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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

Shortlisted for the Best Solo Narration Award at the New York Festival Radio Awards 2020.

This Penguin Classic is performed by the critically acclaimed actor David Harewood, one of the stars of the television series Homeland. Harewood is also known for his roles in award-winning productions The Night Manager and Blood Diamond. This definitive recording includes an Introduction by Brian Aldiss read by Roy McMillan.  

The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag - only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilisation is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear.  

The War of the Worlds has been the subject of countless adaptations, including an Orson Welles radio drama which caused mass panic when it was broadcast, with listeners confusing it for a news broadcast heralding alien invasion; a musical version by Jeff Wayne; and, most recently, Steven Spielberg's 2005 film version, starring Tom Cruise. This Penguin Classics edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. The introduction, by Brian Aldiss, considers the novel's view of religion and society.   

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a professional writer and journalist. Among his most popular works are The Time Machine (1895); The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), filmed with Bela Lugosi in 1932, and again in 1996 with Marlon Brando; The Invisible Man (1897); The War of the Worlds (1898); and The First Men in the Moon (1901), which predicted the first lunar landings.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The War of the Worlds

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  • Nicus
  • 12-29-19

Monotonous reading of a classic masterpiece

The novel is a classic, we all know the story... more or less. The original is interestingly different from the many adaptations as movies, radio drama etc. Too bad the narrator is awfully monotonous in his reading.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-21

A breathless monotone

Such a shame this was not better narrated. It is too quiet (except in a few places where the narrator bellows) and it is delivered throughout in a breathless monotone. And place names mis-pronounced - very irritating...Really wished I'd read it in hard copy instead!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-20-21

Struggled to finish

Found second half more interesting than first. Audio Recording volume was low and even in maximum volume in car, struggled to hear it. Think Amazon version of this audio recording is better.

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  • Paul Warren
  • 04-30-21

Great book.

Great book, never read the original, so only had the musical version to go by. Even had the music playing in my head when listening. Would listen again. I think a trip through Time is next on the list.

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  • Steve
  • 02-20-20

Riveting classic well read

I've always found the adaptations of this novel enchanting, especially Jeff Wayne's album, but hadn't read the original. I found this really compelling, vivid and evocative. Some of the action scenes are written like a really good film treatment. The narrator is excellent.

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  • Marija Radovska
  • 08-13-21

Thoroughly frustrating narration.

Lovely voice, but utterly disjointed performance. Excessive breaks in the normal flow of speech; you think a sentence has finished, then he keeps going. Thoroughly frustrating and difficult to listen to, to the point that it detracted so much from the experience of the story, that I had to stop. Couldn't finish it. if there is another version of this available, opt for that one.

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  • Ian Andrew Mulcahy
  • 02-02-22

Outstanding story

Still one of the very best Sci-Fi stories ever written, it brings a detail and tense story to life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-21

terrible voice .

terrible voice . could hardly understand or keep interested. boring. slow . bad mixing maybe

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  • blake stubbo
  • 06-09-21

Nail biting intensity mixed with a iconic story.

I would recommend this to any whom enjoy Sci-Fi, thrills and a sense of curiosity.