The War of the Worlds

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New York Review of Books, 2005 - Fiction - 251 pages

Accompanied by Edward's Gorey's masterful, timelessly haunting illustrations, H. G. Wells's classic story of alien invasion.

When massive, intelligent aliens from Mars touch down in Victorian England and threaten to destroy the civilized world, humanity's vaunted knowledge proves to be of little use. First published in 1898, H. G. Wells's masterpiece of speculative fiction has thrilled and delighted generations of readers, spawned countless imitations, and inspired dramatizations by such masters as Orson Welles and Steven Spielberg. The War of the Worlds is a fantasy that is both startlingly up-to-date and in touch with the most ancient of human fears.

In 1960, Edward Gorey prepared a set of his inimitable pen-and-ink drawings to illustrate a new edition of Wells's The War of the Worlds for the legendary Looking Glass Library. Characteristically quirky, elegant, and entrancing, Gorey's visual take on Wells's seminal tour de force has been unavailable for close to fifty years. This special hardcover edition from NYRB Classics brings back for today's readers a richly rewarding collaboration between two modern masters of all that's wonderful and strange.

 

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Contents

The Eve of the War
11
The Falling Star
20
On Horsell Common
26
The Cylinder Opens
31
The HeatRay
36
The HeatRay in the Chobham Road
42
How I Reached Home
46
Friday Night
52
The Exodus from London
129
The Thunder Child
146
THE EARTH UNDER THE MARTIANS
159
Under Foot
161
What We Saw from the Ruined House
171
The Days of Imprisonment
184
The Death of the Curate
192
The Stillness
199

The Fighting Begins
56
In the Storm
64
At the Window
72
What I Saw of the Destruction of Weybridge and Shcpperton
80
How I Fell in with the Curate
95
In London
103
What Had Happened in Surrey
118
The Work of Fifteen Days
203
The Man on Putney Hill
208
Dead London
228
Wreckage
239
The Epilogue
246
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

H. G. (Herbert George) Wells (1866-1946) was born at Bromley in Kent, England, the son of a professional cricketer turned failed shopkeeper. Wells was apprenticed to a draper and then to a pharmacist before winning a scholarship to the Normal School of Science, where he earned a first in Zoology. Beginning as a writer of textbooks, he was soon publishing articles and fiction in prominent journals, and his early work included such pioneering and influential works of science fiction as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The War of the Worlds. Later books were devoted to realist and comic accounts of lower-middle-class life, among the best known of which are Tono-Bungay, Kipps, and Love and Mr Lewisham. Wells was also the author of many works of nonfiction and, throughout his career, a committed socialist and internationalist.

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was born in Chicago. He studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago, spent three years in the army testing poison gas, and attended Harvard College, where he majored in French literature and roomed with the poet Frank O'Hara. In 1953 Gorey published The Unstrung Harp, the first of his many extraordinary books, which include The Curious Sofa, The Haunted Tea-Cosy, and The Epiplectic Bicycle.

In addition to illustrating his own books, Edward Gorey provided drawings to countless books for both children and adults. Of these, New York Review Books has published The Haunted Looking Glass, a collection of Gothic tales that he selected and illustrated; The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells; Men and Gods, a retelling of ancient Greek myths by Rex Warner; in collaboration with Rhoda Levine, Three Ladies Beside the Sea and He Was There from the Day We Moved In; and The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, a collection of tales by Saki.

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