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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still classic
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...
Published on 26 Jan 2002 by S. Flaherty

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic, pithy and surprisingly amusing...
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...
Published on 15 Mar 2012 by Miss E. Potten


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dated but still classic, 26 Jan 2002
By 
S. Flaherty "steve3742" (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Invisible Man (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad science and social inhibition, 5 May 2009
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
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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].

I would recommend this to anyone who's interested in Wells' fiction, classic science fiction or general readers, it has been overshadowed by Wells' more noted books like The War of the Worlds or The Time Machine (Penguin Classics) but I think its on a par with those books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic, pithy and surprisingly amusing..., 15 Mar 2012
By 
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkness Invisible, 23 Jun 2011
By 
Gregory S. Buzwell "bagpuss007" (London) - See all my reviews
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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. The difficulties of surviving, combined with the strain caused by years of research at the expense of all else, turns Griffin's mind into a very dark place indeed. From initially being something to welcome invisibility ultimately becomes a means by which vengence can be taken against the human race.

Wells was always a terrifically good descriptive writer and the accounts of the mayhem the invisible man causes in the small community in which he finds himself have a terrific power; he was also good at portraying the twisted imaginings of Griffin as the people begin to turn on him. What perhaps slighty counts against the book is the fact that Griffin ultimately does become a typical 'mad scientist'. As his behaviour becomes ever more extreme the novel drifts close to cliche but, all the same, as a warning against the obsessive pursuit of a dream, The Invisible Man is one of the best books out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is unseen, 1 May 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insane, thoughtful, and moving, 18 Nov 2010
By 
Max Watt (UK) - See all my reviews
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HG Wells, author of THE TIME MACHINE, the first novel to mention time travel, and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, the first story of alien invasion, and father of science fiction, delivers an extremely entertaining novel.

I personally see it in two parts - the first being from the perspective of working class people, and the second from the perspective of the invisible man himself.

The first half consists of much insanity such as moving furniture, burglary, and an unveiling of a mysterious character.

One event follows another which follows another and it never slows down. You'll read chapter after chapter, refusing to put it down. Not to mention, it's actually really funny.

In the second half, however, things become much more serious, as back story is developed. Readers are taken on a journey, from being an outsider to understanding the invisible man. Some may even find poignance in the climactic ending. But that's for you to decide.

Overall it's a fantastic piece of literature containing many qualities ranging from humour to drama.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing through the downsides, 31 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Invisible Man (Kindle Edition)
Possibly my favourite HG. It mixes good science and, what he does so well, looks at the major and minor downsides of achieving every schoolboy's dream and becoming invisible and the small points one would not think about. Also a very sad ending and a morality tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Invisible Man by HG Wells, 13 Oct 2013
By 
John King (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Invisible Man (Kindle Edition)
This is a classic novel from the earliest days of science fiction and has stood the test of time. The Kindle format makes it very easy to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably great for its time, but only so-so nowadays, 17 Jan 2012
By 
Mal Ross (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Invisible Man (Paperback)
While the concept of the book is an interesting one, the science passable enough (see below), and the exploration of morals a good tack to take, the story itself is too linear for my liking. Perhaps that's a consequence of the way the book is narrated, as if told in hindsight, but it resulted in it feeling more like a witness statement than an exciting story.

As regards the science, you will need a greater suspension of disbelief than with modern sci-fi, but it didn't get in the way of my enjoying it nonetheless.

Overall, an enjoyable enough read and an interesting look back at early science fiction, but not a book that's likely to blow you away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vivid, suspenseful, and good early sci-fi, 27 Aug 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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This is a absolutely wonderful book that can be read quickly, maybe even in one sitting. It is told in the first person by an observer who knows the invisible man and is appalled by the transformation that is taking place as both drugs and power corrupt his acquaintence's mind.

What is so fun about this book is the pace: you really feel like you are there. It is all realistically imagined, down to the slowness of the undigested food that can still be seen in the invisible's man stomach. This makes the book far better sci-fi than the films, with the possible exception of the one with Claude Rains, which is the best one and the closest to the original novel by far.

In addition to Mary SHelley and Jules Verne, Wells helped to set the standard for all hard sci-fi that followed. Thus, if you like sci-fi as literature, this is a MUST read. But if you want a really fun read, this is also good for that.

Warmly recommended.
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The Invisible Man (Classics Illustrated)
The Invisible Man (Classics Illustrated) by H. G. Wells (Paperback - 1 Mar 2010)
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