Friday, February 17, 2012

ReView of the WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G. Wells

After reading The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, I was fearful that War of the Worlds might dissapoint me just as much.  That was not the case.  In fact, it more than surprised me, it exceeded my expectations.  It is delectable with tints of cinnamon intensity, savory and tasty in its well-thought out main course, and sprinkled with the finishing touches of mystery.

This book has stood the test of time, and moreover has not diminished in its power to create a sense of astonishment for the reader.  It came into being at a time when invasions of extraterrestials were only, maybe and possibly, entertained by few of the generation.  He dared to create a world of possibility for those at the time.  But he also created a world of mirroring reflection for those of us today.  While back then "no one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbably," today we can read this novel and realize that is not only a possibility or probability but in fact reality.  Not only do we know we might (and I use 'might' only because we haven't yet been able to 'prove' it exactly), we might not be alone in the universe, but we also have wreaked havoc on each other here on Earth just as the Martians did in H.G Well's town of The War of the Worlds.

Let's talk about the Martians.  "The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts." Well, if this doesn't spell out the future of our evolution, what does?  There is a curious warning in this book: beware of the need to evolve to survive.  Sacrifices must be made in order to survive, and so the Martians had sacrificed their hearts in the process for their need to survive.  In today world, where war and millitary enlargment has become a dominant themes of our generation and culture, who's to say H.G. Wells didn't paint exactly what could and possibly will happen to us in the process?  Will we become the Martians H.G. Well so clearly portrayed in this book?  Are we to become a culture at the root of mass anxiety?  An enemy of those less 'intelligent' casually destroying as a means to survive, sacrificing the most crucial component of our humanity, becoming ultimately unknowable, unrecognizable as human beings, becoming 'Martians?' Food for thought, or conversation.....

It is also possible that maybe some of us will not take the path described above, maybe we will be left to a different demise.  The main character says the following: "Perhaps I am a man of exceptional moods, I do not know how far my experience is common.  At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of stress and tragedy of it all."

Sure, this novel is about Martians invading and destroying humanity.  Above and beyond that it is so much more from so many perspectives.  This is a book that makes you want to introduce it to your children, the first encounter to science-fiction.  And justly so, because what a better book to proceed all other science-fiction - as it always has and always will be.  This book will place a desire in you to read more of H.G. Wells' novels.

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