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H.G. Wells – “War of the Worlds”

Wells: War of the Worlds - Illustration for the book by Alvim Corréa 1906

Illustration for the book by Alvim Corréa (1906)

War of the Worlds – by H.G. Wells is a classic science fiction novel. Written 1895 to 1897, it tells the story of martian spaceships that invade earth and meet defending forces that are without any chance of surviving the encounter.

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.

H. G. Wells , The War of the Worlds

While the unnamed narrator describes the invasion as experienced by him and his brother in the countryside around London and in London itself, the invasion quickly extends to the rest of the world. Within a few days, the whole earth is under control of martian tripods and mankind is simply slaughtered without negotiations and mercy.

The book was then popular, but finally became famous (until the present day) through a  1938 radio broadcast version that was narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin and led to widespread outrage and panic by many listeners in the US, who believed the events described in the program were real.

The influence of the book can be still observed today, within movies like “Independence Day”, “Mars Attacs”, “Man in Black”, “Avatar” and even “Iron Sky” using themes, images and ideas first published in “War of the Worlds” in 1897. Even in Douglas Adams “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” you find more then traces of Wells ideas.

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Das Restaurant am Ende des Universums, 1980

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, before the above

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