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WAR OF THE WORLDS Hardcover – May 1 1996


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (May 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553103539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553103533
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #966,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Martians! Percival Lowell may have been responsible for bringing them to Earth; Teddy Roosevelt evidently bagged one in Cuba; H.P. Lovecraft may have been one; and both Albert Einstein and Emily Dickinson seem to have played a role in defeating them. In this collection of stories that complement H.G. Wells's classic novel, these and other speculations are entertained by such well-known SF writers as Mike Resnick, Walter Jon Williams, Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, Barbara Hambly, Gregory Benford and David Brin. One entry, Howard Waldrop's "Night of the Cooters," which concerns Martians and Texas Rangers, is a reprint. The 18 originals center on the reactions of various historical personages to the advent of Wells's invaders, including Picasso, Henry James, Winston Churchill, H. Rider Haggard, China's Dowager Empress, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Leo Tolstoy, Jules Verne, Mark Twain and Joseph Conrad. Anderson (Climbing Olympus, 1994) has brought together some solid stories here. But since the overarching plot line apes the Wells, variety and suspense take a back seat. The more successful pieces, then, are those like Waldrop's, or Willis's tale of Emily Dickinson's posthumous heroics, which parody the Wellsian universe. Overall, however, this is a far more literate and imaginative tracing of a Martian invasion than the one offered in Martian Deathtrap, reviewed below.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Leading sf authors Roert Silverberg, Barbara Hambly, Allen Steele, Gergory Benford, Connie Willis, and 14 others imagine H.G. Wells's Martian invasion from points around the world as written by notable 19th-century authors and personages such as Teddy Roosevelt, Picasso, Einstein, Tolstoy, Verne, and Mark Twain. The pieces were all commissioned for this anthology except Howard Waldrop's Night of the Cooters, in which the Martians face the formidable Texas Rangers. A rollicking good compilation, especially Willis's hilarious Emily Dickinson. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on Nov. 9 2000
Format: Paperback
Spreading H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds" around the Earth and having famous people encounter the Martians was a wonderful idea. Too bad that for the most part the original PLOT was also spread around the world as well, with comparatively little to differentiate the famous people from anyone else. Other than to note that I was seriously surprised that Robert Silverberg did not do better in his entry (featuring Henry James), I will refer to the stories by star rather than author. The best ones were the ones featuring the Dowager Empress of China (which was rightly included in the Year's Best), Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter (which nevertheless could have been developed MUCH more than it was), Jack London, Joseph Conrad, and H.P. Lovecraft. The James, Picasso, Texas Rangers, Pulitzer, Tolstoy, Twain, and to a lesser extent Kipling and Churchill were basically retellings of the same plot over and over and over. The Roosevelt was distinctive but too restricted by its format, the Lowell distinctive but restricted by its pre-invasion tone. The Einstein suffered from vagueness (all of the sudden time inside the Martian war machine is relative, no explanation for the implications of that), the Verne was ridiculous, and the Dickinson...well, it obviously wasn't serious and so didn't fit in with the rest of the book. All in all, I'd say this was reasonably entertaining reading, but not NEARLY as marvelous as it could have---SHOULD have been.
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By A Customer on June 4 1997
Format: Paperback
I had a ball with this book. Essentially, it's a collection of pastiches in the styles of numerous writers and public personalities, depicting either how they experienced the 1898 Martian Invasion or how they were inspired by it later. There are also some third-person accounts where the subject (Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein) isn't really best known as a man of letters.

Although all these accounts pretty much stay within H.G. Wells' framework, there's an enormous variety. Henry James wanders through a deserted London. Mark Twain hides in a New Orleans cellar with a bunch of disreputables, including a dwarf and a gypsy. A bunch of Texas Rangers take a no-nonsense and no-prisoners approach to the Martians unlucky enough to land outside Pecos City.

A couple of the pieces rise above pastiche into the realm of art. "The Roosevelt Dispatches" perfectly captures Theodore Roosevelt's energy and epistolary style as he describes an encounter with a Martian in the jungles of Cuba (the Martian comes off second best). And the Jack London piece is a seamless imitation of the genuine London style, as well as one of the few pieces in the book to explore interesting thematic territory.

There are a couple of duds, but, in all, this should be considered as much literature as science fiction. I hope Kevin Anderson, who put the project together, can do something similar in the future.
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Format: Paperback
The idea for this colection is such an intriguing one, but the majority of the stories are poorly conceived - the Henry James entry is almost a point by point recounting of the original work except for the "surprise" ending (and begins with one of the longest sentences I've ever read). I had to force myself to finish the majority of them. A few, however, are quite enjoyable; for example, the Lovecraft story, in which his style is exaggerated to the point of hilarity. This book is really just something to pass the time - light entertainment, nothing more.
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By A Customer on Nov. 26 1998
Format: Paperback
This had "Soul Selects her own Society...." which won a Hugo, & "Foreign Devis" which won a sideways. I found some of the sexual detail in foreign devils irritating, but I love the Chinese flavor. (Fairly knowledgable on China too) Soul... was pretty funny, but perhaps too dry for some. Other standouts were mentioned by the others. Since many great stories come from theme anthologies it's perhaps unwise to make hard & fast rules about them. Some of these stories I read first @ asimov's
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Format: Hardcover
I was absoloutley blown away by the quality of this book. The stories from the viewpoints of Roosevelt, Twain, Joe Pullitzer and the Texas Rangers are just as entertaining (and may even be better) than Wells' original masterpiece. Best read with Jeff Wayne's musical version of War of the Worlds playing in the background, at night.
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