#791: The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man is another BPL purchase. It’s a cute little book, less than 140 pages, and pretty well-worn, having been printed sometime in the 70s, I believe. One of those typical “old-book-smell” books. I’m definitely glad I picked it up, and not just because it’s on The List!

The Invisible Man (not to be confused with Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison) is a science-fiction story about—you guessed it—an invisible man. He appears first as a mysterious, hot-tempered, bandaged stranger, asking for accommodation at an inn in Iping. Eventually, the inn owners as well as some of the other villagers realize there is something strange about this man, and when they realize exactly what it is, the town is thrown into chaos as the Invisible Man tries to escape. He succeeds, and seeks refuge with a former school friend. But the Invisible man has a much more diabolical plan than anyone thought at first, and the villagers must go to great lengths to stop him.

I am a big science-fiction fan, in case you all couldn’t tell from my love of Stephen King. The Invisible Man is one of the first older science-fiction-y books I’ve read, other than Anthem and 1984, if those count. I really enjoyed it, mostly because Wells made it seem almost plausible for there to be an invisible man, despite what I know about science (which, admittedly, isn’t all that much).

It was also interesting to see the total angst the Invisible Man (Griffin) is going through. Prone to fits of rage when he isn’t just being generally unpleasant, he immediately alienates himself rather than waiting to be alienated by those he encounters. I honestly sympathized with him for most of the book, until I found out what he actually intended to do with his invisibility.

I normally find a lot of my enjoyment of a book in deep character expositions, and this is an area in which The Invisible Man is lacking somewhat. However, 140 pages is not a lot of space to develop characters, and I actually really liked the way the story was told in short spurts about certain people’s encounters with Griffin. Not much character expo there, especially since these were people who encountered the Invisible Man briefly and then were on their way—and I liked this perspective rather than seeing everything more from Griffin’s perspective. I haven’t read anything that is completely or almost completely third-person omniscient in a while, and it was refreshing to see quite a few different perspectives throughout, even if most of them were never fully fleshed out.

I will definitely read this again, and I would certainly recommend it to science-fiction lovers (although they have probably been aware of it much longer than I have)!

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2 thoughts on “#791: The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells

  1. An extremely important book for the genre 🙂 Great review. Another old sci-fi book checking out is Yvengy Zamyatin’s We (1922) and of course, Brave New World (1932) (only follow these suggestions if you liked 1984 — hehe).

    • Thank you! I actually attempted to buy Brave New World once – ended up buying a book ABOUT Brave New World by mistake. >_< But that one is definitely on my list, and I'll put We on there too! Thanks for the suggestions! 🙂

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