Hundreds must have seen it, and taken it
for an ordinary falling star.”
Book: War of the Worlds
Author: H. G. Wells
Last week, American news media of all sorts had an orgy of reminiscence about an old radio drama.
October 30 was the 75th anniversary of the Mercury Theatre On The Air broadcast of a play based on the H. G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds (TWotW). I had first read the novel when I was about 10 years old, just beginning what has turned into a life-long interest in science fiction. The barrage of anniversary publicity inspired me to reread the book.
While I remembered, vaguely, the outline of the plot, I had forgotten how much I loved Wells’ use of language. The early pages of the book are full of well-tempered sentences that gradually built the tension from gentle descriptions of natural wonders and mild scientific curiosity, through progressive levels of ominous foreshadowing, all the way to full-blown terror. So different from the relatively dry lecturing of the other Wells novel I read this past January. A Modern Utopia was to preachy for me to enjoy as thoroughly as I’m enjoying TWotW!