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The Massacre of Mankind

Sequel to The War of the Worlds
Narrated by: Nathalie Buscombe
Series: The War of the Worlds, Book 2
Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 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.

The massacre of mankind has begun.

©2017 Stephen Baxter (P)2017 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Bore Of The Worlds

War Of The Worlds by HG Wells is in my top 3 books of all time. So I quickly picked this up when I heard about it. I have to say I was disappointed with it. The plot is there and the storyline is interesting. However, changing location and characters mixed with a lot of dragging story hurts the story overall and hurt my enjoyment of it.

Gone is the narrator from the first one although he is a character and an important one. The change from the original narrator to his sister-in-law seems like an unnecessary change. She is tapped with a lot that seems like the original narrator would take on. I find it odd that World War I still carries out just the same after the Martian Invasion. The futility of man changing is barely spoken on in this plot point and that's sad considering the first book was a critique on man for World War I.

The book is double the original which wouldn't have been terrible but the plot moves so slowly. There's a lot of waiting around and looking at things and talking to people. The story doesn't just follow the main character, as the first book did, but jumps to other POVs in an effort to provide different viewpoints. It's a way of getting out of the original first person perspective that's established. When the perspective does shift it stays on the people way too long. I found myself skipping through parts and making sure I was getting what happens at the end before changing back over to the main character. Not much was lost especially since most revelations occurred at the end of sections before the switch.

There are some positives to be had including other alien life being brought to Earth. It showed a very interesting development to the story for what should be done with these types of sequel stories. However, Baxter tends to poo-poo the ending of the original book but comes up with an ending that is just as "deus ex machina" and that Baxter even agrees with. Honestly, it felt lazy and very abrupt.

That's a lot of plot points to. There are revelations that are brought up, and while I didn't agree with everyone being the route I would have taken, a lot were just stated and moved on. Moved on to more filler items.

A big hindrance I had in my enjoyment that the scope and scale are hard to keep track of. The constant changes in perspective and location of characters make it a little difficult to follow. And the sense of time felt quick but "years" are mentioned occurring between the start of the 2nd invasion and where the character was at.

There are missed opportunities too. Resistance fighters are spoken of but they are only there to move the main character onto the next location. The bring back of the Artillery Man happens randomly with highly improbable odds. Sadly, his expansion of character is the one that makes the most sense and is the most interesting. And then he's gone because the main character is ready to move to another location.

This book didn't have to be like the original completely. But it lost a lot of what made it a good story. It make changes that were unnecessary. It bogged down the reader in details that weren't interesting. It make revelations that seem to just glance over. It didn't really create any tension and kind of failed in building a post-Martian Invasion world leading into a second invasion. Final Grade - C-

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Performance is poor

Pace varies suddenly. No inflection at times. More emotional inflection at times than is required.
Monotonous approach to reading the book. Am returning it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Prety much sucked!

much verbiage about the attack and defense, then puff, over! Reader hard to understand and follow.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Great performance of an underwhelming story

After having read The Time Ships, I had high hopes for another sequel to a classic H. G. Wells novel. Stephen Baxter had proven that he could take that material and extend the premise into a more contemporary sci-fi story.

Imagine my disappointment when I could barely get through the first few chapters.

The plot wasn’t very compelling and the characters all seemed wooden and weren’t relatable. The pacing was also strangely inconsistent for a Stephen Baxter novel. Perhaps that was his attempt to mimic the narration of the novel’s predecessor.

The worst part for me was its bizarre mishmash of the limited Victorian scientific understanding and more modern 20th century technology. I found it very difficult to suspend my disbelief when the story necessitated a simplistic view of cosmology while also applying modern scientific principles.

The War of the Worlds is at least consistent in it’s world building because Wells was working exclusively with a 19th century understanding of physics and biology.

With his sequel to The Time Machine, Baxter explained the events of the previous novel by integrating it with principles of quantum physics. The main character’s assumptions about his discovery are proven wrong as he is introduced to more modern scientific knowledge.

This book instead tries to remain true to H. G. Wells’ vision, while also trying to be hard science fiction. The result is a world that doesn’t make much sense.

On top of that, the ending was just silly. I won’t spoil it, but I will say the conclusion to War of the Worlds is far superior in my opinion.

This novel is probably one of my least favorite from Stephen Baxter. It’s an interesting concept, but I wish he had written it more like his other H. G Wells tribute.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An average story and rather drawn out mess

I like the explanations of the Martian technology and the expansion of the War of the Worlds universe. That sais, the story is rather boring and the relationships between characters are uninteresting. Finally, the narrator becomes comical with her silly voices and fake accents. I don't think I will bother finishing this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A worthy successor

I loved Baxter's sequel The Time Ships, and this is another excellent addition to another piece of classic SciFi! Interesting characters and a well-reasoned look at what the terrible invaders from the red planet might do with a second go at us.