War of the Worlds – H G Wells 1898.
Set in London at the end of the 19th Century there are a lot of themes, the possibility of life on other planets, the abandonment of humans by God, Imperialism, human supremacy, the fact that when the social norms fall humans often revert to more savage behaviour, attacking, each other to escape, even eating creatures they would not normally eat such as horses and dogs and even, it is implied, each other. There is also the theme of madness, the narrator finds his sanity challenged from the despair of what he has witnessed, the hopelessness of the situation and the loneliness and fear his wife has been killed.
Emotions start with curiosity and soon become outrage and then fear, despair and hopelessness then back to cautious relief. The atmosphere builds quickly and the ending is fantastic, although as a fan of the musical version was not unexpected.
This is a classic of the genre, and a must read. The social themes interviewed with a great story give a rich and read which cannot be put down.
5 stars with a extra star for awesomeness!