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June 21, 2005

"Then Came the Night of the First Falling Star..."

by Ron Hogan

darkhorse.jpggorey.gifSince Steven Spielberg's remake of War of the Worlds is almost upon us, publishers have been making sure their editions of the H.G. Wells novel is out there on bookstore shelves. While I quite like the cover on the Penguin Classics edition--not to mention that it's part of a Wells mini-revival that also includes The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Tono-Bungay--my heart really belongs to the NYRB's hardcover facsimile of the 1960 Looking Glass Library edition illustrated by Edward Gorey. I've chosen a fairly calm image here, but the burning bodies flailing underneath the invasion fleet on the back cover are truly chilling in their cave-drawing-like simplicity.) Meanwhile, Dark House Comics has decided to give the story away, literally: writer Ian Edginton and artist D'Israeli have teamed up for an online graphic serial that should last most of the summer. And, in all honesty, I was actually rather entertained by the opening chapters of The Martian War, in which Gabriel Mesta (in reality, bestselling sci-fi guy Kevin J. Anderson) puts Wells into contact with characters from several of his novels to stave off a real-life Martian attack. Though if you want some real fun mucking about with Victorian sci-fi classics, check out The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures. I admittedly only dabbled here and there, but I thought Paul DiFlilippo's "The Mysterious Iowans" and Molly Brown's "The Selene Gardening Society" were awfully good fun.

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