The Massacre of Mankind, by Stephen Baxter

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Eric’s suite contained the pampered luxury I expected, with overstuffed furniture and a magnificent view of the Plaza outside. A bottle of champagne stood on a low glass table, uncorked. The air was filled with the tinny tones of a ragtime band, emanating from a wireless set – not the compact government-issue People’s Receivers you would have found in every British home in those days, and known universally as Marvin’s Megaphones, but a big chunk of American hardware in a walnut cabinet.

This is a sequel to The War of the Worlds, authorised as such by the H.G. Wells estate, set in an Earth which overcame the original Martian invasion and where England has become a dystopian dictatorship. The narrator is the suffragette sister-in-law of the narrator of The War of the Worlds, with vignettes from all over the world as the Martians launch another assault, having learned lessons from their first unsuccessful attempt.

It’s an interesting contrast with the two sequels to The Time Machine that I have read in recent years, The Time Ships, also by Stephen Baxter, and The Space Machine, by Christopher Priest, which also has some Martian sequences in it. Unfortunately it’s not quite as good as either; there are some vivid set-pieces, but otherwise the plot rather plods along from place to place and battle to battle. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2018. Next on that pile is The End of the Day, by Claire North.

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