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The Invisible Man (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 31 Mar 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014143998X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439983
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent, England, on September 21, 1866. His father was a professional cricketer and sometime shopkeeper, his mother a former lady's maid. Although "Bertie" left school at fourteen to become a draper's apprentice (a life he detested), he later won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, where he studied with the famous Thomas Henry Huxley. He began to sell articles and short stories regularly in 1893.

In 1895, his immediately successful novel rescued him from a life of penury on a schoolteacher's salary. His other "scientific romances" - The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), and The War in the Air (1908) - won him distinction as the father of science fiction.

Henry James saw in Wells the most gifted writer of the age, but Wells, having coined the phrase "the war that will end war" to describe World War I, became increasingly disillusioned and focused his attention on educating mankind with his bestselling Outline of History (1920) and his later utopian works. Living until 1946, Wells witnessed a world more terrible than any of his imaginative visions, and he bitterly observed: "Reality has taken a leaf from my book and set itself to supercede me."

Product Description


"Wellss masterpieces get the red-carpet treatment here in these luxurious editions...academi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Wells' classic tale of scientific hubris and self destruction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from Bramblehurst1 railway station and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Flaherty VINE VOICE on 26 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the ones which could have been said to have launched Science Fiction, over 100 years ago. The main problem with reading it is that you think you already know it as it has been made into a film and gone into modern parlance. But this doesn't prepare you for reading the actual story that Wells wrote. Along with everything else, Wells was a good storyteller and this is something you realise as you read this book. He portrays the protaganist, Griffin the Invisible man, very clearly as someone who has been driven insane by what has happened to him but doesn't actually realise this and so makes a deranged sort of sense as he lays out his plans for world domination - only to be bought up short by the forces of Victorian Society.
Of course, we've all heard and seen this many times since. But Wells was one of the first to show this and all later Science Fiction writers owe this to him.
You can criticise, of course. The Science is laughable, or at least seems so from a smug 21st century distance. It's easy to criticise with hindsight. Wells' strength as an author was that he could speculate, which is of course the basis of Sci-Fi. That some speculations were wrong was inevitable. And it doesn't detract from a great read. This should be read as a book of its time - a great book of its time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 May 2009
Format: Paperback
The story of invisibility and its consequences has been dealt with in both fantasy and philosophy, I'm not exactly sure but I think it may have been Plato who suggested that anyone acquiring the power of invisibility would become corrupted by the lack of social inhibition.

Wells' tale transports the narrative into a more modern context, however I did not think that the narrative was slapstick or humourous. The story begins with a stranger visitor taking up residence in a guest house and is believed disfigured because of his appearence, the story unfolds with an explanation of how the stranger has discovered invisibility by experimentation and is hopeful about reversing the process but events transpire to frustrate these attempts. Finally the story centres on a village under siege from an unseen menace whose intend is to kill and terrorise.

There are a lot of scenes during which gentlemen scientists sit around having protracted conversations about their discoveries and adventures, the manners and morals of an earlier age are stamped all over the work, like all of Wells' books and I think this is a positive selling point. As a result I think the original story is considered less daunting than many of the retellings, such as HOLLOW MAN [DVD] [2000] or even, arguably, Predator / Predator 2: Special Edition Collection (2005) [1987] [DVD] but its not a humourous book like some of the humorous retellings, ie Memoirs Of An Invisible Man [DVD] [1992].
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss E. Potten on 15 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I always thought my first foray into H.G. Wells would be The War of the Worlds - but actually this made a fantastic starting point! A quick read, 'The Invisible Man' is accessible, vivid and packs quite a punch along the way, and I really enjoyed it.

It's about... well, an Invisible Man. Except when he first arrives in the little town of Iping, no one KNOWS he's an Invisible Man. Swathed in bandages, wearing gloves and heavy clothes, and with a hat and goggle-like glasses hiding his features, everyone assumes he's had a terrible accident. It's only when odd things begin to happen and the increasingly volatile gentleman is provoked into revealing his secret that all hell breaks loose. Is he a sympathetic victim or a murderous madman? Will he find someone to help him? How on earth did he reach this point in his life? How DOES a man render himself invisible anyway?

What really surprised me, at least earlier on in the book, is how funny it is. The small-town characters are so amusing - Mr Marvel, the tramp, has some particularly good one-liners that made me chuckle - and some of their brilliantly observed little foibles are ones we all recognise even if we'd rather not admit to them! Nearer the end of the book the humour gives way largely to the Invisible Man's eloquently-told story and the melodramatic thrill of the chase, which was interesting but for me, not as enjoyable as the quick wit of the first half. Nevertheless, I'm very glad to have finally read this classic of science fiction writing - and I'm still looking forward to The War of the Worlds!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gregory S. Buzwell TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The opening scenes of this novel are superb and evocative of any number of mystery stories. A stranger, his face heavily wrapped in bandages, arrives during a violent snow storm in a small out of the way town. Seeking shelter in a wayside inn his strange behaviour and secretive ways soon arouse suspicion, distrust and ultimately hostility. What makes this novel different from any other with a similar set-up is that the mysterious stranger isn't on the run from the law, or his partners in crime, but rather has put himself at odds with his fellow humans by his scientific, and brilliantly successful, experiments into invisibility. Something so keenly sought, and something which has long been a dream for many, turns out to be a curse beyond all imagining.

H.G. Wells was very good at portraying the dark flip-side of scientific research. For every brilliant scientific advance that helps mankind there is something destructive and unpleasant that crawls from the laboratory and causes misery and chaos. Having studied under T.H. Huxley Wells was uniquely placed among the popular authors of his day to address the debates surrounding the dark directions, and casually abandoned ethical codes, that dogged scientific advances during the twilight years of Queen Victoria's reign. Griffin - the Invisible Man - shows by his fanatical adherence to his scientific work how brilliant results can be achieved but, all too frequently, only at the expense of terrible suffering.

Having successfully discovered the secret to invisibility Griffin finds himself hounded and attacked by everyone who senses his presence. Obtaining food, finding shelter, even walking down a crowded street become nightmarishly difficult tasks.
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