What if H.G. Wells had based his classic novel WAR OF THE WORLDS on events that actually happened to him? That’s the idea behind THE MARTIAN WAR, an under-the-radar gem by Kevin J. Anderson, who explored similar speculative territory, albeit with Jules Verne, in 2002’s CAPTAIN NEMO.
But don’t dismiss MARTIAN as a mere rewrite of WAR from a different point of view; rather, that’s just a small part of the planet-hopping account, with lots of other storylines, characters and themes from other Wells works tossed in, including Dr. Griffin, who’s created an invisibility potion, or Dr. Moreau, who performs the world’s first alien autopsy (and organ transplant) – heck, even the FIRST MEN IN THE MOON and the giant rats from “Food of the Gods” are here.
The action is narrated by Wells as he, his wife and Prof. Thomas Huxley investigate a strange arrival, a mystery that ultimately takes them to the red planet itself. It’s old-fashioned sci-fi adventure fun, written in a style friendly to today’s contemporary readers. I had a blast. —Rod Lott