It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace.
Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The army is prepared. 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 Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right.
Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist - sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins - must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.
Read by Nathalie Buscombe.
©2017 Stephen Baxter (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group
A man with a child in his ears - @ShutterSpin.
A fantastic opening to a genuine classic of the sci-fi genre. Whether you read it in the original or listened to Richard Burton's spine-tingling narration in the Jeff Wayne version it's a line and a story that has probably stayed with you ever since. So you have to wonder quite what was going through the minds of Stephen Baxter and Nathalie Buscombe when they took on the challenge of writing and narrating an officially sanctioned follow-up to H G Wells' "War of the Worlds".
In the case of Baxter he clearly saw it as the serious challenge it really is and he has produced a story that is stylistically and structurally sympathetic to the original. That's not surprising as he previously wrote "The Time Ships" which was also officially endorsed by the Wells estate as the sequel to "The Time Machine". This one reads like a book of its time but it is a very different version of the 1920s to the one that we know of. The Martian War of course altered history meaning that Britain never fought Germany in World War One leaving France to fall alone. The Kaiser has been appeased and it's a very sombre and darker Britain that we are introduced to.
Baxter weaves his story using many of the previous characters into his new reality. I was a little surprised to see a female narrator chosen but it certainly makes perfect sense as Baxter employs Julie Elphinstone from the original book to be his lead. Nathalie Buscombe does a really fine job of relaying the story which has a big cast to breathe life into.
Between them they have produced something that fits organically with the original story and characters. Baxter takes good care of them. This isn't modern sci-fi with huge sophistication, rather this is classic sci-fi and charmingly you still pick up some of the relative naiveté of the period it is set in. I would say that if you would genuinely enjoy reading or re-reading the original you'll also love this. If you are looking for a contemporary version of War of the Worlds it might not quite meet your needs so well.
For me nothing will ever quite match up to that chilling moment in a darkened bedroom when I first heard Burton utter that immortal opening line but this is a genuinely fine attempt to carry this classic story forwards.
Since a car accident ended my career, l've become a little lost, a little scared. Simply floating in the sea of life paddling everywhichway.
I'm a big fan of Stephen Baxter and he doesn't disappoint with this audacious project. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sequel and particularly loved his clever tweaks in an alternate history; following with the scientific knowledge around the time of writing the original War of the Worlds, creates the perfect universe to follow Wells' style.
If you enjoyed the original you will, I'm sure, enjoy this book.
the story flow, pacing and setup all pays homage to the original.
this is a proper sequel to the original with few modern tweak.
I was expected great things from this, possibly too much as it turns out. It's woefully bereft of action, and some of the story lines almost seem tangential. It's more a story of life around WW1.
Wasn't a big fan of the narrator either. Most of the characters are male and the narrator can't really do old mens voices. Shame it couldn't have been Richard Burton 😊. The story is about three times longer than it needs to be
a worthy sequel to the classic which expands brilliantly on its concepts and takes them to a logical conclusion. The story is only enhanced by the spot on narration by Nathalie Buscombe
very well read. Griping at points and going so deeply into the observations of the narrator as did the original. Poignant and at times totally horrifying. Has an almost steampunk view of the world whilst maintaining that Wellsian scientific model of the solar system that borders on fantastical yet is woven as a keen plot point as opposed to a nod of 19th century ignorance. overall a great listen and totally worth this month's credit.
The story is good but a lot of padding- several chapters repeat the story of Martian attacks on various cities ad nauseum. As a result the characterisation is sketchy at best- I couldn't relate to a single character.
The reader is a shocker tho. Her normal reading voice is pleasant but the endless pompous British public school accents grate. She speeds up and frankly the characters become indistinguishable- hard to finish book. This one is going straight to Audible refund.
Please Audible keep her away from public school accents!
Narration takes a bit to get used to, and is good once you get used to her style.
Great story, gets a bit annoying towards the end, introducing pointless new characters in new locations that has no impact on the main story right as it heats up.
If you are a fan of the original and spent time debating and discussing wells, you will enjoy hearing more about the martians.
Baxter does a great job of writing sci fi as it would have been written.
Favourite author: China Mieville
Hard to believe that a story that (a) is a sequel to the superb Welles novel & (b) is called "The Massacre of Mankind" could be so unutterably tedious. The almost complete avoidance of interesting incidents or creative ideas is amazing. Towards the end it descends into World War I travelogues of different world cities that read as if they have been farmed out to trainee ghost writers. The original Welles novel is mocked for having a "Deus ex machina" ending and then the (ahem) "story" of this one ends with a sudden more ludicrous one... and then continues story-free for many more pages. There is not a single believable or interesting character. The attempt to write in a literary period style is a failure. As many others have commented, the narrator is not up to the job of any accent other than her own.
I was struggling to get through this one. I found it very difficult to focus on it and found it a bit heavy going. I was interested in the story and made it to the end to see where it went.
The story itself was interesting, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the Wells classic. That said it was good to see the fighting machines back again.
Report Inappropriate Content