Friday, October 07, 2005

The War of the Worlds - Book Discussion - Something to Think About...

By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain. – H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Something to think about…

Then - H. G. Wells wrote The War of the Worlds at a time when military buildup was increasing in Germany prior to World War I.
Now – The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines war as (1) a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) a period of such armed conflict. The United Nations defines "major wars" as military conflicts inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. ( At the mid way point of 2005 there were eight major wars being waged around the world.

Then - During this time period several fictionalized accounts of war in Europe were published. Wells borrowed the narrative format of these novels, bringing an interplanetary war to the familiar geography of England.
Now – In Fall of 2003 Michael Brown, Chad Trujillo and David L. Rabinowitz discovered a “tenth planet”. 2003 UB313 is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) which California astronomers at Mount Palomar observatory describe as "definitely bigger" than the planet Pluto. (

Then - In 1883, less than 10 years before the publication of The War of the Worlds, Mount Krakatoa on the island of Java, exploded, killing 500,000. This natural disaster altered the Earth’s climate for a year.
Now – Last year Florida had the worst hurricane season on record, with four named storms hitting the state. In 2005, the Gulf Coast of the United States saw Hurricane Katrina hit, resulting in the worst natural disaster the country has experienced.

Is The War of the Worlds relevant today?

In what ways is the world situation today similar to that of Wells’ era? In what ways is the world different?

What are some of the broad themes of The War of the Worlds?

If you were to write a sequel to The War of the Worlds what issues would you address? In what ways would your sequel be similar to the original and in what ways would your sequel be different?

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