The War of the Worlds is an early science-fiction novel written by H.G. Wells in 1898.
When the Martian cylinders landed near Woking in England, an astronomer named Ogilvy went to investigate and upon finding the crash site, the news spread like wildfire. The narrator and other locals gathered around the crater the cylinder had made, expecting to see men much like themselves crawl out of the opening that was slowly unscrewing itself.
The Martians emerged and they were revealed to be "at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous". They open fire on the civilians with a Heat-Ray killing many including a delegation led by Ogilvy, while the others along with the narrator fled for their lives.
The Narrator had been anxious to know about the first cylinder because he was intrigued by it but when the second cylinder fell he was was far more wary though he still believed that they couldn't overcome Earth's gravity.
When the Fighting Machines begin to advance the Narrator runs home to get his wife to her cousins in Leatherhead. Shortly after they arrived the Narrator had to go back to Woking to return the cart that he had borrowed from an innkeeper as promised. In the town he found corpses lining the streets, including the innkeeper and encountered his first Tripod.
Back at his house, he met an Artilleryman and the next day they traveled on together. Many hours down the road they came to a Weymouth which was then attacked by the Martians. The Narrator jumped into the river out of sight of the martians and out of reach of the Heat-Ray. A Martian Fighting Machine was brought down by an artillery barrage causing the water to boil, and burning the narrator. He was able to escape to a boat and down the river landing exhausted on shore downstream. After resting he found a bewildered curate who then started to follow the narrator around.
By that time the Martians had deployed Black Smoke to break through the army's defences and pushed through to London. Shortly before this the story switches to follow the Narrator's brother's escape from the city. Hearing screams for help the Brother found two women of the Elphingstone family being robbed of their pony and trap. He fought off the robbers in return they took him to the coast to catch a ferry. Having witnessed the HMS Thunder Child Incident he seemingly escapes to France but was never heard of again.
Meanwhile the Narrator and the Curate had broken into an abandoned house to scavenge for food when the fifth cylinder landed right next to them, destroying part of the house and trapping them inside. For days they stayed in the house during which time the Curate became more and more erratic until the Narrator is forced to knock him out before Martian dragged away his unconscious body. Eventually the narrator realized that no more Martians were in sight and began to make his way back down the road towards Leatherhead hoping that his wife was still alive.
Everywhere, the trees, the ground, were covered in a red weed from Mars. He felt like he was walking through a different world. Further down the road he met the Artilleryman again and they stayed together for a while before the Narrator tires of the his mad scheming.
In London he wandered the deserted ruins before stumbling upon the Primrose Hill pit, where the Martians were all lying dead "slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.". The Earth's bacteria.
The Narrator returned to his home, believing his wife to be among the dead, but found her there and the two were reunited. Miraculously, the war was over and soon England began rebuilding. Now and then the narrator was still haunted by the past and knew that the world should be prepared for the possibility of the Martians' return.
- The book gives no description of the aftermath of the Battle of Southend.
- After the HMS Thunder Child Incident, the book never says what happens to the narrator's brother.
- The book never gives the names to most of the characters.
- The War of the Worlds at Wikipedia