A shooting star turns out to be something totally different and the beginning of a war the human race could never have imagined, let alone anticipated. When a cylinder crasch into the earth, it doesn't take a long time for a war to begin. In the middle of this, a man and his brother, in separated ways, struggle to survive. Not government officials or a police officers. Simple men.
The only flaw is the lack of character descriptions. The reader doesn't even get to know the names of the main characters, referred to only as ”I”, in the first person narrative, and ”my brother” in the second. But, on the other hand, like in the novel "The Road", the focus lies elsewhere - In this case, it concentrates on a society encountering something so incredible, so unpredictable, that the human race is totally unprepared of it, and what happens in such a devastating situation.
The purpose of the book might have been to explore the themes of relativity and evolution. Relativity, as to the question of morality, and good an evil. Wells discusses the possibility of an attack from a planet, Mars, that becomes uninhabitable and thus forces its beings to seek another place for settlement. They are just in a dire situation for their survival. The Martians aren't trying to kill people for the sake of it. They focus on destroying the organization, the infrastructure and other foundations of society, to eventually be able to make their own, without being disturbed. Then, human beings can serve as nourishment. The Martians aren't unlike human beings in the way that they take what they want, regardless of their absence of rights.
Evolution, as to the survival of the fittest, the development of the Martians, and the question if humans will evolve into a big brain, without bodily organs, digestive systems and sexual reproduction - which in the long term perhaps would diminish the human emotions and mental characteristics. What would happen then? What will happen if we're still around when the sun has cooled and we are forced to explore the universe for survival? In this way, "The War of the Worlds" awakes thoughtful, existential questions. Will we be humble, merciful and considerate to the inferior races on other planets, if they turn out to be inferior, or will we just repeat the cruel actions to native americans, black people, and the pursuit of jews and other minorities, still going on today? Do the people of the Earth have the rights to decide who are inferior and who are superior? Do we have the right to exploit whatever we want?