The Martian War by Kevin J. Anderson

Synopsis: What if the Martian invasion was not entirely the product of H.G. Wells’s vivid imagination? What if Wells witnessed something that spurred him to write The War of the Worlds as a warning?

From drafty London flats to the steamy Sahara, to the surface of the moon and beyond, The Martian War takes the reader on an exhilarating journey with Wells and his companions.

What if HG Wells didn’t write about an Invasion from Mars but rather lived through it with a long list of his contemporizes (fictional and not) including the Invisible Man, Dr. Moreau and Percival Lowell (the “discoverer” and mapper of the Martian canals?

Wells has graduated from university and is living with his fiancé, barely making ends meet. If it wasn’t for his little fantasy stories, they probably wouldn’t be getting by at all. Out of nowhere, Wells is invited by his famous mentor, the biologist Thomas Huxley, to come to an exclusive and secret meeting. Wells soon discovers that the meeting is a British government think-tank of weapons development to counter the rising belligerency of Germany. Through enemy sabotage, Wells, Huxley and his fiancé, Jane end up on a journey to the moon and beyond to face and end the Martian threat!

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, Lowell bumps into Moreau, and the two team up to light signal fires as a guide for first contact for the approaching Martian spacecraft. Little do they suspect the harrowing journey which will unfold for them after taking the Martian captive.

What follows then is a series of adventures told in the form of a Victorian adventure novel. An all-star cast of characters, exciting adventures one after the other and an ultimate battle for the fate of man and the Earth is very reminiscent of A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Personally, I had difficulty deciding what the novel was trying to do. Was it a complete re-telling of the War of the Worlds and the “real” War of the Worlds never happens? Was it a case of Wells writing the War of the Worlds as a cautionary tale for the future so therefore based more in reality? Both of these have some serious problems in their self-contained universes so I was never able to give this novel the full suspension of disbelief it required. If you are a fan of Victorian adventure novels, you will probably find this to your liking. I suspect this would work a lot better as a movie as opposed to a book.
Reviewed by Peter

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