Monday, April 5, 2010

"The Tripods Attack"

I'm usually very wary of Science Fiction novels that deal with aliens. Because I really don't like aliens. They can just be too... creepy. Especially in those "taking over the world" scenarios...

But, well, "The Tripods Attack" has a very interesting premise that really cannot fail to hook a Chesterton fan. Because it's the first book in "The Young Chesterton Adventures" which places young Gilbert Keith Chesterton in an alternative history where everything is backwards and literature peeps through at every crack. Britian is industrialized by steam computers (more or less) and a strange set of mysterious circumstances land Gil in the midsts of a Martian invasion, rushing against time to save the world with the help of Father Brown and a certain H.G. Wells!

As stated before, the book completely turns history on its head. Chesterton shows up as an imigrant to Britain from the United States, and the Titanic likewise started off in New York and was making it's maiden journey to... London?

It's an exciting ride that will keep you turning pages, but be prepared for anything to happen. History isn't the history you know, and bits and characters from Lewis, Doyle and Shelley among other authors come in as real, living breathing characters. For example, most prominent is the constant referance to "Ransom" as a main player on Mars. Anyone who has read C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy will recognize Ransom at once. Plus, of course there are numerous referances to many Chesterton works. Having only read some Father Brown mysteries and "The Man Who was Thursday" I am quite certain I didn't catch them all, but I'm sure they are there.

This is a very old fashioned style of Science Fiction, appropriately written in the vein of H.G. Wells and C.S. Lewis. There is one particular scene of alien violence that I found almost too horrific, but other than that the book is fairly appropriate and would be a fun and intriguing read.

I'm not an expert on Chesterton, but I've been told that the one flaw in the book is that Chesterton really isn't that much like... Chesterton. Which I can see is very true. Gil is very much the ordinary 17-year-old boy hero you'd find in any book. So if you're looking for a story that tells you more about the REAL Chesterton, you'll likely be disappointed. If however you're looking for a good read full of fun referances to the works of Chesterton, Lewis, etc, plus a healthy invasion of outerspace enemies and plenty of mystery and action, then you'll certainly enjoy this.


Angel_Horses said...

I wasn't too impressed by this book. At all. The only thing I found interesting was the alternative England it was set in.

It's been a while since I read it, but the main thing that annoyed me (even back then, when all I'd read by Chesterton was the Father Brown mysteries and The Man Who Was Thursday) was that 'Chesterton' as a character seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual Chesterton. And now that I'm a Chesterton addict (teehee), that drives me crazy--the author obviously did not know anything about Chesterton, or if he did (a book like that could only be written by a guy) he didn't bother to let it shape his imaginary character named Chesterton.

I wasn't all that impressed by the aliens, either. Or how they were eventually defeated--it was all rather cliche. Not that I've read many books about alien invasions (not my style) but I've heard ****spoiler****

that having the aliens defeated by a disease or something was a pretty popular theme in lame sci fi movies back whenever.... lol.

Carpe Guitarrem said...

Read and loved it. Steampunk, aliens, literary figures...

It was a great read.

Carpe Guitarrem said...

That's actually what happened at the end of the original War of the Worlds. It's not cliche, it's homage.

Una Mariah said...

Um, how bad was the alien violence? My mom's kinda picky.