THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
“We have learned now that we cannot regard
this planet as being fenced in and a secure
abiding place for Man; we can never anticipate
the unseen good or evil that may come upon us
suddenly out of space.”
“The Father of Science Fiction”
Herbert GeorgeWells (September
21st 1866-August 13th 1946);
Best known was his work with
science fiction, but also
novels, history, politics, and social
Wells worked as a teacher and
studied the sciences before
embarking on his writing.
The Victorian Age -
The discoveries of science were a HUGE factor in the
literature of theVictorian Age.
Stories reflect normal, daily life and practical problems;
characters like you and I.
There is a moral dilemma;Victorians did not make art
for art’s sake (beauty).They created art to send a moral
The concept of man in relation to the universe is major;
evolution and Darwinism were heavy influences.
IDEALS! Great ideals like truth, justice, love, and
brotherhood are emphasized byVictorian writers.
GENRE: Science Fiction
Definition: Fiction dealing with the
impact of imagined innovations in science
or technology, often in a futuristic
Science Fiction is different from fantasy
in that its imaginary elements are largely
Based on scientific principles and technology.
May make predictions about life in the future.
Often deals with aliens or with life on other
Comments on important issues in society.
SUBGENRE: Invasion Literature
Invasion literature refers to
works produced between 1871
and the FirstWorld War.
These stories aroused
imaginations and anxieties
about hypothetical invasions by
Invasion literature became
recognizable in Britain in 1871
with The Battle of Dorking, a
fictional account of an invasion
of England by Germany.
H.G.Wells draws from The
Battle of Dorking, but the
invaders are aliens rather than
“Promised Horrors of the French
Invasion” – a cartoon by Britain’s
The War of the Worlds
First published in 1898
Setting: small towns in the
English countryside. However,
there is a mass exodus from
Narrator: first-person narrator;
the story is told from the
perspective of the protagonist, a
philosopher whose writing is
interrupted by the arrival of the
Conflict: MARTIANS ARE
Themes to Think About…
The possible submission of men
LITERALLY: Martian Invasion
SYMBOLICALLY: Men submitting to
machines (think about it-
The inhumanity of Imperialism
Britain by this point had obtained many
colonies and they did not treat the natives
The horrors of war
Science vs. Religion
Many of the minor themes in this book relate
toWells’s own time.
Along with Empire and industry came hardships,
particularly for the working-class.
Wells draws upon his background in science.
Darwin’s idea of “natural selection”, or, survival of
Orson Welles’s Radio Show
Orson Welles directed/narrated an adapted radio drama
of TheWar of theWorlds as a Halloween episode.
The episode was presented as a series of simulated
“news bulletins” depicting a Martian Invasion
Listeners who did not hearWelles’s introduction tuned
in and believed this was happening; hysterical panic