04 February 2016

H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds spawns a sequel after more than a century

UPDATE 20 Jan 2017: It's available now from the usual outlets.

"London, the late 1920's. The aliens have invaded again, and this time they're going to win..."

The Martians are getting ready with a new invasion force – they’ve learned from their mistakes and they're ready to have another crack at Earth. A new sequel to H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds will be published nearly 120 years after the original and will join many other classic fiction titles that have been given fresh life by contemporary authors.

Publishers Gollancz announced that Stephen Baxter, an award-winning author who has collaborated with Terry Pratchett, has been chosen to write an official sequel to one of the most influential science fiction works ever published. The expected publication date is January 19th 2017.

First published in 1897, The War of the Worlds also lead to feature films, a famous Orson Welles radio drama which created a national panic in the US and a popular record album and stage production by Jeff Wayne.

Baxter assures us that the sequel, The Massacre of Mankind, will tell an equally terrifying tale. Set in late 1920's London, the Martians return and the war kicks off again. But the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion attempt. Oh no, now they're aware of their vulnerability to our microbial allies which caused their demise last time. They target Britain first, since this nation led the resistance and “the massacre of mankind” begins.

It sure does sound fantastic and I really hope that this is as good as it needs to be. The War of the Worlds is one of those novels that grabbed my attention as a young reader and played a huge role in shaping my future reading patterns, like so many others over the last century. I have little doubt that Baxter is the man for the job, and I will be checking to see how he did in early 2017.

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