Answer THREE of the following:
Q1: One of the most important elements of science fiction is what we call verisimilitude, the quality of making something appear real—or what Coleridge termed the “suspension of disbelief.” The more we believe the events of science fiction are possible, the more we fall under their spell and ultimately unlock their metaphors. How does Wells accomplish this in the opening chapters of The War of the Worlds? How does he attempt to blur fact and fiction?
Q2: How does the public react to the growing threat of the Martians? Remember that the media didn’t have the power or influence in his day as it does in ours, and yet newspapers picked up stories quickly and disseminated them. What might the public’s response say about Wells’ views of
humanity in general? England
Q3: How might Mars and the Martians represent some of
colonial fears, much in the same way that vampires and “Mr. Hydes” did in other
stories? Consider the opening chapter, which notes that “[Mars] must be...older
than our world; and long before this earth ceased to be molten, life upon its
surface must have begun its course” (8). England
Q4: In Chapter 2, “From the Ruined House,” the narrator discusses Martian anatomy and evolution, explaining (among other things), that “is it quite credible that the Martians may be descended from beings not unlike ourselves, by a gradual development of brain and hands...at the expense of the rest of the body” (127). Why is this passage significant for the metaphor of Wells’ book? What fate does this predict for mankind if it continues along current lines of development?
Q5: At one point, the Man on Putney Hill wants to create a secret stash of books, but "not novels and poetry swipes, but ideas, science books" (Ch.7). Why does he place so little value on imaginative literature and so great a value on scientific literature? If there was a global catastrophe, should we save the art as well as the science?
Q6: In the Epilogue, the narrator reflects that "We have learned now that we cannot regard this planet as being fenced in and a secure abiding-place for Man; we can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly from space." Though talking about Mars, how might this also reflect on
might this Epilogue be a metaphor for seeing Britain as an 'earth' itself? England