Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The War of the Worlds: Introduction
The War of the Worlds: Plot Summary
The War of the Worlds: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The War of the Worlds: Themes
The War of the Worlds: Quotes
The War of the Worlds: Characters
The War of the Worlds: Symbols
The War of the Worlds: Literary Devices
The War of the Worlds: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of H. G. Wells
Historical Context of The War of the Worlds
Other Books Related to The War of the Worlds
- Full Title: The War of the Worlds
- When Written: 1897
- Where Written: England
- When Published: First serialized in Pearson’s Magazine in 1897, and later published as a book in 1898.
- Literary Period: Victorian Literature
- Genre: Science Fiction, Invasion Literature
- Setting: Victorian England
- Climax: Because The War of the Worlds was originally published in installments (and because Wells later added chapters), each installment can be said to have its own narrative arc and climax. However, the most obvious climax is when the narrator narrowly escapes a Martian’s notice by hiding under a pile of coal.
- Antagonist: The Martians
- Point of View: First-person narration
Extra Credit for The War of the Worlds
Radio Broadcast. In 1938, a radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds aired in America. The actor Orson Welles narrated the story as though it were a newscast—and was so convincing that many listeners thought the events he described were actually happening. Widespread panic and hysteria abounded that night, sparking heated controversy in the coming days about the station’s decision to run such a program.
Innovation. Inspired by The War of the Worlds and the Martians’ flying machines, Robert H. Goddard had an idea that eventually led to the invention of the liquid-fueled rocket. This invention paved the way for the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969.