The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
The world is invaded by the Martians and the unsuspecting humanity gets caught unawares. Before they know it, their houses are burnt, people are killed and all hope is lost.
This is my first Wells read. At the end, I was expecting Rambo or Arnold (or Cruise ) to come along to save the world from a dreadful end; however, the book does not offer this. Even though it starts of like a typical sci-fi/action story, the book offers much more. Wells makes his readers question the place of human race on the planet and its relationship with each other; who are we and what are we capable of? I was very surprised to discover that the book was written in 1898. It feels so much ahead of its time but philosophically and scientifically.
Wells writes eloquently, with ease. He creates the excitement, tension and the pessimism that ensues with a masterly confidence, which is a rare gift especially among the authors of this genre.