Explosions on the surface of Mars, followed by a “meteor” landing in Woking, Surry. The narrator (never named) is the first to observe the meteor is in fact a space cylinder carrying Martians. At first, the Martians cannot bear the weight of Earth’s atmosphere and are forced to retreat, while the British military reassures the citizens that they have the situation under control. Once the aliens acclimate, their take-over begins, and as the narrator struggles to survive the destruction of London and surrounding areas, he learns that the Martians mean to farm humans for blood.
A fantastic commentary on the dark nature of our species, set against the inhuman Martian monsters. It’s tense and terrifying and holds up extremely well since it’s inception in 1898. The story is not plot-driven, but a fleshed out scenario with superb imagery and a few interesting characters. H.G. Wells took a lot of inspiration from Jules Verne and the relatively new ideology of Darwin, all half a century before NASA and any image of Earth from space.
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”