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Publisher's Summary

First published by H. G. Wells in 1898, The War of the Worlds is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator intones, "No one would have believed in the last years of the 19th century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's." Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first, the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth's comparatively heavy gravity, even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100 feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England's military suffers defeat after defeat.
With horror, the narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance and how it's clear that man is not being conquered so much as corralled.
Public Domain (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Janice on 03-30-14


Since scifi is not my preferred genre, I’m rarely tempted to use a valuable credit for space invasions. But the Daily Deal encouraged my curiosity about this classic and I was very well rewarded.

I haven’t seen any of the movie adaptations, but I suspect that any updating of the story to modern times would take away one of the things that made this story so chilling to me, and that was the slow dawning of realization that came over the humans as they faced the unimaginable. Such an invasion today would be instantly blasted from phone to phone around the world in seconds. The tension builds as the understanding of the danger occurs to the residents of the English countryside – blooming from amused interest to disbelief, blustery bravado and finally outright panic as the impersonal ruthlessness of the tripod warriors destroys all hope of escape. The description of man wiping out ants was chillingly apt.

Well’s acute understanding of human nature comes through as he vividly describes the heroics and villainy of panicked mobs, the reliance on or loss of faith, and the strength of will and resourcefulness to survive. And for anyone who has tried to actually wipe out ants – it’s never been done. This human insight makes the story timeless though written well over a century ago. Vance’s reading made it all the more personal and wonderful.

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By The Kindler on 02-27-16


What made the experience of listening to The War of the Worlds the most enjoyable?

I really liked Vance's performance and how he made all the character come to life.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators.

Any additional comments?

It is a smooth read and very easy to follow with enough mystery and suspense to keep you wanting more.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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