The War of the Worlds
by H.G. Wells
'The War of the Worlds' Summary
After heavy firing from the common and damage to the town from the heat-ray which suddenly erupts in the late afternoon, the Narrator takes his wife to safety in nearby Leatherhead, where his cousin lives, using a rented, two-wheeled horse cart; he then returns to Woking to return the cart when in the early morning hours, a violent thunderstorm erupts. On the road during the height of the storm, he has his first terrifying sight of a fast-moving Martian fighting-machine; in a panic, he crashes the horse cart, barely escaping detection. He discovers the Martians have assembled towering three-legged "fighting-machines" (tripods), each armed with a heat-ray and a chemical weapon: the poisonous "black smoke". These tripods have wiped out the army units positioned around the cylinder and attacked and destroyed most of Woking. Taking shelter in his house, the Narrator sees moving through his garden a fleeing artilleryman, who later tells the Narrator of his experiences and mentions that another cylinder has landed between Woking and Leatherhead, which means the Narrator is now cut off from his wife. The two try to escape via Byfleet just after dawn, but are separated at the Shepperton to Weybridge Ferry during a Martian afternoon attack on Shepperton.
One of the Martian fighting-machines is brought down in the River Thames by artillery as the Narrator and countless others try to cross the river into Middlesex, and the Martians retreat to their original crater. This gives the authorities precious hours to form a defence-line covering London. After the Martians' temporary repulse, the Narrator is able to float down the Thames in a boat toward London, stopping at Walton, where he first encounters the curate, his companion for the coming weeks.
He was most prominent as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. A futurist, he wrote a number of...More on H.G. Wells
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