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The War of the Worlds

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Author: H.G. Wells
Published: 1898
Language: English
Wordcount: 60,425 / 176 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 50.6
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 63,536 7354

The War of the Worlds describes the fictional 1895 invasion of Earth by aliens from Mars who use laser-like Heat-Rays, chemical weapons, and mechanical three-legged ''fighting machines'' that could potentially be viewed as precursors to the tank. After defeating the resistance the Martians devastate much of eastern England, including London...

Show Excerpt

o 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 great disillusionment.

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 a

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.9 from 17 reviews: *****

Truely the best book to which I have had the pleasure of laying my eyes down upon. As 15 year old I have never had the time to indulge in reading si-fi novels. This probably being one of my first. I have always, since early boyhood loved "The War Of The Worlds" story and message it displays, the idea of man spending their time figuring out how to dispose of the simplest yet common bacterial organism that greatly in the end, after every weapon we could throw at the invaders...defeats the unprepared and the arrogance and eventually the invaders. This is something i think humans should take into consideration as we known next to nothing about this planet we so abruptly claimed and call ours.


This is an amazing and imaginative story, especially when you consider when it was written. Highly recommended, even if you have seen any of the movies. The book is far superior.


There is a love of hg wells that comes with reading this book.i respect it.

Rob Reader

A great book from a great writer. Wells more than any other author invented science fiction. I first read this book in high school and then several times as an adult. I recommend it to all. Do not let the Tom Cruse film ruin your appreciation of this masterwork. There is no comparison of the genuine article and the film.
I must again express my appreciation to ManyBooks for bringing these classics to us at no cost.

Andrew Ives

A very good, entertaining read, which holds the reader's interest throughout, despite being (necessarily) somewhat depressing for long sections.

There are several drawbacks, which for me, spoiled the credibility of the idea somewhat, chief of which is that all the Martians landed within only a few miles of each other on this whole planet, even though they were fired here from some kind of large gun, at daily intervals. Surely an improbability, if not an impossibility? I'm not sure such an advanced species would be entirely ignorant of bacteria, that red weed would flourish and die so suddenly, or that the Martian sentinel would be unable to seek out the narrator when he was hiding in a coal cellar, by use of thermal vision or some such gadgetry, even with the Curate shouting.

That said, I found the book infinitely preferable to any of the movie versions. I was also amused by parallels in the Artilleryman's vision of the future - two types of people, one above ground, one underground - and those in The Time Machine. Wells must've strongly believed in this outcome for future generations? Strange...


i saw the 2005 movie adaption, not very impressed, yet i know that adaptions nowadays tend to lose the better parts of whatever they adapt. boy i am not mistaken in that! definitely more fun from the read than from the view, strongly recommended to anyone who likes the intense, gruesome, despair and many other things in a story!


A fantastic book, surpassing its many adaptations and still very readable.


I haven't seen the 2005 movie, but have seen the older one. What I can say about the book is that there is plenty of action and it is quite gruesome and suspenseful...perhaps too much for any movie.


Like Mark Twain, more people have seen HG Wells, not read him. And you've missed the best part of the stories, and this one especially.


One of my favourite books, it tells a completely convincing story of alien invasion and the plight of humans caught up in it. I don't think I've ever read a science fiction book that has caught my imagination quite like this one, it's a masterpiece of storytelling that you're sure to love.

mafy e rita

qui bónito

Virgilio Peña

this was the very first book I read when I was 8 years old, and now, almost 24 years later I still consider it the best Sci Fi book of all times.

Vick Peña
Mty, Mex


War of the Worlds is a masterpiece! My husband just came home last week with the newest Tom Cruise version, and he also went through the old movies and for fun bought the older one, too. Strangely enough, when it came time to watch them, he put in the older one - and and he, never having read the book, remarked... how this was the "real" War of the Worlds...

He loved the sense of fear, horror and suspense. Being children of the 50's we can relate to "Duck and Cover", and other atomic bomb drills we had in elementary school.

"But", I commented... "imagine this is happening before the turn of the century? Most of the rural population had never even seen a flying machine!".

And that's just the point. In Wells' original writing, we discover how he brings in a sense of curiosity, amazement and genuine innocence as the first few characters actually see the visitors become invaders. As we put ourselves into his story, we can feel surprise and terror of the most wonderful thing we've ever seen!

I first read War of the Worlds as a child, after hearing my dad tell me about his hearing Orson Well's Mercury Theater broadcast as a child. At the time, I thought it was a just a scary story, or a play made up for radio. So he bought me a paper-back at the drugstore. I'm not sure if he himself had ever read it - just that he wanted to share the thrill with me.

I read it again as teenager, and as a young mother - and most recently again as a semi-retired-reading-grandma. But lately, I'm listening to a recording of the original manuscript on my iPod.

What keeps bringing me back? I believe an active mind is healthy mind, and War of the Worlds is packed with action and stimulation. I consider H. G. Wells to be the father of science fiction.

I only wish a movie would be made without adaptation. Let it be London... and for contrast, set among farms, cottages and tin lizzies or horse draw wagons... let the real words of H.G. Wells pull us into Shock and Awe, just as he intended :o)


Simply one of the best science fiction novels ever written with a satisfying and surprising ending, though modern readers will probably be aware of it already. Even if you are there is much to savour in this fine novel, not least a great sense of how people thought about science in the late Victorian era. A great book that stands the test of time and defined a genre.


It's pretty Good!
I like it.


Possibly one of the greatest books ever written and one of the greatest books I'll ever read.

Douglas Winfrey

A great novel - it captures the terror of an alien invasion and the resulting panic perfectly (far better than the 2005 movie with Tom Cruise). You'll get so caught up in the story you'll have trouble putting it down!



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