On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles terrified American radio listeners by describing a Martian invasion of Earth in a broadcast that became legendary. Forty years earlier, H. G. Wells had first penned the story: The War of the Worlds, a science-fiction classic that endures in our collective subconscious.
Deeply concerned with the welfare of contemporary society, Wells wrote his novel of interplanetary conflict in anticipation of war in Europe, and in it he predicted the technological savagery of twentieth century warfare. Playing expertly on worldwide security fears, The War of the Worlds grips readers with its conviction that invasion can happen anytime, anywhere?even in our own backyard.
Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College-Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic. He also wrote the notes and introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Wells's The Time Machine and The Invisible Man.