The Great War of the Worlds
Let's give the Kaiser heat-rays and atomic power supplies!
The Martian Invasion
In 1897, H.G. Wells serialized The War of the Worlds, one of his most famous stories. It was releases as a novel in 1898, and hasn’t been out of print since. It’s difficult to state how influential this story is: the listing of works based on the story has its own Wikipedia article.
In Wells’ story, the Martians invade Great Britain, easily outclassing that country’s Army, and set up equipment so they can starting eating the citizens. They use heat-rays, poison gas in the form of “black smoke,” and giant walking tripods that Wells calls “fighting machines,” which never seem to need refueling.
Then the Martians suddenly die, apparently succumbing to our planet’s microbes, and the invasion is…over?
Then What Happened?
Wells never tells us whether or not the Martians attacked outside of Britain. There’s no reason to think they specifically decided to target what was, at the time, the center of the largest empire on Earth. It’s more likely that they hit every continent in their search for land and yummy humans.
So, let’s think about the world in 1897. Great Britain is still an empire, and under the rule of Queen Victoria. Germany is ruled by Wilhelm II. Tsar Nicholas II was just coronated a year earlier. The Ottoman Empire was in decline, and France’s Third Empire was thriving. Eastern Europe is the mess that will eventually trigger World War I.
In the United States, it’s the tail end of the Gilded Age, or the beginning of the Progressive Era, depending on who you ask. Railroads were shortening distances. William McKinley defeated William Jennings Bryan in 1896, and was navigating escalating tensions with Spain. The United States was experiencing serious growth pains and was still turned inwards.
So, some aliens show up. They shoot the place up with their advanced weaponry, drop dead on the battlefield, and leave those fascinating toys just laying there for some to find.
Someone like Thomas Edison. Or Nikola Tesla. Or Kaiser Freaking Wilhelm II.
The Great War of the Worlds
This is the premise of my current work-in-progress—a post-Martian attack world. What happened to the weapons? How did the world change?
We’re still on a roller coaster ride that started on September 11, 2001, when a handful of people killed 2,996 with four hijacked airplanes. What happens when the whole planet is attacked and then the invaders die?
I’m shooting to have ht ebook out early next year, and I’ll be posting periodic updates here. If you have any science fiction fan friends, please share this newsletter with them.
Also, I promise that this newsletter will cover more than just my book! I’m a big sci-fi and fantasy fan, and there’s plenty to talk about.