The War of the Worlds
  • Publication Date: March 17, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113531 / 1551113538
  • 268 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The War of the Worlds

  • Publication Date: March 17, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113531 / 1551113538
  • 268 pages; 5½" x 8½"

H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, the first story to speculate about the consequences of aliens (from Mars) with superior technology landing on earth, is one of the most influential science fiction books ever written. The novel is both a thrilling narrative and an elaboration of Wells’s socio-political thought on the subjects of imperialism, humankind’s treatment of other animals, and unquestioning faith in military technology and the continuation of the human species.

This edition’s appendices include other related writings by Wells; selected correspondence; contemporary reviews; excerpts from works that influenced the novel and from contemporary invasion narratives; and photographs of examples of Victorian military technology.


“Martin Danahay’s edition shows the extent to which The War of the Worlds draws on the biological and astronomical theories, political ideologies, and military technology of its time. Readers who want to appreciate this greatest of all alien narratives in its original Victorian context cannot do better than to consult this edition.” — Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading

“One reads this edition with great pleasure. The novel is lightly and intelligently annotated, making concise sense of all the local allusions that make this remarkable fantasy so realistic. The appendices, which reprint portions of articles from the 1890s, suggest an intellectual context for the work and are often interesting in themselves, especially Percival Lowell’s meditation on how some form of life might develop on Mars. The pictures of the various guns, cannons, ships, and other machinery mentioned in the novel give a wonderful sense of the scale of the war.” — John Huntington, University of Illinois at Chicago

H.G.Wells: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The War of the Worlds

Appendix A: H.G. Wells on The War of the Worlds

  1. H.G. Wells, from Strand Magazine (1920)
  2. H.G. Wells, from “Preface to Volume III” (1924)

Appendix B: Wells’s Publications Related to The War of the Worlds

  1. H.G. Wells, from “Zoological Retrogression” (1891)
  2. H.G. Wells, “On Extinction” (1893)
  3. H.G. Wells, from “The Advent of the Flying Man: An Inevitable
    Occurrence” (1893)
  4. H.G. Wells, from “The Man of the Year Million” (1893)
  5. H.G. Wells, from “Another Basis for Life” (1894)
  6. H.G. Wells, “The Extinction of Man: Some Speculative
    Suggestions” (1894)
  7. H.G. Wells, from “The Stolen Bacillus” (1894)
  8. H.G. Wells, “Intelligence on Mars” (1896)
  9. H.G. Wells, “Through a Microscope” (1897)

Appendix C: Extracts from Wells’s Correspondence

Appendix D: Reviews of The War of the Worlds

  1. John St. Loe Strachey, from Spectator (29 January 1898)
  2. Academy (29 January 1898)
  3. R.A. Gregory, from Nature (10 February 1898)
  4. Basil Williams, from Athenaeum (5 February 1898)

Appendix E: Influences on Wells

  1. Winwood Reade, from The Martyrdom of Man (1872, 1875)
  2. T.H. Huxley, from Evolution and Ethics (1893)
  3. H.G.Wells, from “Huxley” (1901)

Appendix F: Invasion Narratives

  1. William Le Queux, from The Great War in England in 1897 (1894)
  2. “Grip” (pseudonym), from How John Bull Lost London (1882)

Appendix G: Mars in 1898

  1. Nature (2 August 1894)
  2. Percival Lowell, from Mars (1895)

Appendix H: Woking and Surrey

  1. A.R. Hope Moncrieff, from Black’s Guide to Surrey (1898)
  2. Eric Parker, from Highways and Byways in Surrey (1908)

Appendix I: The Victorian Military, 1890s

  1. Field Artillery
  2. Gunners of Field Artillery
  3. High-Angle Firing
  4. Machine Gun Detachment
  5. Heliograph Operators
  6. 1st Dragoons
  7. H.M.S.Thunderer
  8. H.M.S. Ramilles

Selected Bibliography

Martin A. Danahay is a Professor of English at Brock University. He is the author of
A Community of One: Masculine Autobiography and Autonomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (SUNY Press, 1994), and the editor of the Broadview Edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1999).