H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds
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The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialized in 1897 by Pearson's Magazine in the UK and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The novel's first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Written between 1895 and 1897,it is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race.The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon. Wells trained as a science teacher during the latter half of the 1880s. One of his teachers was T. H. Huxley, famous as a major advocate of Darwinism. The scientific fascinations of the novel are established in the opening chapter where the narrator views Mars through a telescope, and Wells offers the image of the superior Martians having observed human affairs, as though watching tiny organisms through a microscope. Ironically it is microscopic Earth lifeforms that finally prove deadly to the Martian invasion force. In 1894 a French astronomer observed a 'strange light' on Mars, and published his findings in the scientific journal Nature on the second of August that year. Wells used this observation to open the novel, imagining these lights to be the launching of the Martian cylinders toward Earth. American astronomer Percival Lowell published the book Mars in 1895 suggesting features of the planet's surface observed through telescopes might be canals. He speculated that these might be irrigation channels constructed by a sentient life form to support existence on an arid, dying world, similar to that which Wells suggests the Martians have left behind. The novel also presents ideas related to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, both in specific ideas discussed by the narrator, and themes explored by the story. Among the most significant works H. G. Wells: The Outline of History, The Country of the Blind, The Red Room, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The First Men in the Moon, The Shape of Things to Come, When the Sleeper Wakes.
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