H.G. Wells never talked much about time travel. He enjoyed the various depictions of himself as travelling through time; he thought it was very flattering, as a writer, to be a sufficiently interesting futurist that people made jokes about you having seen it.
In his own time, it’s said he was a gentleman. (Is “gentleman” still a complement?) But he was, of course, an epic troll.
The Martians were, indeed, pitiless, and smarter than we are, and they were not primates. Their species did not have mock battles of dominance and submission. They were not big on oblique symbolism. They weren’t terribly emotional.
But you can teach the unemotional to be emotional. Especially if they don’t know they should guard against it.
We were always taught that the Martians died of (and can something a century old have spoilers? I think not, but if you’re worried, skip the rest of this) –
…the common cold.
Yes, those incredibly advanced life-forms simply had no defenses against the germs of Earth, a thing any advanced and intelligent species, observing from a nearby planet, would totally fail to notice because… reasons.
No. I doubt that’s what happened. I live only about forty minutes from Grover’s Mills, New Jersey, where the Martians landed. It’s quite a healthy place. It’s hard to catch a sniffle there.
But more importantly, anything capable of building gigantic tripodal machines which could devastate all of Mankind’s structures and armies are pretty damn likely to have reasonable medicine.
No, I think that the Martians actually took over the 19th century world. Then they found H.G. Wells’ time machine, and used it to spy on our future.
That was pretty much the end. In their search for some sort of advanced weapon to use against us, they happened to scroll our social media feeds for a few minutes.
The damage was instant. The deaths came soon after.
But not soon enough to stop the oddly-pitched Martian screaming.