The War of the Worlds: Pearson’s Magazine Installment 1 Annotations
by Madeline B. Gangnes
This installment comprises the text that is roughly comparable to Book I (“The Coming of the Martians”), Chapters I-IV of the 1898 collected edition and subsequent versions.
The majority of the annotations on this page draw from the following critical editions of The War of the Worlds:
DANAHAY: Martin A. Danahay. The War of the Worlds. Broadview Press, 2003.
HUGHES AND GEDULD: David Y. Hughes and Harry M. Geduld, eds. A Critical Edition of The War of the Worlds: H. G. Wells’s Scientific Romance, with Introduction and Notes by David Y. Hughes and Harry M. Geduld. Indiana UP, 1993.
MCCONNELL: Frank McConnell, ed. The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds: A Critical Edition. Oxford UP, 1977.
STOVER: Leon Stover. The War of the Worlds: A Critical Text of the 1898 London First Edition, with an Introduction, Illustrations and Appendices. McFarland and Company, Inc, 2001.
Madeline Gangnes has added additional annotations and resources, especially those that address materials related to Pearson’s Magazine and adaptations of the text. They are cited with their source(s) (where applicable) and referenced as GANGNES.
Annotation: Cosmo Rowe
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 217: In 1896 H. G. Wells and his agent attempted to get illustrations for The War of the Worlds from Cosmo Rowe, but only succeeded in securing two, both of which appeared in Pearson’s and one in Cosmopolitan.
GANGNES: Cosmo Rowe (William John Monkhouse Rowe, 1877-1952) was a British illustrator active during the late Victorian period and thereafter. He was a friend of Wells’s and of designer William Morris (1834-1896).
Rowe’s illustrations for The War of the Worlds appear in the April 1897 (installment 1, first page) and May 1897 (frontispiece) issues of Pearson’s Magazine; they are the only illustrations for the Pearson’s War of the Worlds that were not done by Warwick Goble.
- “Cosmo Rowe,” askART.com
Annotation: Kepler: quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy
From STOVER 49: “Johannes Kepler (d. 1630) laid the foundation of modern astronomy with his calculation of planetary motions, as immortalized in Kepler’s laws.” Epigraph quote is from a letter to Galileo quoted by Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). Wells slightly abridged the quote.
- Background information and digital facsimile images on The British Library’s website
- Wikipedia entry on The Anatomy of Melancholy
- Transcription of the text of The Anatomy of Melancholy on Project Gutenberg
Annotation: No one would have believed…
GANGNES: Adaptations of The War of the Worlds have tended to modify their settings to match those of their main audience. To aid in establishing their time periods and locations, they open with a prologue that is similar to this one, but with several details changed to suit the adaptation.
The 1938 RADIO DRAMA (Orson Welles, Mercury Theatre on the Air) begins: “We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own. We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacence people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small spinning fragment of solar driftwood which by chance or design man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space. Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. In the thirty-ninth year of the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.”
The 1953 FILM ADAPTATION (Byron Haskin) includes a bit of narration before the title that briefly discusses war technology from WWI and WWII, then begins: “No one would have believed, in the middle of the twentieth century, human affairs were being closely watched by a greater intelligence. Yet, across the gulf of space, on the planet Mars, intellects vast and unsympathetic regarded our Earth enviously, slowly and surely drawing their plans against us.”
The 2005 FILM ADAPTATION (Steven Spielberg) begins: “No one would have believed in the early years of the twenty-first century, that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own. That as men busied themselves about their various concerns, they observed and studied. Like the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire over this world. Yet, across the gulf of space, intellects, vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our plant with envious eyes. And slowly and surely, drew their plans against us.”
Perhaps most interestingly, the opening lines were modified to fit a fictional setting: the DC Comics universe. The DC “Elseworlds” comic “SUPERMAN: WAR OF THE WORLDS” (1988) accommodates the existence of Krypton in this way: “No one would have believed, in the early decades of the twentieth century, that the Earth was being watched keenly and closely across the gulf of space by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own. One such older world was Mars, where minds that are to our mind as ours are to the beasts–intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic–regarded Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. Another such world, unknown alike to our earth and to the red planet… was the doomed sphere called Krypton.” The narration goes on to link the fates of Earth, Mars, and Krypton to establish their similarities and draw them together under the Elseworlds Martian invasion.
Annotation: a man with a microscope
From DANAHAY 41: Wells was interested in the microscope to the point where he visited a microscope factory for his article “Through a Microscope.”
- Facsimile on The Internet Archive of H.G. Wells’s “Through a Microscope: Some Moral Reflections” in Certain Personal Matters: A collection of Materials, Mainly Autobiographical (1897)
Annotation: dreaming themselves the highest creatures in the whole vast universe
GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.
From DANAHAY 41: minute organisms, protozoa
Annotation: idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable
From DANAHAY 41: Reference to a Victorian debate regarding the existence of intelligent life on Mars. See Wells’s article “Intelligence on Mars” in the Saturday Review 8 (April 4, 1896), p. 345-46.
Annotation: across the gulf of space
From STOVER 52: Phrase is from Percival Lowell’s Mars (1895).
Annotation: as ours are to those of the beasts that perish
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 197: Reference to Psalm 49: 12 “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.”
Annotation: nebular hypothesis
From MCCONNELL 124: the “nebular hypothesis” is Pierre Laplace’s (1749-1827) theory that “the solar system originated as a single, densely compacted ‘cloud’ or ‘nebula’ of matter.”
From MCCONNELL 124: ages-long
From DANAHAY 42: thinner; less dense
From MCCONNELL 124: The idea that there were, or might have been, oceans on Mars was due to limited telescopic technology during this time.
From DANAHAY p. 42: reference to the theory of “melting icecaps” proposed by Lowell in Mars
Annotation: struggle for existence
From MCCONNELL 125: “struggle for existence” was a phrase popularized by Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859).
- Facsimile of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) provided by The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project
Annotation: carry warfare sunward
GANGNES: Which is to say, invade Earth and destroy human beings; Earth is closer to the Sun than Mars is.
Annotation: vanished bison and the dodo
From MCCONNELL 125 and 151: The dodo was a large, flightless bird from Mauritius that was hunted into extinction by the seventeenth century. North American bison were also thought to be on the verge of extinction during this time. This is the first of two comparisons between the extinction of the dodo and the potential extinction of humans by the Martians; the second is in Chapter VII.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 205: “Later, the very idea of such a bird (as the dodo) was ridiculed … until skeletal remains came to light in 1863 and 1889.”
- “Dodo” on the Encyclopædia Britannica’s site
- Cristen Conger, “What brought bison back from the brink of extinction?” on howstuffworks.com
Annotation: inferior races
GANGNES: “Inferior” as it is used here reflects Victorian conceptions of racial hierarchies. There are, of course, many, many scholarly works on this subject, but here are a few good places to start:
- “Victorian Racism” on The Victorian Web
- Carolyn Burdett, “Post Darwin: social Darwinism, degeneration, eugenics” on the British Library’s site
- “Race” on the Oxford Bibliographies site
From MCCONNELL 125: In the eighteenth century, England drove native Tasmanians from their land in order to turn Tasmania into a prison colony.
From STOVER 55-6: “The racially Australoid natives of Tasmania survived until 1876 in a state of upper paleolithic culture. To the island’s Dutch and later British colonists, they were so many subhumans hunted down for dog meat.”
- Richard Flanagan, “The lost tribe” on The Guardian’s site
- “British colonisation of Tasmania” entry on Wikipedia
From MCCONNELL 126: Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli (1835-1910) was an Italian astronomer who claimed to have discovered “canals” on Mars. Schiaparelli called them canali (“channels” in Italian) but the (mis)translation of the word in to English caused speculation that the canali might have been made by intelligent life.
From STOVER 57: Schiaparelli mapped Mars during the opposition of 1877 and provided names for some surface features still used today.
- Walt Hickey, “A Mistranslated Word Led To Some Of The Best Fake News Of The 20th Century” on FiveThirtyEight
- Ephrat Livni, “When reporters accidentally wrote science fiction: A true story about Mars” on Quartz
- Richard Milner, “Tracing the Canals of Mars: An Astronomer’s Obsession” on SPACE.com
Annotation: opposition of 1894
From MCCONNELL 126: “opposition” means that Mars is at the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun; the nearest Mars gets to Earth. The opposition of 1877 was when Schiaparelli discovered the Mars canali and an American discovered Mars’s moons. The opposition of 1894 allowed for further examinations of Mars.
Annotation: Perrotin, of the Nice Observatory
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 199: Nice Observatory was “France’s most important nineteenth-century observatory.” It was constructed in 1880 on Mt. Gros, northeast of Nice. It used a 30” refracting telescope.
From MCCONNELL 126: Henri Joseph Anastase Perrotin (1845-1904) was a French astronomer who worked at the Nice Observatory 1880-1904.
GANGNES: The 1898 edition adds a reference to Lick Observatory (in California), which the narrator says noticed the light before Perrotin did.
- “Perrotin, Henri Joseph Anastase” on Encyclopedia.com
- Official Cote d’Azur Observatory (Nice Observatory) site
- Official Lick Observatory site
From MCCONNELL 126: Nature is a scientific journal first edited by Sir Norman Lockyer, who was one of Wells’s teachers at the Normal School of Science.
From STOVER 57: This is a reference to the article “A strange Light on Mars,” which was published in Nature in 1894.
GANGNES: This is one of the many instances where Wells establishes the novel within a framework of real scientific discoveries and historical events. These connections enhance the realism and journalistic quality of the narrative.
Annotation: Lavelle of Java
From MCCONNELL 127: Lavelle of Java is a fictional character whose name Wells derived from “M. Javelle,” an associate of Perrotin’s who observed a “strange light” on Mars in 1894. The evocation of Java also bears associations to the 1883 eruption of Mt. Krakatoa, which killed 50,000 people in Java.
Annotation: Warwick Goble
GANGNES: Warwick Goble (1862-1943) was a Victorian and early-twentieth-century periodical and book illustrator. His watercolor book illustrations have strong Japanese and Chinese influences and themes. Simon Houfe refers to Goble as a “brilliant watercolour painter of the 1900s and 1920s” and writes that Goble’s “filmy translucent watercolours, with their subtle tints and Japanese compositions … are unique in British illustration, but are not noticed by the collectors of [Arthur] Rackham and [Edmund] Dulac” (210).
In his dictionary entry, Houfe only acknowledges Goble’s early relationship with periodicals in his role as a staff illustrator for the Pall Mall Gazette and the Westminster Gazette; Pearson’s Magazine is not mentioned, despite the fact that Goble illustrated not only The War of the Worlds, but also Arthur Conan Doyle’s Tales of the High Seas (short series) and other pieces in 1897. He provided illustrations for volumes of two other major pieces of late-Victorian serialized fiction: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped.
- Simon Houfe, The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists, 1800-1914 (Baron Publishing, 1981), pp. 210, 318.
- “Warwick Goble: A Biography of the Illustrator” on Pook Press’s site.
Annotation: astronomical exchange
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 200: “During the nineteenth century the Royal Astronomical Society (established 1820) acted as an astronomical exchange for observatories within great Britain.”
From MCCONNELL 127: “With a spectroscope it is possible to describe the chemical composition of a substance by analyzing the wavelengths of the light generated by combustion of the substance. It was first demonstrated in 1860.”
Annotation: Daily Telegraph
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 200: The Daily Telegraph was established in 1855 and to this day is still one of Britain’s foremost national newspapers.
From MCCONNELL 127: The Daily Telegraph (founded 1855) catered to the middle class; it featured “flamboyant, often sensational journalism.”
GANGNES: Contrary to MCCONNELL, the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism writes that the Daily Telegraph (1855-present; founded as the Daily Telegraph and Courier) originally catered to a “wealthy, educated readership” rather than the middle class. Though it became associated with Toryism in the twentieth century, its politics in the nineteenth century were first aligned with the Whigs, especially in its liberal attitude toward foreign policy. This changed somewhat in the 1870s when it supported Benjamin Disraeli, and the paper became more Orientalist under the editorship of Edwin Arnold. The Telegraph also promoted the arts.
- Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press and The British Library, 2009, pp. 158-159.
Annotation: Ogilvy, the well known astronomer
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 200: “Ogilvy is no doubt a fictive name. An astronomer of the same name first observes the approaching cataclysm in Wells’s short story ‘The Star.’”
GANGNES: village to the north of Woking but south of Chertsey
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 232: “A small village about two miles north-northwest of Woking, Surrey, and about three miles from the narrator’s home in Maybury. It is the location of Ogilvy’s observatory.”
Annotation: clockwork of the telescope
From MCCONNELL 127: “The clockwork would keep the telescope rotating in synchronization with the movement of its celestial object.”
From MCCONNELL 128: a timepiece
Annotation: just a second or so under twenty-four hours after the first one
GANGNES: Presumably this timing is necessary because the capsules are all being “aimed” at roughly the same area geographically; the cylinders need a “straight shot” from their giant gun (cannon), and the Earth takes 24 hours to rotate back to roughly the same position in reference to the Sun. It may also take a significant amount of time to reload a new capsule into the gun.
GANGNES: town to the north of Woking, farther than Ottershaw
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 228: “A small town about three miles north of Woking, Surrey.”
Annotation: signalling us
From STOVER 60: There was a “signalling mania” during this time; Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin) fed the “mania” through his 1896 article “Intelligible Signals Between Neighbouring Stars.”
Annotation: the chances against anything man-like on Mars are a million to one, he said
GANGNES: A variation on this line is used as the first sung lines in track 1 (“The Eve of the War”) of Jeff Wayne’s 1978 musical adaptation of The War of the Worlds (LP only; not originally performed live as a play). In the musical, the line is altered to “The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, he said.” In the novel, Ogilvy is telling the narrator that there may well be life on Mars, but it is not likely to be “man-like,” i.e., intelligent and capable of communicating in the way humans communicate. The musical’s altered line instead has Ogilvy opine that regardless of what kind of life might be on Mars, the odds that Martians would come to Earth are very low.
The musical incorporates narration adapted from the novel, instrumental music, vocals, and “plot” additions. The LP set was sold with an accompanying illustrated booklet related to the novel’s plot. The musical has recently been updated as “The New Generation.” Live performances of the musical with accompanying stage effects tour the United Kingdom.
GANGNES: Punch (1841-2002) was a weekly satirical magazine that was first marketed toward the Victorian middle class. It included text, cartoons and illustrations, and other visual features. It was characterized by a “whimsical mode of comedy that focused on the trials and aspirations of the still emergent middle classes.”
- Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press and The British Library, 2009, pp. 517-519.
- The History of “Punch” (1895) by M. H. Spielmann on Project Gutenberg
- Punch issues on Project Gutenberg
- Punch facsimiles on HathiTrust’s digital library
- Official Punch cartoon archives
Annotation: I remember how jubilant Markham was at securing a new photograph of the planet for the illustrated paper he edited in those days.
GANGNES: It is not clear whether “Markham” is supposed to refer to a real editor of a specific newspaper. W. O. Markham edited the British Medical Journal, but that publication was not an illustrated paper. It is highly likely that “Markham” is a fictional character who is an acquaintance of the narrator.
- Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press and The British Library, 2009, pp. 78-9.
Annotation: People in these latter times scarcely realise the abundance and enterprise of our nineteenth century papers.
GANGNES: The narrator’s comment here underscores this novel’s preoccupation with the Victorian press. The style of the narration evokes something of war journalism from this period, and the unreliability and mercenary practices of newspapers are a theme throughout the novel. Wells is not exaggerating; the Victorian period has been called the “Golden Age” of the British periodical because of the staggering number and quality of newspapers, journals, and magazines published during the time.
- Debora Wynne, “The Periodical Press” on the Oxford Bibliographies site
- “History of C19th British Newspapers” on the North Carolina State University site’s page for Nineteenth Century Newspaper Analytics
- The Victorian Periodicals section of The Victorian Web
- The Research Society for Victorian Periodicals site
Annotation: learning to ride the bicycle
From MCCONNELL 130: Wells was also learning to ride a bicycle during this time.
Annotation: For in those days there was no terror for men among the stars.
GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.
GANGNES: to the northeast of Woking, a little over halfway between Woking and central London
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 230: “Residential district of greater London, just east of Kew Gardens, about eight miles west-southwest of the center of the city.”
GANGNES: city near the south coast of England; Woking lies to the northeast midway between Winchester and London
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 235: “A city in southern England, in Hampshire, about sixty miles southwest of London. Famous for its Cathedral (founded 1079) and its public school (Britain’s oldest).”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 202: “William Frederick Denning (1848-1931) was the chief authority on cometary systems and meteorites.”
Annotation: French windows
GANGNES: tall windows that open out as glass double-doors
Annotation: Berkshire, Surrey, and Middlesex
From DANAHAY 47: contiguous English counties
GANGNES: Most of the novel takes place in Surrey and central London.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 227: Berkshire is “a county of southern England bordered by Oxford and Buckingham (on the north), Gloucester (on the northwest), Hampshire (on the south), Surrey (on the southeast), and Wiltshire (on the west).”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 234: Surrey is “a county of southern England bordered by Buckingham, Middlesex, and London (on the north), Berkshire (on the northwest), Kent (on the east), Hampshire (on the west), and Sussex (on the southwest). It is drained by the rivers Thames, Wey, and Mole.”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 231: Middlesex is “a major residential district that forms a sizeable part of London’s metropolitan area. It borders Essex and London (on the east), Surrey (on the south), Hertford (on the north), and Buckingham (on the west).”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 230: “Northern sector of Woking, Surrey.”
GANGNES: the town in which the first Martian cylinder lands and the first part of the narrative action takes place; the narrator lives in the area
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 235: “A town in Surrey, about four miles north of Guildford and twenty-three miles southwest of central London.”
From STOVER 67: The sand-pits are a real topographical feature on Horsell Common.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 233: “On the east side of Horsell Common, about a mile and a half north of Woking.”
GANGNES: a town to the northeast of Woking, between Woking and London
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 235: “a north Surrey town about four miles northeast of Woking and seventeen miles southwest of central London”
From DANAHAY 48: “ash that has formed a hard crust”
Annotation: dull radiation
GANGNES: the heat radiating from the cylinder (not harmful/nuclear radiation)
From DANAHAY 49: “a bartender opening the public house (pub) for the day”
Annotation: public house
GANGNES: British “pubs”/bars
Annotation: Horsell Bridge
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 230: “a canal bridge near the center of Woking”
DANAHAY 49: “the pub room where beer is served ‘on tap’”
Annotation: Henderson, the London journalist
GANGNES: There are quite a few real “Henderson”s associated with the nineteenth-century press. However, given the role of “Henderson” in this novel, it seems unlikely that the name was meant to refer to any particular journalist.
- Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press and The British Library, 2009.
Annotation: Horsell Common
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 230: “recreational area immediately north of Woking, Surrey, where the first cylinder landed”
Annotation: telegraph the news
GANGNES: The kind of electrical telegraphy with which Wells’s readers would have been familiar began development in the early-to-mid nineteenth century and was commonly used by the end of the Victorian period.
- Mary Bellis, “The History of the Electric Telegraph and Telegraphy” on ThoughtCo
- Clare D. McGillem, “Telegraph” on the Encyclopædia Britannica’s site
Annotation: Daily News
GANGNES: Daily News here is changed to Daily Chronicle in the 1898 volume and subsequent editions. The discrepancy between Daily News in the serialized version and Daily Chronicle in the volume could be due to an error on Wells’s part that was corrected for the 1898 edition.
The Daily News (1846-1912) was first advertised as a “Morning Newspaper of Liberal Politics and thorough Independence,” set up as a rival to the Morning Chronicle. It was edited by Charles Dickens at its launch. The paper “advocated reform in social, political, and economic legislation, fought for a Free Press in supporting the repeal of the Stamp Act, campaigned for impartial dealings with the natives of India and supported Irish Home Rule.” It was known for its detailed war reporting, which boosted its circulation.
The Daily Chronicle was a later name (beginning in 1877) of the Clerkenwell News (1855-1930). The paper was “liberal and radical,” with a daily column entitled “The Labour Movement” featured in the 1890s. Interestingly, the paper eventually merged with the Daily News (becoming the News Chronicle), but not until 1930–after even the 1925 edition of The War of the Worlds, let alone the 1898 edition.
- Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Academia Press and The British Library, 2009, p. 128 and 158.
Annotation: playing at “touch”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 202: the game of “tag” in Britain
Annotation: jobbing gardener
From DANAHAY 51: “a gardener who does occasional work for different people”
Annotation: Few of the common people in England had anything but the vaguest astronomical ideas in those days.
GANGNES: This statement implies that most English people became far more familiar with astronomy after their country was invaded by aliens from another planet.
Annotation: gas float
From MCCONNELL 135: “a hollow tube or ball used to regulate the flow of a liquid or gas”
From STOVER 69: “a harbor beacon erected on a floating hull containing bottled gas to fuel it”
From MCCONNELL 135: “Any chemical compound containing oxygen. The surface of the cylinder has been oxidized in the heat generated by its fall through the atmosphere.”
GANGNES: This term was relatively new when Wells wrote the novel; it first emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and was generally used in scientific journals.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 231: “Eastern sector of the town of Woking, Surrey. The location of the narrator’s house and also of Wells’s home at the time of the writing of [The War of the Worlds].”
Annotation: “A MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM MARS”
GANGNES: This is one of the many instances in which newspapers release information that is incorrect, vague, or unhelpful. Throughout the novel, the narrator criticizes the inaccuracy and mercenary nature of the press.
Annotation: Astronomical Exchange
From MCCONNELL 135: A fictional society; the International Astronomical Union was founded in 1919.
Annotation: three kingdoms
GANGNES: You will see below that three different annotated editions of the novel give three different definitions of this reference, and they do not agree as to whether it is Wales or Ireland that is meant to be the “third kingdom.”
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 203: England, Ireland, and Scotland
From STOVER 70: Of Great Britain
From DANAHAY 52: England, Scotland, and Wales
Annotation: half-a-dozen flys or more from the Woking station standing in the road by the sand-pits, a basket chaise from Chobham and a rather lordly carriage
From DANAHAY 52: “Flys” and “basket chaises” are light horse carriages with two wheels pulled by one horse.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 228: “A village about three and a half miles northwest of Woking, Surrey. To the southeast it borders on Horsell Common, where the first cylinder landed.”
Annotation: Chobham Road
GANGNES: road leading to Chobham from Woking
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 228: “a thoroughfare bordering the north side of Horsell Common, located about a mile and a half north of Woking, Surrey”
Annotation: Stent, the Astronomer Royal
From STOVER 27: “The Astronomer Royal was director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, but ‘Stent’ is not recorded as one of them.” “Stent” may have been used for political reasons.
Annotation: Lord Hilton, the lord of Horsell Manor
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 203: “No Horsell Manor or Lord Hilton has been traced”; “the local lord was Lord Onslow of Clandon.”
From STOVER 71: The name may have been changed for political reasons.
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 234: “Waterloo (railroad) Station, in Waterloo Road, Lambeth. In the 1890s this station was the terminus of the South-Western Railway, which served points in southern England.”
Annotation: A big greyish rounded bulk, the size perhaps of a bear, was rising slowly and painfully out of the cylinder.
GANGNES: Visual depictions of Wells’s Martians, like those of their fighting-machines, have varied widely. Part of this is due to the fact that, even though they are described at length, the narrator still has difficulty wrapping his head around how to relate their appearance to terrestrial creatures. Most depictions resemble something squidlike, but Spielberg’s 2005 film extrapolates from the tripod machines and gives the Martians three appendages.
Annotation: You who have only seen the dead monsters in spirit in the National History museum, shriveled brown bulks, can scarcely imagine the strange horror of their appearance.
GANGNES: The 1898 volume removes this address to the reader and its reference to the Natural History museum. See text comparison page. Here is the revised sentence: “Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance.” In general, appeals to the reader (i.e., usage of “you” or similar) are minimized in the volume. Such revisions may aid in making the novel’s tone more journalistic.
Annotation: Gorgon circlet of tentacles
From HUGHES AND GEDULD 203: “Gorgon” is an allusion to monsters from Greek myths “whose hair was a tangle of writing snakes.” Humans were irresistibly tempted to look at them, but doing so would turn the viewer to stone.
GANGNES: See Medusa as an example.
From MCCONNELL 139: fungus-like
Annotation: At that my rigour of terror passed away.
GANGNES: Cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page. This is one of many instances in which the volume omits the narrator’s references to his own feelings, especially somewhat cowardly/frightened reactions. Like appeals to the reader, personal responses could undermine the journalistic tone that characterizes most of the novel.
Annotation: I could not avert my face from these things.
GANGNES: A reference to the irresistible quality of Gorgons; see note on “Gorgon” above.
Annotation: furze bushes
From MCCONNELL 143: “a spiny shrub with yellow flowers, very common throughout England and Europe”
Annotation: road from Chobham or Woking
GANGNES: southeast of Chobham or north from Woking