The Invisible Man - by H. G. Wells

"Meddling with the unknown can lead to trouble."

In writing his 1897 science-fiction novel, H.G. Wells creates a highly-compelling and unique tale.  Wells has written similar science fiction works of note such as The Time Machine and The War of the WorldsThe Invisible Man is set in the small Iping village in West Sussex, England.  It tells the story of a brilliant scientist named Griffin whose discovery of invisibility proves to be a trying experience in his life.  After one of Griffin’s experiments, he is forced to become invisible in order to hide from his suspicious landlord.  Griffin then encounters many difficult experiences and seeks help from innocent on-lookers.  The chemist slowly turns insane throughout the novel because of his search for power.  Wells’ novel demonstrates the theme that tinkering with the unnatural can lead to trouble.

Throughout the novel, formal European-style diction is used to give readers a sense presence in the small English town.  Wells’ use of British vocabulary can become confusing to readers who are not familiar with the terms.  However, it is still entertaining to experience Wells’ style as it is rarely seen in modern literature.  He also excels in describing his complex and original characters. Wells rarely gives his characters first names. This technique is used to emphasize the characters’ traits rather than have the readers make assumptions based on their names.  In characterizing Griffin, Wells mentions “his soft felt hat hid every inch of his face but the shiny tip of his nose.

Along with Griffin, there are other important characters who play vital roles in the scientist’s journey.  Mr. Hall, husband of the owner of the hotel where Griffin initially takes residence, is the first to discover the scientist’s invisibility.  Thomas Marvel is the first victim who is forced to help Griffin in his escape from society.  Marvel flees, further enraging the insane chemist.  Griffin then stumbles upon a former classmate, Dr. Kemp.  As a former friend, Kemp becomes the most important character in the novel.  Reading the novel would be the best way to put the pieces together.

Overall, The Invisible Man is a one-of-a-kind tale that cannot be matched despite its constant adaptations.  Wells’ unique British writing-style is reason alone to read this novel.  This book is also intended to serve a purpose.  Wells intends his readers to be aware that the meddling with the unknown can lead to trouble.  The story of invisibility is an excellent way to get the point across.

    - Tony C.

"actually believable; the suspense starts on page one and never stops"

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells is a science fiction classic that is a great read. As you might have guessed, the novel’s main character is an invisible man. In a small village in England, a demented scientist discovers that he can make a cat turn invisible. Before long, he figures out he can make himself invisible. Griffin, the demented scientist, finds out about all the things he can get away with being invisible. He goes on to plunder, steal, pillage, and create havoc all throughout the nearby villages.  The result is widespread panic.

One of the things that makes this book such a great read is that the suspense starts on page one and doesn’t end until the very last page. I found myself guessing what was going to happen next all throughout the book. Although the first twenty pages or so get off to a slow start, the action quickly picks up. One thing that separates this science fiction novel from others is that it is actually believable. I know what you're thinking: there is no way there could ever be an invisible person. However, H.G. Wells creates not only an excellent description of the invisible man, but also goes through a scientific explanation of how this can occur. After reading this book, if I hear an unfamiliar sound behind my back, I half expect to turn around, reach my hand out, and find that there is an invisible man there. H.G. Wells’ superb imagination and intellect is scattered all throughout this book.

The Invisible Man is one of the better science fiction books I have read. I enjoyed it more than H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, which I also recently read. I think the deciding factor is that both the storyline and the setting are more believable and easier to relate to in The Invisible Man. In addition, if you don't particularly enjoy reading, then this book is for you. It is quite short and keeps your attention. This novel is a classic and you should certainly consider reading it. However, if science fiction is not your thing, you might want to consider something else. If you enjoy science fiction, then this classic is definitely for you.

    - Brandon B.