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The War of the Worlds.
For the first time, I came across this masterpiece of English literature in my school days. I can't say that “The War of the Worlds” by Herbert Wells was my first book depicting alien invasion, let alone first science fiction read. But it was definitely among the most impressive books that influenced me most both in the ways of my thinking and in the ways of my reader's taste. Herbert Wells depicts in his book a successful Martian invasion. When the aggressive aliens from Mars land right in the middle of good old England and begin systemically conquering the civilized world, the humanity’s technology and warfare prove to be useless. No less than deus ex machina, a venerable excuse for a hart-broken reader, is necessary to save our world from the complete and irreversible domination of the space invaders.
The book is set in the nineteenth century England that is alarmed by the sudden landing of a space cylinder full of Martians who drive giant mechanical tripods and destroy everything with their heat rays and suffocating black smoke. Rare survivors ought to abandon their homes and flee to save their lives. Complete regions of England are deserted.
The story continues with the futile attempts of the government to stem or at least to slow down the flow of the aliens in order to win time for evacuation of London's population. The vivid and colourful episode of the desperate and heroic battle of warship “Son of Thunder” against three Martian tripods is undoubtedly one of the best military scenes in the world literature. Civilian ships are saved but British Isles are not...
The book is an unquestionable masterpiece of English literature. A brilliant language and fertile imagination of the author creates the grim, murky atmosphere of the unstoppable and overwhelming alien invasion. A reader lives through the destruction of the old world rather than passively witnesses to. With this book, Herbert Wells established the golden standard of science fiction literature, one of the cornerstones of the genre we now call Sci-Fi. Although written over a century ago, the novel never fails to appeal to every generation of readers. It will be of interest to anyone who likes quality literature. And of course, it is hardly worth stating the obvious — “The War of the Worlds” is an absolute must to each and every admirer of Sci-Fi.