The War of the Worlds
Publication Date: May 2005
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The first modern tale of alien invasion, H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds remains one of the most influential science fiction novels ever published. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Patrick Parrinder with an introduction by Brian Aldiss, author of Hothouse, and notes by Andy Sawyer. The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naive locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag - only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilisation is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear. The War of the Worlds has been the subject of countless adaptations, including an Orson Welles radio drama which caused mass panic when it was broadcast, with listeners confusing it for a news broadcast heralding alien invasion; a musical version by Jeff Wayne; and, most recently, Steven Spielberg's 2005 film version, starring Tom Cruise. This Penguin Classics edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. The introduction, by Brian Aldiss, considers the novel's view of religion and society. H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a professional writer and journalist. Among his most popular works are The Time Machine (1895); The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), filmed with Bela Lugosi in 1932, and again in 1996 with Marlon Brando; The Invisible Man (1897); The War of the Worlds (1898); and The First Men in the Moon (1901), which predicted the first lunar landings. If you enjoyed The War of the Worlds, you might like Wells's The Time Machine, also available in Penguin Classics.
About the AuthorOften called "the father of science fiction," British author Herbert George (H. G.) Wells' literary works are notable for being some of the first titles of the science fiction genre, and include such famed titles as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Invisible Man. Despite being fixedly associated with science fiction, Wells wrote extensively in other genres and on many subjects, including history, society and politics, and was heavily influenced by Darwinism. His first book, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought, offered predictions about what technology and society would look like in the year 2000, many of which have proven accurate. Wells went on to pen over fifty novels, numerous non-fiction books, and dozens of short stories. His legacy has had an overwhelming influence on science fiction, popular culture, and even on technological and scientific innovation. Wells died in 1946 at the age of 79.
Patrick Parrinder is Professor of English at the University of Reading.
Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE (born August 18, 1925 in East Dereham, Norfolk, England) is a prolific English author of both general fiction and science fiction. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss. Greatly influenced by SF pioneer H. G. Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society. He is also (with Harry Harrison) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. His brilliant writings of space and time can be compared to that of Isaac Asimov, Greg Bear and Arthur C Clarke.