Nineteen gut-wrenching reports from the front lines of the War of the Worlds, as logged by Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, H.P. Lovecraft, Winston Churchill, Jules Verne, and many of the other most famous writers of the time. The most popular and acclaimed science fiction writers of today relive the Martian invasion through the eyes of their famous predecessors.
"Sometimes slapstick, sometimes thoughtful, the book's delights are really too numerous to describe in detail." (The Valley Times) "Fun all the way through...carried out with both a respect for Wells's great work and a sense of humor about its own purpose." (Asimov's Science Fiction)
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For those who love the classic tale by H.G. Wells, this book expands the story with personal accounts from some of the most famous historical personas of the age. From Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein to Jules Verne and Leo Tolstoy, the Martian invasion is given new life for fans of the classics. The caveat, of course, is that in any short story collection, some stories are better than others, and with the similar theme revolving around the one story, most of these tales will run together if you breeze through them. This is a collection best taken slowly, a story or two at a time.
As a fan of the old pulps as well as the original tale that spawned this collection, I have to geek out a bit about the story from Edgar Rice Burroughs. I give no spoilers on how it works out, but suffice it to say, we get to see how these Martians relate to the very different world of John Carter.
All in all, this collection is greater than the sum of its parts, for by the end of it the invasion truly encompasses a far larger scale than the glimpse Wells first gave us over a century ago. For fans of the original, this is a gateway to discover some modern writers. For new fans, this is a great way to discover the original by means of a back door. It's a win-win.
MacLeod Andrews is phenomenal in this audio version. Some of his voices are perhaps a little stereotypical, but there are times I had to remind myself that all of this was the work of one narrator. For a collection capitalizing on the idea of many writers offering many different historical voices, such a narration is not only worthy, it's required.
POCKET SPITTOON Some of you may think it was H.G. Wells that wrote about the invasion of London by Martians. Now finally the truth has come out and we find that Henry James actually wrote the book. You already know about the attack of London and of the attack in New York City as broadcast by Orson Wells. You may know through the 1953 movie about the attack in California. In 2005 we learned with the help of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise more about Brooklynn, New Jersey and Boston. What a lot of people don't realize is, that the Martians attacked the entire planet, it was a Global Invasion. Thanks to a list of great authors these reports have come out of hiding and are in this book. We get to hear about the attacks that took place in China, Paris, Texas, St. Louis, Alaska, Russia, Africa, Cuba and others. We get first hand reports from the Dowager Empress of China, Percival Lowell, Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, Henry James, H.Rider Haggard, Albert Einstein, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Joseph Pulitzer, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, Jack London and Emily Dickinson. Many of these reports were discovered by famous writers of today, such as, Connie Willis, Dave Wolverton/David Farland, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Allen Steele, Robert Silverberg, Walter Jon Williams, Kevin J. Anderson, Mike Resnick and others.
HE HAD THE KIND OF FACE YOU COULDN'T HIT JUST ONCE. Don't let the rating fool you, this was a fantastic idea for an original anthology. Present day writers writing as past writers. Spanning the globe to tell the story in slightly different ways. Like all anthologies some of them you will like and some you will not. If you don't like Robert Silverberg or Henry James, you may not like his story. On the other hand if like either one you may love it. My favorites were Walter Jon Williams writing as Dowager Empress of China, Mike Resnick as Teddy Roosevelt, Kevin J. Anderson as Percival Lowell, Robert Silverberg as Henry James and Greg Benford and David Brin as Jules Verne. My favorite part about Jules Verne was his comparison of his work to H.G. Wells. There were more clunkers then I would have liked, but I was still in love with this whole idea of writers writing as writers about such an event. Hopefully there will be future anthologies that are similar. Maybe a second invasion in the fifties. We could hear from people like James M. Cain, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, a young John F. Kennedy, etc...
I have heard MacLeod Andrews narrate before, but I never knew the extend of his talents. Each story sounds different and it is hard to believe only one person did all the narration. His talents made the overall experience that much better.