It was like a black worm

It was like a black worm

Warwick Goble

Photomechanical reproduction of a watercolour

4½ x 3¼ inches

H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, serialized in Pearson’s Magazine, 4 (July – Dec 1897), 564.

The narrator’s terrifying close encounter with the Martians is focused on the moment when he is about to be touched by a living tentacle. Goble makes the moment both frightening – with the character recoiling into himself – and repulsive. Wells describes the proboscis as a ‘black worm’, and the artist provides exactly that, a wormy shape feeling its way around the room.

Click on image to enlarge it

Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]