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Study Guide

Introduction & Overview of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

This Study Guide consists of approximately 66 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The War of the Worlds.
This section contains 288 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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The War of the Worlds Summary & Study Guide Description

The War of the Worlds Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading and a Free Quiz on The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells.

Introduction

H. G. Wells's science fiction masterpiece The War of the Worlds was originally published in Pierson's magazine in 1897 and was issued as a novel the following year. A century later, it has never been out of print. The story has become an integral part of our culture, frequently retold in graphic novels and films. In 1938, it became part of one of the greatest and most horrifying media events of all times. The Mercury Theatre on the Air, headed by twenty-three-year-old Orson Welles, broadcast over the radio an adaptation of the book that was so realistic that it caused widespread public panic, mob violence, and looting. Until the night of that broadcast, few people realized the power of broadcast media to make whole populations feel powerless when faced with breaking events.

Like the radio program, much of the novel takes its power from appearing to be real. Wells, who had an intense interest in science from an early age, created his Martian invaders with a strict sense of the laws of biology and physics. They are not super beings, but bodiless heads, barely able to move because the atmosphere of Earth is so much thicker than that of their own planet. Still, their advanced intelligence gives them the power to create powerful weapons, such as Heat-Ray guns that can level whole towns, tripods with hundred-foot legs that give them mobility, and even flying machines, which, in 1898, were beyond human technology. Humanity has entered into space exploration since this novel was published, and many of the specific details are no longer of concern. But there will always be uneasiness about the unknown and curiosity about what might happen when people of Earth contact lives from other worlds.

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This section contains 288 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The War of the Worlds Study Guide
Copyrights
The War of the Worlds from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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