INVISIBLE MAN

Universal Pictures

What's the story?

This Friday sees the release of the long-awaited movie adaptation of HG Well’s The Invisible Man. Starring Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Universal Pictures’ interpretation of the 1897 sci-fi classic is giving an old tale a fresh feel: it’s an R-rated horror with a female focus.

What's the book?

A mysterious stranger arrives at a country inn during a fierce snowstorm. His face is wrapped in bandages, his eyes are hidden by dark glasses and he is wearing gloves… even indoors. At first locals assume he is the victim of a terrible accident. But soon, strange things begin to occur about the village.

H.G. Wells – the godfather of modern-day science fiction – wrote The Invisible Man in 1897. Yet its themes of greed, madness and science’s power to corrupt feel as pertinent now as they did then.

The story follows Griffin, a scientist who invents a serum that can alter the human body's refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light, turning him invisible. But, as he grows drunk on his new power, greed takes hold, then murder, followed by a bitter madness. It is a thrilling read that deserves its reputation as one of the greatest sci-fi horrors ever written.

Footnote

In 1913, the eccentric Soviet physicist Yakov I Perelman pointed out in Physics for Entertainment that if HG Wells had followed the rules of physics, the Invisible Man would be blind, because the human eye works by absorbing light, not allowing it to pass straight through.  

  • The Invisible Man

    The Penguin English Library

  • The Penguin English Library Edition of The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

    'People screamed. People sprang off the pavement ... "The Invisible Man is coming! The Invisible Man!"'

    With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin - the new guest at The Coach and Horses - is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however - and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.

    The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

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