Candy Jar Announce New Novella, Travers & Wells

Candy Jar Books has updated its Lethbridge-Stewart publishing schedule to include a new novella, Travers & Wells!

As you might already have guessed, the book features Edward Travers, who debuted in The Abominable Snowmen, teaming up with the grandfather of sci-fi, HG Wells in what may be the first in a series of adventures exploring the inspiration behind many of the Wells’ classics.

Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen explains:

“This novella serves as a kind of back door pilot for a possible series. It’s all dependent on the reception the book receives, and whether or not there is enough interest in an occasional series with Travers and Wells at the helm. The original plan was for me to write a sequel to The War of the Worlds, but then word reached me of the Stephen Baxter sequel [The Massacre of Mankind] and it was clear that we’d not be able to compete with that, so, not wanting to waste all the research and notes, I hit upon the idea of turning the story into an alternative take on the classic novel, and utilising the Doctor Who connection with Wells that Glen McCoy created for his 1985 serial, Timelash. And so we worked out an arrangement with Glen and set the potential series up with, first, the end of Times Squared, and then a short story called Time and Again.”

Due to scheduling conflicts, Andy handed over the writing duties to Robert Mammone (Eve of the Fomorians). Robert started out by writing a kind of prologue, Time and Again, that was published into the first novella, The Life of Evans, before turning his attention to his own novella. He explains:

“When Andy and I were chatting on Skype about the upcoming novellas it suddenly dawned on him we could set up the range with a prequel short story. I immediately said yes and then knuckled down to getting the ideas, themes and plot straight. I didn’t want the story to be a direct sequel to Timelash, but I did want to take elements from that story as a way of looking at how those who assume authority after toppling a dictatorship can end up aping some of the actions of those overthrown. I jumped at the chance to write the first story in the series. After I sent off the email saying yes, it suddenly hit me that I would be dealing with one of science fiction’s foundational texts. Some days later, when the shock had worn off, I began my research. Of course re-reading The War of the Worlds was a must, but also an early Wells short story called The Crystal Egg as it related in part to the story I was crafting. Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds also helped inspire me, especially during some of the very late night writing sessions.”

Here’s the blurb for Travers & Wells:

For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there with my friend, Edward Travers, the last men left alive.”

Edward Travers, pulled out of time by a mysterious force, finds himself on a hill with a young man called Herbert George Wells. Together the men travel across England, intent on discovering where they are; a world distinctly different from the one they know. And yet, for Edward Travers, it is one that seems vaguely familiar…

For strange, meteor-like objects have landed in the heart of England, and the inhabitants of Earth have found themselves victims of a terrible

attack. A ruthless race of Martians, armed with heat rays and poisonous smoke, is intent on destroying everything that stands in its way.

Only things have not turned out the way Travers’ expected, for this is not the war of the worlds HG Wells wrote about, but something much worse.

On the subject of his influences, Mammone says:

“In writing the novella, I drew inspiration from images of the Blitz – particularly St Paul’s wreathed in smoke. Given the events I describe in my story, it seemed appropriate that I pay homage to another, more terrible invasion. There are also hints and nods to Wells’ other works, and I weave in real world events from the period the original was written in, as I find that approach adds flavour to the reading experience. Andy was a great sounding board in helping the plot come together, and his editing skills and input helped shape the novella.”

The cover is by regular artist Richard Young, who was responsible for all the novella covers so far. It features a younger Travers and Wells, as well as Richard’s own take on the infamous Martian war machine. Richard says:

“I was over the moon to be doing the cover for Travers & Wells. I treated this slightly differently than the previous two novellas, in that I wanted something that would had a film poster quality to it. In fact there is a version of the artwork knocking around that has been put together as if it was a film poster.”

Sadly, due to scheduling and personal troubles, Andy Frankham-Allen’s Day of the Intelligence has been pulled from the novella range for now, and Travers & Wells serves as the third novella in the three-novella bundle. Andy explains:

“It is unfortunate, but due to personal reasons I cannot go in to, I had to cancel Day of the Intelligence. But on the plus side, it’s my view that Travers & Wells makes a great replacement; indeed I’d wager it’s a much better story than my own novella would have been. I mean, Edward Travers, HG Wells, the Martian invasion of Earth – what’s not to love?”

Travers & Wells is also available to pre-order outside of the three-novella bundle, for only £12.99. Customers who pre-ordered the three-novella bundle will automatically receive Travers & Wells on release.