H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds is one of the most well-known and highly regarded science-fiction novels of all time, a classic of the genre and a landmark in the development of alien-invasion stories. So naturally, it’s time to extract further profits by pouncing on the intellectual property as soon as it becomes public domain, and wringing it dry, like a money-soaked dish rag. The BBC reports The Massacre Of Mankind, a sequel to the story, is set to be published in hardcover and eBook form on January 19, 2017, barely two weeks after the December 31, 2016 expiration date on the original’s copyright.
The new adventure will pick up shortly after the events of Wells’ book, with aliens returning to Earth in order to capitalize on public-domain stories and transmute them into cash. Wait, no—that’s what’s actually happening in real life, sorry. This new book will “see the Martians from Wells’s story invading Earth once more, having learned from the mistakes they made first time around.” Mistakes like catching a cold and all dying, as you may recall, leading to the obvious assumption that the new alien invasion will be preceded by drenching the Earth in a thick coating of Purell.
The new book is being penned by Stephen Baxter, whom we’d accuse of being in it solely for the money, were it not for the fact that he’s already done this once before, and it turned out pretty damn great. The Time Ships, his 1995 sequel to Wells’ The Time Machine, was a smart and engaging novel, winning multiple awards and being nominated for a slew of others, including the Hugo. Besides, the endless extension of copyrights in this country is absolutely ridiculous, and any time one finally drops dead, it should be cause for celebration. (Now, about Mickey Mouse…) So we’ll just leave the assumption of pure money-grubbing to the publishing company execs, and assume that while Baxter’s motives are noble, the money probably doesn’t hurt.