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The War of the Worlds – Sequel Signed!

war_of_the_worlds_by_annpars-d4or7krGollancz have announced that they are set to publish The Massacre of Mankind in 2017, an ‘official’ sequel to The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. The book will be written by multi-award winning author Stephen Baxter who, in addition to writing plenty of his own bestselling novels, wrote The Long Earth series of novels with Sir Terry Pratchett.

This new novel will be set in 1920s London. The Martians from The War of the Worlds will be back, targeting Britain first as payback for their resistance, and the war will start over. Worryingly for mankind, the Martians have learnt from their past mistakes and it will take far more than the common cold to stop the death toll.

Stephen Baxter said: “HG Wells is the daddy of modern SF … [He] did more than any other writer to shape the form and themes of modern science fiction, and indeed through his wider work exerted a profound influence on the history of the twentieth century. Now it’s an honour for me to celebrate his enduring imaginative legacy, more than a hundred and fifty years after his birth.”

Marcus Gipps, Gollancz Commissioning Editor and the editor overseeing the book, said, “Steve has a great track record of collaborating with other authors, from Arthur C. Clarke and Alastair Reynolds to Terry Pratchett. I’ve seen early material from this remarkable new project, and can’t wait to unleash Steve’s new Martian terror upon the world.”

The War of the Words was first published in 1897 and it would be impossible to even guess at the millions of people who have listened, seen or read a version of it. Despite this, it was originally rejected by a publisher who stated that it was: “An endless nightmare. I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book.” Equally worth noting is the mass panic it caused in 1938 when a version of it aired on radio. At the time three of four families owned a set and a vast number of them tuning in to the dramatic presentation of The War of the Worlds, thought that an alien invasion was well underway.

The Massacre of Mankind will be published in hardback and eBook on the 19th January 2017.

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4 Comments

  1. Yora says:

    People in the 30’s were very well aware of what a radio play is and turned on the radio specifically because their favorite show was on. Saying these people were unable to understand fiction on radio is like saying people in the 20s thought pulp magazines where news or people today thinking TV shows are live news broadcasts. Fiction on radio seems unusual now, but at the time it was a regular thing. And nobody was unable to tell a radio play from news.
    But there’s always people who pat themselves on the shoulder and say “People in the past where just so much more stupid than we are.”

  2. ArhiX says:

    @Yora Well I think that some people were stupid enough to believe that there is an alien invasion.
    There is always enough idiots – no matter now or then. Drugs, alcohol, brainlessness…

    Anyways…
    I hope that the book is going to be a worthy successor.

  3. Alphonse says:

    Hopefully they will be able to come up with a fitting title as the original novel had a double meaning to it. It was not just a war between Mars and Earth, but also a reference to the ever present war that goes on between the microscopic world and the macroscopic world. The Martians are studying us in their telescopes the same we are studying microbes under the microscopes, as described by Wells in the novel.
    The Martians are like intelligent microbes on macro scale, just as merciless and cold as real microbes. As described in the end, humans had won the war against the world of microbes (even if only a few of them are harmful to us), with great losses through the history of mankind. Against this world and its enemies, the Martians had to lose.

  4. Nicholas says:

    Ugh… The idea of an “official” sequel to an almost 120 year old classic just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. I am aware that lots of so called “sequels” have been written to just about everything, but an “official” sequel…

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