Literature Review: "The War of the Worlds" Essay

Literature Review: "The War of the Worlds" Essay

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The sheer mentions of the words science fiction bring to mind certain hackneyed topics we Americans see in the media, those topics being technology and aliens. As different as each topic may be, juxtaposed, they share a key element that fuel the creative minds of science fiction writers. It is not the fact that they each have drastically advancement these past one hundred years, but rather the thought of an invasion. Although the idea of technology one day overpowering us has dominated Hollywood films for the past decade, it is a rather new topic. The War of the Worlds, a novel written by H.G. Wells in 1898, is considered by Kroeber, a professor and writer of the introduction to the Signet Classic version of the same book, to be “the most famous and most important science fiction story ever published.” (Wells, vii) The novel focuses primarily on an unnamed narrator, who struggles to not only save his wife, but himself from the rampaging Martians and their instruments of destruction, such as the Heat-ray and the black smoke. Through mentions of accurate scientific research, fictional news stories, and geographic settings, Wells creatively presents to the reader a story with a sense of verisimilitude that is seemingly produced to create the image that the accounts were real and factual.
It may or may not come as a surprise to the reader that the novel focuses on Martians, aliens from the planet Mars. As science has proved to us, Mars does indeed have elements that can harbor life. Wells takes inspiration by this, mentioning that “[Mars} has air and water and all that is necessary for the support of animated existence.” (Wells, 6) After the Martians die off and their bodies are used for science, their anatomy is exposed, and Wells s...


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...s the novel progresses, and as do the Martians, different towns are mentioned, such as Cobham and Ottershaw. The narrator tries to protect his wife and send her to a different town, Leatherhead. The narrator’s brother, who later gives information to the narrator about the invasion, is studying in London. The narrator arrives there near the end of the novel, and realized the death of the Martians.
In conclusion, many elements give the sense of verisimilitude to the novel The War of the Worlds. The aspects listed exemplify Wells’ idea to present fictional accounts as factual and give the reader a false-sense of reality. The scientific evidence given to reader by the narrator is not only the optimum, but the antithesis of jejune and personifies the backbone of this great novel.



Works Cited

Wells, H. G. The War of the Worlds. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print.

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