The Massacre of Mankind
Author: Stephen Baxter
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared. 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 Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat. He is right. Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war.
I knew I wanted to read this novel when I saw it in the new release books, but had hesitated a little as I didn’t know exactly what to expect, or if it would be anything like War of the Worlds. There was no comparing for me between these two novels, as I had only watched the movie for book one. So, I was able to go into The Massacre of Mankind as a newbie and see what happened since the first invasion.
“To those of us who survived it, the First Martian War of the early twentieth century was a cataclysm. And yet, to minds far greater than our own and older even than the Martians, minds who regard our world from the cold outer reaches of space, that conflict must have seemed a trivial affair indeed, and unworthy. “
This novel was a recounting of all that occurred the first time around the Martians had invaded, then of the second time they came back to try and take over again. This time though, the story goes on for a lot longer. I found that it wasn’t until close to the midpoint that it got more interesting, not to say that the first half didn’t have its good parts, but it was mostly the story of how history changed because of the invasion. There were wars that did and didn’t happen, the alliances that came from it, and those that couldn’t rebuild there life’s completely because of all the false invasion alarms throughout the years.
“And they watched as the fighting-machines stalked across the broken landscape within their Cordon, probing at the wreckage of our military emplacements. the night was dark, but Frank was able to follow their movements from the light of the burning of vehicles, and dumps of fuel and ammunition. He would see their legs, long, graceful, articulated, passing before a crimson glare.”
There was a continual story having to do with the Martians second arrival and their fight with the human race (which kept going back and forth), but like I mentioned above a lot more of a “history” lesson than action. If you’re all about the adventure and the thrill of the story, this might not be a read you’d want to take your time with, but if you love reading more of a detailed account of events with a few climactic moments (and not comparing it to the first) it might just be for you.
“In this Martian those trends had been progressed to their limit. But it was not evolutionary logic that struck me in those moments of encounter. That strange round head with its small features, that pinched mouth, the eyes widened as if in perpetual surprise: it had the look of a monstrous infant, which shard of familiarity made it all the more repulsive.”
I really tried liking this more, because it was definitely interesting seeing how the history changed from ours because of the invasion, but I couldn’t really stay connected with the characters or how everything was being played out. It also had to do with all the pages that were inserted into it with recap after recap of different points in time. And though I enjoyed a good amount of it, I just couldn’t get to liking a lot more of it, along with an ending that didn’t help makes things better.
***I received this copy from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***