Author: H. G. Wells
First published: 1897, serial; 1898, book
Locale: Woking and London, England
Plot: Science fiction
Time: Late nineteenth century
The narrator, a man of intellectual curiosity who is interested in observing Mars through a telescope. One day, he sees harmless-appearing creatures emerging from a projectile fallen to Earth. The Martians, left undisturbed because they seem helpless, set to work making curious machines. These finished, they begin to lay waste to the countryside. The narrator, after taking his wife to Leatherhead, returns home to find the area defenseless against the Martians' metal monsters. The Martians move on to London, which becomes a ruined city, but at last they fall victim to earthly bacteria, and the world is saved.
The narrator's wife, who is taken by the narrator to Leather-head to escape the Martians' destruction. Finally, after the deaths of the Martians, the narrator and his wife are reunited.
An artilleryman, the only survivor of his outfit. He and the narrator escape together by hiding in bushes and streams.
Acurate, with whom the narrator hides in a deserted cellar. The curate goes raving mad and, because silence is necessary to escape detection by the Martians, the narrator is forced to kill him. His body is taken by one of the Martians, whose diet consists of the blood of their victims.