I’ve been making posters that, I’ve claimed, were from the First Interworld War. I’ve decided that, “really”, they’re from the Second Interworld War. The primary motivation for the change has been the realization that most of my inspirations are from WWII, not WWI. Also, this allows me to imagine, vaguely, that H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds was the First Interworld War. Here’s what I envision:
Wells’ Martians apparently did not have radio technology. It seems a pretty big lack, but who knows? Mars does not have a Heaviside layer, I believe, so the idea of long-distance transmission by radio might not have occurred to them. Also, there are signs that Well’s Martians were telepathic. If so, and if telepathy is not easily conveyed by electromagnetic fields, then they might never have gotten into that technology. If telepathy is then also short-ranged, we’d have the situation I want; to wit, that the Martians dying on Earth are unable to relay a warning about infection to the Martians at home. Since the Martians (justifiably) probably found it inconceivable that we resist their might, they might have kept chucking one or two cylinders a year as reinforcements, not knowing at first that the war was lost and later, not knowing why.
So, for the next decade or two, at random times spaced by a few months, these engines of death would come down on Earth. The Martian within would extricate the walking machine, lay waste to the surrounding area, but then eventually die from the same disease that brought down the first. Along the way, the powers on Earth would get valuable experience and technology battling the lander and then trying to recover it. This allows me to leapfrog tech when I need to, and explains the follow-up.
More below the fold.
Somewhere in the 1920s, the Martians catch on. I mean, they’re smart enough to cross interplanetary distances and invent heat-rays; they can’t be entirely stupid about biological peril. Eventually they figure out their weakness and make some compensation for it. Then they launch a second invasion. But this time, they’re not facing an unprepared humanity caught off-guard and still adjusting to the very idea of extraterrestrial life. This humanity is forewarned and forearmed, has played considerable catch-up on tech, and is looking for a fight.
The early advantage lay with the Martians, since they had the initiative. They could pick where the cylinders came down, which cities to target, and so on. And their tech was incontrovertibly more advanced, even after two decades of frantic research. But the sheer size of the Earth and the mass of humanity would eventually tip the balance. At some point, the Martians would be thrown off Earth; not long after, the great counter-invasion would be launched.
I don’t have a lot in my mind yet, although I cannot escape my vision of large bases, hewn from asteroids and passing each other at intermittent but predictable intervals. Maybe neither side gains complete control of the high ground — maybe cis-Terran and cis-Ares space is always contested, so that movement is unpredictable and reinforcements unreliable. Mars will have to be much wetter and more hospitable, of course — though I intend that it be drying out on a short geological timescale, prompting the Martian attack.
So far all of this is just a bunch of goofy posters. But it’s fun to play with.