Reading War of The Worlds, Chapters 4 & 5

Chapter 4 – The Cylinder Opens

The poor shop assistant! Wells really leaves him dangling.

The description of the Martian is creepier and more alien than anything I’ve actually seen in a film.

 Chapter 5 – The Heat Ray

This is a big feature of the musical, so I’m eager to see what really happens…

I remained standing knee-deep in the heather, staring at the mound that hid them. was a battleground of fear and curiosity.

I did not dare go back towards the pit, but I felt a passionate longing to peer into it… p.259

Ack! Aren’t you right there with him?

“Did you see a man in the pit?” I said; but he made no answer… p. 259

Does nobody else care about the poor shop assistant? And they call the Martians brutes?!

I stood, staring, not as yet realizing that this was death leaping from man to man in that little distant crowd. All I felt was that it was something very strange. An almost noisless and blinding flash of light, and a man fell headlong and lay still; and as the unseen shaft of heat passed over them, pine-trees burst into fire, and every dry furze-bush became with one dull thud a mass of flames…p.261

This is so very chilling. He’s not telling us he’s horrified. He’s allowing us to see it as it happened, only with the knowledge of what’s actually happening.

The end of this chapter is masterful: the fear that descends on him ‘like a thing falling on me from without’, infected me too!