Happy birthday to English author H. G. Wells, one of the fathers of science fiction. His 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, about a devastating alien invasion on Earth, has been published continuously for over 100 years. Orson Welles resurrected the frightening story for his 1938 radio broadcast, narrated by the director as a news bulletin, which led to widespread panic as listeners thought the Martian invasion was real. The War of the Worlds has been adapted dozens of times, most popularly by Steven Spielberg in a 2005 film starring Tom Cruise. But the book itself lives on in the imaginations of readers everywhere. After spotting a stunning collection of War of the Worlds book covers, we selected several vintage covers that span the globe. These images represent the influence of Wells’ story throughout the decades and demonstrate how different countries absorbed the intense, interplanetary tale into the collective consciousness.
1938, the same year Orson Welles frightened the nation with his radio broadcast adaptation.
1960, cover by Edward Gorey
1963, Penguin Books
1978, Golden Press
1983, introduction by Isaac Asimov