War of the Worlds: Retaliation–Taking Sequels to a New Level

The idea of a sequel of War of the Worlds would never have occurred to me, but it clearly did to Gardner and Rust–and they did it brilliantly in War of the Worlds: Retaliation.

Science fiction has covered a lot of ground since H.G. Wells wrote the original book, and readers’ expectations are quite different, but the authors managed to bridge that gap successfully with out abandoning Wells’s original premise. As a result, the book successfully evokes some of the feeling of the original without becoming a rehash or seeming stale.

Though I think the book would appeal to most science fiction fans, it should be especially interesting to fans of military science fiction. Here Gardner’s military background is noticeable. Battle scenes have an immediacy, and strategy discussions seem realistic.

I also particularly liked the portrayals of various historical figures. What would men like Patton and De Gaulle have been like if there early years had been shaped by an alien invasion rather than World War I? This book provides some interesting answers. The focus is more military than personal, but I still got a feel for what each major figure was like.

(Since this review, the book was bought by a traditional publisher, who I don’t think has republished yet. As a consequence, I have no preview to offer this time.)

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