I did like the pitch for this book: Sherlock Holmes versus Wells' Martians. How could it fail? I love Holmes stories, (even ones not by Conan Doyle), I love `The War of the Worlds' and I love Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger stories. (Challenger plays a big role in this volume.) I also like Manly Wade Wellman, (especially his eerie `Silver John' stories in `Who Fears the Devil?').
But alas, I found this book a serious let-down. Neither of the father-and-son Wellman team can really write Holmes, Watson or Challenger. The story mostly limps its way around incidents from `The War of the Worlds' and all Holmes, Challenger and Watson do for most of the book is go on about why the so-called `Martians' aren't from Mars at all. The only surprise (it's given away early on) is that Holmes is secretly doing the dance of love with faithful housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson.
To be fair, the Wellmans were ahead of the game on this one and this book (originally published as stories between 1969 and 1975) was decades in front of virtually all the recent raft of science-fiction Holmes pastiches. I just wish the story had been better-handled ... and the characters. And the dialogue ...
Pardon a few suggestions for better things on similar themes, but, if you like pastiche Holmes, try Richard L. Boyer's `The Giant Rat of Sumatra'. If you like sly nods to Wells, try Christopher Priest's `The Space Machine'. Finally, if you'd like to visit a world with more than a fair chunk of Doyle and Wells, try (especially Volume Two of) Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's `The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'.