Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: The Invisible Man by H.G Wells

The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells

Published in: 1897

Synopsis:This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows.

Before I begin my review I just want to point how awesome this cover art is! I always admire it when I see it in a book store and I'd love to get a print of this to hang in my future library room (haha, like I'm ever going to have a single room to dedicate to all my books!) but unfortunately I haven't managed to get my hands on one of these editions just yet.

But enough fluff about the cover, let's get into the meat of it shall we? The Invisible Man is actually my first H.G Wells read, and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading his work. I didn't go into this with any expectations, because while I've always been aware of who Wells is, he's always been just off my radar. This was probably to my benefit because I came into the book with clear eyes (other than the character's role in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and was impressed with the pacing and level of humour in this novella.

The story begins with Griffin's arrival at a small village inn, where he makes a splash with his weird bulky get-up and face full of bandages. After a couple of days of muffled yells, breaking glass and mysterious late night walks the jig is up, and Griffin's secret is revealed. Under all of his layers and bandages is...nothing. After managing to successfully formulate a process to render him invisible, Griffin is now stuck in that see-through state and it's beginning to take a toll on his mind. After making a dicey escape the invisible scientist/madman stumbles across an old friend, rehashes the events that lead to his transformation, and descends deeper into a murderous insanity.Given the shortness of the novel I don't want to provide too many details, but I will say that the book was chock full of action scenes with the potential to start your heart racing, even considering the lengthy dialogue scenes that take place (it was written in the late 1800s after all).

I really enjoyed the book, but I did find myself having to reread sections from time to time. On occasion the action was moving so fast and there were so many new characters introduced, that when you added "old timey" language and vernacular I was stuck going round and round in circles. However, I was juggling reading this book with reading a tonne of uni textbooks, so I didn't really have time to dedicate to length periods reading and getting used to the language, so it may have just been me.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable read and surprisingly funny (at least in the first quarter). The story did feel rushed at times, and it could have been clearer, but for one of the first science fiction stories it did a great job of combining science with intrigue, action and issues of sanity. My edition comes combined with The Time Machine, and Griffin and his invisible mischievousness has done more than enough to whet my appetite for some more of H.G Wells' science fiction!


  1. This sounds so good! I think I'm going to try to get to it in April, should be a short quick read :)

  2. If you manage to read more than two pages at a time (which I didn't!) it will definitely be a quick read. I can't wait to hear you thoughts on it!



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