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With an Introduction by Dr Andrew Frayn, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture at Edinburgh Napier University. In these two compelling novels H.G. Wells imagines terrifying futures in which civilisation itself is threatened. The narrator of ‘The War of the Worlds’ is quick to discover that what appeared to be a falling star was, in fact, a metallic cylinder landing from Mars. Six million people begin to flee London in panic as tentacled invaders emerge and overpower the city. With their heat-ray, killing machines, black gas, and a taste for fresh human blood, is there anything that can be done to stop the Martians? In ‘The War in the Air’, naive but resourceful Bert Smallways is thrilled by speed and fascinated by the new flying machines. His curiosity sweeps him away by accident into a German plan to conquer America, beginning with the destruction of New York. The ease of movement in aerial warfare means that nothing and nobody is safe as Total War erupts, civilisation crumbles, and Bert’s hopes of getting back to London to marry his love seem impossibly distant. AUTHOR: H. G. Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) is famously often referred to as ‘the father of science fiction’ but Wells’s phenomenal imagination ranged far and wide and included works of comic social realism. Such is Wells’s facility with story-telling that well over a century after their publication, that his stories are as fresh and compelling to us today as they would have been when his initial readers first turned their pages, often in astonishment and frequently in amusement.
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