and Q&A with the Author!
Inspired by the 1898 classic, by H.G. Wells, The Martian Wars pits the father of all science fiction against his own creations, The Martians! Written by bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson, and published in paperback by Titan books, this story is by far one of the more interesting War of the World spin offs where in Wells travels off world with companions T.H. Huxley and fiancée Jane to stop the inevitable Martian invasion of Earth. In creating this adventure, Anderson pulls from real history and many of Wells classics novels to create a world where Dr. Moreau, the Invisible man, and Mr. Cavor interact with H.G. Wells throughout his adventure. The book really is a fantastic tribute but readers don’t need to be a H.G. Wells enthusiast to enjoy it, just the ability to suspend disbelief and live in the perceived science fiction of the 19th century.
I really do believe readers can have fun with this novel. Though the science and actions of the main characters may seem a little odd to anyone who has never read anything by H.G. Wells, Anderson does an amazing job of adhering to the world of space travel and alien life as written by Wells 114 years ago. I think H.G. Wells would be happy with this book and happy to see some of his great and sinister characters brought back to life with more purpose and dimension as the rally together to stop a Martian invasion. Get your copy of The Martian Wars at Titan Books or at Amazon.com. Also, be sure to check out our interview with Kevin J. Anderson Below!
Q&A with Kevin J. Anderson
Q: What are the challenges of writing historical persons into a fictional story?
A: You have to read a lot of biographies! The characters aren’t made up, but have basis in fact and you have to pay attention to how they would have reacted in certain situations (of course, you can’t decide how they would really have reacted to alien invasions). You make your best guess. In plotting THE MARTIAN WAR I really had to get to know HG Wells, TH Huxley, and the astronomer Percival Lowell. It’s a lot easier to make up characters from scratch.
Q: I read online War of the Worlds was a story that had an impact on your youth. If so, how has War of the Worlds influenced you as a writer?
A: I saw the film of War of the Worlds when I was just a kid and it made a huge impact on me, made me fall in love with science fiction and had a big influence in my wanting to become a writer. The HG Wells novel was one of the first adult novels I ever read, which led to a long appreciation of Wells’s work.
Q: Which version (the book, the film, or the radio drama) of War of the Worlds did you first encounter, and which did you like best?
A: the original film from the 1950s made the biggest impact on me and I still love it. I really enjoyed the original Wells novel, which is very readable and exciting. And I even fell in love with the great prog rock double album, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds.
Q: Did you have a goal in mind when writing the Martian Wars, e.g., was it a tribute to H.G. Wells’ original works, or maybe a chance to introduce new readers to his books?
A: Yes to both. It was my homage to HG Wells, and I hope other new readers will check out some of the classics. Wells really did shape much of modern science fiction, and when you read the originals you can see the very first alien invasion story, first time machine, first pycho killer thriller. He was a great writer.
Q: There were many groundbreaking scientists in the 19th century, why did you decide to use Thomas Huxley and Percival Lowell as characters in the book instead of other early astronomers or physicist?
A: Huxley was really one of Wells’s teachers in early college and Wells credited him as being a great influence on his life. Although the two men spent very little time together in life, I gave them an opportunity in my story to have a grand adventure. And Percival Lowell was *the* astronomer who popularized the idea of Mars and Martians, the canals, the dying civilization which Wells drew upon for his novel, so it seemed natural to include him in this story.
Q: What sources did you rely on to research and write for the characters based on real people such as Wells, Jane, Lowell, and Huxley?
A: I have twice been to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, which figures so prominently in the novel. I read some of Lowell’s own writings and I read several biographies. With Wells, I reread many of his novels, and I read several biographies, as well as histories of the period.
Q: Do you have plans to write any more stories based off of authors and their stories?
A: At the moment, I’ve got many other projects in the works, and these alternate histories take an enormous amount of research. My other work in this area is just as ambitious, CAPTAIN NEMO, about Jules Verne and some of the characters and events that inspired his great novels.
Q: If extraterrestrials (Martian or otherwise) did attack Earth, what do you think our best defense would be?
A: The common cold sure seems like a good defense!
Q: Supposing the extraterrestrials won the invasion, and enslaved the human race, what job would you hope to gain to serve our new alien masters?
A: I’m sure aliens would need to have good storytellers. I would prefer writing novels for the Martians rather than becomings, say, food.
Q: Would it be okay with you, in years to come, that your fans wrote stories about you, and what sort of stories would you like to be included into?
A: Now that’s an interesting question. I will do my best in the meantime to have enough adventures in real life to give future writers some good fodder to work with. Obviously, I’d prefer to be cast as a great romantic hero.