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The War of the Worlds (New York Review Books Classics)by H. G. Wells
Synopses & Reviews
H.G. Wells's spellbinding account of an invasion from outer space is the first and still the best of all such stories. Ten massive, super-intelligent aliens from Mars touch down in Victorian England and threaten to reduce the civilized world to cinder in short order, as humanity's vaunted knowledge proves to be of little use in such an emergency. First published in 1898, famously dramatized by Orson Welles in an extraordinary 1938 radio presentation that had listeners fearing for their lives, and the subject of a forthcoming movie by 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. Here this classic work receives its definitive visual interpretation at the hands of master illustrator Edward Gorey, who offers spectacular front and back cover art and several of his inimitably unsettling line drawings. One color illustration and 29 black-and-white illustrations are featured.
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.
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 illustrationfears.
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.
About the Author
H.G.(Herbert George) Wells (1866-1946), born of lower middle class parents, was largely self-educated. A government scholarship allowed him to attended the Royal College of Science where he studied with Thomas Henry Huxley.
Although he wrote a number of different types of fiction as well as non-fiction, he is best remembered for his science fiction. His firm grounding in science shows forth in this genre.
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