- Paperback: 880 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143112392
- ISBN-13: 978-0143112396
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.5 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3,894 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West 1st Edition
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This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "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..."
Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. --Craig E. Engler --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Why, if life was improving so rapidly for so many people at the dawn of the 20th century, were the next hundred years full of brutal conflict? Ferguson (Colossus) has a relatively simple answer: ethnic unrest is prone to break out during periods of economic volatility—booms as well as busts. When they take place in or near areas of imperial decline or transition, the unrest is more likely to escalate into full-scale conflict. This compelling theory is applicable to the Armenian genocide in Turkey, the slaughter of the Tutsis in Rwanda or the "ethnic cleansing" perpetrated against Bosnians, but the overwhelming majority of Ferguson's analysis is devoted to the two world wars and the fate of the Jews in Germany and eastern Europe. His richly informed analysis overturns many basic assumptions. For example, he argues that England's appeasement of Hitler in 1938 didn't lead to WWII, but was a misinformed response to a war that had started as early as 1935. But with Ferguson's claims about "the descent of the West" and the smaller wars in the latter half of the century tucked away into a comparatively brief epilogue, his thoughtful study falls short of its epic promise. (Sept. 25)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
The idea of time travel is one I have obsessed over almost all my life. I'm a little bit of a history nerd, and for that reason, if I ever had access to a time machine, the first place I would go would be the past. Much like Wells, my idea of the future is that it will be a bleak one.
I liked how the time travel was explained in the beginning. It almost made the subject graspable by my tiny brain. But I wasn't crazy about how the story was written. It's mostly a monologue from the Time Traveller (we are never told his name) with no interruptions or interjections from the Medicine Man or the Editor or the completely unnamed narrator.
I found the world he traveled to kind of unimaginative and bland. I suppose in the period this was written it was probably very imaginative, but in a world of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, it just felt kind of lame. Cannibalistic monkey men? Silly men- and women-children? The lesson HG Wells was getting at, I think, was also an important one. What if the caste system (in present day, I guess socioeconomic status) leads to the decline of the human race? Communism (true communism- not the evil dictator kind) could be great but to what end? Everyone is happy in the upper world. With beautiful clothes and vegan diets and and beautiful architecture. But they are also stupid (uneducated?) being likened to happy cattle in a happy field. Which brings us to another point, is ignorance truly bliss? You decide.
This is a very short book but in that time Wells gives the reader a lot to think about.
"And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man."
This one line kind of redeemed the book for me. It seemed like he spent the whole book saying: "We're killing our selves! It will all end badly! Change your ways! Don't end up like stupid cattle!" and then suggested that perhaps these things don't matter so much. What makes us human is our ability to feel for others. What separates the surface dwellers from subterranean cannibal ape men was their capacity for caring. While the story itself doesn't make me feel anything, nor do the characters, I know I'll have plenty to think about for a long while.
by H.G. Wells
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Book Length: 128 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, Classic
H.G. Wells is a classic science fiction writer. His works are well known and have been transcribed into any sort of framework imaginable. Yet, nothing compares to the original work.
Wells' works are short and to the point. In The Time Machine we meet a man who builds a time machine and goes into the future where there are two versions of humans.
On one hand there is the meek and pampered Eloi who are fair and childlike. Below ground there is the ugly and aggressive Morlocks who's use the Eloi as substance.
The writing is a short and interesting story. However, beyond the tale it is a story exploring the upper class and labor class. The Eloi are the upper class who depend on the Morlocks for their basic necessities. They forget to how to take care of themselves yet they maintain some semblance of culture. They congregate together and have a simple language. The Morlocks are the labors. The language of the Morlocks has been reduced to grunts and screeching. Yet they have kept some of the intellect by maintaining the machinery and continuing to provide for the needs of the Eloi.
It is an interesting tale of classism. I wonder what Wells was truly trying to say. In the end neither class ruled the other. Both were dependent on each other for their existence. This codependency resulted in the downfall of both aspects of society.
As reviewed on The Book Recluse Review
In Moreau, Wells explores the nature of man, his place in the scheme of things, as well as man's supposed moral nature set against the amorality of science. Clearly an example of Einstein's famous fear that "our technology has surpassed our humanity." Equally disturbing is the idea that the concept and identity of God clearly is a function of your own personal point of reference and a position ready to be filled by whomever has the power to take it.
In The Time Machine, Wells tackles society, economic realities, and evolution and presents a plausible and terrifying scenario. On one level we have a great sci-fi adventure about the evil and monstrous Moorlocks and the sheep-like but sympathetic Eloi. That is what I read as a kid. However on my re-read I was fascinated when I learned who these races represent and I really can't argue with his theories. I don't want to give anything away, because I HATE spoilers, but I will say that this novel is a social commentary on a level with anything written by Dickens and although I always enjoyed Wells as a masterful and creative story-teller, I now recognize Wells as a great thinker as well. I bought the Delphi edition of his complete works because I want to read everything the man wrote and spend some time with his work.
Then, as a sort of ad-on set piece at the end, Wells' scientist sets his time machine's dial to the distant future to observe, first hand, the end of the world. So logical that a scientist would do this, it fits perfectly into the story and shows how great a storyteller Wells was. However, this scene goes way beyond mere story-telling. I read this section several times. We have read this type of scene before but I will argue that it has never been done anywhere nearly as well as this. Chilling, creepy, unnerving, dark beyond description----absolutely brilliant. This set of scenes put this book onto my all time favorite shelf.