Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fiction Review: The Invisible Man

Since I have been doing so dismally on my 2017 Classics Challenge this year, I decided to combine that with last month's R.I.P. Challenge and find a classic with a creepy angle to it - the last few years at this time, I read Dracula, Frankenstein, The Time Machine, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (all excellent - reviews at the links). This year, I chose The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells and enjoyed the fast-paced sci fi story very much.

As the novel opens, a stranger checks into a small inn in a rural English town. The inn's owners, a husband and wife, are surprised by his unusual appearance and behavior over the next few days. He arrives bundled up with only his nose showing, has a large number of crates delivered that are filled with chemistry equipment and chemicals, and isolates himself in his room. Before long, his temper flares, and he runs from the town after a violent altercation. By then, the inn owners and townspeople have realized that he is invisible under all those layers...and that is how he escapes, without his clothes and completely invisible. He travels through several towns, wreaking havoc along the way, until by chance, he comes to the home of an old classmate. Thinking he can finally confide in someone, he tells his old colleague his entire story, from the beginning, of how he came to be invisible, what has happened since, and what he plans to do next.

The storyline here is wholly unique and creative (even after 120 years!), with plenty of plot twists and surprises. Very much like the other classic horror novels I have read, the story is at least as much about what it means to be human as it is about the "monster" featured in the novel. The invisible man has a terrible temper and - as we find out - nefarious plans, but the intriguing part is how he came to be that way. It's a suspenseful story, not knowing what will happen next (and for much of the novel, how he came to be invisible), but I was also pleasantly surprised to find a thread of humor woven in, especially in the first half and especially with respect to his invisibility. I enjoyed the novel very much and can see why it has held up for so many years, making me want to read Wells' other two classics that I haven't read yet: The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr. Moreau.

181 pages, Signet Classics
(my copy included an afterword by Scott Westerfeld)

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. My review is my own opinion.

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The Invisible Man
by Hg WellsTrade Paperback


  1. I haven't read any HG Wells and feel like I should. :-)

    1. I feel that way about SO many classics! The good thing about Wells' novels is that they are all pretty short - easy reads!