Originally appearing as a serial the book came out in the same year of 1897. As a stranger appears in the village of Iping, Sussex on a cold February evening so the village will never be quite the same again. For this stranger as we are about to find out is invisible. As we read of the incidents that happen in the village it eventually becomes too much for people, and as things progress so the invisible man has to escape and find somewhere else to stay.
When Griffin, as we find out the name of the invisible man eventually comes into contact with a former fellow student, Kemp, so we find out more about his tale, and how he became invisible. From time immemorial Man has told tales of cloaks, potions and rings that will render their users invisible, right up to today’s experiments being tried for military purposes, but for Griffin he knows the answer. The only thing is that he has no way to render himself visible again.
This story still holds people’s imaginations, even if you read it numerous times, and as we see here Griffin starts out with an idea and as he progresses and not helped by the fact that he cannot render himself visible, goes mad wanting to eventually take over power and rule. There is comedy here as well with some of the incidents caused by being invisible and able to move about without being seen, and there is a lot to ponder upon here as well. Always a pleasure to read this is great for both young and old.
Imagine if you were invisible and could come and go as you pleased, with nobody able to see you. Cool, right? Well, not really. H.G. Wells' "The Invisible Man" has the sci-fi master exploring what would happen if a person took an invisibility elixir, and discovered too late that invisibility has some definite downsides. It's possibly Wells' funniest novel, but it also has some wonderfully chilling moments.
A strange man arrives at a hotel in Iping, wrapped up in goggles, bandages, scarves, and heavy clothes. He spends most of his time hidden away in his room, doing odd scientific experiments, and avoiding contact with other people -- while still keeping everything except his nose hidden. Meanwhile, the local vicar and his wife are robbed by a mysterious thief... who is completely invisible.
Well, you can guess what's up with the stranger -- he's an invisible man, and after a blowup with his landlady he reveals his true.... um, lack of appearance to the entire town. After a series of disastrous encounters, the Invisible Man encounters Dr. Kemp, an old friend to whom he reveals how he became invisible, and what he's done since then... as well as his malevolent plans for the future.
H.G. Wells isn't really known for being a funny writer, but the first part of "The Invisible Man" is actually mildly hilarious. He writes the first third or so of the book in a fairly light, humorous style, and there are some fun scenes speckled through the story, like a homeless man dealing with the Invisible Man ("Not a bit of you visible--except-- You 'aven't been eatin' bread and cheese?").
But things get much darker after Mr. Kemp enters the scene, and we find out that the Invisible Man is... well, kind of malevolent and crazy. Very crazy.
And as the plot grows darker and grimmer, Wells also inserts a clever (if far-fetched even by Victorian standards) explanation for how a person could become invisible, using a mix of science and fantasy. The plot hurtles through wild chase scenes and the occasional riot, and some moments of bleak tension ("When dawn came to mingle its pallor with the lamp-light and cigar smoke of the dining-room, Kemp was still pacing...")
The Invisible Man himself (aka Griffin) is a pretty mysterious character for most of the story, since all we know about him is that he's invisible.... and also kind of a jerk. I mean, the guy constantly flies off the handle and even robs a nice little old vicar. And the more we find out about him, the more malignant and insane he turns out to be.
Even if you had a way to become invisible, "The Invisible Man" would be a pretty effective way of dissuading people from using it. A deserving classic.
I grew up on all the invisible man movies and still think of him as Claude Rains. I was surprised in the similarities and differences the book has to the movie. The scenes are rearranged from the book to make visual (or invisible) sense as a movie script.
A man all warped up in bandages except for his large pink nose requires a room at the inn and pays well. Slowly the Innkeeper and her companions suspect there is more to his than just a man with bandages. Everyone in a while they glimpse light where there should not be. And the stranger is so cranky that the money may not be worth the trouble of keeping him. Soon there are strange happenings and the cat is out of the bag sort of speaking.
The trail leads to murderer and a possible reign of terror. Read more to find out where the secret is reviled and how a man named Griffin got in this situation.
If I had read this story a year ago I would have said it was a fairly well put together sci-fi story. I would just enjoy the writing and wonder how H.G. came up with the idea. However now after reading much of H.G.'s political writings I see that this is a thinly veiled social commentary. We find that unlike the movie where Griffin goes mad in the invisibility process, that in the book Griffin was always amoral and anything stressful could set him off. Also, somewhere out there is a couple of floating eyes that belong to a cat.
Now one habit that .G. has in most of his tales is that just when you think he is finished on the subject, he will go off in another direction with some sub plot he has slipped in earlier. Therefore, what should have been a short story becomes a novel. Another good example of his witting style can be found in "The Food of the Gods."