In 1877, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virgino Schiaparelli (1835-1910) discovered on Mars a network of straight lines, which he called the canals. There was a hypothesis that these channels are artificial structures. Such a point of view was later refuted, but during her lifetime, Schiaparelli enjoyed wide recognition. And from this the idea of the habitation of this planet came logically. Of course, something contradicted her. Mars is older than the Earth, farther from the Sun, and if life began earlier, it is already nearing its end. The average daily temperature in the equatorial belt is not higher than in our coldest weather, the atmosphere is very rarefied, huge masses of ice accumulate at the poles. But should not it be from here that during the existence of Mars they have grown incomparable with terrestrial technology and at the same time the desire to relocate to another,
These are the prerequisites of this largest in scope science fiction novel Wells. It is about the invasion of the Martians on Earth. When the Earth and Mars are confronted, the distance between them is reduced as much as possible. Astronomers at this time observe some outbreaks on the surface of this planet. Most likely, these are earthquakes. Or maybe, Wells suggests, the Martians simply cast a giant cannon, from which they will soon release ten shells to Earth? These shells would have been more, but there was something on Mars – some kind of explosion – although the Martians
The novel ends with another scientific assumption. The period of development of the Martian civilization – it is worth recalling, a very long one – was sufficient to destroy all pathogenic microbes. And the Martians fall prey to their inability to live on earth. They are dying.
Between this beginning and end, the novel’s action unfolds. It is twofold. At first Wells seems to be a kind of follower of Jules Verne, a kind of “technical fiction writer”. The Martians brought to Earth new principles of science and technology. Their combat tripods, stepping at the speed of the birds, their heat and light rays, their gas attacks, long foreshadowing the horrors of the world war, the ability to use articulate rather than wheeled devices, to which the engineers of future generations came, are the precursors of robotics. Aircraft heavier than air were only planned, and Wells his Martians are already building their own aircraft.
And another foresight of Wells is chimerical. The Martians are like a reasonable tadpole, equipped with bundles of tentacles. They are more a product of the terrestrial, rather than extraterrestrial civilization. And in the eyes of modern man they are disgusting. Moreover, the Martians feed on the blood of beings resembling the present inhabitants of the Earth. This is one of the main reasons for their expansion,
The action begins with the fall of the first unscrewing Martian from inside the cylinder. People dream to establish contact with aliens. However, the Martians have very different plans. They need to subjugate the Earth, and from the very beginning they behave extremely aggressively, suppressing the first pockets of possible resistance. The artillery batteries aimed at them were destroyed by a heat ray. The government is still in a position to call on the population to leave London, after which its functions are completely exhausted. Production comes to an end. There is no longer any social order. The mass exodus of the population from the world’s largest city begins. Rioters march. People who are not subject to a more external discipline, show themselves as they are.
In the novel there are two storytellers. One of them is the author himself. This he immediately notices the arrival of the Martians, the destruction of the peacekeeping delegation with the white flag, the first crowds of refugees who had not yet reached London. During the wanderings, he meets two people stopping his attention. One of them is a priest, with whom, incidentally, he finds himself in a dilapidated house on the very edge of a giant crater, dug by a falling cylinder. From the breach in the wall, he watches as the Martians gather their gears. The priest is a sincerely believing person, yet he gradually goes mad, raises a cry and soon attracts the attention of the Martians. The tentacles are stretched in the breach, and one can only guess what fate awaits him. The hero miraculously avoids the same fate.
And one more person gets in his way. It is a sled artillery battery, behind its part. At a time when they meet again, the Martians have already triumphed over mankind. But, as it turns out, the artilleryman has his own plan for saving the human race. We must dig deeper into the ground, for example, into the sewer network, and wait. At first, it seems that in his calculations there is some truth. Sewage after the rain is well washed. It is quite spacious, and you can get there through a specially dug underground passage. Over time, the Earth will be able to win. You just need to master the mystery of the Martian tripods. There will still be more people, however. And among them there are able to manage these for the time being incomprehensible mechanisms.
The plan itself was not bad. Yes, that’s the trouble – he was born in the head of a man who poses a considerable danger to humanity. It turns out almost from the first moment. The artillery soldier is one of the marauders that has lately erupted. Not recognizing the narrator immediately, he does not want to let him into his “site,” where enough food for two people has accumulated. In addition, he digs his dig in the wrong direction. It’s impossible to get to the sewer from here. And there will be no time for this. The creator of the great plan does not like working very much. He prefers to absorb food prepared by someone else and spirits.
But worst of all is the other side of this “great plan”. To implement it, you will have to bring out a new breed of people. Weak (according to the famous Spartan pattern) will have to be killed. Women will be called only to give birth to viable people. And the narrator, the bearer of very different thoughts, decides to leave this unbridled and strange dreamer and go to London.
The spectacle, which appeared to his eyes, frightens off. The city, except for a few drunks, was emptied. It is littered with corpses. And above all this, the howling of an extraterrestrial monster is heard. But the narrator still does not know that this is the death cry of the last surviving Martian.
He learns a lot from the lips of his brother. This is the second narrator. It was he who witnessed the great exodus from London. In the story of the artilleryman about the nonentities inhabiting England, there were still a lot of truth. These worthless people at the first signs of danger become more and more lost and lose a sense of reality. On the roads they rob and take away vehicles. Some old man, risking his life, collects scattered, useless gold. But now the flow poured back. And since then, people have learned a lot about the Martians. They do not know the feeling of fatigue. Like ants, they work all twenty-four hours a day. They reproduce by budding and therefore do not know those violent emotions that arise in people due to gender differences. The digestive apparatus is absent. The main organ is a huge, continuously working brain.
And everything that the Martians brought with them, people, Wells predicts, will eventually take possession. It’s not just one technique. The invasion of the Martians threatened not only England, but the whole of our planet. And Wells at the end of the book returns to his beloved thought, which he expressed all his life: “Perhaps the invasion of the Martians will not be left without benefit to people, it took away from us the serene faith in the future, which so easily leads to decline, it promoted the idea of single organization of mankind. “