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tagesmann

The War Of The Worlds

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This is quite a short book and is an easy read. I had been told it was very good and that I should try it. As I had always meant to one day, I did!

It wasn't that good really.

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I enjoyed it for the most part but as you say it was very short.

 

The ending seems to come overly abruptly which made me feel it could have been extended somewhat.

 

I far prefer the very similar but far more impressive Day of the Triffids. I am Legend is also similar (ish) and possibly my favourite ever book.

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I'm a big fan of H G Wells in general and I have to say I think The War of the Worlds is one of his finest works. Yes, it is short, but it works all the harder in the limited number of pages. There is a wonderful social commentry that sets it apart. It is also beautifully written...

 

"A big greyish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder. As it bulged up and caught the light, it glistened like wet leather."

 

"About a couple of miles out lay an ironclad, very low in the water, almost, to my brother's perception, like a water-logged ship. This was the ram THUNDER CHILD. It was the only warship in sight, but far away to the right over the smooth surface of the sea--for that day there was a dead calm--lay a serpent of black smoke to mark the next ironclads of the Channel Fleet, which hovered in an extended line, steam up and ready for action, across the Thames estuary during the course of the Martian conquest, vigilant and yet powerless to prevent it."

 

There have been many adaptions of the original novel - 4 films (George Pal, Paramount, Asylum and Pendragon - all of which had their flaws and strayed quite far from the original text), a TV series (pretty damn poor), Orson Wells radio version (decent, but again very different) and Jeff Wayne's Musical version (by far my favourite - an absolute classic and the one adaption that has kept closest by far to the original work).

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Nothing to do with the book but my dad had the soundtrack on vinyl and whenever he played it I used to run upstairs and hide - it scared the living daylights out of me. (I think it was the mention of Shepperton which was very near to where we lived !)

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One thing that struck me when I read this that that it is written in such a modern way that I found it hard to believe that it was published in 1898. As with many very old sci-fi stories maybe it doesn't compare as well with more recent stuff, but imo it was groundbreaking stuff and ahead of it's time.

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I've just finished reading this and I loved it. A touch sexist in at least one place I felt but then it was written in 1898.

 

I loved the prose and the characters all seemed real to me, in spite of the fact that nobody seemed to have a name and the ending was a surprise to me. It also managed to chill my blood, which is a major achievement these days.

 

It is short and, up until now, I would have told you that I don't really like short books nor am I partial to science fiction. Clearly I've been reading the wrong books.

 

I have seen the Tom Cruise version - before I read the book - and I thought that it was laughable, and I'm sure that I've seen other versions too, although I have not heard the Orson Wells rendition. The book is so much better.

 

I'd recommend this, it's fabulous. That's the third in a collection of five that I purchased, The Island of Doctor Moreau or The First Men in the Moon to go.

 

Luna

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I'm not much of a sci-fi fan, but I thought I'd give this a go, given its reputation and subsequent influence on the genre. Although the book is short and the plot fairly basic by today's standards, it's clear to see why the story created such a stir when it was first published.

 

For all of the talk of Wells' ability to see into the future (having predicted space travel and the use of chemical weapons), it is the feeling of an utterly helpless human race which grabbed me and made me want to keep reading. This exposure of human frailty must have come as quite a shock to a nation used to wallowing in the comfort and safety of the dominant British Empire of the time and it's hard not to see the novel as something of a critique of British imperialism.

 

Sadly the ending felt a little rushed and a fairly interesting sub-plot involving the narrator's brother never seemed to be fully resolved. Still, it's worth a look as a good period piece, but don't expect great thrills if you're used to reading modern sci-fi, which has evolved almost beyond recognition from these humble beginnings.

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this is one of my dads favourites.... not to sure if it my cup of tea thou especially as i like the jeff wayne musical :confused:

I recently saw the Jeff Wayne musicals anniversary show at the 02 London but going to try not to take that into account when I read the book....lets see how I go with it........

 

 

Twinkle xx

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i love the musical not sure i could read the book just because when i have watched the movie versions i'm really disppointed cause noone breaks into song. think i would be half expecting that when i was reading though the book.

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I recently saw the Jeff Wayne musicals anniversary show at the 02 London but going to try not to take that into account when I read the book....lets see how I go with it........

 

 

Twinkle xx

 

my brother took my dad to see that too for fathers day treat lol

 

i hate the tom cruise version

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i love the musical not sure i could read the book just because when i have watched the movie versions i'm really disppointed cause noone breaks into song. think i would be half expecting that when i was reading though the book.

Yehhh I know what you mean Kelly.....it only cost me a couple of quid so if I dont manage to get into it I havent lost much...now if it had Richard Burtons sexy voice........

 

Twinkle xx

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my brother took my dad to see that too for fathers day treat lol

 

i hate the tom cruise version

Havent seen the Tom Cruise version and from what Ive heard dont think I would like it......

 

Twinkle xx

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i love the musical not sure i could read the book just because when i have watched the movie versions i'm really disppointed cause noone breaks into song. think i would be half expecting that when i was reading though the book.
Oh, believe me, when you are reading the book you do not expect anybody to be breaking into song ;)

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Oh, believe me, when you are reading the book you do not expect anybody to be breaking into song ;)

Really? Looking at some of the quotes in Rod Glenn's post they are word for word the same as Richard Burton's narration. I'm sure I would read them to myself in a Richard Burton voice and expect the instrumentation to start - I know I do when reading Rod's post.

 

[for clarification, I haven't read the book but know the Jeff Wayne score very well indeed]

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Burton's narration is lifted verbatim from the novel.

 

I'm not really familiar with the musical, but I do remember reading the famous line

 

"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said

in one of the early chapters.

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As a big fan of the genre, WOTW's has been on my TBR list for some time. However, having finally got around to reading it, I am sorry to say that I was disappointed with it.

 

It didn't appear to me to have stood the test of time very well and felt rather disjointed when reading between the scientific elements of the description and the landscape and personal relationships aspects.

Neither did I relate in any way to the protagonist. He was weak but not in a way that generated sympathy and would then, very quickly regain his courage at an unrealistic speed, seemingly forgetting his previous horror.

 

Whilst I appreciate how revolutionary this was at the time of publication and cannot deny the influence it has had on the entire Sci-Fi vehicle, it is now antiquated and fails to sparks either wonder or dismay.

 

This will be a book that will going onto the charity shop donation pile.

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Overall, I enjoyed this, having to remind myself from time to time that it was written in serial form in 1897. And, of course, it helps that I don't know the area, so can't be distracted by the way it must have developed over the years. Wells had a lot of describing to do, and I thought he did it very well, except that I couldn't quite visually our Martian friends. I agree with the poster who couldn't relate to the main character and really I felt nothing for him, nor for anyone else. And then, quite suddenly his brother pops up and our hero is reporting his brother's adventures - and his brother's thoughts and feelings, too. That was weird. And then he abandons the poor chap completely! I also agree with those who say the ending was a bit weak. Personally, I'd rather it hadn't finished the way it did, and would have liked that we were left not knowing.

I'm glad I read it, but I won't be keeping the book.

Edited by Ting Mikyunyu

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