H. G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds in 1898. During this era of time the first radio signal was transmitted in Morse Code by Marconi and Marie. Also Pierre Curie discovered radium, the first Escalator was patented by Jesse Reno and the Boer War was being fought in South Africa. ‘War of the Worlds’ was written after the first car was invented by Carl Benz (1885) and before the first radio transmission was sent, it was also written before the first powered flight and 16 years before the First World War.
Wells created this Genre of book before there had been any Science Fiction books written so he is regarded as the father of Science Fiction. At the time when Wells wrote ‘War of the Worlds’ people new nothing really scientific about earth and only found out about 100 years before that the earth was round and not flat, and they were still getting used to it being round. Because of this it should be obvious that they knew next to nothing about space or the Solar System. Where as now we know about the possible existence of aliens and have been into space so we find it easier to believe all of the Science Fiction programs that are on T.
V. But back in 1898 it was scary for them. So people didn’t like things that were new and didn’t like change, so they always treated it with caution and tried to ignore it, or get rid of it which is probably why they banned the book when it first came out. The idea of heat rays was a totally new phenomenon because nobody had even created lasers. So the idea that he predicted that that sort of thing would be invented was amazing seeing as it was about 100 years after he predicted it that it was actually invented shows he had a really good imagination.
It also shows that his imagination was also quite accurate as well. ‘War of the Worlds’ is about the Martians coming to earth and how they get killed by Earth’s bacteria and how the bacteria save us from them. In the book we read about the description of the Martians and how the people reacted to them and the power that they had. One way in which Wells creates an atmosphere of fear and terror surrounding the Martians is by the way he describes them to the reader. The Martians have a V shaped mouth and a pointy upper lip, and no brow ridges, no chin and a wedge like lower lip.
With a quivering mouth and ‘gorgon groups of tentacles’, they struggled to breathe our strange atmosphere and had restricted movement due to the greater intensity of our gravity. They had immense eyes and fungoid oily brown skin. Wells uses similes to create the images he wants us to see in our mind. For example ‘luminous disk like eyes’ because this makes the reader think about the unnatural shape and colour of their eyes. It also shows that they aren’t human and so create horror because they look different.
Wells also describes them by saying ‘a leash of thin black whips like the arms of an octopus flashed across the sunset’ this makes the reader think of death because of the colour black which associated with funerals e. t. c. and it also makes you think about darkness which is really the same as death because it is spooky and scary. Wells describes the Martians by using ‘ugly’ words like heaved, writhing and tentacles. These words make the reader think of bad things to associate with the Martians. Heaved makes you think of the things you do when you heave.
This makes us think they are evil and dont belong on earth as they are finding it hard to breath here. Writhing makes you think of pain, danger and terror which people don’t like when you writhe in pain. Tentacles makes the reader think about things which are slippery, dangerous, wet and ugly and most things which are slimy like snails, octopuses and slugs which people don’t really like even then. Wells shows the reactions of the people in the book as being scared and frightened of what they were seeing. So they were frightened but they were also curious, as they have never seen any aliens or even space before.
Where as we have and things change so often that we are used to it. But they were not because things didn’t change as often. So they were terrified of what they saw of the aliens that they have never thought about before let alone seeing them in front of them. This is shown when Wells writes the part where he says ‘I ran weeping silently as a child might do’ and uses this to show that the aliens were frightening. It also shows that a responsible grown up person like a journalist was running away from them.
Shows they are scary but the fact that he’s weeping as well shows that they are terrifying. It also shows that they had mixed emotions about them but are so fascinated by them they still need to look at the Wells shows this where he writes ‘I turned and running madly…. I ran slantingly and stumbling for I could not avert my face from these things’ makes us think they were scared and at the same time fascinated by what they may do next. They had to fight all of their emotions so they could run away from the aliens but their fascination forced him to look at them.
Also he says ‘I was a battleground of fear and curiosity’ which proves my point about them fighting their emotions of what to do around them. They also had to decide whether to run towards them, or run away. So they kept pausing everytime they went to move and had to think about what to do. This can be proved by the line that says ‘I had a momentary impulse to go back and help him that my fears overruled’ shows the intensity of the feelings the people had because it is a natural thing to run towards someone who in trouble and help them.
But he goes to but the immense fear he had prevented him from doing this and shows again that they were so terrified they couldn’t even help people in danger because they were so terrified. The power of the Martians was monumental and they could eliminate anything that could stop them or get in their way. Which is shown where Wells writes the bit where it says ‘it was sweeping round swiftly and steadily, this flaming death, this invisible, inevitable sword of heat. ‘ this shows that it is unavoidable and you cant escape it.
It also shows that their weapons are more powerful than ours because they are so quick which means we cant react to anything of the things they do. The fact that it is so quick is shown where Wells writes the ‘I stood staring, not as yet realising that this was death leaping from man to man in that little distant crowd. ‘ Which proves it is quick as it leaps from man to man so quick that when it got to the person next to them turn to fire, they are so quick that the people don’t have chance to run or move out of the way.
This is proved by the part where it says ‘it was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire. ‘ The bit where it says ‘momentarily’ again proves it is quick and we didn’t have any weapons that could react so quick and turn to fire. So we couldn’t protect ourselves from them. I conclude that the Martians only saw us as food and only wanted to conquer the planet. Wells creates fear by the descriptions of the aliens as they are of things which people hate like where he writes ‘”what ugly brutes” “good god! “What ugly brutes! “‘ and shows that the Martians were really ugly and that the readers saw them as ugly and mean as they had never seen any aliens before they did then. They had never seen science fiction before so it was new which by the way Wells wrote the story people then believed it was real when it was read on the radio. Because of this they started to evacuate the city when they heard it so they over reacted to the book also the book was banned because they saw it as a threat to them.
In another line the book says ‘in spite of their repulsive forms’ which again shows they are frightening and is a believable story as he wrote the book so well. The fact that it was bacteria that killed the Martians and we couldn’t shows they are not as infallible as they thought they were. It also shows that just as people had given up hope they were killed by bacteria which at the time very little was known about bacteria and had only just recently realised that bacteria existed and then it saved us from the Martians. He creates horror and fear by writing death as it shows you definitely can’t escape their power and speed