Reading War Of The Worlds, Book One, Chapter Two

Many people in Berkshire, Surrey and Middlesex must have seen the fall of it… p. 249

 This was one of the things I loved about this story when I was young and listening to the musical version. I knew these place names…I lived in Surrey. It was the 1970s, almost 80 years after the book was written, but it wasn’t hard to picture the setting. We spent Sundays going for walks through the very countryside he travels.

Reading it now (over 30 years after we moved far away from Surrey) I had to go and look up places like Chertsey, Ottershaw and Woking and make sure I hadn’t made this up. Sure enough, my old hometown is definitely in the vicinity, and there are plenty of place names on the map that I recognise here.

He approached the mass, surprised at the size and moreso at the shape…p.250

The writer in me is wondering how the narrator knows this. I’m going to assume that Ogilvy meets up with him later and relates this. My critique group would never let me away with this kind of perspective shift (unexplained) these days. Modern readers are so demanding. Sigh.

(I’m so nervous for Ogilvy. Not just because I remember what’s coming, from the album, but because Wells says “poor Ogilvy” the firsttime he mentions him in this chapter. You know that can’t be good. Foreshadowing, people!

He met a wagonerandtriedto make him understand, but the tale he told and his appearance were so wild — his hat had fallen off in the pit — that hte man simply drove on. p 251

Heavens! Imagine being seen without your hat! Clearly, a madman. ;)

One can imagine them, covered with sand, excited and disordered, running up the little street in the bright sunlight just as the shop folks weretaking down their shutters and people were opening their bedroom windows… p. 252

Poignant and foreshadowy. Tension builds…

Chapter Two Notes

Wells is doing a good job of writing a suspense thriller, here. We know it’s going to go bad, from everything he’s said so far, but still he lets us see the excitement of Ogilvy the astronomer and Henderson the journlist as these two men of curiosity investigate the most exciting new thing that’s ever happened to them. He really takes his time, building up the World ThatWas, without boring the reader.

I feel compelled to read on, how about you?