The War of the Worlds
Herbert George Wells. London: William Heinemann, 1898.
Original gray cloth stamped in black. Faint toning, hinges partially cracked, cloth somewhat rubbed at joints and extremities, a few stray marks, spine slightly darkened. FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE with 16-page Autumn 1897 publisher’s catalogue inserted at rear. Currey pp 526-7.
B-A Note: Trivia: As many of you know, Orson Welles directed a radio drama in 1938 based on this book. It had a news-bulletin format and aired without commercials, leading many to believe it was a real news alert. Per wiki: “In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners who had believed the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. The episode secured Welles’s fame.”
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences 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 mental 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 envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.
- Opening Paragraph, The War of the Worlds