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The Invisible Man (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – September 3, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Two of Wells's masterpieces get the red-carpet treatment here in these luxurious editions. Along with annotated texts, they feature scholarly introductions and appendixes, bibliographies, illustrations, and indexes. Though they are perhaps a tad pricey for most public libraries, academic collections supporting English departments should definitely invest in these volumes.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


I personally consider the greatest of English living writers [to be] H. G. Wells. Upton Sinclair --Upton Sinclair --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library/Penguin Books (September 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528520
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (377 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
On the surface, THE INVISIBLE MAN concerns a scientist named Griffin who has discovered the means to invisibility--but who has gone mad in the process. When frustrated in his efforts to restore himself to visibility, he determines to embark upon a reign of terror that will make him master of the world. It is worth noting, however, that Wells was very much a social writer and that his novels are inevitably commentaries on various social evils. Once you scratch the surface of THE INVISIBLE MAN you will find that it is very much a parable of class structure that dominated British life during the Victorian age: there are many "invisible men;" this particular one, however, is in a very literal situation.

And it is the literal situation from which the novel draws most of its power. Invisibility sounds attractive--but what if you were to actually become so? How would you cope with the ordinary details of every day life? Griffin does not cope well at all, and although Wells suggests that his madness have arisen from a number of sources, he also implies that it may arise from the fact of invisibility itself, again twisting the context back into the social criticism on which the novel seems based.

First published in 1897, THE INVISIBLE MAN is one of Wells earliest novels, and for all its charms it creaks a bit in terms of plot and structure. Some may disagree, but to my mind the most effective portion of the novel are the chapters in which Griffin relates his adventures to fellow scientist Kemp--but regardless of its flaws remains extremely influential and it has tremendous dash and style throughout. Short enough to be read in a single sitting, it is a quick and entertaining read and it is also quite witty in an underhanded, subversive sort of way. Extremely memorable!

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By TS VINE VOICE on November 1, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, this edition: it's reasonably well-formatted for a free ebook, with few typos, although the table of contents is not clickable; it clocks in at 1,841 "locations."

As to the story itself:

This is H.G. Wells' foundational science-fiction tale of a mad scientist who discovers a way to turn himself invisible. It's a masterfully told story that's been entertaining readers for roughly a hundred years, and I'd lay good odds you'll find it well worth the read.

What many readers might miss, though (I certainly did, my first time through) is that this isn't just a sci-fi potboiler; it's a modernization of the Platonic story of the Ring of Gyges. Beyond being a master storyteller, Wells was also an ardent philosopher and socialist, and like all of his other tales, there's a major political point here -- that morality derives from society -- and some additional minor political themes, like the plight of the urban poor.

Wells' genius here was to take the Platonic story of a Ring of Invisibility that inevitably led its wearer to commit injustice, and revitalize it in a modern context and in a way that made a sophisticated philosophical point.

Where Plato's Glaucon states:

"For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison ( on June 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a classic tale about a researcher who, while he was the equivalent of a graduate student in physics, discovers a treatment for making himself invisible (using chemicals and mathematical expressions containing four dimensions). He quickly discovers how dependent he is on others and that he doesn't have the power he thought he would. I had always thought, based on what I had heard about the film based on this book, that the invisibility process made the researcher (Griffin) mad. However, upon reading the novel, I find that Griffin is morally and ethically bankrupt long before he takes the treatment. His initial reasons for becoming invisible is to avoid paying his rent (as he sneaks out of the building, he sets it on fire as a "lesson" for his landlord). All he thinks about is himself and to have power over others. He steals from his father who, since it wasn't his money, commits suicide. Griffin goes to the funeral simply because it is expected of him; but, he feels no remorse. He is a man who feels that the end (his power) justifies the means. Wells clearly has Griffin as the villian.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on December 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a absolutely wonderful book that can be read quickly, maybe even in one sitting. It is told in the first person by an observer who knows the invisible man and is appalled by the transformation that is taking place as both drugs and power corrupt his acquaintence's mind.

What is so fun about this book is the pace: you really feel like you are there. It is all realistically imagined, down to the slowness of the undigested food that can still be seen in the invisible's man stomach. This makes the book far better sci-fi than the films, with the possible exception of the one with Claude Rains, which is the best one and the closest to the original novel by far.

In addition to Mary SHelley and Jules Verne, Wells helped to set the standard for all hard sci-fi that followed. Thus, if you like sci-fi as literature, this is a MUST read. But if you want a really fun read, this is also good for that.

Warmly recommended.
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