The Urban Wasteland in H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds

  • Vera BenczikEmail author


Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives constitute one of the most prolific subgroups of the body of texts we call science fiction (SF). Generic conventions, a century of history and audience expectations have outlined the formulaic demands for the SF apocalypse: a major cataclysm, environmental devastation on a global scale, the extermination of human life or the threat thereof, and the depiction of an aftermath are all part of the conventional disaster narrative. Writers in the nineteenth century, which many regard as the ‘birthplace’ of SF, became increasingly preoccupied with the impending doom of humanity. The intersection between iconographies of catastrophe resulted in ‘early science fiction’s vocabulary of disaster from its deep roots in the Christian apocalyptic tradition’.1 Bernard Bergonzi, in his analysis of the early scientific romances of H.G. Wells, remarks in the same vein that this seeming fixation on the formula may have been ‘an expression of the traditional eschatological preoccupation with the end of the world’.2


Urban Landscape Urban Space Science Fiction Domestic Environment Empire State Building 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of American StudiesEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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