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The War of the Worlds  
The War of the Worlds first edition.jpg
Cover of the first edition
Author H.G. Wells
Country England
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher William Heinemann
Publication date 1898 [1]
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback) & E-book
Pages 303 pp
Preceded by The Invisible Man
Followed by When the Sleeper Wakes

The War of the Worlds (1898) is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells. It describes the experiences of a character who travels through London as the Earth is invaded by Martians. It is said to be the first story that details a conflict between mankind and an alien race.

The War of the Worlds is split into two parts : Book one: The Coming of the Martians and Book two: The Earth under the Martians. The novel is narrated by an unnamed writer of scientific articles. Throughout the narrative he struggles to reunite with his wife, while witnessing the Martians rampaging through the southern English counties. Part one also features the tale of his brother, who accompanies two women to the coast in the hope of escaping England as it is invaded.

The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism, and generally Victorian fears and prejudices. At the time of publication it was classed as a scientific romance. Since then, it has influenced much literature and other media, spawning several films, radio dramas, comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors.



The narrator is at an observatory in Ottershaw when explosions are witnessed on Mars, causing interest among the scientific community. Later a "meteor" lands on Horsell Common, southwest of London, close to the narrator's home in Woking, Surrey. He is among the first to discover that the object is a space-going artificial cylinder. When the cylinder opens, the Martians — bulky, octopus-like creatures the size of a bear — briefly emerge, show difficulty in coping with the Earth's atmosphere, and rapidly retreat into the cylinder. A human deputation moves towards the cylinder, but the Martians incinerate them with a heat-ray weapon, before beginning the construction of alien machinery.

An army of Martian fighting-machines destroying England.

After the attack, the narrator takes his wife to Leatherhead to stay with relatives until the threat is eliminated. Upon returning home, he discovers the Martians have assembled towering three-legged "fighting-machines" armed with a heat-ray and a chemical weapon: "the black smoke". These Tripods easily defeat army units positioned around the crater and proceed to attack surrounding communities. Fleeing the scene, the narrator meets a retreating artilleryman, who tells him that another cylinder has landed between Woking and Leatherhead, cutting the narrator off from his wife. The two men try to escape together, but are separated at the Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry during a Martian attack on Shepperton. One of the Martian fighting machines is brought down in the River Thames by British artillery, causing its hot heat-ray equipment to almost boil the water as the narrator and countless others try to cross the river into Middlesex.

A Martian fighting-machine battling with HMS Thunder Child

More cylinders land across southern England, and a panicked flight out of London begins, including the narrator's brother who flees to the Essex coast. The torpedo ram HMS Thunder Child destroys two tripods before being sunk by the Martians, though this allows the ship carrying the narrator's brother and his two female travelling companions to escape to continental Europe. Shortly after, all organized resistance has ceased, and the Tripods roam the shattered landscape unhindered. Red weed, a fast growing Martian form of vegetation, spreads over the landscape, aggressively overcoming the Earth's ecology, in much the same way as the Martians have overcome human civilization.

The narrator takes refuge in a ruined building shortly before a Martian cylinder lands nearby, trapping him with an insane curate he had originally met near Shepperton. The curate has been traumatized by the invasion and believes the Martians to be satanic creatures heralding the advent of Armageddon. For several days, the narrator desperately tries to calm the clergyman, and avoid attracting attention, while witnessing the Martians' daily routine, which includes feeding on humans by direct blood transfusion. The curate's evangelical outbursts finally lead the Martians to their hiding place, and while the narrator escapes detection, the clergyman is dragged away.

The Martians eventually depart, and the Narrator heads towards Central London. En route he once again encounters the artilleryman who has plans to rebuild civilization underground, but the artilleryman's quixotic nature is shown by the slow progress of an unimpressive trench he has been digging. The narrator heads into a deserted London and finally decides to give up his life by rushing towards the Martians, only to discover they, along with the Red Weed, have succumbed to terrestrial pathogenic bacteria, to which they have no immunity. At the conclusion, the narrator is unexpectedly reunited with his wife, and they, along with the rest of humanity, are faced with a new and expanded universe as a result of the invasion.


The War of the Worlds is written in a journalistic style, as if a factual account of the invasion, which helps to make the story reasonable. The chapter headings are also similar to newspaper headlines. The narrator is a middle class scientific journalist living in Woking, south west of London, characteristics which make him very similar to Wells himself at the time of writing. The Narrator describes most of the events from first hand observation, often with precise and scientific detail, but also reports events later told to him by his younger brother, to provide a wider perspective on the invasion. The narrator and his brother are not named; neither are the key characters of the artilleryman and the curate.[2]

Writing and setting

While The War of the Worlds is a work of science fiction, much of its setting and premise was grounded in scientific ideas of the time, actual locations in Southern England and aspects of Wells' everyday life in the 1890s.

Scientific setting

Wells trained as a science teacher during the latter half of the 1880s. One of his teachers was T. H. Huxley, famous as a major advocate of Darwinism. He later taught science, and his first book was a biology textbook. He joined the scientific journal Nature as a reviewer in 1894.[3][4] Much of his work is notable for making contemporary ideas of science and technology easily understandable to readers.[5]

The scientific fascinations of the novel are established in the opening chapter, where the narrator views Mars through a telescope, and Wells offers the image of the superior Martians having observed human affairs, as through watching tiny organisms through a microscope. Ironically, it is microscopic Earth lifeforms that finally prove deadly to the invasion force.[6] In 1894 a French astronomer observed a 'strange light' on Mars, and published his findings in the scientific journal Nature on 2 August of that year. Wells used this observation to open the novel, imagining these lights to be the launching of the Martian cylinders towards Earth. American astronomer Percival Lowell published the book Mars in 1895, suggesting features of the planet’s surface observed through telescopes might be canals. He speculated that these might be irrigation channels constructed by a sentient life form to support existence on an arid, dying world, similar to that Wells suggests the Martians have left behind.[2][7] The novel also presents ideas related to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, both in specific ideas discussed by the narrator, and themes explored by the story.

Wells, himself, wrote an essay entitled 'Intelligence on Mars', published in 1896 in the Saturday Review, which sets out many of the ideas for the Martians and their planet that are used almost unchanged in The War of the Worlds.[2] In the essay he speculates about the nature of the Martian inhabitants and how their evolutionary progress might compare to humans. He also suggests that Mars, being an older world than the Earth, might have become frozen and desolate, conditions that might encourage the Martians to find another planet on which to settle.[8]

Physical location

'The Martian' in Woking.

In 1895, Wells was an established writer and he married his second wife, Catherine Robbins, moving with her to the town of Woking in Surrey. Here he spent his mornings walking or cycling in the surrounding countryside, and his afternoons writing. The original idea for The War of the Worlds came from his brother, during one of these walks, pondering on what it might be like if alien beings were to suddenly descend on the scene and start attacking its inhabitants.[9]

Much of the The War of the Worlds takes place around Woking and nearby suburbs. The initial landing site of the Martian invasion force, Horsell Common, was an open area close to Wells' home. In the preface to the Atlantic edition of the novel, he wrote of his pleasure in riding a bicycle around the area, and imagining the destruction of cottages and houses he saw, by the Martian heat-ray or the red weed.[2] While writing the novel, Wells enjoyed shocking his friends by revealing details of the story, and how it was bringing total destruction to parts of the South London landscape that were familiar to them. The characters of the artilleryman, the curate and the medical student were also based on acquaintances in Woking and Surrey.[10]

In the present day, a 7 meter (23 feet) high sculpture of a tripod fighting machine, entitled 'The Martian', based on the description in The War of the Worlds, stands in Crown Passage, close to the local railway station, in Woking.[11]

Cultural setting

His depiction of suburban late Victorian culture in the novel, was an accurate reflection of his own experiences at the time of writing.[12] In the late 19th Century the British Empire was the predominant colonial and military power on the globe, making its domestic heart a poignant and terrifying starting point for an invasion by aliens with their own imperialist agenda.[13] He also drew upon a common fear which had emerged in the years approaching the turn of the century, known at the time as Fin de siècle or 'end of the age', which anticipated apocalypse at midnight on the last day of 1899.[10]


In the late 1890s it was common for novels, prior to full volume publication, to be serialized in magazines or newspapers, with each part of the serialization ending upon a cliff hanger to entice audiences to buy the next edition. This is a practice familiar from the first publication of Charles Dickens' novels in the nineteenth century. The War of the Worlds was first published in serialized form in Pearson's Magazine in 1897.[14] Wells was paid ₤200 and Pearsons demanded to know the ending of the piece before committing to publish.[15]

The complete volume was published by William Heinemann in 1898 and has been in print ever since.

An unauthorized serialization of the novel was published in the United States prior to this, in New York in 1897.[16] A pirated version involving the Martians landing in New England was published by the Boston Post in 1898, which Wells protested against.[3]


The War of the Worlds was generally received very favourably by both readers and critics upon its publication. There was however some criticism of the brutal nature of the events in the narrative.[17]

Relation to invasion literature

The Battle of Dorking front cover

Between 1871 and 1914 over 60 works of fiction for adult readers describing invasions of Great Britain were published. The seminal work was The Battle of Dorking (1871) by George Tomkyns Chesney, an army officer. The book portrays a surprise German attack, with a landing on the South coast of England, made possible by the distraction of the Royal Navy in colonial patrols and the army in an Irish insurrection. The German army makes short work of English Militia and rapidly marches to London. The story was published in Blackwood's Magazine in May 1871, and so popular that it was reprinted a month later as a pamphlet which sold 80,000 copies.[18][19]

The appearance of this literature, much of which might be viewed as contemporary propaganda, reflected the increasing feeling of anxiety and insecurity as international tensions between European Imperial powers escalated towards the outbreak of the First World War. Across the decades, the nationality of the invaders tended to vary, according to the most acutely perceived threat at the time. In the 1870s, the Germans were the most common invaders. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a period of strain on Anglo-French relations, and the signing of a treaty between France and Russia, the French became the more common menace.[18][19]

There are a number of plot similarities between Wells' book and The Battle of Dorking. In both books, a ruthless enemy makes a devastating surprise attack, with the British armed forces helpless to stop its relentless advance and both involve the destruction of the Home Counties of southern England.[19] However, The War of the Worlds transcends the typical fascination of Invasion Literature with European politics, the suitability of contemporary military technology to deal with the armed forces of other nations, and international disputes, with its introduction of an alien adversary.[20]

Although much of Invasion Literature may have been less sophisticated and visionary than Wells' novel, it was a useful, familiar genre to support the publication success of the piece, attracting readers used to such tales. It may also have proved an important foundation for Wells' ideas, as he had never seen or fought in a war.[21]

Scientific predictions and accuracy


Martian canals depicted by Percival Lowell.
The arid, lifeless surface of Mars as seen by the Viking Probe.

Many novels focusing on life on other planets written close to 1900 echo scientific ideas of the time, including Pierre-Simon Laplace's nebular hypothesis, Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, and Gustav Kirchhoff's theory of Spectroscopy. These scientific ideas combined to present the possibility that planets are alike in composition and conditions for the development of species, which would likely lead to the emergence of life at a suitable geological age in a planet's development.[22]

By the time Wells came to write The War of the Worlds, there had been three centuries of observation of Mars through telescopes. Galileo, in 1610, observed the planet's phases and in 1666 Giovanni Cassini identified the polar ice caps.[7] In 1878, Italian astronomer, Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli observed geological features which he called canali (Italian for "channels"). This was mistranslated into English as "canals" which, being artificial watercourses, fueled the belief that there was some sort of intelligent extraterrestrial life on the planet. It has been suggested in recent years, that the canals were actually the result of a disease that made Giovanni see his own eye structure which he assumed were canals. This further influenced American astronomer Percival Lowell.[23]

In 1895 Lowell published a book entitled Mars which speculated about an arid, dying landscape, whose inhabitants had been forced to build canals thousands of miles long to bring water from the polar caps to irrigate the remaining arable land. This formed the most advanced scientific ideas about the conditions on the red planet available to Wells at the time War of the Worlds was written. The concept of canals with flowing water was later proved erroneous by more accurate observation of the planet, and later landings by Russian and American probes such as the two Viking missions which found a lifeless world too cold for water to exist in its liquid state.[7]

Space travel

The Martians travel to the Earth in cylinders, apparently fired from a huge space gun on the surface of Mars. This was a common representation of space travel in the nineteenth Century, and had also been used by Jules Verne in From the Earth to the Moon. Modern scientific understanding renders this idea impractical, as it would be difficult to control the trajectory of the gun precisely, and the force of the explosion necessary to propel the cylinder from the Martian surface to the Earth would likely kill the occupants.[24]

However, the 16 year old Robert H. Goddard was inspired by the story and spent much of his life inventing rockets.[25][26] The research into rockets begun by Goddard eventually culminated in the Apollo program's manned landing on the moon.

Total war

London during 'The Blitz' in WW2.

The Martian invasion proceeds with total disregard for human life; attacks on people and their environment are conducted with the heat-ray, with poisonous gas, the Black Smoke, delivered by rockets, and the Red Weed. These weapons brought almost total destruction to the capital of the British Empire and its surrounding counties. It also involves the strategic destruction of infrastructure such as armament stores, railways and telegraph lines. It appears to be intended to cause maximum casualties, terrorizing and leaving humans without any will to resist. These tactics became more common as the twentieth Century progressed, particularly from the 1930s with the development of mobile weapons and technology capable of 'surgical strikes' on key military and civilian targets.[27]

Wells' vision of a war bringing total destruction without moral limitations in The War of the Worlds were not taken seriously by readers at the time of publication. It was seen as one of a number of fictions which proposed this idea. He later expanded these ideas with more realistic novels such as When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), The War in the Air (1908) and The World Set Free (1914). This kind of 'total war' did not become fully realised until the Second World War, with the Nazi Blitzkrieg, the terrorizing and evacuation of entire civilian populations, and the annihilation of cities.[28]

Weapons and armour

Kudzu, an introduced species in the United States difficult to control.

Wells' description of chemical weapons - the Black Smoke used by the Martian fighting machines to murder human beings en masse - was later a reality during the First World War, with the use of Mustard Gas.[14] The Heat-Ray, used by the Martians to annihilate nineteenth century military technology, and cause widespread devastation, is a precursor to the concept of laser weaponry, now widely familiar. Comparison between lasers and the Heat-Ray was made as early as the later half of the 1950s when lasers were still in development. Prototypes of mobile laser weapons have been developed and it is now being researched and tested as a possible future weapon in space.[27]

Military theorists of the era, including the Royal Navy prior to the First World War, had speculated about building a "fighting-machine" or a "land dreadnought". Wells later further explored the ideas of an armoured fighting vehicle in his short story "The Land Ironclads".[29] There is a high level of science-fiction abstraction in Wells' description of Martian automotive technology; he stresses how Martian machinery is devoid of wheels, using the "muscle-like" contractions of metal discs along an axis to produce movement.


Wells' dramatization of an ecological threat posed by a rapidly growing alien organism, the Red Weed, which spreads over the English landscape, also has parallels in more modern times. Non-native species such as rabbits and prickly pear have been introduced into the Australian landscape, with a damaging impact. Another example is the spread of Kudzu in the United States.[14] However, these species were not introduced with the intention of causing deliberate harm.


Wells's Mentor, Darwinist advocate T. H. Huxley.

Natural selection

H.G. Wells was a student of Thomas Henry Huxley, who was a major influence upon him. Huxley was commonly referred to as 'Darwin's bulldog'. This was as a result of his vigorous defense of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection against criticism by the Victorian religious establishment during the later half of the nineteenth century. They saw the theory of natural selection as an attempt to suggest that the development of life on earth did not require any kind of supernatural explanation such as a divine creator. Darwin's theory suggested that every species was competing to survive in a given environment and the species which had evolved the most useful biological adaptions to that environment, was most likely to survive and produce offspring also possessing these useful characteristics.[30]

In the novel, the conflict between mankind and the Martians is portrayed as a similar struggle. It is a survival of the fittest, with the Martians whose longer period of successful evolution on the older Mars, has led to them developing a superior intelligence, able to create weapons far in advance of humans on the younger planet Earth, who have not had the opportunity to develop sufficient intelligence to construct similar weapons.[30]

Human evolution

The novel also suggests a potential future for human evolution and perhaps a warning against overvaluing intelligence against more human qualities. The Narrator describes the Martians as having evolved an overdeveloped brain, which has left them with cumbersome bodies, with increased intelligence, but a diminished ability to use their emotions, something Wells attributes to bodily function. The Narrator refers to an 1893 publication suggesting that the evolution of the human brain might outstrip the development of the body, and organs such as the stomach, nose, teeth and hair would wither, leaving humans as thinking machines, needing mechanical devices much like the Tripod fighting machines, to be able to interact with their environment. This publication is probably Wells's own "The Man of the Year Million", published in the Pall Mall Gazette on November 6, 1893, which suggests similar ideas.[31][32]

Colonialism and imperialism

Stamp showing British Empire at time of The War of the Worlds publication.

At the time of the Novel's publication the British Empire was in its most aggressive phase of expansion, having conquered and colonized dozens of territories in Africa, Australia, South America, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Atlantic and Pacific islands. It was one of a number of European empires, whose competition to conquer other nations eventually led to the First World War.[13]

While Invasion Literature had provided an imaginative foundation for the idea of the heart of the British Empire being conquered by foreign forces, it was not until The War of the Worlds, that the reading public of the time was presented with an adversary so completely superior to themselves and the Empire they were part of.[33] A significant motivating force behind the success of The British Empire was its use of sophisticated technology; the Martians, also attempting to establish an empire on Earth, have technology superior to their British adversaries.[34] In writing The War of the Worlds, Wells turned the confident position of a reader in the British Empire on its head, putting an imperial power in the position of being the victim of imperial aggression and thus perhaps encouraging the reader to consider the nature of imperialism itself.[33]

Wells suggests this idea in the following passage from the novel:

And before we judge them [the Martians] too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished Bison and the Dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?
—Chapter I, "The Eve of the War"

This also challenged the Victorian notion of there being a natural order, in which the British Empire had a right to rule through their own superiority over subject races.[33]

Social Darwinism

The novel also dramatizes the ideas of race presented in Social Darwinism, an ideology of some prominence at the time it was written. The Martians exercise over humans their 'rights' as a superior race, more advanced in evolution.[35]

Social Darwinism was a theory which applied Darwin's theory of Natural Selection to ethnic groups and social classes. It suggested that the success of these different ethnic groups in world affairs, and social classes in a society were the result of evolutionary forces, a struggle in which the group or class more fit to succeed did so; i.e., the ability of an ethnic group to dominate other ethnic groups, or the chance to succeed or rise to the top of society was determined by biology, not by the effort of individuals, and the offspring of the dominant groups were destined to succeed because they were more evolved. In more modern times it is typically seen as dubious and unscientific for its apparent use of Darwin's ideas to justify the position of the rich and powerful, or dominant ethnic groups. It was a theory exploited by the Nazis to justify their actions, was at one time used to justify the repression of women, and even used to justify sterilizing people thought to belong to an inferior type.[36]

Wells was born into a family which, while middle class, was not well to do and matured in a society where the merit of an individual was not considered as important as their social class of origin. His father was a professional sportsman, which was seen as inferior, because this was an area that 'gentlemen' only indulged in as an amateur pastime. His mother was at one time a domestic servant, and Wells himself was, prior to his writing career, apprenticed to a draper. His achievements were hard won. Trained as a scientist, well aware of evolutionary theory, he was able to relate his experiences of struggle to Darwin's idea of a world of struggle, but he saw science as a rational system, which extended beyond traditional ideas of race, class and religious notions, and this gave his fiction a critical edge which challenged the use of science to explain political and social norms of the day.[37]

Religion and science

Good and evil appear to be entirely relative in The War of the Worlds, and the defeat of the Martians does not involve any kind of direct divine action. It is as a result of an entirely material cause, the action of microscopic bacteria. An insane clergyman is a key character in the novel, but his attempts to relate the invasion to some kind of biblical enactment of Armageddon seem only to reinforce his mental derangement.[32] His death, as a result of his evangelical outbursts and ravings attracting the attention of the Martians, appears to be an indictment of his outdated religious attitudes making him a candidate for culling by natural selection, at the hands of the superior evolved Martians.[38]


A Princess of Mars cover.

Mars and Martians

The novel originated several enduring Martian tropes in science fiction writing. These include Mars being an ancient world, nearing the end of its life, being the home of a superior civilization, capable of advanced feats of science and engineering, and also being a source of invasion forces, keen to conquer the Earth. The first two tropes were prominent in Edgar Rice Burroughs "Barsoom" series, beginning with A Princess of Mars in 1912.[7]

Influential scientist Freeman Dyson, a key figure in the search for extraterrestrial life, also acknowledges his debt to reading H.G. Wells' fictions as a child.[39]

The publication and reception of The War of the Worlds also established the vernacular term of 'martian', as a description for something offworldly or unknown.[40]

Aliens and alien invasion


Wells is credited with establishing several extraterrestrial themes which were later greatly expanded by science fiction writers in the 20th Century, including first contact and war between planets and their differing species. There were, however, stories of aliens and alien invasion prior to publication of The War of the Worlds.[41]

In 1727 Jonathan Swift published Gulliver's Travels. The tale included a race of beings similar but not identical to humanity, who are obsessed with mathematics and are superior to humans. They populate a floating island fortress called Laputa, four and one half miles in diameter, which uses its shadow to prevent sun and rain from reaching earthly nations over which it travels, ensuring they will pay tribute to the Laputians.[42] Voltaire's Micromégas (1752) includes two aliens, from Saturn and Sirius, who are of immense size and visit the Earth out of curiosity. At first they think the planet is uninhabited, due to the difference in scale between them and the peoples of Earth. When they discover the haughty Earth-centric views of Earth philosophers, they are greatly amused by how important Earth beings think they are compared to greater beings in the universe such as themselves.[43]

In 1892 Robert Potter, an Australian Clergyman, published The Germ Growers in London. It describes a covert invasion by aliens who take on the appearance of human beings and attempt to develop a virulent disease to assist in their plans for global conquest. It was not widely read, and consequently Wells' vastly more successful novel is generally credited as the seminal alien invasion story.[41]

The first science fiction to be set on Mars may be Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record, by Percy Greg, published in 1880. It was a long-winded book concerned with a civil war on Mars. Another Mars novel, although dealing with benevolent martians coming to Earth to give humankind the benefit of their advanced knowledge, was published in 1897 by Kurd Lasswitz, Two Planets (Auf Zwei Planeten). It was not translated until 1971, and thus may not have influenced Wells, although it did depict a Mars influenced by the ideas of Percival Lowell.[44] Other examples are Mr. Stranger's Sealed Packet (1889), which took place on Mars, Gustavus W. Popes's Journey to Mars (1894), and Ellsworth Douglas's Pharaoh's Broker, in which the protagonist encounters an Egyptian civilization on Mars which, while parallel to that of the Earth has evolved somehow independently.[45]

Early examples of influence on science fiction

Wells had already proposed another outcome for the alien invasion story in The War of the Worlds. When the Narrator meets the artilleryman the second time, the artilleryman imagines a future where humanity, hiding underground in sewers and tunnels, conducts a guerrilla war, fighting against the Martians for generations to come, and eventually, after learning how to duplicate Martian weapon technology, destroys the invaders and takes back the Earth.[38]

War of the Worlds, 1927 reprint in Amazing Stories.

Six weeks after publication of the novel, the Boston Post newspaper published another alien invasion story, an unauthorized sequel to The War of the Worlds, which turned the tables on the invaders. Edison's Conquest of Mars was written by Garrett P. Serviss, a now little remembered writer, who described the famous inventor Thomas Edison leading a counterattack against the invaders on their home soil.[14]. Though this is actually a sequel to 'Fighters from Mars', a revised and unauthorised reprint of War of the Worlds, they both were first printed in the Boston Post in 1898[46]. Lazar Lagin published "Major Well Andyou" in USSR in 1962, an alternative view of events in "War of the Worlds" from the point of a traitor.

The War of the Worlds was reprinted in the United States in 1927, before the Golden Age of science fiction, by Hugo Gernsback in Amazing Stories. John W. Campbell, another key editor of the era, and periodic short story writer, published several alien invasion stories in the 1930s. Many well known science fiction writers were to follow, including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Clifford Simak and Robert A. Heinlein, with The Puppet Masters, in 1953.[16]

Later examples

The theme of alien invasion has remained popular to the present day, some more recent examples in science fiction literature being Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, the "Worldwar" series by Harry Turtledove and Orson Scott Card's Enders Game. Examples from television and film include the 1980s V science fiction franchise, the 1990s films Independence Day, Tim Burton's farcical Mars Attacks! the television series The X-Files. And the xbox video game series Halo, which depicts a futuristic war of humans fighting a highly advanced alliance of aliens called the Covenant.

Also, Alan Moore's graphic novel, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II, retells the events in The War of the Worlds.


Other narratives, in addition to utilizing the alien invasion trope, also involve the appearance of tripod alien fighting machines. The Tripods, a science fiction trilogy for young adults written in the late 1960s by John Christopher is perhaps the most prominent example. The books, which were later part dramatized by the BBC in the mid 1980s, depict an invasion by aliens known as 'The Masters', whose superior technology easily defeats modern armies. Set centuries later, human beings are subdued by pacifying mind control devices, and watched over by the aliens, who use Tripods as transport. The tripods give no clue as to the nature of their occupants, and are worshiped by the majority of humanity. They are eventually defeated by a rebellion using rediscovered Earth technology and human ingenuity.[47] John Christopher admitted (in a BBC documentary called The Cult of the Tripods) that the alien war machines were inspired, at least subconsciously, by The War of the Worlds.

The computer game Half-Life 2 is a more recent example, with an apparent homage to The War of the Worlds in the appearance of tripod fighting machines known as Striders used by the alien invaders.[48] With another example being the video game Unreal Tournament III with one of the vehicles used by the antagonists, the artificially sustained reanimated Necris, being a large tripod called the Darkwalker that functions very similar to those in War of the Worlds.

See also


  1. ^ Facsimile of the original 1st edition
  2. ^ a b c d Batchelor, John (1985). H.G. Wells. Cambridge University Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 052127804X. 
  3. ^ a b Parrinder, Patrick (1997). H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage. Routledge. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0415159105. 
  4. ^ Parrinder, Patrick (1981). The Science Fiction of H.G. Wells. Oxford University Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-19-502812-0. 
  5. ^ Haynes, Rosylnn D. (1980). H.G. Wells Discover of the Future. Macmillan. p. 239. ISBN 0-333-27186-6. 
  6. ^ Batchelor, John (1985). H.G. Wells. Cambridge University Press. p. 50. ISBN 052127804X. 
  7. ^ a b c d Baxter, Stephen (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "H.G. Wells’ Enduring Mythos of Mars". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 186–7. ISBN 1932100555. 
  8. ^ Haynes, Rosylnn D. (1980). H.G. Wells Discover of the Future. Macmillan. p. 240. ISBN 0-333-27186-6. 
  9. ^ Martin, Christopher (1988). H.G. Wells. Wayland. pp. 42–43. ISBN 1-85210-489-9. 
  10. ^ a b Flynn, John L. (2005). War of the Worlds: From Wells to Speilberg. Galactic Books. pp. 12–19. ISBN 0976940000. 
  11. ^ Pearson, Lynn F. (2006). Public Art Since 1950. Osprey Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 074780642X. 
  12. ^ Lackey, Mercedes (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "In Woking's Image". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 216. ISBN 1932100555. 
  13. ^ a b Franklin, H. Bruce (2008). War Stars. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 65. ISBN 1558496513. 
  14. ^ a b c d Gerrold, David (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "War of the Worlds". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 202–205. ISBN 1932100555, 9781932100556. 
  15. ^ Parrinder, Patrick (1997). H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage. Routledge. pp. 8. ISBN 0415159105. 
  16. ^ a b Urbanski, Heather (2007). Plagues, Apocalypses and Bug-Eyed Monsters. McFarland. p. 156. ISBN 078642916X, 9780786429165. 
  17. ^ Aldiss, Brian W.; Wingrove, David (1986). Trillion Year Spree: the History of Science Fiction. London: Victor Gollancz. p. 123. ISBN 0-575-03943-4. 
  18. ^ a b Eby, Cecil D. (1988). The Road to Armageddon: The Martial Spirit in English Popular Literature, 1870-1914. Duke University Press. pp. 11–13. ISBN 0822307758. 
  19. ^ a b c Batchelor, John (1985). H.G. Wells. CUP Archive. p. 7. ISBN 052127804X. 
  20. ^ Parrinder, Patrick (2000). Learning from Other Worlds. Liverpool University Press. p. 142. ISBN 0853235848. 
  21. ^ McConnell, Frank (1981). The Science Fiction of H.G. Wells. Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-19-502812-0. 
  22. ^ Guthke, Karl S. (1990). The Last Frontier: Imagining Other Worlds from the Copernican Revolution to Modern Fiction. Translated by Helen Atkins. Cornell University Press. pp. 368-9. ISBN 0-8014-1680-9.
  23. ^ Seed, David (2005). A Companion to Science Fiction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 546. ISBN 1405112182. 
  24. ^ Meadows, Arthur Jack (2007). The Future of the Universe. Springer. p. 5. ISBN 1852339462. 
  25. ^ Goddard Biography
  26. ^ "Robert Goddard and His Rockets". NASA. 
  27. ^ a b Gannon, Charles E. (2005). Rumours of War and Infernal Machines. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 99–100. ISBN 0742540359. 
  28. ^ Parrinder, Patrick (1997). H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage. Routledge. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0415159105. 
  29. ^ Landships: Armored Vehicles for Colonial-era Gaming
  30. ^ a b Williamson, Jack (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "The Evolution of the Martians". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 189–195. ISBN 1932100555, 9781932100556. 
  31. ^ Haynes, Rosylnn D. (1980). H.G. Wells Discover of the Future. Macmillan. pp. 129–131. ISBN 0-333-27186-6. 
  32. ^ a b Draper, Michael (1987). H.G. Wells. Macmillan. pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-333-40747-4. 
  33. ^ a b c Zebrowski, George (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "The Fear of the Worlds". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 235–41. ISBN 1932100555. 
  34. ^ Roberts, Adam (2006). The The History of Science Fiction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 148. ISBN 0-333-97022-5. 
  35. ^ Parrinder, Patrick (2000). Learning from Other Worlds. Liverpool University Press. p. 137. ISBN 0853235848. 
  36. ^ McClellan, James Edward; Dorn, Harold (2006). Science and Technology in World History. JHU Press. pp. 378–90. ISBN 0801883601. 
  37. ^ Roberts, Adam (2006). The The History of Science Fiction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 143–44. ISBN 0-333-97022-5. 
  38. ^ a b Batchelor, John (1985). H.G. Wells. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 052127804X. 
  39. ^ Basalla, George (2006). Civilized Life in the Universe: Scientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials. Oxford University Press US. p. 91. ISBN 0195171810, 9780195171815. 
  40. ^ Silverberg, Robert (2005). Glenn Yeffeth. ed. "Introduction". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H.G. Wells classic/ edited by Glenn Yeffeth (BenBalla): 12. ISBN 1932100555. 
  41. ^ a b Flynn, John L. (2005). War of the Worlds: From Wells to Speilberg. Galactic Books. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0976940000. 
  42. ^ Guthke, Karl S. (1990). The Last Frontier: Imagining Other Worlds from the Copernican Revolution to Modern Fiction. Translated by Helen Atkins. Cornell University Press. pp. 300-301. ISBN 0-8014-1680-9.
  43. ^ Guthke, Karl S. (1990). The Last Frontier: Imagining Other Worlds from the Copernican Revolution to Modern Fiction. Translated by Helen Atkins. Cornell University Press. pp. 301-304. ISBN 0-8014-1680-9.
  44. ^ Hotakainen, Markus (2008). Mars: A Myth Turned to Landscape. Springer. p. 205. ISBN 0387765077. 
  45. ^ Westfahl, Gary (2000). Space and Beyond. Greenwood Publishing Groups. p. 38. ISBN 0313308462. 
  46. ^ Edison’s Conquest of Mars, "Forward" by Robert Godwin, Apogee Books 2005
  47. ^ Flynn, John L. (2005). War of the Worlds: From Wells to Spielberg. Galactic Books. pp. 169–173. ISBN 0976940000. 
  48. ^ "Half Life 2". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 

External links


  • Yeffeth, Glenn (Editor) (2005) The War of the Worlds: Fresh Perspectives on the H. G. Wells Classic. Publisher: Benbella Books ISBN 1932100555
  • Coren, Michael (1993) The Invisible Man : The Life and Liberties of H.G. Wells. Publisher: Random House of Canada. ISBN 0394222520
  • Roth, Christopher F. (2005) "Ufology as Anthropology: Race, Extraterrestrials, and the Occult." In E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces, ed. by Debbora Battaglia. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
  • Gosling, John. Waging the War of the Worlds. Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland, 2009 (paperback, ISBN 0786441054).


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to H. G. Wells article)

From Wikiquote

The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is or has been is but the twilight of the dawn.

Herbert George Wells (1866-09-211946-08-13) was a British writer best known for his science fiction novels such as The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Time Machine; also for Kipps, The History of Mr. Polly and other social satires.

See also :
In the Days of the Comet
The Outline of History



  • Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness.
  • I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort and ease, a balanced society with security and permanency as its watchword, it had attained its hopes—to come to this at last.
  • It is a law of Nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble. An animal perfectly in harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism. Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have to meet a huge variety of needs and dangers.
  • "There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope."
  • "We were making the future," he said, "and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!"
  • The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is or has been is but the twilight of the dawn.
    • The Discovery of the Future (1901)
  • Money and credit are as much human contrivances as bicycles, and as liable to expansion and modification as any other sort of prevalent but imperfect machine.
    And how will the new republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black? how will it deal with the yellow man? how will it tackle that alleged termite in the civilized woodwork, the Jew? Certainly not as races at all. It will aim to establish, and it will at last, though probably only after a second century has passed, establish a world state with a common language and a common rule. All over the world its roads, its standards, its laws, and its apparatus of control will run. It will, I have said, make the multiplication of those who fall behind a certain standard of social efficiency unpleasant and difficult… The Jew will probably lose much of his particularism, intermarry with Gentiles, and cease to be a physically distinct element in human affairs in a century or so. But much of his moral tradition will, I hope, never die. … And for the rest, those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency?
    Well, the world is a world, not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go.The whole tenor and meaning of the world, as I see it, is that they have to go. So far as they fail to develop sane, vigorous, and distinctive personalities for the great world of the future, it is their portion to die out and disappear.
    The world has a greater purpose than happiness; our lives are to serve God's purpose, and that purpose aims not at man as an end, but works through him to greater issues.
  • Kipps was unprepared for the unpleasant truth; that the path of social advancement is and must be strewn with broken friendships.
  • And in the air are no streets, no channels, no point where one can say of an antagonist, "If he wants to reach my capital he must come by here." In the air all directions lead everywhere.
  • The third peculiarity of aerial warfare was that it was at once enormously destructive and entirely indecisive.
    • The War in the Air
  • Nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the early twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bombs burst in their fumbling hands.
  • The catastrophe of the atomic bombs which shook men out of cities and businesses and economic relations, shook them also out of their old-established habits of thought, and out of the lightly held beliefs and prejudices that came down to them from the past.
    • The World Set Free
  • Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
    • The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman (1914)
  • Cynicism is humour in ill health.
    • Boon, The Mind of the Race, The Wild Asses of the Devil, and The Last Trump (1915)
  • The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf. It's almost a law.
    • Bealby: A Holiday (1915)
  • He was inordinately proud of England, and he abused her incessantly.
    • Mr. Britling Sees It Through, Bk. 1, ch. 2, sect. 2 (1916)
  • Since the passing of Victoria the Great there had been an accumulating uneasiness in the national life. It was as if some compact and dignified paper-weight had been lifted from people's ideas, and as if at once they had begun to blow about anyhow.
    • The Soul of a Bishop (1917)
  • Humanity either makes, or breeds, or tolerates all its afflictions, great or small.
    • Joan and Peter: The Story of an Education (1918)
  • A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
    • The Salvaging of Civilization (1921)
  • Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature's inexorable imperative.
    • A Short History of the World (1922)
  • An artist who theorizes about his work is no longer artist but critic.
    • The Temptaion of Harringay (1929)
  • In England we have come to rely upon a comfortable time lag of fifty years or a century intervening between the perception that something ought to be done and a serious attempt to do it.
    • The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind, Ch. 11 (1931)
  • How far can we anticipate the habitations and ways, the usages and adventures, the mighty employments, the ever increasing knowledge and power of the days to come? No more than a child with its scribbling paper and its box of bricks can picture or model the undertakings of its adult years. Our battle is with cruelties and frustrations, stupid, heavy and hateful things from which we shall escape at last, less like victors conquering a world than like sleepers awaking from a nightmare in the dawn.... A time will come when men will sit with history before them or with some old newspaper before them and ask incredulously,"Was there ever such a world?"
    • The Open Conspiracy (1933)
  • I was never a great amorist, though I have loved several people very deeply.
    • An Experiment in Autobiography (1934)
  • If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
    • The Anatomy of Frustration (1936)
  • When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine.
    • 1935 speech at Barber's Hall, London, included in Round the World for Birth Control (1937) edited by the Birth Control International Information Centre
  • We are living in 1937, and our universities, I suggest, are not half-way out of the fifteenth century. We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century - for several centuries.
  • The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive "policies" and "Plans" of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word "socialism", but what else can one call it?
  • Mankind which began in a cave and behind a windbreak will end in the disease-soaked ruins of a slum.
    • The Fate of Man, ch. 26 (1939)
  • The crisis of yesterday is the joke of to-morrow.
    • You Can't be Too Careful (1941)
  • Heresies are experiments in man's unsatisfied search for truth.
    • Crux Ansata: An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church (1943)
  • There comes a moment in the day when you have written your pages in the morning, attended to your correspondence in the afternoon, and have nothing further to do. Then comes that hour when you are bored; that’s the time for sex.
    • Quoted in Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography (1964)
  • And here one may note a curious comparison which can be made between this [ascidian] life-history and that of many a respectable pinnacle and gargoyle on the social fabric. Every respectable citizen of the professional classes passes through a period of activity and imagination, of "liveliness and eccentricity," of "Sturm und Drang." He shocks his aunts. Presently, however, he realizes the sober aspect of things. He becomes dull; he enters a profession; suckers appear on his head; and he studies. Finally, by virtue of these he settles down—he marries. All his wild ambitions and subtle æsthetic perceptions atrophy as needless in the presence of calm domesticity. He secretes a house, or "establishment," round himself, of inorganic and servile material. His Bohemian tail is discarded. Henceforth his life is a passive receptivity to what chance and the drift of his profession bring along; he lives an almost entirely vegetative excrescence on the side of a street, and in the tranquillity of his calling finds that colourless contentment that replaces happiness.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

For adaptations based on the novel see The War of the Worlds (disambiguation).
  • No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.
    • Ch. 1
  • 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.
    • Ch. 1
  • In another moment I had scrambled up the earthen rampart and stood upon its crest, and the interior of the redoubt was below me. A mighty space it was, with gigantic machines here and there within it, huge mounds of material and strange shelter places. And scattered about it, some in their overturned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians—dead!—slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.
    • Ch. 25
  • For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things--taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many--those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance--our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.
    • Ch. 25

A Modern Utopia (1905)

  • Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.
    • Ch. 2, sect. 3
  • Fools make researches and wise men exploit them—that is our earthly way of dealing with the question, and we thank Heaven for an assumed abundance of financially impotent and sufficiently ingenious fools.
    • Ch. 2, sect. 5
  • One of the darkest evils of our world is surely the unteachable wildness of the Good.
    • Ch. 2, sect. 6
  • The science hangs like a gathering fog in a valley, a fog which begins nowhere and goes nowhere, an incidental, unmeaning inconvenience to passers-by.
    • Ch. 3, sect. 3
  • Biologically the species is the accumulation of the experiments of all its successful individuals since the beginning.
    • Ch. 3, sect. 4
  • There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly. Ugliness is the measure of imperfection.
    • Ch. 3, sect. 8
  • Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State's failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community.
    • Ch. 5, sect. 2
  • But man is the unnatural animal, the rebel child of Nature, and more and more does he turn himself against the harsh and fitful hand that reared him.
    • Ch. 5, sect. 2
  • For crude classifications and false generalisations are the curse of all organised human life.
    • Ch. 10, sect. 1
  • The true objection to slavery is not that it is unjust to the inferior but that it corrupts the superior. There is only one sane and logical thing to be done with a really inferior race, and that is to exterminate it. Now there are various ways of exterminating a race, and most of them are cruel. You may end it with fire and sword after the old Hebrew fashion; you may enslave it and work it to death, as the Spaniards did the Caribs; you may set it boundaries and then poison it slowly with deleterious commodities, as the Americans do with most of their Indians; you may incite it to wear clothing to which it is not accustomed and to live under new and strange conditions that will expose it to infectious diseases to which you yourselves are immune, as the missionaries do the Polynesians; you may resort to honest simple murder, as we English did with the Tasmanians; or you can maintain such conditions as conduce to “race suicide,” as the British administration does in Fiji.
    • Ch. 10, sect. 3
  • The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.
    • Appendix, Scepticism of the Instrument

The Outline of History (1920)

  • The Buddha Is Nearer to Us You see clearly a man, simple, devout, lonely, battling for light, a vivid human personality, not a myth. Beneath a mass of miraculous fable I feel that there also was a man. He too, gave a message to mankind universal in its character. Many of our best modern ideas are in closest harmony with it. All the miseries and discontents of life are due, he taught, to selfishness. Selfishness takes three forms --one, the desire to satisfy the senses; second, the craving for immortality; and the third the desire for prosperity and worldliness. Before a man can become serene he must cease to live for his senses or himself. Then he merges into a greater being. Buddha in a different language called men to self-forgetfulness five hundred years before Christ. In some ways he was near to us and our needs. Buddha was more lucid upon our individual importance in service than Christ, and less ambiguous upon the question of personal immortality.
    • Ch. 25
  • Ashoka (264 to 227 B.C.), one of the great monarchs of history, whose dominions extended from Afghanistan to Madras... is the only military monarch on record who abandoned warfare after victory. He had invaded Kalinga (255 B.C.), a country along the east coast of Madras, perhaps with some intention of completing the conquest of the tip of the Indian peninsula. The expedition was successful, but he was disgusted by what be saw of the cruelties and horrors of war. He declared, in certain inscriptions that still exist, that he would no longer seek conquest by war, but by religion, and the rest of his life was devoted to the spreading of Buddhism throughout the world.He seems to have ruled his vast empire in peace and with great ability. He was no mere religious fanatic. For eight and twenty years Asoka worked sanely for the real needs of men. Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses and the like, the name of Asoka shines, and shines, almost alone, a star. From the Volga to Japan his name is still honoured. China, Tibet, and even India, though it has left his doctrine, preserve the tradition of his greatness. More living men cherish his memory to-day than have ever heard the names of Constantine or Charlemagne.
  • The doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven, which was the main teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that ever stirred and changed human thought.
    • Ch. 28
  • The professional military mind is by necessity an inferior and unimaginative mind; no man of high intellectual quality would willingly imprison his gifts in such a calling.
    • Ch. 40
  • Human history is in essence a history of ideas.
    • Ch. 40
  • Every one of these hundreds of millions of human beings is in some form seeking happiness...Not one is altogether noble nor altogether trustworthy nor altogether consistent; and not one is altogether vile...Not a single one but has at some time wept.
    • Ch. 40
  • Our true nationality is mankind.
    • Ch. 41
  • Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe... Yet, clumsily or smoothly, the world, it seems, progresses and will progress.
    • Ch. 41
  • Life begins perpetually. Gathered together at last under the leadership of man, the student-teacher of the universe... unified, disciplined, armed with the secret powers of the atom, and with knowledge as yet beyond dreaming, Life, forever dying to be born afresh, forever young and eager, will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars.
    • Ch. 41
  • The weaving of mankind into one community does not imply the creation of a homogeneous community, but rather the reverse; the welcome and adequate utilization of distinctive quality in an atmosphere of understanding... Communities all to one pattern, like boxes of toy soldiers, are things of the past, rather than of the future.
  • A time when all such good things will be for all men may be coming more nearly than we think. Each one who believes that brings the good time nearer; each heart that fails delays it.

Things to Come (1936)

  • Oswald Cabal: Dragging out life to the last possible second is not living to the best effect. The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat. The best of life, Passworthy, lies nearest to the edge of death.
  • Rowena: I don’t suppose any man has ever understood any woman since the beginning of things. You don’t understand our imaginations, how wild our imaginations can be.
  • The Boss: You are not mechanics, you are warriors. You have been trained, not to think, but to do.
  • The Boss: The State’s your mother, your father, the totality of your interests. No discipline can be too severe for the man that denies that by word or deed.
  • Rowena: You’ve got the subtlety of a bullfrog.
  • Oswald Cabal: There’s nothing wrong in suffering, if you suffer for a purpose. Our revolution didn’t abolish danger or death. It simply made danger and death worthwhile.
  • 'Pippa' Passworthy: This little upset across the water doesn’t mean anything. Threatened men live long and threatened wars never occur.
  • John Cabal: If we don’t end war, war will end us.
  • Raymond Passworthy: Oh, God, is there ever to be any age of happiness? Is there never to be any rest?
  • Oswald Cabal: Rest enough for the individual man, too much and too soon, and we call it death. But for Man, no rest and no ending. He must go on, conquest beyond conquest. First, this little planet and its winds and ways. And then all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him, and, at last, out across immensity to the stars. And when he has conquered all the depths of space, and all the mysteries of time, still he will be beginning...
  • Raymond Passworthy: But... we're such little creatures. Poor humanity's so fragile, so weak. Little... little animals.
  • Oswald Cabal: Little animals. And if we’re no more than animals, we must snatch each little scrap of happiness, and live, and suffer, and pass, mattering no more than all the other animals do or have done. It is this, or that. All the universe or nothing. Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?

World Brain (1938)

  • This World Encyclopaedia would be the mental background of every intelligent man in the world. It would be alive and growing and changing continually under revision, extension and replacement from the original thinkers in the world everywhere. Every university and research institution should be feeding it. Every fresh mind should be brought into contact with its standing editorial organization. And on the other hand, its contents would be the standard source of material for the instructional side of school and college work, for the verification of facts and the testing of statements -- everywhere in the world. Even journalists would deign to use it; even newspaper proprietors might be made to respect it. (p.14)
  • The modern World Encyclopaedia should consist of relations, extracts, quotations, very carefully assembled with the approval of outstanding authorities in each subject, carefully collated and edited and critically presented. It would not be a miscellany, but a concentration, a clarification and a synthesis. (p.20)
  • We have been gradually brought to the pitch of imagining and framing our preliminary ideas of a federal world control of such things as communications, health, money, economic adjustments, and the suppression of crime. In all these material things we have begun to foresee the possibility of a world-wide network being woven between all men about the earth. So much of the World Peace has been brought into the range of -- what shall I call it? -- the general imagination. But I do not think we have yet given sufficient attention to the prior necessity, of linking together its mental organizations into a much closer accord than obtains at the present time. All these ideas of unifying mankind's affairs depend ultimately for their realization on mankind having a unified mind for the job. The want of such effective mental unification is the key to most of our present frustrations. While men's minds are still confused, their social and political relations will remain in confusion, however great the forces that are grinding them against each other and however tragic and monstrous the consequences. (p.39-40)
  • A great new world is struggling into existence. But its struggle remains catastrophic until it can produce an adequate knowledge organisation ... An immense, an ever-increasing wealth of knowledge is scattered about the world today, a wealth of knowledge and suggestion that – systematically ordered and generally disseminated – would probably give this giant vision and direction and suffice to solve all the mighty difficulties of our age, but the knowledge is still dispersed, unorganised, impotent in the face of adventurous violence and mass excitement. (p.66-67)
  • We are living in 1937, and our universities, I suggest, are not half-way out of the fifteenth century. We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century - for several centuries.
  • The general public has still to realize how much has been done in this field and how many competent and disinterested men and women are giving themselves to this task. The time is close at hand when any student, in any part of the world, will be able to sit with his projector in his own study at his or her own convenience to examine any book, any document, in an exact replica.

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The War of the Worlds
by H. G. Wells
Information about this edition
The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novella which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. It is one of the earliest and best-known depictions of an alien invasion of Earth, and has influenced many others, as well as spawning several films, a radio drama and a television series based on the story.— Excerpted from The War of the Worlds on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cover of the 1927 edition.
But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be inhabited?...
Are we or they lords of the world?...
And how are all things made for man?
-- KEPLER (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy)

Book One: The Coming of the Martians

Book Two: The Earth Under the Martians

PD-icon.svg This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain). Flag of the United States.svg

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