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The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

   Herbert George Wells, better known as H. G. Wells, was an English writer best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Mor- eau. He was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and pro- duced works in many different genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary. He was also an outspoken socialist. His later works become increasingly political and didactic, and only his early science fiction novels are widely read today. Wells, along with Hugo Gernsback and Jules Verne, is sometimes referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". Source: Wikipedia

The Eve of the War 

   No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth cen- tury that this world was being watched keenly and closely by in- telligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the men- tal habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with en- vious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

The Falling Star 

   Then came the night of the first falling star. It was seen early in the morning, rushing over Winchester eastward, a line of flame high in the atmosphere. Hundreds must have seen it, and taken it for an ordin- ary falling star. Albin described it as leaving a greenish streak behind it that glowed for some seconds. Denning, our greatest authority on met- eorites, stated that the height of its first appearance was about ninety or one hundred miles. It seemed to him that it fell to earth about one hun- dred miles east of him.

   I was at home at that hour and writing in my study; and although my French windows face towards Ottershaw and the blind was up (for I loved in those days to look up at the night sky), I saw nothing of it. Yet this strangest of all things that ever came to earth from outer space must have fallen while I was sitting there, visible to me had I only looked up as it passed. Some of those who saw its flight say it travelled with a hiss- ing sound. I myself heard nothing of that. Many people in Berkshire, Surrey, and Middlesex must have seen the fall of it, and, at most, have thought that another meteorite had descended. No one seems to have troubled to look for the fallen mass that night.

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