H.G. Wells and John Wyndham have both created science fiction stories. However, the stories contain both similarities and differences. The main similarity of these novels are the arrival of extra terrestrial life landing on planet Earth. Each author goes about this in a slightly different way though. If you were to picture an alienation visit then H.G. Wells approach is the idea that you would imagine; a full scale war with lots of weapons etc. A battle plan was immediately put in to action in an attempt to halt the intruders bid for take-over.
You read about a complete opposite with John Wyndham's story. The life forms are minute and would, even if wanted, not have shown a threat to human life. The Meteor aliens arrived so discretely that the locals did not even realise that the other life forms were present, unnoticed for a while. When there ship was noticed, they were mistaken for a meteor. The reason for the novels having such different methods of arrival is because of the reasons for wanting to visit Earth.
As I ve previously mentioned, H.G. Wells story was to invade and conquer Earth. In Meteor, the aliens had arrived from their home planet Forta because their planet was doomed and they needed to find an alternative place to live. They did not want to kill the humans though, but to share the planet and befriend the human race. Both stories end with the inevitable; the destruction of the aliens. There are a large number of similarities but it is matched with a significant number of differences too. The narrative of The war of the worlds is quite dramatic.
There is always plenty of action and the author is constantly describing the surroundings. When reading the book I found it important to keep in my mind that it was written in 1898, over one hundred years ago. The technology from that day was very primitive in comparison to what we have today. Yet H.G. Wells manages to generate idea of things which have not even been seen in today's advancing technological world. It states in the blurb that the Martians invaded Earth with some fantastic and amazing weapons, including cranes that walk on stilts and a heat-ray that kills from a distance. He clearly had a well developed imagination.
In Meteor, I find the narrative a little peculiar. It is not your average science-fiction tale. It is also written strangely with segments of the text of Onn's journal. This is a diary of someone from the alien spacecraft, keeping a log of the happenings and observations he makes of Earth.
This I find doubled with the unusual plot (for an alien intrusion) makes for a very bizarre narrative. In H.G. Wells works the story starts off with Ogilvy (a survivor) telling us that human affairs had been "watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's". Ogilvy was a key character in the story, he had spotted the Martians coming into Woking, which was the setting from which the aliens landed. However, soon they had progressed from here and moved to many different places across United Kingdom including the nation's capital, London. This story does not tell us much about the international side of it all though. That seems to be left out of the story.
I think that because it was written in 1898 when communications were really very basic, he didn t develop the ideas and concentrated his efforts to the Martian's technology. One thing was for sure though - they led a trail of destruction everywhere they went. The aliens were portrayed to be very destructive and violent - which were very true to their words. They travelled around in towering tripods and had heat-ray guns destroying everything in their path.
The aliens obviously came from a much more sophisticated planet than our own, they had also come equipped with more weapons than we could ever match. However, if they had wanted to be successful then they should have spent a little more time observing our planet and bringing back samples etc. I say this because it was our bacteria that eventually killed the invaders off. We didn t manage to control them using forceful weapons - there black smoke and heat-ray guns killed off the British army and forced people to leave the country. It was our own bacteria, present with us all the time that destroyed them eventually. Unfortunately the humans in Meteor did not see the intruders as aliens, but as bugs because of there small size.
They all get killed at the end because of this "He pumped a cloud of insecticide over them and watched while they slowed, waved feeble legs, and then lay still". They aliens brought unnecessary attention to themselves though by killing the cat. They also hurt the girl which brought them to attention from the murderous humans. I thought the last sentence was very ironic "Never seen anything quite like them - I wonder what on earth they were" Humans are depicted as the defenceless side in The War Of The Worlds You have sympathy for them because they cannot defend there own planet and are doomed. There is more sympathy spread because of the high number of casualties that were wounded in the take-over from the aliens. In Meteor I found that (especially towards the end) that humans were thought to be the evil ones as they (accidentally) killed off the strange race from Forta.
I think it is unfair to think this though because the humans didn t know what the aliens were. They killed a cat and they had a really painful sting - as experienced by Graham " Hell's bells! he said, shaking it off. The little brute certainly can sting". H.G. Wells has made his novel very precise almost like a scientific report "The planet Mars, I scarcely need to remind the reader revolves about the sun at a mean 140,000,000 miles". It was also scattered with old-fashioned words and phrases throughout the book "all of London was electrified by the news from Woking". This is not unusual or out of place though because the book was written back in 1989.
The story is composed in a past tense by a witness, which could be thought as ruining the fiction as you know that somehow the humans had not been killed off. However there is a twist in the novel regarding the bacteria. Higher register vocabulary is used and combined with sentence structure makes it hard for a modern teenage reader. The Meteor short story is written in two completely different ways, It is separated with Onns journal and the normal text. The wording is formatted so that the text used for Onns journal is different to the story but I think that because Onns journal is so stylised that this needn t be done. The journal is written in present tense and the novel is created in a 3rd person narrative for human angle.
The Meteor story is much easier to read than The War Of The Worlds. This is probably because of the vocabulary used and also that because that the vocabulary was too old to distinguish easily. I compare this effect to a Shakespearean novel - the text is very hard to understand. Well I think H.G. Well's work had the same problem, just not as severe. Onns journal has a great sense of respect for the English language "We the flower of civilisation now cover before the hideous monstrosities that face us", While writing this comparison text I was thinking about the narrative's in all science fiction stories.
Most of them seem to involve extra terrestrial life invading Earth, a battle, Earth almost losing, then miraculously winning the battle. There are many stories that take this approach such as independence day etc. I asked myself why do they all take the same approach Very few stories are made where the bad guys win. Why not though I think the answer is within what people actually want to read.
They don t want to hear that Earth has been invaded and everyone is dead nor do they want to hear that we ve all been held hostage and tortured. This is because that wouldn t make a pleasing story and people want to hear a nice story. I think the idea is fine, but won t this idea eventually get uninteresting It will get harder for the authors to attract audiences if they re telling the same story.