Books

The Country of the Blind and other Selected Stories

H.G. Wells (and others)

Herbert George Wells was perhaps best known as the author of such classic works of science fiction as The Time Machine and War of the Worlds. But it was in his short stories, written when he was a young man embarking on a literary career, that he first explored the enormous potential of the scientific discoveries of the day. He described his stories as "a miscellany of inventions," yet his enthusiasm for science was tempered by an awareness of its horrifying destructive powers and the threat it could pose to the human race. A consummate storyteller, he made fantastic creatures and machines entirely believable; and, by placing ordinary men and women in extraordinary situations, he explored, with humor, what it means to be alive in a century of rapid scientific progress.

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells (and others)

The first modern tale of alien invasion, H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds remains one of the most influential science fiction novels ever published. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Patrick Parrinder with an introduction by Brian Aldiss, author of Hothouse, and notes by Andy Sawyer.

The night after a shooting star is seen streaking through the sky from Mars, a cylinder is discovered on Horsell Common in London. At first, naïve locals approach the cylinder armed just with a white flag - only to be quickly killed by an all-destroying heat-ray, as terrifying tentacled invaders emerge. Soon the whole of human civilisation is under threat, as powerful Martians build gigantic killing machines, destroy all in their path with black gas and burning rays, and feast on the warm blood of trapped, still-living human prey. The forces of the Earth, however, may prove harder to beat than they at first appear.

The War of the Worlds has been the subject of countless adaptations, including an Orson Welles radio drama which caused mass panic when it was broadcast, with listeners confusing it for a news broadcast heralding alien invasion; a musical version by Jeff Wayne; and, most recently, Steven Spielberg's 2005 film version, starring Tom Cruise. This Penguin Classics edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. The introduction, by Brian Aldiss, considers the novel's view of religion and society.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a professional writer and journalist. Among his most popular works are The Time Machine (1895); The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), filmed with Bela Lugosi in 1932, and again in 1996 with Marlon Brando; The Invisible Man (1897); The War of the Worlds (1898); and The First Men in the Moon (1901), which predicted the first lunar landings.

If you enjoyed The War of the Worlds, you might like Wells's The Time Machine, also available in Penguin Classics.

The Sleeper Awakes

H.G. Wells (and others)

A troubled insomniac in 1890s England falls suddenly into a sleep-like trance, from which he does not awake for over two hundred years. During his centuries of slumber, however, investments are made that make him the richest and most powerful man on Earth. But when he comes out of his trance he is horrified to discover that the money accumulated in his name is being used to maintain a hierarchal society in which most are poor, and more than a third of all people are enslaved. Oppressed and uneducated, the masses cling desperately to one dream - that the sleeper will awake, and lead them all to freedom.

The Invisible Man

H.G. Wells (and others)

Depicting one man's transformation and descent into brutality, H.G. Wells's The Invisible Man is a riveting exploration of science's power to corrupt. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Patrick Parrinder with notes by Andy Sawyer and an introduction by Christopher Priest, author of The Prestige.

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 his old friend Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however - and when Kemp refuses to help, Griffin resolves to wreak his revenge.

This edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes on the text. In his introduction, Christopher Priest considers the novel's impact upon modern literature.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a professional writer and journalist. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. Among his most popular works are The Time Machine (1895); The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), filmed with Bela Lugosi in 1932, and again in 1996 with Marlon Brando; The Invisible Man (1897); The War of the Worlds (1898), which was the subject of an Orson Welles radio adaptation that caused mass panic when it was broadcast, and a 2005 film directed by Stephen Spielberg; and The First Men in the Moon (1901), which predicted the first lunar landings.

If you enjoyed The Invisible Man, you might like Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau, also available in Penguin Classics.

Biography

Andy Sawyer