Book Review: W is for War of the Worlds

I remember listening to the opening of Orson Wells’ radio adaptation of War of the Worlds, but unfathomably do not remember listening to the remainder. So, when I picked up the book by the unrelated Herbert George (or simply “HG”), most of it was still new to me.

I was surprised by the opening chapter’s “humanitarian” view of the Martians, that they treated the pestilence of humans with the same amount of thought that we would regard a termite mound or an ant colony — travel to our planet in their case was a matter of survival, not ambition or malevolence. Even as the humans of southern England were being systematically eradicated, it was not a difficult stretch to liken the invasion of the Americas by the white man (and the subsequent eradication of the American Indians) as a less “humane” treatment than that by the Martians. No matter how heartless they were, at least they used us as food! OK, so the heat ray was a bit of a waste of resources, a point against…

Speaking of technology, the infamous flying machines didn’t take as much a part in the written version of the story as I either remembered or expected, perhaps license being taken by some other adaptation. Despite all their societal, physiological and mechanical advances, the fact and method of the invaders’ demise was predictable and inevitable, anticipated almost from the moment I began reading.

War of the Worlds was a fun read — in spite of the frequent inhumane acts, the mass disorganization of our supposedly superior race, and the occasional limb or appendage being violently removed from use!

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