War of the Worlds sequel Massacre of Mankind coming in 2017

The War of the Worlds by HG Wells – one of the most famous and influential SF books ever – is getting a sequel. Massacre of Mankind will be written by Stephen Baxter, the multi-award-winning co-author of The Long Earth novels (with Terry Pratchett).

First published in 1897, Wells’ The War of the Worlds has never gone out of print and its influence has spawned half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic-book adaptations (see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for one of our favourites) and a television series.

Stephen Baxter Massacre of Mankind

Baxter describes HG Wells as “the daddy of modern SF,” noting how his work drew on the deep traditions of scientific horror dating back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and fantastic voyages such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726).

“Wells had important near-contemporaries such as Jules Verne. But Wells 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 20th century,” Baxter says. “Now it’s an honour for me to celebrate his enduring imaginative legacy, more than 150 years after his birth.”

The sequel is described by publisher Gollancz as “terrifying”, and will be set in late 1920s London, when the Martians return and the war begins again. But the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion. They know how they lost last time. They target Britain first, since we resisted them before, and the massacre of mankind begins.

The Massacre of Mankind will be published in hardback (£20), and eBook (not much of a saving at £19.99!), on 19 January 2017.

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