H.g.wells war Of The World In Retrospect To The Essay

This essay has a total of 2797 words and 14 pages.

H.g.wells "war Of The World" In Retrospect To The Science Fiction Gen


Attacks from Martians, time travel, interplanetary travel and the impossible are possible
within the realm of science fiction. The literary genre of science fiction houses some of
the greatest pieces of literature of all time, by some of the greatest authors. Regarded
among colleagues as one of the finest is the inspirational, ingenious and influential
writer H. G. Wells. Being the author of such classics as The Time Machine, The Island Of
Dr Moreau and The Invisible Man H. G. Wells is considered the father and primary developer
of science fiction. A title Wells was catapulted into with the publication of the 1898
science fiction classic, The War Of The Worlds.




It was this new style of story, that would bring about and create this brand new, exciting
and often educational form of literature. It is The War Of The Worlds that really
epitomises what science fiction is and what it should be. The enchanting but gruesome tale
of Martian invasion became the beginning of the modern science fiction story and was the
first ever story about life on other planets attacking the human race (a now very popular
theme). Although this exclusive, appreciated and amusing style of writing was graced with
instant success in its current form, it too, like any other style of writing changed with
the times. Unfortunately the new variation was a change for the worse.




For many people nowadays science fiction or Sci-Fi as the media miscall it means movies.
It means Star Wars and E.T. For others it signifies television shows or radio series,
constantly broadcast in people's homes perpetuating this common misconception. What many
do not realise however is that science fiction as a genre of literature is an ancient art,
one which is in mass quantity but lacking in the calibre of it predecessors. The dramatic
influx of popular fiction and low quality novels illustrating a minor similarity to the
genre of science fiction is diluting the quality with this genre.




The main problem lies within the fairly open and murky definitional criteria. There are no
set, distinct guidelines as to what science fiction is and what is not; however most
definitions seem to revolve around the idea that science is reality, and how that science
effects the reality it is in. It is meant to illustrate the relationship between cause and
effect representing a society in chaos, disturbed by the scientific matter, which may or
may not be based in fact. This longwinded explanation may seem complex but what it is
really saying is that science fiction is meant to illustrate the effect of the improbable
(within scientific plausibility) against the setting it is in. It studies the resulting
events that did not happen, may have happened, or have not happened yet from a rational
perspective, mostly interested in the impact on the people involved. Science fiction is a
form of fantastic fiction which exploits the imaginative, and profound perspectives of
modern science. It differs from the fantasy genre to which it is commonly compared as it
is meant to respect the limits of scientific possibility.




This, however, is not a new form of writing inspired by dramatic scientific developments,
but in fact it has been utilised since ancient times. Early works of the Babylonian era,
such as Gilgmesh Epic of around 2000 BC also dealt with the search for ultimate knowledge
and immortality. It was not the only scientifically founded work of ancient times, the
Greek myths of Daedalus and the 160 AD story True History also dealt with scientific and
mechanical issues along this tangent. As time passed more and more stories addressed the
advanced, scientific points and arguments on various issues in an amusing manner. Soon,
because of the authors need for scientific knowledge science fiction became the
entertainment and practice of the intellectual with many classics being written by the
great minds of their respective time. British prelate and historian Francis Godwin as well
as the highly regarded German astronomer Johannes Kepler, among others tried their hand at
this refined art. It was not however until the mid 1800's that the world's first
specialist in science fiction came to prominence. His name was Jules Verne, and the French
author revived science fiction from a 100 year lull of excellence. Inspired by the first
modern science fiction novel, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Jules Verne put science
fiction back into plenitude within literary circles. His many classics such as Journey To
The Centre Of The Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and From The Earth To The Moon were
the beginning of a new era in science fiction and indeed fiction altogether. It was also
around this time that perhaps the worlds greatest author of science fiction began writing,
H.G. Wells. Although he did not create the genre he is viewed as the father of science
fiction for he extensively developed and expanded this style of writing through his
exciting stories. Conceivably his best novel and undoubtedly one of the major developers
of the science fiction genre is his action master piece The War Of The Worlds.




As well as being the first and major developer of the science fiction genre, H. G. Wells'
The War Of The Worlds was also the creator of the minor sub-genre of science fiction, epic
science fiction. The only difference between the genre of science fiction and it's epic
counterpart is that epic science fiction stories have a possible result on a major scale,
one that effects the whole world rather than an isolated area.




If The War Of The Worlds is indeed the major developer of modern science fiction and the
creator of epic science fiction it must therefore belong to each these categories. By
studying the text in terms of it's genre we can determine if it does belong under those
titles. To do this we must examine how it fits into each of the identifying criteria of
the epic-science fiction genre which may be summarised as: it must involve or have a
result that will effect the entire world, it must maintain scientific matter -eg. aliens,
space travel, time travel etc.-, it must show the changes in the society and/or people as
the result of the introduced scientific matter, it may be based loosely in the fact of the
time and must represent a society in chaos (which brings about the change in society) as a
result of the scientific subject.




For any science fiction story to be "epic" it must "involve or have a result that effects
the entire world", this is undeniably the case in The War Of The Worlds. We can see from
the very beginning that the story is going to depict a conflict that involves the whole
world just from reading the title. "The War" shows us that indeed conflict between two or
more parties will occur within the narrative. The rest of the title, "Of The Worlds",
shows us that without a doubt the story is dealing with conflict which puts the whole
world at risk. Furthermore with in the opening paragraphs of the story this point is
outlined more so to increase the involvement and anxiety within the reader, making them
realise that indeed the stakes are high and the world is at risk.




"...in the last years of the nineteenth century this world was being watched keenly and
closely by intelligence's greater than mans...intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic
regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us."




Here we can see the alien invaders of Mars have been watching our planet "keenly and
closely" and devising a plan against us. It is said they have been watching our planet
with "envious eyes", which obviously indicates that the Martians are interested in our
planet for themselves and will take it through the use of force. Moreover they do not only
wish to take our planet and use it as their own, but they also intend to use the human
race as a life source - food.




"I actually saw the Martians feeding off his just-butchered corpse. And I wondered if
this was to be my fate, the fate of all human kind... to be no more than cattle bound
for an alien slaughterhouse."




This quote depicts that the aliens intend to enslave the entire human race as comestibles.
It would seem that without resolution the human race over the entire world may be wiped
out, victim of some bizarre alien genocide on a global scale. It is clear to see that
indeed the story does involve the entire the world and the result of the conflict, whether
it be good or bad will effect the entire planet.




For any story to earn the title of science fiction it must have some form of
scientifically based yet imaginary matter, this can take many forms but the most commonly
recurring is the imaginary being. Non-human beings in science fiction take either of two
forms. Either they are constructs, artificial creations such as androids and robots or
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