I read this nice well-intentioned book with devotion, despite its being thoroughly reader-resistant to anyone of a sceptical turn. For a start, these days, alien is corn. Everyone but a bonehead regards the universe as altogether a subtler mystery than is explicable either by science or via little men with misshapen heads descending on saucers to frighten nonentities on lonely American highways far beyond reliable witness. Happily earthbound, or sometimes miserably so, I have been less concerned with ufos than ufas: unidentified flying angst, as we call it in our family, and we all know how our waking days, for at least one hour in ten, are decimated by that phenomenon. It is why we look for gods.
But of course, as the clear-thinking Appleyard makes splendidly obvious, The War of the Worlds was more about Woking that it was about Mars; H.