Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classics Challenge: Invisible Man

He held a white cloth—it was a serviette he had brought with him—over the lower part of his face, so that his mouth and jaws were completely hidden, and that was the reason of his muffled voice. But it was not that which startled Mrs. Hall. It was the fact that all his forehead above his blue glasses was covered by a white bandage, and that another covered his ears, leaving not a scrap of his face exposed excepting only his pink, peaked nose. It was bright, pink, and shiny just as it had been at first. He wore a dark-brown velvet jacket with a high, black, linen-lined collar turned up about his neck. The thick black hair, escaping as it could below and between the cross bandages, projected in curious tails and horns, giving him the strangest appearance conceivable. This muffled and bandaged head was so unlike what she had anticipated, that for a moment she was rigid.

This is the first good glance we get or rather don't get at the Invisible Man. It's my favourite book by H.G. Wells because for all it's elements of science fiction, it is rather a study on human behaviour.

The Invisible Man himself is not a hero at all, he's ruthless, egoistic and often downright cruel. I find it hard to have any sympathy for him, but nonetheless his story is fascinating. Who hasn't wondered about invisibility and all the opportunities? After reading this book, you may be a lot less enthusiastic about the whole idea.

The village of Iping is more or less held hostage by the Invisible Man and this is what really intereste me: how do the people react to him? Some are all too willing to give in to his demands - after all, who knows what he is capable of? Others resist and even help Doctor Kemp when the Invisible Man demands his death.

I think that H.G. Wells' training as a biologists shows here and also his interest in society. His science fiction stories are what earned him his fame, but he had a much broader scope. I highly recommend his hsort stories. And then there is of course Little Wars, pretty much the beginning of war gaming.

Much of his writing is available on Gutenberg.org for free.

Book six for the Classics Challenge

Reviews 2012

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