Key Stage: KS4/5
The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells (1898)
‘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’.
Plot: The war of the worlds is written as a memoir of a fictional Martian invasion of South-West England in the late 19th century (around 1898). It follows the exploits of an unnamed narrator as he tries to protect his wife, and later himself, from the invading Martians.
Positives: H.G Wells is considered by many as the father of science fiction, and The War of the Worlds was the first example of an alien invasion story. It tackles topics such as evolution and British imperialism as Humans are no longer at the top of the chain as opposed to their new Martian oppressors. The comparison coming from the fact that the Martians are landing with superior technology and oppressing and at times outright murdering the natives, as was a common feature of British and European colonial expansion of the period.
Negatives: Because the book is over 100 years old, the wording can be seen as quite daunting to younger or more inexperienced readers, and the pacing at times can be quite slow. But overall, I still hold it as one of my all-time favourite books.
Reviewer: Josh Holmes