The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

The Massacre of Mankind

Stephen Baxter

From one of the UK's most acclaimed writers of science fiction, a thrilling sequel to War of the Worlds.

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A sequel to the H.G. Wells classic THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, brilliantly realized by award-winning SF author and Wells expert Stephen Baxter

It has been fourteen years since the Martian invasion. Humanity has moved on, always watching the skies but confident that we know how to defeat the alien menace. The Martians are vulnerable to Earth germs. The army is prepared. Our technology has taken great leaps forward, thanks to machinery looted from abandoned war-machines and capsules.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the first incursion was merely a scouting mission, a precursor to the true attack—and that the Martians have learned from their defeat, adapted their methods, and now pose a greater threat than ever before.
He is right.
Thrust into the chaos of a new worldwide invasion, journalist Julie Elphinstone—sister in law to Walter Jenkins—struggles to survive the war, report on it, and plan a desperate effort that will be humanity’s last chance at survival. Because the massacre of mankind has begun.
Echoing the style and form of the original while extrapolating from its events in ingenious, unexpected fashion again and again, The Massacre of Mankind is a labor of love from one of the genre’s most praised talents—at once a truly fitting tribute to a classic and brainy, page-turning fun for any science-fiction fan.

Advance Galley Reviews

It’s not every day that a prominent science fiction writer releases a sequel to one of the best-known science fiction stories of all time. Stephen Baxter’s newest novel, The Massacre of Mankind, is a direct sequel to H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. First, it’s very obvious that the author did a tremendous amount of research into the historical time period and has created what seems to a very realistic portrayal. What Baxter also did an amazing job of was highlighting the differences that could have occurred had a Martian invasion actually occurred before the World Wars. The advancements technology would have seen were sprinkled throughout the story in a way that felt organic. Baxter has done a marvelous job of expanding upon the characters and relationships that Wells created in his masterpiece. This novel captures more of a global scope of what a multi-planet war would look like than The War of the Worlds did, but it was handled expertly. I absolutely love Baxter’s writing style and think it perfectly fits the tone of the story. Fans of Wells’ original novel, as well as fans of science fiction in general, definitely should give Baxter’s novel a read. They won’t regret it.

Download expired before I had a chance to read it. Sorry.

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Wow. Okay, so I’m going to try to be objective here when I write this, but before I say anything else, it’s going to be difficult because I had such high aspirations about what this book was going to be. I am a long-time fan of H.G. Wells works, and War of the Worlds would probably have to be my favorite because it’s the one, to me, that has the quickest pace. It moves too fast, and I’ve probably read this novel about three times. Twice for class and the once for my own enjoyment. So I love it, which is probably why I was so disappointed in this novel. What made H.G. Wells such a good writer was his ability to be concise in the writing of this story. He was incredible in his ability to do that. With a novel that went up to probably 200 pages, depending on the edition. Here you have a story that is about twice that length. But you know what, a good story can be told no matter the length, short or long, a good story can be captivating or it can’t. This story was not. The biggest problem that this novel had was its inability to be concise. The earlier part of the novel pretty much recaps what happened in H.G. Wells War of the Worlds. That’s no essential. It’s understandable that the author here is trying to give it a more realistic feel, he’s trying to ingrain in the reader that the story was a memoir, and he’s using characters in the novel to overanalyze what’s going on in the novel. That’s entirely unnecessary, especially in the way he does it. It’s tedious how he moves the story into his narrative, into something he wants to create. He gives the characters so much to talk about, and it’s not something that the story needs to focus on. That’s what gave its predecessor such a clean edge. There is so much unessential detail going on in the story that it detracts from what’s going on here in the actual story. Half the time the narrator talks about the present but then goes back to the past to tell the story about what’s going on. The reader doesn’t need to know what’s going on outside the story in the narrators “present,” the point in which they are telling the story. None of that is important, and it boggles me, it boggles me to place this as a sequel because this novel just drags on and on. It’s just tedious. There was a point in my life where I would just look at the novel and groan at the thought of picking it up to read it. That’s how much I didn’t like reading this novel. Lackluster storytelling aside, the narrative itself isn’t clear. There are times in the novel where one the narrator was completely lost. She’s just lost in all the madness of everything going on in the story to the point where I had no idea who the hell was telling the story. That went on throughout the novel where shifts in tone made me think it was someone else. It just wasn’t clear. To be perfectly honest I’m still not completely sure who the narrator was. I’m only 98% sure I have an idea (and that’s mainly due to the blurb), but no one wants to go back, think, re-read, and try to figure something out that should be clear to the reader. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t a fan of the novel. I was so excited to read this novel, but at the end of the day, I was just horribly disappointed.

Here is the not long awaited sequel to H G wells' book War of the Worlds.If you bring to mind any of the movies inspired by that book, put them out of your mind right now. This new book follows the simpler story where the Martians never left the English countryside. The rest of the world know of the war from newspaper stories, and as told here, by the superior technology the England now has. These improvements sort of shorten the first World War into nothingness. The Martians come back and they have studied everything they did, the successes and the major failure. Will the Earthlings prevail? I'm not going to tell you. You will have to wade through this book yourself. I read War of the Worlds when I was much younger.I remember thinking at the time that there were more words than the story needed. It was the style of writing then. Mr Baxter has followed the style very closely and successful in pretending this was written by Mr. Wells himself. Which means, while I enjoyed the story, I thought there were too many words. That wordiness got in the way of an exciting story, tamping down the thrills and chills of an alien invasion. Even the promise of the lifeforms from Jupiter coming in a future book couldn't keep me awake. I will give it a go again, because I do feel I missed things while I was fighting off sleep. The idea got the stars, not the execution.

A very weird and strange sequel to Wells' War of the Worlds with an alternate history vibe thrown in.

Shame on me - I've never read the original War of the Worlds, so this could cloud my review of the book, or as I prefer to see it - the book did not have to live up to a false level of expectation. Obviously I have heard of the War of the Worlds, but just never got round to reading it and I think I've never seen a film adaptation either. Initially the book was a bit confusing as it did refer to previous events from the previous book - but it did not detract from the story line too much. Interesting details about what it could possibly be like if the earth was invaded and what could happen to humans as a species were quite horrific - especially if you have an active imagination. I enjoyed the story but I felt the ending was a bit flat - life on earth is doomed due to the martians- someone flips a switch and everything is hunky dory again......followed by several pages of what happened next (basically nothing) detracts a point from the rating. Having said that, I did enjoy the chance to read this book courtesy of Penguin for the ARC (sorry it is so late) and will definitely look for more books by Stephen Baxter in the future.

This book was not one of favorites. Although I did push myself to read about half of it. It is not something that I regularly read as sci-fi is not my thing and this book has no action in it whatsoever. I thought it would at least pick up but it did not. I am no fan of this book. If sci-fi is your thing then you may enjoy it but if it isn't then stay far away.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete this book before my download expired. I just could not get in the mood to read it, especially as it seemed to start out somewhat dryly.

This felt like a book two. It was wonderful and very noir-like. The pulp fiction feeling this book gives off is so like the first. I am hoping for a book three. Mr. Baxter has done a good job with Wells work!!

I thought this title would be a surefire win for me, but sadly it wasn't. Although I appreciated the period appropriate writing style, and the meticulous featuring of characters from the original novel it felt like an unnecessary story in many ways. I think I'll stick with the original but there are many people who I think would enjoy the creativity exhibited in this sequel.

A great sci fi ride and a terrific sequel to the War of the Worlds. A perfect next chapter for the story that scared so many around the world decades ago in HG Wells's book and Orson Wellles' radio broadcast. The Martians return and the world must fight anew. It's for anyone who wonders when they close a great book what happened after the last page. I would highly recommend this.

So good! While I haven't read War of the Worlds yet, I have heard about it from a very young age, and know it's a major scifi book often referenced in other scifi shows and books. I loved how this one transported me back to another time and place, and had that amazing classic feel that I don't get to enjoy often with newer books! Even though scifi isn't my go-to genre, I loved how like fantasy (my genre) this one played out like a movie, and made me feel like I was there, as part of the story!

I was excited to read the book, especially since it was a sequel to War Of The Worlds, but I could not get into this book. I feel like a sequel really wasn't needed. I didn't enjoy this book unfortunately. I was really looking forward to reading this.

While I was excited or this novel because of its connection to H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, I found myself unable to get into the story and had to give up at about 30%. I don't think there was anything wrong with this story per se; this was just one of those cases where the book and I just didn't match up.

When I requested this book, I knew I was either going to love it or hate it. As a HUGE fan of Wells' original story, I approached this book with both excitement and trepidation. Could it really continue the original? In my case, I think I'm too in love with the original story to give this one a fair shake. It just wasn't Wellsian enough for my taste. While I think Baxter does a good job from a tone standpoint, the book is too long and plodding. It just doesn't capture the heart-racing tension of the original novel(la). Which is a shame--the concepting in this book is plausible, but it just gets mired down in the details. And while I love a dense book (Victorian novels are my favorites), there's a time and a place for that...and I'm afraid this just isn't it. I think this book will be good for some people, and those who aren't familiar with the original will probably really enjoy it. It just wasn't the book for me, unfortunately.

With The Massacre of Mankind, it really was the case of it’s me not the book. I can see how this story might interest others—perhaps for fans of The War of the Worlds who are looking for a continuation of the story. That being said, I was increasingly bored within the first hundred or so pages and didn’t end up finishing the book.

I'll preface my review by saying that I haven't read the original (although I plan to now) but I have seen the movie (I know, I know, the book is probably better). However, I did find out that you don't have to know much about the first story to dive right in to the sequel. Baxter provides plenty of backstory throughout the book. I was initially interested in this sequel because if you remember The War of The Worlds you remember that the Martians were defeated the first time by luck, or more specifically earthly germs and organisms that they weren't prepared for. So now in this sequel obviously the Martians return, stronger and smarter, to the Earth. How will humans fare this time? Especially if military power isn't sufficient? The book definitely builds suspense while trying to answer those questions. But, the beginning is tediously slow and Baxter immediately removes some of the suspense by letting you know (before pg. 70) that at least two of the characters you get introduced to survive the whole ordeal. Some of the old fashioned language and wordy descriptions slowed me down as well. I get that it's written as a period piece, but I shouldn't have to read a sentence three times to figure out what it means. I kept reading though, because surely the pace has to pick up if there's an invasion, and the second half of the book delivered. In my opinion The Massacre of Mankind has the potential to be great if edited properly (keep in mind what I'm reviewing is un-edited). The story is inventive, creative, intellectual, and I think it's a great followup story to The War of the Worlds. I love how Baxter made the main character, Julie Elphinstone, a smart, strong woman that didn't have to fall in love with anyone to want to save the world. There should be more main characters like her. I also love Baxter's quirky portrayal of Walter Jenkins who is a veteran of the first War, but also a mad genius obsessed with Martians. Jenkins makes a lot of people angry, but his quirky logic and damaged personality makes the reader sympathize with him. Verity Bliss is another brief, but well constructed character. Ms. Elphinstone meets her in the second half of the book when things get much more exciting. And I wish Verity Bliss could have played a larger part in the book. All of that brings me to the second half of the book, which I truly enjoyed and wanted more of. If the whole book was written with the vigor of the second half I would have fallen in love with the novel. I know that the first part of the book is meant to develop characters and an alternate history, but I don't think Baxter really needs 240ish pages to do that. The second half is much more action packed and inventive. Albert Einstein even makes an appearance, but not for the reason you think (remember this is an alternate history). And once Julie is in the Martian Cordon you find out many more details about the Martians, their goal, and about other inter-planetary creatures! Towards the end of the book I almost expect Captain Kirk to show up and save the day. But alas it's Ms. Julie Elphinstone that figures out the Martian solution with some help from the quirky Mr. Jenkins.

Despite the never ending thirst for more--more words, more of the characters, world, style--some stories are already complete. I was very curious about this sequel, but when I finished it, it didn't feel like it had added something significant to the stories. The Martians came back, because of course they did, and there's a fair degree of detail about the death and dying, suffering and betrayal. I found it to be too much. Characters flounder around, trying to survive, some at all costs, others with more altruistic intent. There's a lot of ends justifies the means sort of moralizing, which not even the characters seemed to buy. The ending left me feeling flat, as if a happy solution might not be possible.

It had been a decade or so since I read H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. I was afraid I'd need to go back to read it before Mr. Baxter's novel, so I did. You didn't really need to read WOTW, although I think that it might help to get the feel of the underlying story. I had a really hard time reading The Massacre of Mankind. I am not sure if it was because there was too much explaining of the times between attacks (back and forth between the first war and the war happening in current times), the description of the martians was tedious at times. The characters were developed well and I really liked Ms. Elphinstone. I just felt the novel was too wordy and unnecessarily so. The switching back and forth between points of views wasn't always easy to decipher as some was narrated, some first person and others just a telling vs. showing and not done well for me to envision. I give Stephen Baxter credit for trying to stick to the original feel of WOTW! However it feel flat for me. This is rated a 2 for me.

This book has seemed to me endless, boring and unnecessary.

Tuesday, August 22, saw the release of The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter. This is a sequel to H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds. The premise is rather straightforward. The orbits of Mars and Earth are drawing them closer to one another, closer than usual, at least. The Martians attack the Earth once more, plunging us into war once more. First, it is apparent that Baxter did his research. Any reading of interviews or the author notes at the end of the text make that very clear. This does come through, at least in certain sections, in the writing. Certain things are mentioned for a specific reason. However, I don’t think many readers will fully appreciate some of them, at least not before reading Baxter’s own words at the conclusion of the text. For example, a weapon made by Edison is mentioned, which is a nod to a very early sequel to The War of the Worlds by a different author. While a touching tribute in its own right, just how many people would understand this at first glance is most likely a rather small number. Tributes and diligence to sticking to the original, while very admirable, does seem to get in the way of the storytelling. (I feel much the same about certain works of Tolkien which have been compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien.) The pacing in this book, overall, is very slow. The beginning of the narrative crawls along at a snails pace, inching its way towards something that resembles plot. The majority of the first one hundred pages or so is filled with characters from the first book getting back together in order to receive overseas phone calls from Walter, the narrator of the original tale. Of course, nothing quite happens in any of these phone calls besides the obvious – Martians are probably coming. Here, I believe, is the first major issue with the story. While very true to the original in world building and voice, the narrative lacks a true plot. The aliens are coming only carries the story so far. The War of the Worlds did have the narrators searching for his wife and wanting to get back to her as the main characters motivation (even if, as this book points out, he wound up traveling towards the Martians more often than traveling from them). This book does not have anything of the sort to help propel it forward. Not having any meaningful reasoning behind characters actions, or the group of original characters getting back together in the first place causes the first half of the novel to feel dull and tedious. Combining this with the fact that no sort of action is seen at all until roughly two hundred pages into the text make this book much more of a chore to read than I ever expected. That’s right, no invasion takes place until two hundred pages in. Which, for those playing along at home, is almost the length of the entirety of The War of the Worlds. Simply put, there’s just too many words and not enough action. While the writing style does resemble the time period in which the original was written, it doesn’t feel like the tight prose of Wells. Instead, we have the long, rambling passages and descriptions of the scenery more normally found in the works of an author like Dickens. I understand how this story was written. I do. The language is beautiful, to be sure. There are beautiful lines and lots of description. We learn a lot about the characters’ lives after the first book. There are some haunting passages about what the Martians are doing to the inhabitants of Venus and what their ultimate goal of conquering the Earth is, and what that would bring about. There are sections I truly enjoyed in this book. But, for the most part, the delivery inhibited the story. Very little of real impact happens on screen. What do I mean by this? Well, events like to be explained in long, sometimes agonizing detail. The main character, or whomever we are currently following when the point of view switches, does not always experience things first hand. A great deal is simply explained to the main characters when they arrive at their destination. This takes away a lot impact. I don’t want to hear about the inhabitants of Venus living on the Earth and what happens to them, I want to see it. I don’t want to hear other characters theories about what happens to people the Martians capture and how they manipulate the humans in their capture, I want to see it in all its (probably gory) detail. The impact on very meaningful scenes is sometimes lost amongst the admittedly beautiful prose. This is doubled by one crucial factor – all of the changing of point of view. The book starts out from a first person narrative, quite the same as the War of the Worlds was written. However, first person point of view shifts to the third person point of view, following separate characters introduced in Wells’s original work as they have their own encounters with the Martians. At first I was happy the point of view had switched. I found Julie to be a rather unlikable main character. She lacked any and all empathy and, despite staying in London to report on what occurred, did quite literally nothing besides talk to people and read the newspaper. However, I do not understand the decision to write in the third person with Julie relaying events of other characters after hearing their side of things after the war. Particularly confusing is the third person viewpoint of Harry’s actions, Julie’s ex-husband. He was stated as having kept a journal of his own chronicling his own adventures, which do become rather interesting. Of course, none of these are chronicled by Harry, but only through Julie’s secondhand telling or, more infuriatingly, described by people Julie speak to. There is simply too much distance between the action and the reader. It is hard to care for the characters as I first wanted to. Even during exciting sequences there is a very real distance between the characters, the action, and the reader. That chasm is never fully crossed, even in very meaningful, deep scenes. Characters are described as not making it through the war, but their deaths never shown in the actual text, rendering moments with potential meaning and deep character growth quite meaningless. Another infuriating habit was the characters to reminisce about what happened during ‘the first war’, referring to the events of War of the Worlds. Once or twice is fine. There will undoubtedly be readers who either didn’t read Wells’ book or else read it so long ago that certain plot points have become muddled. Some reminiscing is understandable. A paragraph here or there relaying very important information is to be expected. But the sheer amount of it was daunting and largely unnecessary. At that point it would have been faster to merely read the first book than all of the descriptions of it in the sequel. Also found in this book is quite a bit of alternate history. World War I was lost, not won, by the UK. Britain is now occupied by Germany. And, while I love a good alternate history and agree that Martians coming to take over the Earth would probably have a major impact on society, thereby changing ways of thinking and certain major events, this alternate world building had very little impact on any actual plot. What did have impact was the very real ways which the first Martian landing had on the main characters of this book. Events had very real impact on personalities, familial ties, and relationships with spouses. Actually having this addressed was quite a welcome relief from the ‘happily ever after for everyone’ trope that proliferates across science fiction and fantasy. Still, it would have been nice for at least one character to not have their marriage torn apart, their family not liking or speaking with regularity, or have deep mental scarring. I just wanted someone, anyone to be happy. The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter did have some good points. There were sections that I liked. However, this novel did have more flaws than not. While quite excited to begin this novel, I was left rather disappointed. A very hard-core fan of Wells who read all of his books and essays may find some very interesting nods to the author and his work within this novel. However, its rambling nature and lack of action will most likely be turn off for many readers. Unfortunately, I would up giving this novel a much lower rating than expected upon reading the opening pages.

I have never read H.G. Wells classic novel “The War of the Worlds”. I’ve only seen the 1953 and 2005 movie versions. Despite this, I was interested to see how Stephen Baxter would continue the story. This book takes place 13 years after the first Martian invasion and is told from the point of view of the original narrator’s sister-in-law Julie Elphinstone, who is a journalist living in New York City. A cryptic message from the original narrator, Walter Jenkins, brings her back to England in time for the second Martian invasion. You quickly understand that this narrative was written several years after the invasion and incorporates the narratives of others that Miss Elphinstone gleaned for hers. Because of the Martian invasion in 1907, this book also has an alternative history for 1907 – 1920, but some historical actors are still there, for example, Winston Churchill. This book was not a page turner for me. The pace was slow and bounced around too much. It should have ended about 50 pages sooner.

Having not read the original H.G. Wells story, I was hoping this would be a stand alone novel. While I'd say the answer to that strictly speaking is yes, I had the feeling that this would be much more interesting to a War of the Worlds fan. The story as a sequel seemed to be well researched based on other reviews, but I found it difficult to find a character I could relate to and that makes for a tedious read for me. While the storytelling has a lot of imagination and attention to detail it took too long to get going and the lack of sympathetic characters made it difficult to get into. Thank you to First to Read for this copy of Massacre of Mankind.

Set some 14 years after the Martians invaded earth and were defeated they return again. They have advanced their technology and so have us earthlings. A gallant tale of alternate history which gives us small glimpses into a future that could be.

I'm a huge fan of H.G. Wells, and War of the Worlds, so I've been excited to read this since I first heard about it several months ago. Picking up 14 years after the conclusion of the original story, Stephen Baxter does a good job replicating the narrative style of Wells. He also adds in alternative history by speculating how historical events such as WWI was changed by the first Martian War. It's really quite fun. But aside from that, I ran into some issues which prevented this from being an exciting read for me. I found the characters a little flat and one-dimensional and was unable to connect with them. I also think the book was much too long and was unable to maintain a fast pace, even with its action scenes. There were only so many times I could read about humans attacking Martians, and them killing us, before my attention started wandering. I do give kudos though to the author for retaining the style and spirit of the classic tale.

For an alien invasion story this book was extremely boring. There were very few action sequences in the tale, which was weighed down by mundane descriptions of just about everything, much of which didn't contribute to or advance the story. I really did not enjoy this book, and truth be told, labored to finish reading it so that I could write this review. I don't like to disparage authors, for they have the courage to put their creations out into the world for all to read, but this is one story that could have stayed unwritten. I would give it 2 stars at best.

When I first started reading I was struck by the tone, the feel of the story. Normally when someone else picks up another author's property the change is obvious and a little jarring. I didn't feel that with Stephen Baxter though. I haven't read any f his other books, so I don't have a good grasp on whether or not he's mimicking H. G. Wells' tone, but if he is... bravo, sir. That said, the first impressions of the book were not good. I was beginning to think that this would be a book where I was frustrated with most of the characters and where it would take forever to get to the aliens (to be fair, it does take the better part of 100 pages). But once the actual battles began, then I found myself hooked. The problem isn't the characters, I realized after we got started, or the writing or anything like that. The problem I have is with the world. The alternate past that is hypothesized is repugnant and it is, in many ways, obviously meant to be that way, but I just hated how dreary it all felt. Maybe that was why I perked up when the Martians showed up and started destroying the world. Ha, take that world. You deserve this.

14 years have passed since the Martians first invaded and now they're coming back, better prepared, more numerous, and more powerful then ever. Our narrator this time is Julie, a youngish English journalist, ex-sister-in-law to War of the Worlds' protagonist. This time when the Martians attack, the whole of the Earth must rally to expel them once and for all. And the book does take us all over the world to see the effects of the Martian invasion through contacts our narrator is able to make with survivors. I admit, I have never read War of the Worlds so I cannot speak to how well this book meshes with that one. But I can say that it feels very much like it could have been written contemporaneous to the time in which it is set. It feels natural and not forced, which I guess is saying quite a bit considering it deal with Martians invading earth. I enjoyed this story. And my biggest takeaway is that now I want to read first, War of the Worlds, and second, other books by Stephen Baxter. Also, I think it would make a really good movie. Part period drama, all sci-fi, totally awesome.

I was delighted when this book was offered, I've been an H. G. Wells fan since young adulthood, so it was a real treat to have the chance to read and comment on this book. The author drew a world with an alternate history, strong and engaging characters and a bigger story played out over several years. I enjoyed every single page of this, the skill involved in creating such a detailed alternate history and characters who grow and change throughout the book amazes me. I'm not a critic, I'm a reader, and as a reader, I found so much to love in this book, and a great deal of insight into the human animal, under stress and finding out what a person is made of. I was so sorry to get to the end, and I haven't been able to start anything else since I read it, the world the author built is still fully realized in my head. This is my first Stephen Baxter book, but i've seen on Amazon that he has a good sized backlist, so it will definitely not be my last.

Unfortunately I am not able to give a review of this book, as I was unable to download a copy that worked on either on my mobile or my computer.

This work took a massive amount of effort. I admire the detail, the style adhering to the original, but it is too long and ponderous. I think that some Britons might like having the different areas of England described in such a way, but I didn't. I don't care about every little road and what it looked like before the first attack and after the second. I think S. B., though he did it very well, went too far in his attempt to mirror the original style of Wells. Sometimes the tone slipped a little and some of the minor characters seemed more like something from the movie. Some of Verity's dialogue sounded a little campy. Sometimes she acted feminine and then she'd act very masculine. Some of the minor characters, like the female driver, weren't needed. I loved all of the main characters, in all their flawed humanity. The trip through the sewer could have been really scary, but it was passed over quickly, and I felt let down. Just when things were getting climatic, the scene switched to other parts of the world. I greatly resented this postponement of my thrills. I very much enjoyed the explanations of how Martian tech worked, and this was done very well. Favorite phrase in the book: spatchcocked gadgets. When the editors are done, this will be a wonderful book, a best seller, and a movie. Congrats to S.B. on taking on such a project.

I've read Baxter's work with Terry Pratchett (Long Ships) and was excited to see what he would do with Orson Welles, "War of the Worlds." As a kid, I was fascinated with the radio drama which terrified the US population in the less-connected 1930s. I heard Welles' narration countless times and actually have seen the movie takes, including the latest "Brave New Jersey," which is about a town whose residents completely believed in the broadcast -- and what they did when they believed their world was coming to an end. I hoped I would like this book more, Baxter is an excellent author in my estimation, but this one felt like he'd over-researched the original and and wrote a dissertation on it. Every character, no matter how peripheral, got mention. I wanted something more -- something overreaching about society as a whole after the invasion. Instead, I felt as though I got buried in well-written minutia. "The Massacre of Mankind" might be good for you if you are interested in serious detail. If you, like me, are looking for a more rollicking tale, you might want to look elsewhere.

I received an ARC of Stephen Baxter's The Massacre of Mankind from First to Read. Several of the other reviewers have stated the novel is too long which I can understand but as I looked at what I would cut, there was very little. There was a great deal of 'world building' which had to take place with the narrator, Julia, taking time to describe how England and Europe have changed due to the earlier invasion. The author takes that invasion, the implications of new technologies and the changes which create new allies that affect what we know as World War I. I thoroughly enjoyed the building of the alternate history which then leads up to the second war. No spoiler but the end of Baxter's novel is just as much of a surprise as H.G. Wells' ending. I have recommended the novel to my friends and would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I always wondered when someone would attempt to write a sequel to H.G. Wells’ remarkable novel. As an avid science fiction reader and a huge fan of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (the book NOT the movie), I was extremely excited to read this sequel. However, Stephen Baxter’s adaptation fell short. It was dull, way too lengthy, and just outright boring. The Martians had to wait for over 200 pages before they actually got to invade earth. I will give Baxter credit for the very creative parts in which he incorporates details from the original story, but this story unfortunately did not live up to my expectations. Overall, I would rate this book a 2/5. I would not recommend this book to fans of the original novel.

I enjoyed this novel very much. The tone was very much in line with the original series, something that doesn't always happen when another author steps in. I would recommend this novel to everyone who enjoyed The War of the Worlds and wanted to see more of the world Wells created.

So what happens in a world after the Martians invaded Earth? That wasn’t a question I thought of when I read War of the Worlds. It didn’t seem important. The alternate Earth of this story is logical and well developed. The writing evoked the feel of Wells’ story. I enjoy early science fiction so the slower pace of the story appealed to me. The way the Martian’s adapted to the threats of Earth and the way Earth prepared and responded to them was interesting. The book, however, was too long. I found myself skimming some sections and when I got to the end, I wasn’t sorry it was over. As a fan of War of the Worlds I’m glad I read the book but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who didn’t enjoy the original.

While I enjoyed the copious alternate history shown here to a point, I have to admit that isn't why I wanted to read this. I was all in on what humanity does when he Martians return to earth but when I'd arrived at page 250 and that still hadn't taken place, I was starting to become annoyed and frankly, bored. It's another hundred pages or so by the time the Martians actually show up to enact their plan and I had stopped caring very much and the book had lost almost all its luster with me. The tension had waned away for me and as the book is told as the narrator's retrospective, it's clear from the beginning that more or less, humanity fares well enough through the second ordeal. Julia, as a narrator, came off as a bit bland and if not fully unremarkable, depressingly forgettable. The other characters were serviceable but I didn't much take deeply to them and sadly, none will stay with me. Recommended if you're a die hard War of the Worlds fans, especially if you've been pining for a/any sequel. This is going on my "I thought as an officially sanctioned book, it'd be better but didn't live up to my expectations" list alongside the Sophie Hannah Hercule Poirot novels.

To get myself ready for the story I re-read Wells's "War of The World's". It re-introduced me to the main characters and settings that would play out in Stephen Baxter's story. In the sequel almost everyone mentioned in the Wells story was alluded to. But the main thing to remember is that "The. Massacre of Mandkind" takes place on an alternative Earth that is Wellsian inspired. And it is a much different Earth than our own. With me being a History junkie I enjoyed how Baxter came up with his Earth and how The Martian's would effect it. So I would say read Wells's original story and then go straight into "The Massacre of Mankind".

Aliens visiting Earth is both a past and contemporary fascination and source of excitement and fear. Building from a seminal work on this topic, Stephen Baxter's The Massacre of Mankind explores a world where the first Martian invasion is followed by another attempt over a decade later.  Years after the Martians first landed on Earth in England and were rebuffed by the germs of humans, eyes turn to the skies once again. With a greater knowledge of space and utilizing the mechanical material left behind from the first invasion, humans have been able to better prepare for the next opportunity to face the Martians and feel confident that they can easily win the battle. The Martians have not been sitting idly by, but have regrouped and appear to be making another, stronger attempt to take over the Earth; the coordinated invasion across the globe leads to a years-long battle and struggle for human survival, which is documented and commented upon by the journalist sister-in-law of Walter Jenkins.  While I greatly enjoyed The War of the Worlds, it took a lot of effort to trudge through this (unnecessarily LONG) sequel instead of being compelled through it, as I was by the first book, by its story and characters; I thought I would be far more interested as the story takes place in an alternate historical timeline, but after the initial Martian landing I quickly lost any invested interest I had. The text introduces characters that aren't relevant to the narrative other than the fact that the live where the Martians were landing; it seemed to be an attempt to personalize the invasion, but served more as a way to derail the story from getting to its point as the characters were not woven into the story at large in a significant way. Moments of intense action were offset by long periods of describing travel or other inane things, which, while practical in setting the scene, was boring with the extent to which it was depicted. I found that the concept of aliens taking over a world to make it their own and fighting with beings from other planets made for an interesting parallel to and comment upon the nations of Earth and colonization throughout history, but it wasn't addressed in a meaningful manner. Overall, I'd give it a 2 out of 5 stars.

I was excited to see this offered, being an approved sequel to the original, and was not disappointed. The effects of the war on Walter were an excellent addition to reality.. Admittedly, it seems long and needs cutting back, but the style of the original is kept. Frank, one of the narratives is Walter's brother, his ex-wife and female journalist Miss Elphinstone, is the other. She is smug and difficult to like, but the alternate history line is intriguing and explores new avenues, some darker than expected. Machines reign and battles and lives are lost repeatedly, humans used horribly, and at last with the involvement of the Jovians, the end. Makes for a true sci-fi worthy read.


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