This is a book that I knew I would read one day but it was not up high on the list of books that I wanted to read, but my granddad gave me a copy of it before Christmas. One of the things that I was worried about when I started reading this was that I thought it would feel dated and I tend to struggle with books which are not close to our own time. This was not a problem what so ever! There was little that really drew my attention to the time era, although I did note that the reaction to the invading Martians by us humans would not be any different today, aside from us filming the fleeing masses we were part of with our smart phones. There had obviously been nothing quite like it and the way that it was written, in the style of a personal account being shared after the event, gave a real ‘being there with him’ feel to it.
The vision that Wells had is breathtaking! Bearing in mind this book was published in 1898 the things that Wells created is amazing. I would have loved to see how his tri-pod fighting machines with their heat-rays were received by the people of the time. Aliens are such a large part of our lives today but back then it must have still been a whole new concept for the man on the street to be introduced to. The way that Wells describes it all is page turning despite there not really being much about the characters (most don’t even have names) but that did not really click in my head till after I read the book. I was caught up in the drama of the narrator as he tried to first return to his wife and then as he tried to survive and evade the Martians. His humanity is pushed to its limits by other characters as is his concept of how the world has changed around him and while he is stranded in a house which, unfortunately has a martian cylinder pretty much in its back garden.
One of the major points to this novel which I’m not sure was really mentioned in the research that I did about it is that mankind has no weapons that can defeat the Martians own weapons. Their technology is far more superior to that of the time that the rare victories that humanity has are quickly squashed by the Martians. This has made me think about films like Independence Day where the invading aliens have technology far superior to that of ours and there is nothing that we can do about it. This fear of an invading intelligent species has lasted since Wells wrote this novel and it sells! Us readers like to see the little guy win, as long as we can see ourselves as that little guy. There is talk between the narrator and another character, the artilleryman, about how mankind are only ants to the Martians and if we’re in their way they will just kill us. That is what us, mankind, does as a species. We colonize what is not ours because we want what ever there may be. In Avatar this point is explained in a real simple way and I think a lot of people don’t really realise that we have done it since we crawled out of the oceans.
The Influence War of the Worlds has had is numerous. Whether it is in movies and Television, radio or the written word we can see how this novel has touched us. I wonder how H.G. Wells feels about how his novel has affected the world that we live in.