Just finished reading THE MARTIAN WAR, Kevin J. Anderson's 2012 science fiction novel. As the title suggests (and as the back cover copy proclaims), herein lies the true story behind the events depicted in H.G. Wells's immortal THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, first published in 1898.
Anderson's tale is a clever one, a mash-up of both real historical figures such as Wells himself, the famed astronomer Percival Lowell and scientist T.H. Huxley. These three are placed alongside a veritable who's who of characters from Wells' novels including Dr. Moreau (THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU), Dr. Cavor (THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON), Dr. Griffin (THE INVISIBLE MAN) and Professor Redwood and Mr. Bensington (FOOD OF THE GODS). And of course, along with these characters are the elements of their various adventures: human/animal hybrids, a spaceship, an invisibility formula and giant farm animals. The only thing missing from this yarn is the Time Traveler from THE TIME MACHINE.
The narrative is divided into two separate strands. In one, Dr. Moreau and Lowell are responsible for creating a signal that brings the first martian craft to earth. They capture the sole survivor of the crashed vessel and transport it to the deserts of Arizona where Lowell is building an observatory. Things go wrong.
Alternating with entries from Moreau's journal which recounts these past events, is the story of Wells, Huxley and Miss Jane Robbins (Wells' girlfriend), and their voyages to the moon and Mars in Dr Cavor's gravity defying space craft. They have wild adventures in both locales and eventually defeat the impending invasion of earth by Mars by use of a method familiar to anyone who has encountered any iteration of WAR OF THE WORLDS.
It's all good, fast paced, pulpy science fiction fun. Anderson keeps things moving at a good clip and you can tell he has a genuine affection for his characters both real and imaginary. You'll come away from this one wanting to read (or re-read) the novels by H.G. Wells that stand as the rock solid foundation of science fiction literature. Thumbs up.