Review: The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
Reviews / December 14, 2016

They don’t give up, those Martians. Both in fiction and in our cultural consciousness, HG Wells’ invaders from Mars are persistent. Stephen Baxter now carries the torch in The Massacre of Mankind; the official sequel to The War of the Worlds, some 119 years later. Wells’ novel, published in 1898 was actually set in 1907. Baxter brings us at first to 1920. The Martians are long gone, but there are some familiar green flares seen coming from Mars… Meet Julie Elphinstone. A suffragette and journalist who is the sister-in-law to the original novel’s narrator. The story is told from a number of different perspectives, as reported to Julie at some time later than the events of the plot. England has moved on from the original attack, and is almost a dictatorship. The Great War hasn’t happened. The left Martian technology has changed the world. But now, the Martians are coming back and not just 10 cylinders this time. And they’ve learned their lessons about earthly bacteria. Again, the first wave lands in England; north west of London this time. They aren’t here to destroy, but to farm. They bring with them humanoid Martians and also semi-aquatic Venetians (who, I wonder,…

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