Science Fiction / Horror
War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches
Edited by: Kevin J. Anderson
Published By: Bantam Books
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Ah, eBay – I must take a moment to thank that auction site for allowing me to make the amazing purchase of twenty hardcover books for twenty dollars so many years ago. I had purchased the books to obtain two Star Wars novels included in the batch. I never expected to discover that the batch of science fiction novels I had purchased contained at least a dozen gems. One such gem is an anthology entitled War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches.
Every science fiction fan will remember War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells as a science fiction novel in which Earth is invaded by Martians. The subsequent radio show performed by Orson Welles caused great panic among listeners everywhere who truly believed that the Martians were attacking. War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches takes the War of the Worlds story one step further. Imagine what might have been the reactions of Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Teddy Roosevelt or Leo Tolstoy had the events of War of the Worlds really taken place. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches is a collection of stories from various writers giving their take on the reactions of numerous famous people in history had the Martians really invaded Earth. Works contained in this anthology come from such celebrated science fiction writers as Walter Jon Williams, Barbara Hambly, Kevin J. Anderson, Dave Wolverton, Mike Resnick, Allen Steele and more.
There are 18 stories contained in the Global Dispatches anthology, each written in a different style. Some of the tales were written in first person, some as though they were entries in a journal and some in third person narrative. Some of my favorites include Teddy Roosevelt: The Roosevelt Dispatches by Mike Resnick, Dowager Empress of China: Foreign Devils by Walter Jon Williams, Pablo Picasso: Blue Period by Dan Marcus, Texas Rangers: Night of the Cooters by Howard Waldrop, Joseph Pulitzer: A Letter from St. Louis by Allen Steele and more. Despite the differences in writing styles, each author manages to keep the reader thoroughly engaged and completely invested in the outcome of each character.
I did find a couple of the tales to be rather tedious in nature, but most of the stores were extremely enjoyable. I do have to wonder what H.P. Lovecraft might have had to say about being compared to an invading Martian. I also wonder just how Emily Dickinson could write poetry from the grave, although I do have to say that the tongue in cheek short story supplied by Connie Willis did keep me amused.
All-in-all, the concept behind War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches is rather intriguing. So much so, in fact, that a co-worker, upon learning the premise of the book, asked if he could read it when I was done. Whoever thought up this idea deserves kudos. Stories about the H.G. Wells Martian invasion as if seen by real life historical individuals – what a terrific concept! War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches is an excellent read for any fan of science fiction. Fans of the original War of the Worlds novel by H.G. Wells will definitely want to check this anthology out as an extension of the original story. What a great reading experience purchased for a single dollar bill!