THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Jonathan P. Benitez
The War of the Worlds (1898), a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, is the first-person narrative of an unnamed protagonist's (and his brother's) adventures in London and the countryside around London as Earth is invaded by Martians. Written in 1895–97, it is one of the earliest stories that details a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste to southern England. Book One (Chapters 14, 16, and 17) imparts the experience of his brother, also unnamed, who describes events in the capital and escapes the Martians by boarding a ship near Tillingham on the coast sixty-five miles northeast of London and is not mentioned again. The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears and prejudices. At the time of publication it was classified as a scientific romance, like his earlier novel The Time Machine. The War of the Worlds has been both popular (having never gone out of print) and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. It has even influenced the work of scientists, notably Robert Hutchings Goddard.
A philosopher by occupation, his writing is interrupted by the arrival of the Martians, of which he is one of the first to know. He survives a number of close calls but lives past the end of the invasion. With the exception of a few days insanity after finding the dead Martians, the narrator is a character with a strong grip on reality, though his reality becomes one he never thought possible. With determination, good judgment, and a will to live, he comes out of the ordeal in a much better state than many others.
A species that has developed great mental, and along with it, technical abilities in order to escape their planet, which is rapidly becoming uninhabitable. Physically, they resemble an octopus, with their many tentacles and a head that stands without a body, and they feed by injecting the blood from a live organism into themselves. They show no signs of mercy when they arrive on Earth, their intent being conquest rather than compromise. They also show signs of recent awareness of microorganisms, and are killed by an earthly bacteria. Artilleryman
After escaping a Martian’s Heat-Ray as a result of his horse tripping, he wanders into the garden of the narrator, who takes him in. When they set off the next day, the artilleryman demonstrates a great sense of logic and caution, insisting on taking provisions and taking care to avoid the third cylinder. He joins back up with the military and is not heard from again until the narrator encounters him on Putney Hill. There it is clear that he has undergone quite a mental change. The former artilleryman has formed big, unrealistic plans while becoming content to drink and play games. The narrator leaves him shortly and his eventual fate is unknown. Curate
The representative of religion, who is not shown in a very positive light. He becomes extremely distraught and senseless after seeing the destruction of his church and all of Weybridge. He is unwilling to part with the narrator, though their two personalities are completely incompatible. When they become trapped in the house together, the curate does not heed the need to ration or keep quiet. The narrator ends up hitting him in the head with a meat chopper in order to avoid attracting the Martians’ attention. It is too late for this, and...
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