Five H. G. Wells Books

Sunday, October 03, 2010 - Book Reading

A while back, I bought a small box-set of H. G. Wells’ books.  It included five of his more well-known science fiction books.  All five of them would be listed on my (rather large list) of favorite books growing up.  In fact, while I can’t tell you what the first sci-fi book I read was, the first one that I remember reading is “The War of Worlds.”

Based on that, I think it would be safe to say the Wells is one of the main reasons I enjoy sci-fi as much as I do.  :-)

The Time Machine

There is so much that is good about this book that it’s difficult to narrow it down to one or two things.  I have to say, first, that I love the fact that the main character is never named.  He’s only referred to as “the Time Traveller.”  However, when it comes to being introduced to future beings, we have the soft Eloi and the dark Morlocks.

When this book was written, there was a fairly large gap in the classes.  You had the upper class and you had the lower class.  There was very seldom anything in between.  Wells separates these classes further in his trip to the future.

The Eloi are the epitome of wasted potential.  At some point in their past, they gave someone else orders to get to work and then they went off and played.  Indefinitely.

The Morlocks were the supposed descendants of the lower working class.  In spite of their underground living arrangements, they are at the top of the food chain.  They ignore the Eloi until it’s time to go gather a few up for dinner and, at that point, it’s just like a farmer butchering a fattened cow for the dinner table.

This tale is timeless – well, it will be until the year 802,701 AD, anyway.  :-p  It’s inventive, original, and amazing!  I could never tire of reading this story.

The Island of Dr. Moreau

I remember the first time that I heard the concept of this story.  Someone, having assumed that I had read it, was talking about cloning and stem-cell research and made a reference to Dr. Moreau.  I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of, “If we don’t start controlling the scientists, we’re going to have a real life Dr. Moreau and it won’t even be on an island.  It will be right in the middle of this country and no one will be safe because they’ll be experimenting on us all!”

He was a bit paranoid, I think, and while those weren’t the exact words, that was pretty much the gist of it.

To be honest, I didn’t go home and Google “Dr. Moreau” like I would have if I had known he was referencing a book.  This person wasn’t the most intelligent, so I mostly ignored what he said.

One day while I was at the library, though, I was digging through their collection of Wells’ books and saw the title.  It wasn’t one I had read before, so I checked it out, brought it home, and read it.  I got a good ways into it before I remembered that conversation about stem cells, cloning, and controlling scientists, but when the memory hit me, I started laughing!

Dr. Moreau does not clone people or animals.  He does not experiment on humans.  Nor was he, in my opinion, out of control.  He was insane, yes, to some extent, but aren’t we all a little insane?  In my experience, the smarter you are, the less firm your grasp on sanity.

Dr. Moreau plays God, if you believe in that concept.  He takes animals apart and puts them back together with other animals, if necessary, to try to create humans.  He never fully succeeds, but his island is full of his attempts.

The Invisible Man

Haven’t we all dreamed of being invisible so that we can play the ultimate prank on someone?  I know I have!  The real Invisible Man, though, wants to rule the world through terror.

He was originally an albino scientist who made a few bad choices.  He managed to turn a stray cat invisible before he tried the process on himself.  However, once he was invisible, he found that things weren’t as easy as he had planned.

If he wore clothes, his shape could be seen.  If he didn’t wear clothes, he was cold and running around barefoot.  If he bumped into someone, they felt it.  If he spoke, people could hear him.

No, being invisible isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  This story illustrates that quite effectively.

The War of Worlds

The first time I read this book, I was in middle school and it was the Great Illustrated Classics (GIC) version.  (Wow, until I found the GIC site, I didn’t realize just how many of the series I had back in the day.  My dad got rid of the majority of them at a garage sale years ago, but I used to have almost all of them.  I’ve replaced a few, but I miss my collection.)  GICs are essentially a watered down version of a book shortened to about a hundred pages of text, if I remember correctly.  Every other page is a picture to help tell the story.  I could easily read my entire collection over the course of a weekend, and I did on several occasions.

So, my first introduction to this story was shortened and watered down and it still made enough of an impression to make me want to reread it again in the future.  Of course, the old radio broadcast helped, too.  Somewhere I have a CD of the broadcast and listening to it is always fun.  :-)

And while I never made the connection between the two (I’m bad about things like that), the original movie was also pretty amazing.  The remake was okay, too, but I’m an old school girl.  :-D

Anyways, because of this book, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of aliens watching us.  Planning to visit/invade us.  I imagined so many types of aliens yearning to visit us, but too scared to because of the fate of the majority of aliens in our stories and movies.  Too scared of disease and infection, violence and hatred, and worried about scaring us.
**Yes, I know I didn’t really review the book, but if you don’t know that basics of this book already, then you’ve been living under a rock.**

The First Men in the Moon

Cavorite, if it were real, would easily be the most coveted metal on the planet.  Cavorite is named for it’s inventor Dr. Cavor and is essentially blocks gravity.  Anything above the cavorite is suddenly weightless: birds, clouds, dirt, rocks, people, even air!

In my experience, fewer people are aware of this story than some of the others by Wells, so I’m not going to give many details, but this is a must read!

After Dr. Cavor creates the cavorite, he and Mr. Bedford work on a sphere covered in little pieces of the metal.  Once completed, they climb in and basically fly to the moon.  With the cavorite, they’re basically invisible to the gravitational force and just take off.

They make it safely to the moon and that’s when it gets interesting.  Not only does that moon have an atmosphere (when the sun melts the air that’s frozen on the dark side), but there is life.  Amazing plants, huge mooncalves, and moon-men!

If you haven’t read this book, or any of the others listed on this page (and in other review posts), then you really need to!  You won’t regret it.  :-D

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