The War of the Worlds

  • by H.G. Wells
  • Narrated by Alexander Spencer
  • 7 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds has done much to obscure the original work. Written at the turn of the 19th century, before "science fiction" existed as a genre, H.G. Wells' creation was a new departure in literature. The author's deep devotion to social reform led him to use the idea of an extraterrestrial invasion to theorize about a possible violent upheaval in society - instead of "Martians" think "Bolsheviks." Wells' book is a social prophecy, and doubtless that humanistic concern contributed to it becoming one of the seminal classics of science fiction.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Alexander Spencer performs H.G. Wells's nineteenth-century science-fiction classic with precise, well-calculated pacing. At first, when the sighting of a meteor shower over London is reported, Spencer’s delivery is deliberate, matter-of-fact, and measured, but as the story progresses and the terror of the alien invasion grows, his account becomes appropriately intense. Spencer narrates descriptions of the Martians, their destructive, deadly weapons, and their unspeakable acts with growing horror. As the truth of what the invaders have in mind dawns on the speaker, Spencer becomes breathless, his voice rising in pitch and volume. Spencer’s spot-on storytelling skills enhance Wells’s tale of intergalactic devastation and chaos.

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What the Critics Say

"To bring an entire novel to life without any dull spots is quite an achievement.¿" (Science Fiction Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant, tight and prescient.

Brilliant, tight and prescient. Wells is working about 3 themes right on top of each other. He makes us the rabbits, the ants, the colonized and is able to explore not just themes of technology and evolution, but colonialism and imperialism.

The Spencer narration, however, just doesn't seem able to carry the full weight of Wells. It was clear, but his clipped reading seemed unable to make the Wells words flow easily.
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- Darwin8u

A measured but emotional reading

I debated for a long time whether I preferred this version of "War of the Worlds" or the one by Sean Barrett (also available from Audible). I've decided on this one. The pace is slower -- a more charitable description would be "measured" -- but Alexander Spencer registers a far greater range of emotion. In the course of the story, his voice goes from a hoarse whisper to frantic horror to tremulous heartbreak.

The story itself is a terrifying one. There's plenty of violent combat for anyone who wants that, but even more terrifying are the descriptions of the people of London in a panicked flight to the north and east; or the narrator's journey through a London devoid of life. In the latter respect it's easily the equivalent of recent horror films like "28 Weeks Later."
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- Tad Davis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-16-1999
  • Publisher: Recorded Books