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Rant: War of the Worlds (the book)

July 7th, 2005 (10:01 pm)
discontent
Tags: , ,

current mood: discontent

I just read War of the Worlds for the first time--I've had the book since I was about 10, but haven't read it.

It is a terrible book. I'm not going to worry about spoiling the plot here, because there is no plot. It's just a sequence of events. The protagonist just gets buffeted from one scene to another; he doesn't really learn anything, or solve any problems. There's no character development, either--largely because there are no characters in any real sense; the people that he sees serve largely to illustrate human failings. Most of them don't even have names (including the protagonist, since it's all written in the first person).

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it isn't a story at all; it's more like a series of Scholastic dialogues. As you probably know, the Martians get killed off by some Earthly disease. It's not even as if humans had to figure this out and unleash it (as in The Puppet Masters); the Martians were doomed from the beginning. So the whole sequence of events had no point except to demonstrate that the Universe is not a safe place. Yes, thank you, maybe that was news in 1898, but it's pretty obvious by now.

Comments

Posted by: metahacker (metahacker)
Posted at: July 8th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
feet

I always viewed it as more of a historical record, or an eye-witness account, than a story. I guess that's why it worked so well as a radio drama.

Posted by: Alexx Kay (alexx_kay)
Posted at: July 8th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)

So the whole sequence of events had no point except to demonstrate that the Universe is not a safe place. Yes, thank you, maybe that was news in 1898, but it's pretty obvious by now.

I think the point was more "even if you're a Really Big Colonial Empire, the Universe is not safe". This is demonstrated in two ways, first through the destruction of the British, and then through the destruction of the invading Martians. It may be obvious to many, but, to pick a non-random example, our current government seems not to have gotten the memo.

[I don't claim that it's a well-written book, mind you. Just that the theme is a worthy one.]

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