War of the Worlds
The stated intention of the novel is to set out an exacting narration of the events concerning the Martian invasion. This has lead to a pervading mood of solemnity and intensity, as the narrator sees his surroundings destroyed and people meet gruesome deaths. Though he tries to keep a sense of logic and order in his life, emotion often comes out strongly. There is also a sense of helplessness occasionally, as attempts to stop the Martians fail.
Mars is a planet older than Earth and has entered the cooling-off stage. The drop in temperature and sea level drives its inhabitants to devise a method of getting off the planet. They fire themselves off in canisters towards Earth. The astronomer Ogilvy sees this and becomes excited, and gradually the rest of Britain takes an interest in Mars. Articles are run in the papers and people begin watching the flame, which appears when the canisters are shot into space around midnight for ten nights altogether. However, no one has any idea what is about to happen and life continues on. The narrator for example, learns to ride a bicycle.
It lands and Ogilvy sets off to find the fallen meteorite (which is what he believes it to be). When he thinks there is a man inside it, he hurries off to tell someone, finally convincing the journalist Henderson. The news spreads and soon there is a crowd about the pit that the landing caused. A young shop assistant is knocked in by the crowd of people pushing for better positions. The cylinder’s top unscrews and the Martians emerge. They are a bit larger than humans and have many tentacles. They lack bodies but have heads with big eyes. At the sight of them, the frightened crowd runs off to shelter behind trees. The shopkeeper’s figure stands out against the setting sun, struggling to get out and then it disappears into the pit.
The crowd remains stunned but eventually curiosity gets the better of them and people begin to move...