ATTENTION CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS

2015 Editions of the Color Coded , Mount TBR and Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenges--as well as Read It Again, Sam (due to popular demand)-- have been posted. I am also introducing my newest brain-child: Super Book Password. Please check it out!

As in the past, I will post sidebar links for sign-up posts as well as review headquarters once the new year begins.


Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Monday, January 9, 2012

The Invisible Man: Review


The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells is another one of those classic stories that "everyone" knows. There have been countless adaptations in film and I even participated in an abridged play version of it in grade school. (We actually used marionettes.) There weren't exactly oodles of female parts in the play...so I got to be Dr. Kemp. Quite simply it is the story of Griffin, a brilliant scientist who happens to discover the secret of invisibility. After trying it out on inanimate objects (a piece of wool and a pillow), he then uses it on a white cat....and finally on himself. He thinks that it will make him powerful and allow him to do all sorts of things undetected. But, of course, there are aspects of invisibility that hadn't occurred to him and he soon finds himself in difficulties.

At its heart, The Invisible Man is about power--and what uses and misuses man makes of it. Griffin becomes more and more selfish, only thinking of his needs and his gains. It soon becomes apparent that either the process has driven him mad or his lust for power has done the job. By the end of the story, we all know that he would quite willingly sacrifice anyone provided he might get what he wants. It is interesting to follow Griffin's slide into madness and see how far he will go. It is also a bit alarming to think that perhaps any us might do the same given the proper incentive--there is that adage that "every man has his price." Perhaps every man also has his power trip--the one that might send him over the edge. Let's hope not.

The story is often credited as one of the earliest science fiction stories, but Wells preferred to think of it as a "scientific romance" (romance using the older meaning of embellished story rather than dwelling on a love story). He would point out the differences between this story and those of Jules Verne, his contemporary. Verne regularly speculated with science that might exist, although it did not yet exist in his time. Wells used what he called "scientific patter"--making a theory of invisibility sound good, but with no solid basis in scientific fact. Fortunately both produce stories well worth reading. Four (invisible) stars for the Invisible Man.

8 comments:

Jim Black said...

I liked this book when I read it a year or two ago. Wells does a great job of showing how power corrupts. As we have seen in our society, when a person thinks they can do something without being caught, many times they try to get away with something immoral or illegal.
Good job with the review.

Bev Hankins said...

Thanks, Jim.

Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous said...

It's been so long since I read The Invisible Man...I was much younger, so I probably didn't appreciate half the depth you're discussing here! Thanks for the analysis, and you make me want to read it again. :)

I've also heard Wells discussed as a father of science fiction (are there any mothers? Mary Shelley, I guess) so it's interesting to hear Wells' own perspective on it. And it sounds like he was also a father of technobabble! Even if he called it "scientific patter."

Carl V. said...

I am having a really hard time remembering if I've ever read The Invisible Man. If I did it was when I was a kid and was trying to work my way through all the old horror classics. I should re-read it and some of Well's other work, it has been too long since I've read anything of his.

bookswithoutanypictures said...

I haven't read this book yet, but it looks interesting. I'm on a bit of an H.G. Wells kick... just read "The Time Machine," and now I'm on "The War of the Worlds." I love how much social/political commentary he puts into his stories.

Lit Addicted Brit said...

I've signed up for a 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' challenge that includes this book. It's one I'm really looking forward to! I've never read it or studied it so it'll be completely new for me! Have you read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? It sounds similar to this and is great. Interesting points on the science fiction aspect too :)

Bev Hankins said...

Yes, I've read Jekyll & Hyde (and will be rereading it once again for The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Challenge--by Man of La Book--as well).

Man of la Book said...

Great review and again thanks for joining the challenge. I agree with your thoughts, this is an interesting book. I expected it to me more eerie than it actually was but I liked the psychoanalytic angle of it.

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com