illustration of a large alien vehicle, a tripod, attacking a city with lasers

The War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells

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This novel is specific about what sorts of physical characteristics the Martians would have developed, due to the kind of atmosphere Wells believed Mars to have. Using current information about Mars, describe what types of creatures would live there if there were any Martians at all.

Examine the information that has been printed by people who suspect that aliens have already come to Earth, especially the theories around Roswell, New Mexico, and the government facility at Area 51 in Nevada. After reading the information, explain why you do or do not believe that the government is keeping the presence of aliens a secret.

Listen to a recording of the Mercury Theatre’s 1938 broadcast of their adaptation of The War of the Worlds, and then read about the panic that broadcast caused. Compare the public’s response to that fictional account with the reaction to the real-life destruction of the World Trade Center, which was broadcast live throughout the world. Explain whether you think people in the 1930s acted rationally or irrationally.

The invasion of London in this novel can be compared to the attack against New York City in 2001. Write a report about the ways people behaved at that time, comparing and contrasting them to the behaviors that Wells describes.

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