The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Within the past four years I’ve found out that I love science fiction. It all started when I watched the TV series Battlestar Galactica (the most recent one). The Better Half’s boss was a huge fan and gave us the first season of the series to watch—it was implied that we had to watch it. At first I threw a fit. No way was I going to watch the show to further The Better Half’s career. After some thought, I decided why not give it a go. We put the first disc in and I got hooked. Seriously hooked. After finishing the first season, the boss happily supplied the second season. On a Saturday morning I realized the second disc was missing. I begged and pleaded with The Better Half to call to ask if we could pop over to get the disc. I had to know what happened next. I didn’t get my wish. Three days I had to wait. Three agonizing days. Then I had to admit, I like science fiction. The boss was kind enough to loan us all of the seasons on DVD. Twice.

Since then I’ve dabbled with some sci-fi authors and movies. And my liking has grown into a love. So when I sat down to read The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells I was super excited. The novella, published in 1897, is about Griffin, who is invisible. Griffin, a scientist, studies optics and he invented a way for his body to become invisible by absorbing all of the light and not reflecting it. At least I think that’s how he did it. There’s a reason why I didn’t study science. I love science, but historical concepts were much more manageable for my brain. His success has one significant consequence. He doesn’t know how to reverse it and become visible again. At first he attempts to hide, but it’s not easy hiding the fact that one is invisible. He seeks out a colleague for help; however, Griffin’s power has warped his brain. Will his colleague help him or betray him?

I really enjoyed the first part of this work. Griffin enters an inn in Iping village. He’s wearing clothes, yet his invisible face is hidden by bandages. All of the inhabitant’s of the village can only see his fake pink nose. Well this gets everyone talking. And I found the extremes the townspeople went to to discover Griffin’s secret quite humorous.

Unfortunately, as the story progressed I found out one big problem. I disliked Griffin. He’s a mad scientist and I couldn’t feel sorry for him or care about his situation. After a while I wasn’t involved in the story since I hated him. I don’t know how Wells could have treated the story differently for me to like it. I guess I can’t like all science fiction. For me, I found this one to be somewhat of a dud. I’m glad I read it, but it won’t be one that I’ll revisit in the future. Wells has several more books on the 1001 list so I won’t write him off yet.

I read this novella as part of the science fiction experience hosted by Carl. Spring is quickly approaching, which means Carl’s challenge, Once Upon a Time (here’s last years link to give you an idea) is almost here. I hope many of you will join this wonderful event. Carl, if you don’t know him, is a wonderful man. Stop by his blog and say hi.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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29 Responses to The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

  1. rayneau1032 says:

    Griffin is something of an anti-hero…you’re not really meant to like him because he’s, well, mad. But he’s a tragic character because he’s been driven mad by meddling with raw science. Didn’t you find him a little sympathetic?

    • TBM says:

      In the beginning I felt sympathetic for him, but then I just started hating him and how mean he was to everyone. I really wanted to find him sympathetic but I kept thinking he did it to himself. Probably not that fair to him or to Wells

  2. he does seem to me to be a classic mad scientist. have you seen the movie? i think it does a decent job, and the special effects are fun.

    i discovered science fiction when i was a child, and it’s one of my great loves. i recently discovered the stainless steel droppings blog and have started reading it. i’ll look forward to that new challenge. thx for the heads up on that 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I’ll check out the movie since I am curious about the special effects. I’m excited to see what books you’ll read or what movies you’ll watch for the event. It’s a great time and it also means that spring is here. A win win.

  3. AussyDog says:

    Ah…Battlestar was awesome. I suddenly feel the urge to watch it again. lol

    Oh…btw…if you like Battlestar, try reading the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov. You’ll see some interesting correlations between the two.

  4. Joachim Boaz says:

    Yeah, echoing what other people said, why do you need to like the main character? The anti-hero is a time honored narrative device, and to find it in science fiction is quite fun, generally the protagonists are naive young boys which grow to mature men…. I find anti-heros more appealing in a way.

    • TBM says:

      I can see that. However, this anti-hero didn’t work that well for me. I’m not saying I hate anti-heroes but this particular novel didn’t work for me. What’s your favorite anti-hero science fiction novel?

      • Joachim Boaz says:

        What type of anti-hero would work?

        Any of Barry N. Malzberg’s anti-heroes. They are all insane (well, perhaps) astronauts who have been corrupted and deluded by the space program. Wouldn’t suggest his novels (mostly 70s) unless you’re interested in Freudian type sci-fi, metafiction, and very anti-pulp/naive interpretations of technology — also, dark as hell 😉 His most famous novel is Beyond Apollo (1972) — Revelations (1972) is also great…

      • TBM says:

        Thanks! I’ll keep those in mind while wandering through the library. I appreciate the suggestions 🙂 Dark as hell–sometimes that can be entertaining.

  5. Well, I’m happy to read this, because I was feeling a teensy bit guilty for skipping The Invisible Man all these years. I just can’t do sci-fi, but know a lot of people who love it.
    I can take anti-heroes in films or on TV, because I’m fascinated by what makes them tick. For some reason, it’s harder to tolerate them in novels. Maybe because I get more involved when I read?

    • TBM says:

      Usually I’m fascinated by anti-heroes but for some reason this novel just didn’t work for me. I do find when I read I become more involved in the story and more emotions are brought to the surface. Maybe that was the reason. I’ll read more Wells and let you know if you should give him a go 😉

  6. Lynn says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve read this – I thought I had but I might be confusing it with the Shrinking Man! Anyway, I don’t think you’re supposed to like the scientist. I don’t know whether you ever watched the film version with Kevin Bacon as the Invisible Man (for the visible parts that is!) his character turned really nasty starting off as a bit of a peeping tom and progressing more rapidly into something much more sinister. I’m not sure that the book’s character is quite that bad but I suppose it’s this whole issue of exactly what would you ‘do’ if you were invisible and nobody could see you. A bit spooky!
    Lynn 😀

    • TBM says:

      Invisible powers would be very easy to take advantage of. After reading this I’m not sure I would want that as a super power–too tempting. And trying not to be noticed seemed quite hard. I haven’t read the Shrinking Man or seen any of the movies. And I haven’t seen the Bacon film but now I’m really curious about it. Many have suggested it.

  7. petit4chocolatier says:

    I like H.G. Wells! I am a science fiction lover! The movie was pretty good and eerie! I just noticed the comment above about the Incredible Shrinking Man. I actually just watched an older version of it late one night. It was strange, but I found myself intrigued. Amazing how movie effects have changed. Excellent post as always 🙂

  8. Caroline says:

    There is sic-fi and sic-fi and I like some of it but only the more literary one. H.G. Wells is certainly part of that. I’ve only read his The Time Machine. My next sic-fi novel will be by Ursula K LeGuin. I’m pretty sure of it. 🙂 I missed the Sci-Fi experience. Did you write an intro post?

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t read any LeGuin, but she’s an author I would like to read. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on her. I can’t remember if I wrote an intro post ofr the Sci-Fi Experience or just mentioned it in one of my posts that I planned on doing it. I want to read more Wells since I liked his writing but I didn’t click completely with this story.

  9. Geoff W says:

    I should go back and read Wells again. I read all of his books/novellas in High School and really enjoyed them, but only vaguely recall specifics. And (in response to the above) I haven’t ever read any LeGuin, but she is definitely on my list!

    Have you ever watched Firefly? It’s sort of a SciFi Western and it was GREAT once I got used to it.

  10. jlsgirl says:

    You’re blog just makes me want to read, anything and everything. It is very inspirational

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