H. G. Wells

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H. G. Wells Book Series

The Invisible ManHaving devoted his studies to optics and refraction, an impulsive scientist named Griffin has rendered himself invisible. Unable to reverse the effects, his struggle to survive grows desperate until he realizes that there are benefits to living out of the public eye. Increasingly isolated, he soon spirals into a life of crime and degenerates into madness. He can’t see that he has become his own worst enemy.Exploring the loss of identity and the willful disappearance of conscience and morality, H. G. Wells crafted one of his most suspenseful and cautionary tales, which continues to intrigue to this day.AmazonClassics brings you timeless works from the masters of storytelling. Ideal for anyone who wants to read a great work for the first time or rediscover an old favorite, these new editions open the door to literature’s most unforgettable characters and beloved worlds.Revised edition: Previously published as The Invisible Man, this edition of The Invisible Man (AmazonClassics Edition) includes editorial revisions.**
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A Short History of the WorldSpanning the origins of the Earth to the outcome of the First World War, this is a brilliantly compelling account of the evolution of life and the development of the human race. Along the way, Wells considers such diverse subjects as the Neolithic era, the rise of Judaism, the Golden Age of Athens, the life of Christ, the rise of Islam, the discovery of America and the Industrial Revolution. Breathtaking in its scope and passionate in its intensity, this history remains one of the most readable of its kind.
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The Time Machine and The War of the WorldsHG Wells virtually defined modern science fiction with the two tales featured in this double volume, a welcome addition to the SF Masterworks series. The Time Machine is the classic tale of a time traveller's journey to the world of 802,701 AD where humanity is divided between the bad and the beautiful, a simplistic vision at first glance but a prophetic take on a future that may not be so far removed from a reality yet to take hold, simply lurking in the shadows and waiting for the human race to bring it about by its own hand.Product DescriptionOn October 30, 1938, Orson Welles terrified American radio listeners by describing a Martian invasion of Earth in a broadcast that became legendary. Forty years earlier, H. G. Wells had first penned the story: The War of the Worlds, a science-fiction classic that endures in our collective subconscious.Deeply concerned with the welfare of contemporary society, Wells wrote his novel of interplanetary conflict in anticipation of war in Europe, and in it he predicted the technological savagery of twentieth century warfare. Playing expertly on worldwide security fears, The War of the Worlds grips readers with its conviction that invasion can happen anytime, anywhere—even in our own backyard. Introduction to War of the WorldsThe Martians also reflect Wells himself. Just as the bicycle liberated Wells from the limitations of a weak body, the machines used by the Martians, who are weighed down because the pull of gravity is stronger on Earth than it is on Mars, enable them to move swiftly and attack without warning. The machine is an extension of a body, a kind of prosthetic device that supplies an ability the body lacks. The Martian sitting on top of a huge, three-legged fighting machine striding across Surrey toward London resembles nothing so much as Wells piloting his bicycle around the countryside. And the Martians, like Wells, tend to work alone. That is, while they are involved in a collective activity—the invasion and conquest of England, which is, by extension, the world—they work alone in their fighting machines or their aluminum manufacturing devices. Except for their time in the space capsule, they are rarely together. Wells's first problem was to decide how to tell such a tale. He could use an external, omniscient narrator, but that would cut down on the immediacy of the action and make it seem much more like history. A single first-person narrator would be possible, but that person would have to travel long distances at almost superhuman speed in order to see everything involved in the Martian invasion. Wells opts for a device Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) uses in Treasure Island (1883), having a first-person narrative become two first-person narratives by introducing a second character who tells us about what happened elsewhere. This is, admittedly, an awkward device because the two characters—brothers in The War of the Worlds—are not in communication with each other. Their separate stories become a single story because the primary narrator takes control of his brother's tale, treating him in the same way an omniscient narrator would treat a character. The primary narrator, then, is both witness and author, a modification of the narrator of The Time Machine, who transcribes the story of the Time Traveller. The personality of this narrator is a vexing matter, and it is here Wells departs from traditional novelistic practice. Wells clearly had many options in this situation: He could make his nondescript, suburban science writer into a hero by having him either subdue the Martians or lay the foundations for an organized defense. That solution does not suit Wells's hidden intention, which is to warn those people capable of understanding that their world is rotten and will fall at the first blow from an outside force. Wells does what in both human and novelistic terms makes the most sense: He makes his narrator a man of science, but a conventional thinker and not a man in the line of the Time Traveller. He is not a leader, not a warrior, but a man imbued with curiosity. He wants to understand the Martians, wants to observe their machines, and wants to survive to tell the tale. His psychological depth is slight: He loves his wife, detests the mad clergyman who almost manages to deliver him to the Martians, feels guilt about being responsible for the man's death, and has a nervous breakdown after learning that the Martians all die because of Earth's bacteria. The second central figure, the narrator's brother, is no more developed than the narrator. He is a "medical student, working for an imminent examination", but that is all we know of him. When, in the final chapter of book one, Wells feels he no longer needs the brother, he simply has him board a ship, witness a navy vessel ram two Martian fighting machines, and sail to Europe. We then return to the adventures of our primary narrator. This sacrifice of character depth to action explains the success of The War of the Worlds. If Wells had transformed his narrator into a preachy precursor of his New Republicans, the reader would probably begin to cheer for the Martians. Instead, he uses both brothers as innocent points of view, reporters telling us what they saw. That they have emotions is merely incidental to their role as informants. Wells relegates his ideas to the minor characters, carefully linking them to human imperfections so that the novel does not degenerate into sermon or essay. Probably the most interesting example of this is the artilleryman. In book one, chapter 11, the narrator, hiding inside his Woking house, sees a man trying to escape the Martians. He invites the man in and learns he is a soldier, "a driver in the artillery" whose unit has been wiped out by the Martians. The two separate in chapter 12, and we think we've seen the last of the artilleryman until suddenly in book two, chapter 7, he reappears, and now it is he who extends hospitality to the narrator.
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The Island of Dr. MoreauH.G. Wells's science fiction classic, The Island of Doctor Moreau, asks the reader to consider the limits of natural science and the distinction between men and beasts. A strange mix of science fiction, romance, and philosophical meandering, it is one of the standards of early science fiction.It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman named Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a doctor named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are traveling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque, bestial native named M'ling who appears to be Montgomery's manservant.When they arrive on the island, however, both the captain of the ship and Doctor Moreau refuse to take Prendick. The crew pushes him back into the lifeboat from which they rescued him, but seeing that the ship really intends to abandom him, the islanders take pity and end up coming back for him. Montgomery introduces him to Doctor Moreau, a cold and precise man who conducts research on the island. After unloading the animals from the boat, they decide to house Prendick in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Prendick is exceedingly curious about what exactly Moreau researches on the island, especially after he locks the inner part of the enclosure without explaining why. Prendick suddenly remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.
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The Time Machine and The Invisible ManProduct DescriptionThe Time Machine and The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells, is part of the _Barnes & Noble Classics_ series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.__ The Time Machine, H. G. Wells’s first novel, is a tale of Darwinian evolution taken to its extreme. Its hero, a young scientist, travels 800,000 years into the future and discovers a dying earth populated by two strange humanoid species: the brutal Morlocks and the gentle but nearly helpless Eloi. The Invisible Man mixes chilling terror, suspense, and acute psychological understanding into a tale of an equally adventurous scientist who discovers the formula for invisibility—a secret that drives him mad. Immensely popular during his lifetime, H. G. Wells, along with Jules Verne, is credited with inventing science fiction. This new volume offers two of Wells’s best-loved and most critically acclaimed “scientific romances.” In each, the author grounds his fantastical imagination in scientific fact and conjecture while lacing his narrative with vibrant action, not merely to tell a “ripping yarn,” but to offer a biting critique on the world around him. “The strength of Mr. Wells,” wrote Arnold Bennett, “lies in the fact that he is not only a scientist, but a most talented student of character, especially quaint character. He will not only ingeniously describe for you a scientific miracle, but he will set down that miracle in the midst of a country village, sketching with excellent humour the inn-landlady, the blacksmith, the chemist’s apprentice, the doctor, and all the other persons whom the miracle affects.”Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College-Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.From Alfred Mac Adam’s Introduction to The Time Machine and The Invisible Man The Time Machine (1895) and The Invisible Man (1897) are now more than a century old. Yet they endure as literary texts, radio plays, and movies, because they appeal directly to two of our deepest desires: immortality and omnipotence. The time machine would allow us to escape death and gain knowledge of the fate of the earth, while invisibility would enable us to go and come as we please, under the noses of friends and enemies. At the same time, both fictions show us the dangers of fulfilled wishes: The Time Traveller discovers the future of humanity is not bright but hideously dark, while the Invisible Man drowns in the madness brought about by his own experimentation. Of course, what Herbert George Wells (1866–1946) wanted to express in these fantasies and what generations of readers have made of them are two radically different things. Erroneously labeled “science fiction,” and tricked out in their film versions with all kinds of fanciful devices with flashing lights and ominous buzzers Wells never mentions, they are really tales that enact the author’s theories and speculations about human society, human nature, and natural history in allegorical fashion. That is, the “science” in Wells’s fictions is nothing more than stage machinery. But, ironically, it is the machinery that has come to dominate our collective imagination. There is nothing unique in this. Think of Gulliver’s Travels (whose long-forgotten original title is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World), a book that Wells read as a boy and reread throughout his life. In 1726 Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) satirized English political parties, religious quarrels, theories of world government, and science, but his work was so grounded in eighteenth-century British culture that today’s readers need extensive preparation to fathom it. The story of Lemuel Gulliver’s visits to lands populated by giants or intelligent horses has, however, become a staple of children’s literature. The same applies to Robinson Crusoe (1719), by Daniel Defoe (1660–1731). Only scholars see the relationship between Crusoe’s shipwreck and Defoe’s ideas on the fate of the middle classes during the Restoration, when Charles II returned to England in 1660. Defoe’s message and all his political intentions have been lost, but his story endures as a wonderful demonstration of self-reliance. In the literature of the United States, we have the example of Herman Melville (1819–1891) and his Moby-Dick (1851): Most readers learn about the ambiguous struggle between good and evil embedded in the work long after they’ve read a novel about nineteenth-century whaling and the strange characters engaged in that dangerous work. Much the same has taken place with Wells’s Time Machine and The Invisible Man. Wells cloaked his ideas about the future of society and the role of science in the world so well that readers simply do not see those issues and instead read his short novels as examples of a kind of fiction based on the simplest of propositions: “What if it were possible to travel through time by means of a machine?” or “What if it were possible to make oneself invisible?” In a world—one we share with Wells despite the fact that more than a hundred years separates the moment he published these two works from our own age—when scientists seem to make discoveries every day, it requires no great leap of imagination, no “willing suspension of disbelief,” to accept the basic premise of each text. This is what differentiates Wells from Jules Verne (1828–1905), author of Voyage to the Center of the Earth (1864) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Wells, in a 1934 preface to a collection of his early fictions comments on why they are not comparable to Verne’s writings: These tales have been compared with the work of Jules Verne and there was a disposition on the part of literary journalists at one time to call me the English Jules Verne. As a matter of fact there is no literary resemblance whatever between the anticipatory inventions of the great Frenchman and these fantasies. His work dealt almost always with actual possibilities of invention and discovery, and he made some remarkable forecasts. . . . But these stories of mine . . . do not pretend to deal with possible things; they are exercises of the imagination in a quite different field. They belong to a class of writing which includes the Golden Ass of Apuleius, the True Histories of Lucian, Peter Schlemil, and the story of Frankenstein. . . . They are all fantasies; they do not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good gripping dream (_The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells_). Wells links himself to a tradition, but at the same time he misleads the reader. It is true, as he says in the same preface, that “The invention is nothing in itself,” by which he means that the applied science of Verne is of no interest in his kind of tale. It is also the reason why rediscoveries of Verne, especially films, are always set in the past: His projections became fact very quickly. By the same token, this explains why Wells’s inventions and their ramifications will always be modern.
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Selected Stories of H. G. WellsFB2Library.Elements.CiteItem Ursula K. Le Guin’s selection of twenty-six stories showcases Wells’s genius and reintroduces readers to his singular talent for making the unbelievable seem utterly plausible. His originality and inventiveness are fully on display in this essential collection.
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Island of Dr. MoreauFollowing a shipwreck, a young naturalist finds himself on an island run by a mad scientist intent on creating a strain of beast men.
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