The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells (1898)

As an English Literature graduate it’s hard to admit that I don’t much care for this science-fiction classic. I’ve enjoyed many works by H.G. Wells over the years but was rather cold to this particular one, and revisiting it this time didn’t change much. On the one hand, the story itself is absolutely fantastic, not to mention rather ahead of its time in depicting the fear and chaos that accompanies a hostile Martian arrival on Earth. In addition, the writing itself is wonderfully sophisticated, managing to transcend its rather B-level genre and narrative structure. But it’s precisely that sophistication that makes the novel feel about twice as long as it is, because as much as it’s well written, that heightened literary approach manages to dull any sense of danger from beginning to end as it constantly draws attention to itself instead of immersing the reader in its narrative. The narrator and his accompanying characters are all fairly anonymous, making it difficult to root for anyone at any point, while the novel’s episodic structure quickly becomes repetitive. Ultimately “The War of the Worlds” is the type of novel that I respect more than I enjoy.

Rating: ā˜…ā˜…ā˜… (out of 5)

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