Modern Library Classics

The War of the Worlds

Publisher: Modern Library
Introduction by Arthur C. Clarke
Commentary by Jules Verne and an anonymous reviewer from The Critic

“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.” Thus begins one of the most terrifying and morally prescient science fiction novels ever penned. Beginning with a series of strange flashes in the distant night sky, the Martian attack initially causes little concern on Earth. Then the destruction erupts—ten massive aliens roam England and destroy with heat rays everything in their path. Very soon humankind finds itself on the brink of extinction. H. G. Wells raises questions of mortality, man’s place in nature, and the evil lurking in the technological future—questions that remain urgently relevant in the twenty-first century.

Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide

READ AN EXCERPT

Book One:
The Coming of the Martians

Chapter 1
The Eve of the War 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...
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READING GUIDE

1. In 1878 the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli used the most advanced telescope of his day to map the surface of Mars. He discovered a number of dark, thin lines crisscrossing the planet and assumed that they were water channels?in Italian, canali. This was mistranslated into English as canals; as a...

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PRAISE FOR

“The creations of Mr. Wells . . . belong unreservedly to an age and degree of scientific knowledge far removed from the present, though I will not say entirely beyond the limits of the possible.” —Jules Verne