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REVIEW: “The Martian War”: New From Kevin J. Anderson

In the late 1800s, H. G. Wells wroteThe War of the Worlds.  This story was the crest of the wave of invasion stories; the aliens began arriving and were, more often than not, ready to get rid of humankind.  “The War of the Worlds” was a first-person recount of the invasion: a written version of one of those hand-held-cam movies.  It caused change in the literary world and had become a household name.  It’s so ingrained in our sci-fi world that the book has never been out of print.

What if the invasion was real?

What if that wasn’t the only account of what happened the day the Martians arrived on earth?

The Martian War reprinted and newly released by Titan Books is another account of that first encounter of the third kind.  Author Kevin J. Anderson originally published this novel as Gabriel Mesta in 2005.  Titan books has come to the rescue of this gripping tale and republished it.  It’s got a slick new cover, great art Kevin J. Anderson’s name on the cover – and best of all – it’s the same great novel that the original was.

If “The War of the Worlds” was written as a warning then “The Martian War” is the behind-the-scenes look at the greatest minds of Earth trying to sort out what to do.

When the novel opens in 1884, a young H. G. Wells is a student of T. H. Huxley and they are on a chilly London roof late at night to watch a meteor shower.  What if Martians attacked? Would Earth have the ability to fight for itself?  The discussion with his Professor sparks of a life of science and discovery for Wells and the book continues.

Once Wells has created a life for himself, is living with his new wife Amy Catherine (“Jane”) Robbins, he is suddenly approached about a secret meeting with Huxley.  In fact, he’s been invited to join a collaboration of the world’s most brilliant scientist and explorers as they endeavor to create a weapon that will protect the world from alien invasion.  Wells in plunged into a world where he is introduced to some intriguing characters (familiar to most): Percival Lowell the astronomer, Hawley Griffin is the invisible man with a penchant for reappearing naked in the hallways at night, and Dr. Moreau.

Dr. Moreau arrives in the middle of a scientific symposium with a deceased Martian and a scientific journal recounting his experience.  That, my friends, is when things start to get even more complicated.  In a scene very reminiscent of “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”, an explosion sends Huxley, Wells and Jane are sent hurtling out of the building in a silver cylinder and into space.

If it sounds too far-fetched it’s because it’s difficult to convey how entertaining this story is.  Only a few pages into the book I was delighted with the prospect of the upcoming adventure and it doesn’t disappoint.  What’s better than Wells, Huxley, Moreau, Martians and space!?  Again, not to give away the plot but there’s a packed plotline that is well-thought out and enjoyable whether or not one has read “The War of the Worlds”.  (Are there people who haven’t seen one of the movies?)

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the genre and, in particular, those who may be wanting to get their toes wet without drowning.  The science might be a little bit over-the-top for any realists in the crowd but for science fiction it’s a good idea to suspend disbelieve while turning the pages.

Interview with Author, Kevin J. Anderson coming soon!

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