War Of The World By Wells 

In the society today, it is very common for one to spend his or her time
reading. In those types of readings, science fiction stories are one of the most
common readings among many people. Science fiction, unlike any other literature,
has very unique characteristics. The definition of science fiction is “fiction
dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or
individuals having a science factor as an essential orienting component.”
(Webster’s Pg 1045) This means science fiction stories are based on dreams,
hopes and fears of people in the society. Science fiction stories are
characterized by the styles and methods. One of the most common methods of
science fiction is prophetic extrapolation. Prophetic extrapolation is passages
that science fiction writers focus on the “ development of science”(Science
fiction III, Pg X) instead of “science of today,”(Science fiction III, Pg X)
such as sociology, biology, psychology or any kind of science. Prophetic
extrapolation is the most important element of science fiction stories. It is
what makes science fiction. The story of The War Of The World, by H. G. Wells,
is a classical example of a science fiction story. Wells uses his imagination
and the creativity to create the conflict between Earth and Mars. In the story,
he introduces unknown creatures and the machines by using prophetic
extrapolation. For examples, first, in the passage from chapter two he explains
Martian’s star ship. He writes, “ The uncovered part had the appearance of a
huge cylinder, caked over and its out-line softened thick scaly dun-colored
incrustation.” (The War Of The World, Pg 11) Wells create the star ship from
his imagination and able to give readers a good image that it is something round
object by the word choices. Second example is from chapter three, where Wells
explain the appearance of Martians. In the passage he explains, “Two large
dark-colored eyes were reading me steadfastly. The mass that framed them, the
head of the thing was round, and had, one might say, face. There was a mouth
under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered and panted, and dropped
saliva. The whole creature heaved and pulsated convulsively.” (The War Of The
World, Pg 21) From this passage, because his well explanation, readers could
receive unpleasant image of how Martian looks like. Last example is from the
passage about heat ray in chapter five. It said, “Suddenly there was a flash
of light, and a quantity of luminous greenish smoke came out of the pit in three
distinct puffs, which drove up, one after the other, straight into the still
air.” (The War Of The World, Pg25) Wells vividly explains what took main
character by surprised as if it really happened. As a reader, one is aware that
these things do not exist. However, as a interesting point, although none of
these things exist in the real world, it seems as if these creations exist for
readers. It is because Wells’ well use of prophetic extrapolation. When Wells
explains about his creations from imagination, he gives examples based on the
facts of society or science. It makes easer for readers to relate to the story.
Because of Wells’ examples, imaginations of the story become live and vivid
and realistic. In the story of The War Of The World, by H. G. Wells, prophetic
extrapolation was used well, and that is what made this story wonderful and
exciting. There are many different types of science fiction writers today. They
all have different styles or methods in each story. However, all the science
fiction writers have one thing in common. . It is called prophetic
extrapolation. Many science fiction writers use their imaginations, creativities
and use “number of different sources and apply in a number of fields” (Hand
Out. Pg X) to make dreams, hopes, and fears come true in the stories. It is
truly the unique characteristics of science fiction.


1. James Gun. Science Fiction Volume 3. eds White Wolf Publishing. Clarkson,
GA: 2. Webster, Merriam. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition.
Springfield MA:1996. 3. Wells H. G. The War Of The World Tom Doherty Associates,
Inc. 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010: 1988.