The War of the Worlds

A scientific romance by H G Wells (1866-1946), published in 1898. A terrifying fable, the novel was written at a time when there were widespread concerns about potential foreign attacks. H G Wells was warning late-Victorian readers against complacency. The unnamed narrator describes the discovery of a mysterious cylinder. Ruthless Martians emerge from it, and the arrival of more aliens brings increasing chaos. Hapless humans are compared to ‘a confusion of ants’. The situation becomes desperate: some survivors hide; others try to leave the country. In 1938 Orson Welles’s adaptation of the novel for radio caused havoc when listeners assumed America was being invaded.

Creator:
H G Wells
Published:
1897
Forms:
Prose
Genre:
Victorian literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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