October 1, 2006

The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Classic Literature/Sci-Fi/Horror
Finished on 9/29/06
Rating: B (6/10 So-so)

It was worse than anything. Mrs. Hall, standing open-mouthed and horror-struck, shrieked at what she saw, and made for the door of the house. Every one began to move. They were prepared for scars, disfigurements, tangible horrors, but nothing! The bandages and false hair flew across the passage into the bar, making a hobbledehoy jump to avoid them. Every one tumbled on every one else down the steps. For the man who stood there shouting some incoherent explanation, was a solid gesticulating figure up to the coat-collar of him, and then – nothingness, no visible thing at all!

First things first. I love that word! Hobbledehoy. I wonder if I can work it into my daily vocabulary without sounding like a complete idiot. ;)

Another “new-to-me” author, thanks to my self-imposed Classic Challenge. Of course I’m familiar with Wells’ The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Invisible Man but never got around to reading any of them. I had a few days remaining in the month and needed to wrap up my Challenge, but really didn’t want to dive into one of the tomes in my stack. (I’ll save East of Eden and The Portrait of a Lady for another time). After thumbing through my daughter’s copy of The Invisible Man, I figured I could read it in a day or two and move on to some library books I’d recently checked out.

The novel started off quite well, immediately grabbing my attention, suspense mounting as the pages flew. However, at some point after the halfway mark, it began to lose momentum and I found myself flipping to the back of the book, counting the remaining pages (never a good sign). I won’t even pretend to understand any of the scientific details of invisibility and light refraction (unrealistic, not to mention impossible as the former might be), but overall I thought the story was moderately entertaining and would make for a fun movie. Or at least a remake of the Claude Rains version.


  1. I vaguely remember watching the movie a hundred or so years ago. I liked it and have always wanted to read the book. And I will get to it. It's too bad it had to start out good and then slow down. But your review still makes it sound worth reading.

  2. I'm with you, Les, when I start counting the pages to the end of the novel, I know I'm in a hurry to be done with it - never a good sign. I did enjoy your review though and the opening lines definitely drew me in. Sad it wasn't an entirely satisfactory read, but hey atleast you're that much closer to wrapping up the classic challenge. Well done!

  3. Booklogged, happy to be an enabler! :) In spite of the fizzling out toward the end, it is worthwhile and I'm glad I read it.

    Thanks, Lotus. I'm pretty darned pleased with my classic challenge results. I'll have a summary posted in another day or two.

  4. hey.. just happened upon your blog thru various others..
    i read the Invisible Man back in Jr High or High school. so it's been a while, and i probably read an abridged version. i definitely don't remember it being as exciting as i thought it'd be. but i still loved the story, because of the idea of it.

  5. Hi, SciFiChick. Thanks for visiting (I've seen you on Bookfool's blog and need to check yours out). Ah, those abridgements... maybe you can try the unabridged version some day.

  6. Yeah, not for me either. Good review of an unappealing book. I love the part about counting pages. :<)

  7. Nan - Wow. Has it really been five years since I read this?!?! The years keep flying by, don't they?

    Yep, not a winner and not one I need to keep on my shelf, is it? ;)


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