A sequel to the H.G. Wells classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, brilliantly realized by award-winning SF author and Wells expert Stephen Baxter
It has been fourteen years since the Martian invasion. Humanity has moved on, always watching the skies but confident that we know how to defeat the alien menace. The Martians are vulnerable to Earth germs. The army is prepared. Our technology has taken great leaps forward, thanks to machinery looted from abandoned war-machines and capsules.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the first incursion was merely a scouting mission, a precursor to the true attack—and that the Martians have learned from their defeat, adapted their methods, and now pose a greater threat than ever before.
He is right.
Thrust into the chaos of a new worldwide invasion, journalist Julie Elphinstone—sister in law to Walter Jenkins—struggles to survive the war, report on it, and plan a desperate effort that will be humanity’s last chance at survival. Because the massacre of mankind has begun.
Echoing the style and form of the original while extrapolating from its events in ingenious, unexpected fashion again and again, The Massacre of Mankind is a labor of love from one of the genre’s most praised talents—at once a truly fitting tribute to a classic and brainy, page-turning fun for any science-fiction fan.
This estate-authorized sequel to H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds is set in the early 1920s, but it has the feel of one of Baxter's modern SF extravaganzas. It's been 13 years since marauding Martians were vanquished by Earth bacteria, and the red planet is launching another invasion. The Martians have learned from their earlier experiences, but so have humans. Baxter presents this second conflict as one that pits the superior technology of the Martians against the guerilla ingenuity of scrappy Earthlings. The author takes a sweeping approach, providing a global panorama of the novel's events, but most of the action is seen through the eyes of Londoner Julie Elphinstone, the former sister-in-law of the unnamed narrator of Wells's novel (here named Walter Jenkins). Meticulous detail gives the story vividness and immediacy, but it draws the plot out unnecessarily, as do the repetitive scenes of devastation wrought by the Martian fighting machines. Once readers let go of any hope of a pastiche of Wells's style, they'll appreciate this capacious reworking of his themes.
Well Done Mr. Baxter!
Was there any pressure on this man to write a sequel to a timeless, original masterpiece? The novel has a well laid down structure, and yet it has some wonderful twists and turns, some great characters and some truly frightening moments. I can’t imagine any Science Fiction fan not liking this.
Best book i’ve read so far.
An amazing read for any War of the Worlds fan, or someone who likes alternate history with Science-Fiction thrown into the mix.
Worth Your Time
Overall, a terrific novel - it sucked me right in, though it’s been years since I read Wells’ original. It had its weak points, which almost led to the loss of a star - for instance, “as I shall relate later,” or however it is that Baxter regularly and repeatedly put it in different ways, was a bit formulaic and tiresome.
The weaknesses were not, however, capable of taking away enjoyment of this book. I dedicated most of my reading time since the weekend to The Massacre of Mankind, and it was time (and money) well-spent. I could imagine myself an heir to that reality, a future beneficiary reading in the aftermath.