The Map of the Sky
Felix J. Palma
Atria, Sep 4 2012, $26.00
In 1898 H. G. Wells, author of the War of the Worlds and The Time Machine meets with American author Garrett Serviss who wrote a sequel to the Martian science fiction novel starring Thomas Edison leading an earth invasion of Mars. Serviss informs Wells that he believes Martians are real and that he saw the ruin of a space ship and an alien found frozen six decades ago in Antarctica in the basement of the Natural History Museum. Though he has doubts, Wells decides to confirm the assertion. A drop of Wells’ blood rejuvenates the alien. The Messenger from space walks out of the museum as H.G. Wells. Others from his planet plan on total genocide and terraforming earth for their habituation.
New York socialite Emma Harlow accepts millionaire Montgomery Gilmore’s proposal if he meets her one stipulation. Though she is attracted to her wannabe fiancé, she demands he brighten up her otherwise mundane existence by recreating the War of the Worlds. Montgomery would do anything for the woman he loves especially with her marrying him on the line so he sets out to make a Martian invasion happen. All the players converge on the day Gilmore is supposed to make this invasion occur.
The second Wells’ transformation (see The Map of Time) is a fascinating historical science fiction thriller with three fully developed subplots starring full blooded characters who change as time goes by. Flashbacks are used to tell the present day scenario while also leading to a different ending than previously observed (sort of like the movie Clue). Filled with paradoxical twists Felix J. Palma pays homage to Wells with this engaging convoluted thriller.