I've written a novel. Visit the book's website!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The War of the Worlds (Great Illustrated Classics) [review]

  I found this book on a list of “Steampunk Books for Kids” (you can buy it here).  I read the original H. G. Wells version as a kid, with no pictures and none of the changes by Malvina G. Vogel, and I didn’t have a word like “steampunk” to describe it, but then, neither did H. G. Wells.  He was writing about what he thought advanced technology would look like.  Overall, I applaud Ms. Vogel’s attempt to make this classic book more accessible to modern kids, but I do take issue with some of her choices.  Her decision to give the narrator, the “I” of the book, a name [Wells is the name she chose], instead of leaving him nameless, really annoys me -- and changes the whole dynamic of the book for readers.  The nameless narrator is a perfectly valid literary device, and it’s fundamentally characteristic of H. G. Wells.  Everyone assumes that these characters he’s writing are supposed to be him, but a little research proves that H. G. Wells’ characters used to have really weird names, and that he chose to leave them nameless because the editors hated the name of the main character in “The Time Machine”, H. G. Wells’ first book.  As to the question of whether H. G. Wells is really steampunk, I’ll leave that for steampunks to decide.  As long as you understand, I’m glad this is out there, but it’s not the best way to get to know the real book.

No comments:

Post a Comment