A reading club with a view to the future

580 H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds

“The War of the Worlds” tells the terrifying story of an alien invasion and humanity’s struggle for survival.



"The War of the Worlds" is a classic science fiction novel by H.G. Wells. The story is narrated by an unnamed protagonist, an English writer, who witnesses the invasion of Earth by Martians from Mars. The Martians arrive in enormous tripod-shaped machines, equipped with advanced weaponry that effortlessly devastates human civilization. As the invasion spreads across England, the protagonist witnesses the utter chaos, destruction, and horror that ensue. Humanity's attempts to resist the technologically superior Martians seem futile, and desperation sets in as survivors struggle for their lives. The novel explores themes of survival, adaptability, and the limitations of human power when confronted by forces beyond comprehension. "The War of the Worlds" remains a seminal work in the science fiction genre, inspiring numerous adaptations and discussions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life and its potential impact on humanity.


  1. Title: The War of the Worlds 
  2. Author: H.G. Wells 
  3. Publishing Year: 1998 
  4. Publisher: William Heinemann 
  5. Length in Hours: Approximately 6 hours and 26 minutes 

5 main ideas

  1. Alien Invasion: The novel centers around the sudden and brutal invasion of Earth by Martians from Mars.
  2. The Triumph of Science: The Martians' advanced technology and weaponry showcase the potential dangers of unchecked scientific progress.
  3. Human Vulnerability: The story highlights humanity's fragility and vulnerability when confronted with an overwhelmingly powerful adversary.
  4. Survival Instincts: As the invasion unfolds, the novel delves into the desperate struggle for survival and the human will to persevere.
  5. Societal Collapse: The invasion leads to the collapse of established societies, demonstrating the fragility of civilization in the face of an existential threat.

5 funny quotes

  1. "One night (the first missile then could scarcely have been 10,000,000 miles away) I went for a walk with my wife. It was starlight, and I explained the Signs of the Zodiac to her, and pointed out Mars, a bright dot of light creeping zenithward, towards which so many telescopes were pointed."
  2. "I must confess that my satisfaction with my first theories of an automatic civilisation and a decadent humanity did not long endure."
  3. "At the sight of the Martian's collapse, the captain on the bridge yelled inarticulately, and all the crowding passengers on the steamer's stern shouted together."
  4. "As I sit writing in my study, I can hear our dog barking in the moonlight outside the kitchen door."
  5. "They saw the gaunt figures separating and rising out of the water as they retreated shoreward, and one of them raised the camera-like generator of the Heat-Ray."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "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."
  2. "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."
  3. "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."
  4. "It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind."
  5. "And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's hand again, and to think that I have counted her, and that she has counted me, among the dead."

5 dilemmas

  1. The moral dilemma of the Narrator and humanity as they confront the Martians, questioning the right to defend themselves against a potentially superior intelligence.
  2. The psychological dilemma of fear and panic among survivors, leading to moments of desperation and unpredictability.
  3. The societal dilemma of how different groups of people react to the invasion, ranging from cooperation to chaos and lawlessness.
  4. The ethical dilemma of using violence and destructive weapons against the Martians, reflecting on the consequences of war and aggression.
  5. The survival dilemma of the Narrator and other characters as they navigate a world in chaos, seeking safety and protection amid the devastation.

5 examples

  1. The Martians - Alien invaders from Mars equipped with advanced technology.
  2. The Narrator - The unnamed protagonist, an English writer who witnesses the invasion and narrates the events of the story.
  3. The Thunder Child - A torpedo ramship that engages the Martians to protect fleeing civilian ships.
  4. Horsell Common - The location of the first Martian landing and the site of the initial attack.
  5. Leatherhead - A town where the Narrator briefly finds refuge during the invasion.

Referenced books

  1. "Pellucidar" by Edgar Rice Burroughs - Mentioned in the novel as a science fiction story written by the narrator's brother.
  2. "The Works of H.G. Wells" - The unnamed narrator mentions his brother's thoughts on H.G. Wells' works, creating a meta-fictional element.
  3. "The Coming of the Martians" - A fictitious book written by Ogilvy, one of the characters in the novel, discussing Martian life.

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"I must confess that my satisfaction with my first theories of an automatic civilisation and a decadent humanity did not long endure."

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