The War of the Worlds has two parts, Book One: The Coming of the Martians and Book Two: The Earth under the Martians. The narrator, a philosophically-inclined author, struggles to return to his wife while seeing the Martians lay waste to southern England. Book One also imparts the experience of his brother, also unnamed, who describes events in the capital and escapes the Martians by boarding a ship near Tillingham, on the Essex coast.
The plot has been related to invasion literature of the time. The novel has been variously interpreted as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British Imperialism, and generally Victorian superstitions, fears and prejudices. At the time of publication it was classified as a scientific romance, like his earlier novel The Time Machine. The War of the Worlds has been both popular and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. It has even influenced the work of scientists, notably Robert Hutchings Goddard.