The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: Originally 1897, this edition 2009
The Short Version:
A scientist perfects invisibility and learns that it has as many downsides as it does advantages.
Why I Read It:
I picked up The Nobody by Jeff Lemire which is a retelling of this classic but wanted to read this first.
From the back cover of the Signet Classics edition:
H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man is considered to be one of the greatest science fiction stories ever written. It is the story of the scientist Griffin who discovers a serum that will turn his entire body invisible. The initial excitement over the possibilities quickly dissipates when Griffin, who uses the formula on himself, is unable to turn himself visible again. The Invisible Man is a cautionary tale about tampering with the laws of the universe. It is a story of how one scientist’s great discovery leads him into a state of madness.
This is one of those classics that has been on my TBR list for ages. When I picked up a copy of Jeff Lemire’s The Nobody at the library I discovered that it’s a retelling of this story. I decided I needed to read the original first.
I really didn’t know anything about the story before I started reading it. I may have watched the old classic movie one Saturday afternoon ages ago but if I did I didn’t remember it,
I’m glad I read it even though it’s not a book I’m going to go around telling everyone that they need to read it. The story was a classic example of be careful what you wish for. Once he perfected invisibility, Griffin soon discovered the disadvantages. Wintertime in England probably hastened that discovery.
My question is whether his transformation into a sociopath would have happened even if he hadn’t made himself invisible. Was he a person who would have been prone to rages and sociopathic behavior anyway? If he had been able to reverse the invisibility would he still have planned to use it against other people? I don’t think the invisibility or the inability to reverse it made him the way he ended up. I think it just made his story more than a simple crime spree.
I’m very interested to read Lemire’s graphic novel and see how he interprets this story.