Watson avert a second Martian invasion by attacking the Martian fleet on the far side of the moon with "bombs" containing influenza germs.

See also

External links

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es:La guerra de los mundos fr:La Guerre des mondes zh:星际战争

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