My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The War of the Worlds by Herbert George Wells would have been an alternative future when it was published, much like the short story “Second Variety” or the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, both by Philip K. Dick.
Published in 1898, the story accounts of Martians landing in England and slowly emerging from large capsules, having been shot from Mars.
These aliens begin to construct immense vehicles to commence their bloodshed through a Heat-Ray which incinerates all living things in an instant.
The plot is much similar as to the current human endeavor of NASA since the 1980s to place a human being on Mars.
Wells writes of this natural tendency of intelligent forms “to carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them” (8).
Much like Global Warming is now enacting on our needs of a race and civilization to explore other alternatives of sustenance once this planet has been raped of its abilities to nourish and protect its inhabitants.
What I repeatedly noticed in Wells’s writing was the correlation with mankind to lesser creatures on Earth.
To be succinct I will give an outline of the many quotes connecting the abuse of the Martians to the abuses of Mankind upon his own terrain:
“The Martians took as much notice of such advances as we should of the lowing of a cow.” (Wells 35)
“It’s bows and arrows against the lightening, anyhow,” said the artilleryman. “They ‘aven’t seen that fire-beam yet.” (Wells 50)
“But the Martian machine took no more notice for the moment of the people running this way and that than a man would of the confusion of ants in a nest against which his foot has kicked.” (Wells 53)
“Through the reek I could see the people who had been with me in the river scrambling out of the water through the reeds, like little frogs hurrying through the grass from the advance of a man, or running to and fro in utter dismay on the towing path.” (Wells 55)
“Did they grasp that we in our millions were organized, disciplined, working together? Or did they interpret our spurts of fire, the sudden stinging of our shells, our steady investment of their encampment, as we should the furious unanimity of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees?” (Wells 72)
“This isn’t a war,” said the artilleryman. “It never was a war, any more than there’s a war between man and ants.” (Wells 125)
Wells could have been trying to convey mankind’s blatant disregard for his fellow creatures upon Earth, a sharing colony of life forms.
And in the wise words of H.G. Wells: “Surely, if we have learned nothing else, this war has taught us pity – pity for those witless souls that suffer our dominion” (123).
“Since 1900 more species than ever before have become extinct and scientists think we may even be losing one species a day at the moment” (Peoples Trust for the Environment Web).
Peoples Trust for the Environment Web. “Endangered Wildlife.”
Accessed on September 19, 2010.
Wells, H.G. The War of the Worlds. Kentucky: World Classics Books, 2009. Print.
List of Extinct/Endangered Animals:
(You might be surprised…)
CG FEWSTON was born in Texas in 1979 and now lives in Hong Kong. He’s been a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy).
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father‘s Son, The New America: A Collection, Vanity of Vanities, A Time to Love in Tehran, and forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; Little Hometown, America: A Look Back; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
You can read more about the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 275,000+ followers