Summary H.G. Wells

What we liked about “The Time Machine” and “The War of the Worlds”

  • Classics can feel a bit “dusty”, but it’s fascinating what Wells started in terms of science fiction
  • “Dusty imagination of the (late) Victorians”; great imaginations in the books
  • They cannot really be compared to modern science fiction novels but considering the time, they are truly impressive
  • Very imaginative!
  • “War of the Worlds” dry but “Time Machine” very nice
  • Ideas we are used to now but they were revolutionary in the day
  • “War of the Worlds” not as fast-paced as scifi is today; chill alien invasion in this one
  • No infodump at the beginning is nice
  • “Time Machine” goes all out, H.G. Wells is like “hold my beer”
  • Rereading it as an adult makes one appreciate how influential these books were
  • “Time Machine” is a story about humanity at its core
  • Old fashioned but fun
  • Hard sf gets boring quite fast, H.G. Wells has fun and just rolls with it
  • “Thin line between going totally bonkers and really really dry and dusty” scifi
  • Writing style not too stuffed, can be read nicely
  • “Time Machine”: time travel novels are cool, “Dr Who” ❤
  • Really cool how influential the novels were, how many adaptations were sparked
  • Parts of it are really funny; gave “Mars Attacks” vibes
  • H.G. Wells visionary
  • “This is not specific at all, but I enjoy finally reading classics that I already kind of know about – it feels new but also familiar I guess”
  • Clean and simple: aliens come, aliens want to conquer; “epic scale”
  • Epicness and action (even though it is a bit dry)
  • Alien invasion happens in England and NOT in the United States, that was nice
  • Panic induced by a radio adaptation: https://www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/30-october/orson-welles-causes-panic-with-his-%25E2%2580%2598war-of-the-worlds%25E2%2580%2599-broadcast
  • Extra: “Island of Doctor Moreau”: “H.G. Wells predicts genetic engineering”; his take on “Frankenstein”; less space, more biology
  • Extra: “The Invisible Man”; not as good as the others but still cool; not as scifi-ish; social commentary cool; “it was fun”

What we discussed:

  • Pacing often a bit slow
  • Narration drags on sometimes
  • “War of the Worlds”: adaptations always a bit better, but it’s unfair to bash H.G. Wells because “he’s the daddy of these concepts”
  • Racism shows and sucks, still hard to read even if we think about when the novels were published
  • Humans couldn’t really do anything against the aliens was quite frustrating; this changed in later adaptations
  • Helpless humans felt like horror; same aesthetic too
  • Parts of the content boring because we are used to tropes etc (because H.G. Wells invented them), but this is kinda unfair
  • H.G. Wells very smooth, could’ve been a bit more gritty
  • Lack of things happening is boring, too many descriptions, “nothing’s happening!!!”
  • Too much speculation as part of the narration
  • Visionary but H.G. Wells talking about the future “very whack”, feels weird, over the top; he wanted to impress people during Victorianism and it shows

Rating of the books:

  • 10/10 Morlocks as classics; “they are nice”; “they deserve their acclaim”
  • War of the Worlds 9/10 Martians
  • Time Machine 7/10 Morlocks
  • Time Machine 3.5-4/5 Time Machines
  • War of the Worlds 2.5-3/5 Martians
  • Time Machine 4/5
  • War of the Worlds 3.5/5
  • War of the Worlds 4/5 Aliens
  • Time Machine not yet finished, final rating later
  • 4/5 weird visions of the future for both of them as they were so influential and its impressive

Other books we talked about:

  • “Project Hail Mary”: cool, especially the first contact part; ending satisfying
  • “Master of Djinn”: great queer rep, set in Cairo, interesting take on colonialism, well written
  • “Endgame” by Seanan McGuire: really enjoyable; coming of age; fun
  • Adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice”: “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”; book: “The Secreat Diary of Lizzie Bennet”
  • “Our Violent Ends” (#2 “Our Violent Delights” #1) by Chloe Gong: retelling of Romeo & Juliet in 1920s Shanghai, great series!
  • “Iron Widow” by Xiran Jay Zhao: entertaining, violent, dark, queer, feminist, MECHAS!

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