Nov 12 2008

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This is a wonderful work of imagination on Wells’ part, but it is interesting to me for two reasons that are tangential to the story. The first is that it was written before the close of the nineteenth century, when Britain was thought of as the most powerful nation on earth, so it made sense at the time that the Martians would first attack Britain rather than the United States or Russia or China. The second is the long monologue made by a soldier that seems to profess that it may actually be good for humanity to endure such a cataclysm as an invasion of Martians, as it will toughen the human race and eliminate all the weaklings. This is consistent with the social Darwinist thinking that was prevalent in Wells’ time and is still prevalent with a certain crowd. The story itself is interesting enough, yet for all of Wells’ imagination and scientific speculation he cannot escape the rather provincial sensibilities of a Victorian English gentleman. But this is a book worth reading.

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