The Book I Wish I'd Written

I think the book I most wish I’d written is H.G. Wells’s, the War of the Worlds. It was written in the dying embers of the 19th century but it feels so modern and so relevant even at a distance of more than one hundred and twenty years. The War of the Worlds tells the story of a brutal, devastating alien attack from Mars. I’m a sucker for sci-fi that’s set on earth, which the War of the Worlds most certainly is. It takes place in Woking for flip’s sake and has chapter titles like, “the Heat-Ray in the Cobham Road”. The idea of alien-life can seem so far-away so it’s always a treat to see intelligent life travelling across the universe to blowi up buildings that I recognise. It’s much more fun than them acting out their violence in gleaming, distant worlds.

The War of the Worlds reflected the fears of its time. It’s a story about a catastrophic, technologically-advanced war and was written barely sixteen years before the outbreak of WW1. And yet, wars keep on being waged, with increasingly sophisticated ways of killing, and the War of the Worlds just sits there, reflecting our senseless brutality right back at us.