BN.com Gift Guide

The War of the Worlds

( 1331 )

Overview

In The War of the Worlds (1898) H. G. Wells invented the myth of invasion from outer space. Martians land near London, conquering all before them, and ruin the metropolis; the fate of civilization and even of the human race remains in doubt until the very last.

The War of the Worlds is disturbingly realistic both because of its setting -- Wells bicycled the route the Martians take on landing -- and because of its characters: the superstitious curate, boastful artilleryman, and ...

See more details below
This Paperback is Not Available through BN.com
The War of the Worlds

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
FREE
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

In The War of the Worlds (1898) H. G. Wells invented the myth of invasion from outer space. Martians land near London, conquering all before them, and ruin the metropolis; the fate of civilization and even of the human race remains in doubt until the very last.

The War of the Worlds is disturbingly realistic both because of its setting -- Wells bicycled the route the Martians take on landing -- and because of its characters: the superstitious curate, boastful artilleryman, and enterprising medical student are believable if not sympathetic figures, as well as signifying types of fin-de-siecle change and vision. The novel exemplifies most dramatically the scientific scepticism and vivid narrative imagination which make Wells the pre-eminent founder of modern science fiction.

As life on Mars becomes impossible, Martians and their terrifying machines invade the earth.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells's 1898 classic -- the first and still the definitive alien invasion story -- has been described by editor extraordinaire James Gunn as "not simply a novel but the beginning of a genre."

What is at first believed to be falling stars or harmless meteorites turns out to be cylindrical Martian ships filled with nightmarish, tentacled invaders and their robotic war machines. When curious Englanders come to inspect the massive containers imbedded in the still-smoking countryside, metallic appendages emerge from the pits to kill every living thing in their path with strange heat rays. Then as the surrounding townships slowly devolve into chaos, the Martians begin constructing giant tripod war machines to track down and kill -- or capture -- as many of the human "inferior animals" as possible. The nameless narrator, trapped in a house almost completely crushed by the impact of a starship, watches in horror as the seemingly unstoppable Martians build their mechanical armies, kill hundreds with poisonous gas -- and begin snacking on captured humans!

Wells has been called the father of modern science fiction for good reason. Landmark works like The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds are just as compelling and wildly entertaining today as they were more than a century ago. Fans and historians of the science fiction genre who have yet to read Wells's classic tale of Martian invasion should definitely add this title to their reading lists. Paul Goat Allen

From the Publisher
“The creations of Mr. Wells . . . belong unreservedly to an age and degree of scientific knowledge far removed from the present, though I will not say entirely beyond the limits of the possible.” —Jules Verne
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781456307233
  • Publisher: CreateSpace
  • Publication date: 10/21/2010
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in England. At age 7, he suffered a broken leg. While resting his injury, Wells started reading books. As he grew older, he continued to enjoy reading and school. At 14, young Wells quit school to help his struggling family. Fortunately, he received a scholarship in 1883 and began studying science at a school in London. Soon after, Wells started writing. Some of his works, like The War of the Worlds, combine his love for storytelling and science.

Alfonso Ruiz was born in 1975 in Macuspana, Tabasco in Mexico, where the temperature is just as hot as the sauce is. He became a comic book illustrator when he was 17 years old, and has worked on many graphic novels since then. Alfonso has illustrated several English graphic novels, including retellings of Dracula and Pinocchio.

Davis Worth Miller and Katherine McLean Brevard are a married couple living and working together in North Carolina. They are both full-time writers. Miller has written several best-selling books including The Tao of Muhammad Ali. He is now working on his memoir and several other novels with his wife.

Davis Worth Miller and Katherine McLean Brevar are a married couple living and working together in North Carolina. They are both full-time writers. Miller has written several best-selling books including The Tao of Muhammad Ali. He is now working on his memoir and several other novels with his wife.

Biography

Social philosopher, utopian, novelist, and "father" of science fiction and science fantasy, Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent. His father was a poor businessman, and young Bertie's mother had to work as a lady's maid. Living "below stairs" with his mother at an estate called Uppark, Bertie would sneak into the grand library to read Plato, Swift, and Voltaire, authors who deeply influenced his later works. He shoed literary and artistic talent in his early stories and paintings, but the family had limited means, and when he was fourteen years old, Bertie was sent as an apprentice to a dealer in cloth and dry goods, work he disliked.

He held jobs in other trades before winning a scholarship to study biology at the Normal School of Science in London. The eminent biologist T. H. Huxley, a friend and proponent of Darwin, was his teacher; about him Wells later said, "I believed then he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet." Under Huxley's influence, Wells learned the science that would inspire many of his creative works and cultivated the skepticism about the likelihood of human progress that would infuse his writing.

Teaching, textbook writing, and journalism occupied Wells until 1895, when he made his literary debut with the now-legendary novel The Time Machine, which was followed before the end of the century by The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, books that established him as a major writer. Fiercely critical of Victorian mores, he published voluminously, in fiction and nonfiction, on the subject of politics and social philosophy. Biological evolution does not ensure moral progress, as Wells would repeat throughout his life, during which he witnessed two world wars and the debasement of science for military and political ends.

In addition to social commentary presented in the guise of science fiction, Wells authored comic novels like Love and Mrs. Lewisham, Kipps, and The History of Mister Polly that are Dickensian in their scope and feeling, and a feminist novel, Ann Veronica. He wrote specific social commentary in The New Machiavelli, an attack on the socialist Fabian Society, which he had joined and then rejected, and literary parody (of Henry James) in Boon. He wrote textbooks of biology, and his massive The Outline of History was a major international bestseller.

By the time Wells reached middle age, he was admired around the world, and he used his fame to promote his utopian vision, warning that the future promised "Knowledge or extinction." He met with such preeminent political figures as Lenin, Roosevelt, and Stalin, and continued to publish, travel, and educate during his final years. Herbert George Wells died in London on August 13, 1946.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The War of the Worlds.

Good To Know

In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel. However, he eventually left her for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895.

Wells was once interviewed on the radio by an extremely nervous Orson Welles. The two are unrelated, of course.

Many of Wells's novels became film adaptations, including The Island of Dr. Moreau, filmed in 1996 by Richard Stanley and John Frankenheimer, and The Time Machine, filmed in 2002 by Wells's great-grandson, Simon Wells.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Herbert George Wells (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1866
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bromley, Kent, England
    1. Date of Death:
      August 13, 1946
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Read an Excerpt

The War of the Worlds
By H. G. Wells Franklin Watts

Copyright © 2006 H. G. Wells
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780531169636


Chapter One

The Eve of the War

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most, terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the greatdisillusionment.

The planet Mars, I scarcely need remind the reader, revolves about the sun at a mean distance of 140,000,000 miles, and the light and heat it receives from the sun is barely half of that received by this world. It must be, if the nebular hypothesis has any truth, older than our world; and long before this earth ceased to be molten, life upon its surface must have begun its course. The fact that it is scarcely one seventh of the volume of the earth must have accelerated its cooling to the temperature at which life could begin. It has air and water and all that is necessary for the support of animated existence.

Yet so vain is man and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from life's beginning but nearer its end.

The secular cooling that must someday overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbor. Its physical condition is still largely a mystery, but we know now that even in its equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter. Its air is much more attenuated than ours, its oceans have shrunk until they cover but a third of its surface, and as its slow seasons change huge snowcaps gather and melt about either pole and periodically inundate its temperate zones. That last stage of exhaustion, which to us is still incredibly remote, has become a present-day problem for the inhabitants of Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts. And looking across space with instruments and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and gray with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that generation after generation creeps upon them.

And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?

The Martians seem to have calculated their descent with amazing subtlety -- their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours -- and to have carried out their preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity. Had our instruments permitted it, we might have seen the gathering trouble far back in the nineteenth century. Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet -- it is odd, by-the-bye, that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war -- but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well. All that time the Martians must have been getting ready.

During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of Nature dated August 2. I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions.





Continues...

Excerpted from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells Copyright © 2006 by H. G. Wells. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

First chapter

I

The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought roams gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way - marking the points with a lean forefinger - as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it:) and his fecundity.

'You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one or two ideas that are almost universally accepted. The geometry, for instance, they taught you at school is founded on a misconception.'

'Is not that rather a large thing to expect us to begin upon?' said Filby, an argumentative person with red hair.

'I do not mean to ask you to accept anything without reasonable ground for it. You will soon admit as much as I need from you. You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness NIL, has no real existence. They taught you that? Neither has a mathematical plane. These things are mere abstractions.'

'That is all right,' said the Psychologist.

'Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence.'

'There I object,' said Filby. 'Of course a solid body may exist. All real things - '

'So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?'

'Don't follow you,' said Filby.

'Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?'

Filby became pensive. 'Clearly,' the Time Traveller proceeded, 'any real body must have extension in FOUR directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and - Duration. But through a natural infirmity of the flesh, which I will explain to you in a moment, we incline to overlook this fact. There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time. There is, however, a tendency to draw an unreal distinction between the former three dimensions and the latter, because it happens that our consciousness moves intermittently in one direction along the latter from the beginning to the end of our lives.'

'That,' said a very young man, making spasmodic efforts to relight his cigar over the lamp; 'that . . . very clear indeed.'

'Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked,' continued the Time Traveller, with a slight accession of cheerfulness. 'Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of looking at Time. There is no difference between time and any of the three dimensions of space except that our consciousness moves along it. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of that idea. You have all heard what they have to say about this Fourth Dimension?'

'I have not,' said the Provincial Mayor.

'It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions particularly - why not another direction at right angles to the other three? - and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of thee dimensions they could represent one of four - if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?'

'I think so,' murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows, he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic words. 'Yes, I think I see it now,' he said after some time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.

'Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being, which is a fixed and unalterable thing.

'Scientific people,' proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause required for the proper assimilation of this, 'know very well that Time is only a kind of Space. Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did not trace this line in any of the dimensions of Space generally recognized? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore, we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension.'

'But,' said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the fire, 'if Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is it, and why has it always been, regarded as something different? And why cannot we move in Time as we move about in the other dimensions of Space?'

The Time Traveller smiled. 'Are you sure we can move freely in Space? Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely enough, and men always have done so. I admit we move freely in two dimensions. But how about up and down? Gravitation limits us there.'

'Not exactly,' said the Medical Man. 'There are balloons.'

'But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jumping and the inequalities of the surface, man had no freedom of vertical movement.' 'Still they could move a little up and down,' said the Medical Man.

'Easier, far easier down than up.'

'And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot get away from the present moment.'

'My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That is just where the whole world has gone wrong. We are always getting away from the present movement. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave. Just as we should travel down if we began our existence fifty miles above the earth's surface.'

'But the great difficulty is this,' interrupted the Psychologist. 'You can move about in all directions of Space, but you cannot move about in Time.'

'That is the germ of my great discovery. But you are wrong to say that we cannot move about in Time. For instance, if I am recalling an incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence: I become absent-minded, as you say. I jump back for a moment. Of course we have no means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a civilized man is better off than the savage in this respect. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?'

'Oh, this,' began Filby, 'is all - '

'Why not?' said the Time Traveller.

'It's against reason,' said Filby.

'What reason?' said the Time Traveller.

'You can show black is white by argument,' said Filby, 'but you will never convince me.'

'Possibly not,' said the Time Traveller. 'But now you begin to see the object of my investigations into the geometry of Four Dimensions. Long ago I had a vague inkling of a machine - '

'To travel through Time!' exclaimed the Very Young Man.

'That shall travel indifferently in any direction of Space and Time, as the driver determines.'

Filby contented himself with laughter.

'But I have experimental verification,' said the Time Traveller.

'It would be remarkably convenient for the historian,' the Psychologist suggested. 'One might travel back and verify the accepted account of the Battle of Hastings, for instance!'

'Don't you think you would attract attention?' said the Medical Man. 'Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms.'

'One might get one's Greek from the very lips of Homer and Plato,' the Very Young Man thought.

'In which case they would certainly plough you for the Little-go. The German scholars have improved Greek so much.'

'Then there is the future,' said the Very Young Man. 'Just think! One might invest all one's money, leave it to accumulate at interest, and hurry on ahead!'

'To discover a society,' said I, 'erected on a strictly communistic basis.'

'Of all the wild extravagant theories!' began the Psychologist.

'Yes, so it seemed to me, and so I never talked of it until - '

'Experimental verification!' cried I. 'You are going to verify that?'

'The experiment!' cried Filby, who was getting brain-weary.

'Let's see your experiment anyhow,' said the Psychologist, 'though it's all humbug, you know.'

The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory.

The Psychologist looked at us. 'I wonder what he's got?'

'Some sleight-of-hand trick or other,' said the Medical Man, and Filby tried to tell us about a conjurer he had seen at Burslem; but before he had finished his preface the Time Traveller came back, and Filby's anecdote collapsed.

The thing the Time Traveller held in his hand was a glittering metallic framework, scarcely larger than a small clock, and very delicately made. There was ivory in it, and some transparent crystalline substance. And now I must be explicit, for this that follows - unless his explanation is to be accepted - is an absolutely unaccountable thing. He took one of the small octagonal tables that were scattered about the room, and set it in front of the fire, with two legs on the hearthrug. On this table he placed the mechanism. Then he drew up a chair, and sat down. The only other object on the table was a small shaded lamp, the bright light of which fell upon the model. There were also perhaps a dozen candles about, two in brass candlesticks upon the mantel and several in sconces, so that the room was brilliantly illuminated. I sat in a low arm-chair nearest the fire, and I drew this forward so as to be almost between the Time Traveller and the fireplace. Filby sat behind him, looking over his shoulder. The Medical Man and the Provincial Mayor watched him in profile from the right, the Psychologist from the left. The Very Young Man stood behind the Psychologist. We were all on the alert. It appears incredible to me that any kind of trick, however subtly conceived and however adroitly done, could have been played upon us under these conditions.

The Time Traveller looked at us, and then at the mechanism. 'Well?' said the Psychologist.

'This little affair,' said the Time Traveller, resting his elbows upon the table and pressing his hands together above the apparatus, 'is only a model. It is my plan for a machine to travel through time. You will notice that it looks singularly askew, and that there is an odd twinkling appearance about this bar, as though it was in some way unreal.' He pointed to the part with his finger. 'Also, here is one little white lever, and here is another.'

The Medical Man got up out of his chair and peered into the thing. 'It's beautifully made,' he said.

'It took two years to make,' retorted the Time Traveller. Then, when we had all imitated the action of the Medical Man, he said: 'Now I want you clearly to understand that this lever, being pressed over, sends the machine gliding into the future, and this other reverses the motion. This saddle represents the seat of a time traveller. Presently I am going to press the lever, and off the machine will go. It will vanish, pass into future Time, and disappear. Have a good look at the thing. Look at the table too, and satisfy yourselves there is no trickery. I don't want to waste this model, and then be told I'm a quack.'

There was a minute's pause perhaps. The Psychologist seemed about to speak to me, but changed his mind. Then the Time Traveller put forth his finger towards the lever. 'No,' he said suddenly. 'Lend me your hand.' And turning to the Psychologist, he took that individual's hand in his own and told him to put out his forefinger. So that it was the Psychologist himself who sent forth the model Time Machine on its interminable voyage. We all saw the lever turn. I am absolutely certain there was no trickery. There was a breath of wind, and the lamp flame jumped. One of the candles on the mantel was blown out, and the little machine suddenly swung round, became indistinct, was seen as a ghost for a second perhaps, as an eddy of faintly glittering brass and ivory; and it was gone - vanished! Save for the lamp the table was bare.

Everyone was silent for a minute. Then Filby said he was damned.

The Psychologist recovered from his stupor, and suddenly looked under the table. At that the Time Traveller laughed cheerfully. 'Well?' he said, with a reminiscence of the Psychologist. Then, getting up, he went to the tobacco jar on the mantel, and with his back to us began to fill his pipe.

We stared at each other. 'Look here,' said the Medical Man, 'are you in earnest about this? Do you seriously believe that that machine has travelled into time?'

'Certainly,' said the Time Traveller, stooping to light a spill at the fire. Then he turned, lighting his pipe, to look at the Psychologist's face. (The Psychologist, to show that he was not unhinged, helped himself to a cigar and tried to light it uncut.) 'What is more, I have a big machine nearly finished in there' - he indicated the laboratory - 'and when that is put together I mean to have a journey on my own account.'

'You mean to say that that machine has travelled into the future?' said Filby.

'Into the future or the past - I don't, for certain, know which.'

After an interval the Psychologist had an inspiration. 'It must have gone into the past if it has gone anywhere,' he said.

'Why?' said the Time Traveller.

'Because I presume that it has not moved in space, and if it travelled into the future it would still be here all this time, since it must have travelled through this time.'

'But,' I said, 'If it travelled into the past it would have been visible when we came first into this room; and last Thursday when we were here; and the Thursday before that; and so forth!'

'Serious objections,' remarked the Provincial Mayor, with an air of impartiality, turning towards the Time Traveller.

'Not a bit,' said the Time Traveller, and, to the Psychologist: 'You think. You can explain that. It's presentation below the threshold, you know, diluted presentation.'

'Of course,' said the Psychologist, and reassured us. 'That's a simple point of psychology. I should have thought of it. It's plain enough, and helps the paradox delightfully. We cannot see it, nor can we appreciate this machine, any more than we can the spoke of a wheel spinning, or a bullet flying through the air. If it is travelling through time fifty times or a hundred times faster than we are, if it gets through a minute while we get through a second, the impression it creates will of course be only one-fiftieth or one-hundredth of what it would make if it were not travelling in time. That's plain enough.' He passed his hand through the space in which the machine had been. 'You see?' he said, laughing.

We sat and stared at the vacant table for a minute or so. Then the Time Traveller asked us what we thought of it all.

'It sounds plausible enough to-night,' said the Medical Man; 'but wait until to-morrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.'

'Would you like to see the Time Machine itself?' asked the Time Traveller. And therewith, taking the lamp in his hand, he led the way down the long, draughty corridor to his laboratory. I remember vividly the flickering light, his queer, broad head in silhouette, the dance of the shadows, how we all followed him, puzzled but incredulous, and how there in the laboratory we beheld a larger edition of the little mechanism which we had seen vanish from before our eyes. Parts were of nickel, parts of ivory, parts had certainly been filed or sawn out of rock crystal. The thing was generally complete, but the twisted crystalline bars lay unfinished upon the bench beside some sheets of drawings, and I took one up for a better look at it. Quartz it seemed to be.

'Look here,' said the Medical Man, 'are you perfectly serious? Or is this a trick - like that ghost you showed us last Christmas?'

'Upon that machine,' said the Time Traveller, holding the lamp aloft, 'I intend to explore time. Is that plain? I was never more serious in my life.'

None of us quite knew how to take it.

I caught Filby's eye over the shoulder of the Medical Man, and he winked at me solemnly.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. In 1878 the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli used the most advanced telescope of his day to map the surface of Mars. He discovered a number of dark, thin lines crisscrossing the planet and assumed that they were water channels'in Italian, canali. This was mistranslated into English as canals; as a result of this subtle linguistic error, many people in Britain and America believed these passages were man-made. It was in such an atmosphere of misunderstanding and scientific speculation that Wells published The War of the Worlds. Today, however, we know a great deal about Mars and the possibility of life there. Does our scientific knowledge of what is on Mars make the novel any less alarming? Why or why not?

2. Isaac Asimov has argued that The War of the Worlds can be read as an argument against British colonialism and the cold expansion of the empire. 'H. G. Wells must have wanted to write his book in such a way as to demonstrate the evils of [colonialism], ' Asimov writes. 'He must have tried to show his own countrymen what they were doing to the world. The British had been in the forefront of the imperialistic drive, and by the end of the 1800's, the British Empire included a quarter of the land area and the population of the world. . . . It seemed only poetic justice then that the Martian invasion in The War of the Worlds fell upon the British.' Do you agree with Asimov's reading?

3. Wells begins the book with the chilling image of alien life watching over the earth. He describes the Martians as planning their attacks on an unsuspecting man with 'intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic.' How does this image resonate today?

4. Shortly beforeWells died in 1946, he said, 'Reality has taken a leaf from my book and set itself to supersede me.' What does Wells mean by this?

5. When the Martians first land on earth, the people who encounter them initially treat the incident lightly, as if the aliens are a traveling amusement. Is this a realistic response? What do you think Wells is trying to say by this?

6. How does Wells use language and narrative style to create suspense and a sense of terror? Is the book frightening?

7. Many people consider The War of the Worlds the greatest science fiction book of all time. Do you agree? Why or why not? What other books are among the best? What defines a classic of science fiction?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1331 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(734)

4 Star

(275)

3 Star

(141)

2 Star

(79)

1 Star

(102)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1334 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Remember

    What many of these reviewers are forgetting is that this book is a science fiction piece. To say that this novel lacked facts or reality is exactly what fiction is about. If this book were in fact based on actual events, I highly doubt we would be able to even speak of it at this point. When reviewing this novel, people should keep in mind that this book is supposed to get that part of the brain going that excites us and makes us want more. Sci-fi writers such as Wells and Bradbury want two things out of reading their stories: they want you to be astounded and most importantly they want you to think. As an avid reader of this genre, I have to say that there is always a deeper meaning than what the story is about. There is a lesson and there is also a meaning. Take these points into consideration before reviewing this novel and trying to slander the well put together writings of H.G. Wells.

    75 out of 83 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    The War of the Worlds- A Great Read

    This book is a work of art. The descriptions of the Martians and the battle for survival of the human created by H.G. Wells is exciting and worth reading. The narrator's journey to reeunite with his wife in the mist of the Martians arrival on Earth is extremely interesting to read. Also, the Martians themselves are new and different than anything that most have heard, or read, of before. The only downside of this wonderful novel is the author of the endnotes. He gives away the ending of the book in the first few endnotes, and I would've rather found out for myself the ending at the end of the book. Other than that, it is a must-read for any sci-fi fan.

    28 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

    The best book ever is right here.

    YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! THIS IS THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK EVER. IF YOU LIKE THIS BOOK TRY THE TIME MACHINE IT'S BY THE SAME AUTHOR BY THE WAY.

    18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2009

    Aliens Invade Britain

    I thought this book was fantastic! It really engaged me and was suspenseful. It takes place in England, where an alien invasion from Mars begins. It is seen through the eyes of a man who is escaping from the invasion's spread. I liked this book a lot and highly recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction.

    18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    war of the worlds

    i loved this book! it was one of the best books i have ever read in my entire life. its vocabulary was astounding it used big long words i have never heard of before it was a challenge but i love challenges. the descriptive sentences was amazing they painted a mental image in your head.this book was very upbeat it kept you on your toes the whole time. the one bad thing about this book was that it was sometimes to descriptive which made it annoying and boring. i would deffinatley reccomend this book for any sci-fi lovers. or anyone who is in for a good thrill. it was a very thrilling book.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Luved it!

    This is a classic alien story that I recommend 2 all readers :)

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Hi

    I think they made a movie from this,but instead the invasion is in the u.s,and the man has a daughter.

    10 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Awesome book, terrible copy.

    Wow, this book is amazing! I like how it reads like a modern day action novel, but written in 1898. The copy is terrible or else it would be five stars. Random letters and sentences. Disjointed paragraphs and one page that is illegibal. Conclusion, great book, but pay for the better publishings.

    10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Amazing book!

    This book is so suspensful and interesrting. This is actually the first book I got on my Nook, and I'm glad it was. It is a great book.

    9 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    A book for everyone

    This book is so amazing! I think everybody should read this at least once in their lifetime!

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Read if You Know the English Countryside

    War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells is a classic. Any book that has been interpreted in different mediums throughout the decades should be read. Being familiar with the story it was intriguing to see what elements of the book have never been dramatized in any of the other medium versions (i.e. the black smoke). It's also interesting to see what elements remain. There were some parts of Speilberg's movie that I didn't understand that were clarified in the book. So from that standpoint it was enjoyable.

    The problems I had with the book is the geopgraphy and the words. I've never been much of a geography student, but it's good to knwo the English towns and hamlets since our hero travels far and wide to find his wife after the Martians attack. There are so many names thrown out that it was hard for me to follow. Likewise there were lots of words I had to take time to look up. I learned soem new words (some specific to the English culture) but the flipside is that many times the flow of the book was interupted with these new words.

    No matter I think this is required reading especially if you are a sci-fi fan. Even today the story has relevance and the science in the science fiction isn't dated. Even if you have an idea of the story this is one quick read that you shouldn't ignore.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    Il44's review

    I have read other ones but this one was horrible.

    6 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2010

    War of the Wolds - A must read!!

    The classical novel by H. G Wells written in 1898 War of the Worlds is more then just a science fiction story. Besides being a highly creative novel about enormous machines that come from an outside planet to earth, it is an allegory of England's colonization that was taking place at the time.

    During the 20th century the United Kingdom was spreading widely throughout Europe, Asia, and even Africa, threatening the entire world. The novel War of the Worlds is set in England with the purpose of making the British people feel and imagine how their ravishing island would look if other countries joined forces and did what they were doing to other.

    The novel is written from the unnamed main characters point of view. This thrilling story begins on what seemed to be an ordinary day for the scientific article writer. He was on his way to meet Ogilvy, a well known astronomer who had invited him to an observatory in Ottershaw, there he witness an explosion in Mars. Ironically, not long after what was believed to be a meteor, landed very near to were he lived. The protagonist was one of the first to find out that this huge 'meteor' was actually an artificial cylinder send from Mars. While enduring the Martians' violence towards Southern English counties, he struggles to meet again with his wife. Wells created his own style of Martian space invaders, ones that had an advanced intelligence power which gave them the ability to create powerful weapons like heat ray guns, tripods and even flying machines which in 1898, when this classical novel was first written, were beyond human technology.

    Once the first attacks had passed, he was fortuitously reunited with his wife. They both traveled to Leatherhead seeking for safety, their plan didn't last for long however when they discovered that three more cylinders have been send. As they eye-witness the stunning power of this massive machine they become astonished. There cities had been destroyed, millions of people had dead, and their military forces were of no noticeable use. This doesn't stop them however and through spine-chilling adventure they fought for survival.

    This is a truly fascinating novel I would recommend to anyone interested in sub natural sciences. Even though this novel was written in the last century it still retains some of the wildest ideas ever. The book is filled with edgy and stimulated character beyond the remarkable.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Transcription quality

    The story was great. The text is messed up from the transcription process (misspellings, characters in place of letters, and other distracting mistakes), which makes it a little difficult to read at times.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2011

    Amazing

    This is a true sci-fi classic. I read this in English class, and thoroughly loved it. It is about how aliens come to Earth because their planet of Mars is dying, and how the narrator experiences it, being a scientist himself. The main theme is that humanity considers itself the most intellectual creatures in the universe, but it may not be. There is symbolism throughout the book, but it is not nessessary to understand the symbols to enjoy the novel. Read carefully, though, because some parts can become rather confusing if you merely skim over it. It served as an inspiration to many future novels, plays, and movies. There is the originial radio broadcast (which served a lot of panic, you can look it up on wiki), a play, and two movies (one of which has Tom Cruise in it =>)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2013

    Fantastic classic

    The descriptions depicted in H.G Wells War of the Worlds are phenominal, and frightening for its time, very far sighted and rich imagination!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    Wonderful, deserves a reread

    This is probably my favorite of h.g. wells' books, the story and underlying message are both very powerful

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    ti To H G Wells

    Amazing book

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    <3

    I need to get this! It sounds lik n awesome book!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Awesome

    This is one of my all time favorites. I own the book but I will get it here too. That is how much I like it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1334 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)