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When the Sleeper Wakes (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – October 14, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Modern Library edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812970004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812970005
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,196,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Nothing is more striking about Mr. Wells . . . than his power of lending freshness and vitality to some well-worn formula of fiction.” —The Spectator

From the Publisher

This book is a standard print version using a minimum of 10 point type in a 6 by 9 inch size and perfect bound - a paperback. As with all Quiet Vision print books, it use a high grade, acid free paper for long life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
H.G. wells is the master of modern fiction all of his books i have read have been outstanding!
Stephen L. Singer
His stories explore many of out most fundamental desires and fears, and they all had a significant dose of social criticism.
Dr. Bojan Tunguz
I approached this novel with enthusiasm, as the plot summary seemed like something familiar but having a darker tone.
Alric the Red

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Coppins on December 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
finished this just the other night and what a finish. i'm not going to spoil it because if you havn't read it you should - if you like your sci-fi with a liberal portion of politics and social commentary (which i guess i do).

from the very beginning, the beauty of the writing is that it shares the sense of dislocation and naivete of the protagonist most eloquently. a man waking in a future world where what he sees around him is totally unfamiliar, yet what lies underneath is an expression of barbarism that a post-enlightment intellectual would surely find abhorrent.

the technology wells envisions is perhaps the most telling sign of his intensly perceptive style. the only inline editorial note is towards the end, where an insert advises that wells is writing of aeroplanes 11 years before the first took to the sky and of aerial fighting 18 years before the first dogfight (although once you've made it to flying, it's not that very large a mental gap at all to flying and fighting together...). alongwith telephones, televisions and the classic moving pathway or travelator (found also in asimov, the fantastic planet and others), the other main visual vocabulary is in the architecture. It's all about the scale and in this you could maybe argue (if you were stoned and theoretically ambitious...) that future comrades-in-architecture took some inspiration. which is to say that it reminds me of beijing and berlin, the only two cities i've visted that either were or are communist.

but it's the social commentary i enjoy the most. a rather dark piece of commentary it is too, marking it alongside brave new world, 1984 et. al. the most unsettling part about reading this was to ponder in 2005 the questions wells was asking in 1899.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Alan Wingo on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
Over the last few years publishers have been dragging public domain works off the shelves, blowing the dust off classics, and selling them to travelers on the cheap. H. G. Wells, the father of English Science Fiction, has not been left out. This work is clearly - like all good SF - a critique of the author's society. Wells was like Verne firmly rooted in extrapolation of science or what would one day be called hard science fiction but they were also focused on it effects on society and the nature of man. While this work is a wish fulfillment novel it is also a dystopian work that lays the groundwork for Huxley's "Brave New World", Asimov's "Caves of Steel", Woody Allen's "Sleeper", and Gibson's Sprawl trilogy.

In our period of late capitalism we share much in common with the Victorian Era: globalization, technological revolution, Western hegemony, and unrestrained capitalism to name just a few. This allows us to gain insight from Wells' critique of his own epoch such as this following passage:

"Any organisation that became big enough to influence the polls became complex enough to be undermined, broken up, or bought outright by capable rich men. Socialist and Popular, Reactionary and Purity Parties were all at last mere Stock Exchange counters, selling their principles to pay for their electioneering. And the great concern of the rich was naturally to keep property intact, the board clear for the game of trade...The whole world was exploited, a battlefield of business; and financial convulsions, the scourge of currency manipulation, tariff wars..."

Reading such jarring passages provides a reflection on our own hubris and respect for one who could accurately envision the nature of man over a two-hundred-year span of time. There is much to be found here for those of us who have not read Wells since childhood and even then not deeply.
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Format: Paperback
A man falls asleep, outlives all his annoying neighbors in the process and wakes up in a future filled with amazing technology where life is blissfully easy. Oh, and now he owns the whole world. How is this book not titled "The Best Day Ever"?

As it turns out, Wells had other concerns on his mind. The basic idea here isn't that far removed from the old tale of Rip Van Winkle, where a man displaced in time lets his experiences be extended into metaphor for the differences between those different times, letting the native culture shock drive the plot and turning the novel into part travelogue and part commentary. It's a useful device that taps into those unconscious curious longings we all have . . . who wouldn't want a chance to see how the far future turns out? Nowadays we have literary devices like time travel machines and suspended animation but in these days with SF in its infancy you didn't have all the cliches of the genre to just pick up and use when the need arose. You had to invent them. Having done a bit about a time machine already, he decided to take a different tactic and go with the magical realism route. Thus, Graham simply gets very tired and falls asleep for a very long time.

That's when the fun begins. Feeling extraordinarily rested, Graham learns that not only has he become a sort of legendary figure to the masses for his amazing ability to . . . sleep (Tilda Swinton and your performance art exhibit, eat your heart out!) but thanks to the magic of compound interest and the fact that no one ever thought he would wake up, he basically owns ninety percent of everything in the whole world, making him a true master of the Earth.
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