The Massacre of Mankind
A sequel to The War of the Worlds. Authorised by the H.G. Wells Estate.
It is the 1930s and the Martians have returned.
A superb sequel and a dramatic reimagining of Wells' landmark work of alien invasion takes the action into the 1930s and an even greater horror. Like Sherlock Holmes this a reinterpretation of a classic for a modern audience from the pen of Stephen Baxter, fresh from his collaboration with Terry Pratchett.
The Martians do nor repeat the mistakes of their last invasion. They use the advantages of space. More cylinders land but this time they're enormous, and their falls on our cities are like asteroid strikes. They target Britain especially, since we resisted last time, smashing the cities, ports, rail hubs, dams, industry centres etc even before the cylinders open.
They have a heat ray platform in a mother ship orbiting Earth - carving Mars-like canals across the landscape. And of course they stay sealed off from the bugs in the air. We struggle to hold them back with 1930s technology: Spitfires vs. the fighting machines. But also Wells's huge land ironclads instead of tanks.
The Martians exploit humans in occupied England the way the artilleryman imagined: some people are farmed as fodder, fattened and stupid; resistance fighters are like rats in a ruined house. All this is seen from the ground, as in WOTW, by characters linked to Wells's - like the journalist, the artilleryman and the vicar.
Stephen Baxter is the pre-eminent SF writer of his generation. Published around the world he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany, and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife.