The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

This is surely Wells’ best-known work (followed, but not all that closely, by The Time Machine) and arguably one of the genre-defining works of modern sci-fi; particularly modern “hard” sci-fi. Edgar Rice Burroughs and suchlike folks would later carve out “soft” sci-fi, where the technological aspects play a secondary role to the story, but Wells took a more-than-passing interest in exposition, and the heavy hand of attempted scientific realism casn be felt here. There’s significant glorification of technology and wonder at the unverse (the latter albeit tempered by the sense of menace), all of which remains within the bounds of the understanding of science as it stood at the turn of the century. Some of that realism has been diminished by future contradiction of the contemporary state of knowledge, but for the most part the science has aged well. Stylistically it’s rather flat, but that appears to be by design, as if the work were meant to be a report (not unlike Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year).

See also: Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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