Books

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

In the Time Traveller's miraculous new machine, we will be carried from a Victorian dinner table to 802,701 AD, when the Earth is divided between the gentle, ineffective Eloi, and the ape-like Morlocks; forward again by a million years or so to glimpse a dying world of blood-red beaches and menacing shapes; and on again to the last days of our planet, a remote twilight where nothing moves but darkness and a cold wind.

Brilliantly imaginative fiction or the shape of things to come? H.G. Wells's masterpiece still retains its power to provoke and enthral.

The Invisible Man

H.G. Wells

The stranger arrives early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow. He is wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his hat hides every inch of his face. Rude and rough, the stranger works with strange apparatus locked in his room all day and walks along lonely lanes at night, his bandaged face inspiring fear in children and dogs. Is he the mutilated victim of an accident? A criminal on the run? An eccentric genius? But no-one in the village comes close to guessing who has come amongst them, or what those bandages hide.

The Island of Doctor Moreau

H.G. Wells

They say that terror is a disease...

A shipwrecked man finds himself, after various twists of Fate, on a lonely tropical island. From a locked enclosure the cries of animals in pain can be heard, and there is a stink of chemicals in the air. Bestial faces stare out of the forests and grotesque, misshaped creatures move in the gloom. In this island paradise, the horrific experiments of the infamous Doctor Moreau will reach their inevitable conclusion.

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied. Yet across the gulf of space, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

Then, late one night, in the middle of the English countryside, they landed.

The Island of Doctor Moreau

H.G. Wells

'The eyes that glanced at me shone with a pale-green light'

A crazed vivisectionist engineers a new super-breed of monstrous 'Beast Men' on a remote Pacific island, in H. G. Wells's Victorian scientific nightmare of man playing god.

Ten new titles in the colourful, small-format, portable new Pocket Penguins series

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 Shape of Things to Come

H.G. Wells (and others)

When Dr Philip Raven, an intellectual working for the League of Nations, dies in 1930 he leaves behind a powerful legacy - an unpublished 'dream book'. Inspired by visions he has experienced for many years, it appears to be a book written far into the future: a history of humanity from the date of his death up to 2105. The Shape of Things to Come provides this 'history of the future', an account that was in some ways remarkably prescient - predicting climatic disaster and sweeping cultural changes, including a Second World War, the rise of chemical warfare, and political instabilities in the Middle East.

Kipps

H.G. Wells (and others)

Orphaned at an early age, raised by his aunt and uncle, and apprenticed for seven years to a draper, Artie Kipps is stunned to discover upon reading a newspaper advertisement that he is the grandson of a wealthy gentleman - and the inheritor of his fortune. Thrown dramatically into the upper classes, he struggles desperately to learn the etiquette and rules of polite society. But as he soon discovers, becoming a 'true gentleman' is neither as easy nor as desirable as it at first appears.

Love and Mr Lewisham

H.G. Wells (and others)

Young, impoverished and ambitious, science student Mr Lewisham is locked in a struggle to further himself through academic achievement. But when his former sweetheart, Ethel Henderson, re-enters his life his strictly regimented existence is thrown into chaos by the resurgence of old passion. Driven by overwhelming desire, he pursues Ethel passionately, only to find that while she returns his love she also hides a dark secret. For she is involved in a plot of trickery that goes against his firmest beliefs, working as an assistant to her stepfather - a cynical charlatan 'mystic' who earns his living by deluding the weak-willed with sly trickery.

The New Machiavelli

H.G. Wells (and others)

A successful author and Liberal MP with a loving and benevolent wife, Richard Remington appears to be a man to envy. But underneath his superficial contentment, he is far from happy with either his marriage or the politics of his party. The New Machiavelli describes the disarray into which his life is thrown, when he meets the young and beautiful Isabel Rivers and becomes tormented by desire. At first, he struggles to resist and remain focused upon his familiar political, personal and social life. But as he soon learns, it is harder than he could have imagined to turn his back on love.

The War in the Air

H.G. Wells (and others)

Following the development of massive airships, naïve Londoner Bert Smallways becomes accidentally involved in a German plot to invade America by air and reduce New York to rubble. But although bombers devastate the city, they cannot overwhelm the country, and their attack leads not to victory but to the beginning of a new and horrific age for humanity. And so dawns the era of Total War, in which brutal aerial bombardments reduce the great cultures of the twentieth century to nothing. As civilization collapses around the Englishman, now stranded in a ruined America, he clings to only one hope - that he might return to London, and marry the woman he loves.

The Island of Doctor Moreau

H.G. Wells (and others)

A parable on Darwinian theory, and a biting social satire, H.G. Wells's science fiction classic The Island of Dr Moreau is a fascinating exploration of what it is to be human. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Patrick Parrinder with notes by Steven McLean and an introduction by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale.

Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo - a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery's master, the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments - with truly horrific results.

This edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. Margaret Atwood's introduction explores the social and scientific relevance of this influential work.

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 Island of Doctor Moreau, you might like Wells's The Time Machine, also available in Penguin Classics.

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.

Ann Veronica

H.G. Wells (and others)

Twenty-one, passionate and headstrong, Ann Veronica Stanley is determined to live her own life. When her father forbids her from attending a fashionable Ball, she decides she has no choice but to leave her family home and make a fresh start in London. There, she finds a world of intellectuals, socialists, and suffragettes - a place where, as a student in Biology at Imperial College, she can be truly free. But when she meets the brilliant Capes, a married academic, and quickly falls in love, she soon finds that freedom comes at a price.

Tono-Bungay

H.G. Wells (and others)

Presented as a miraculous cure-all, Tono-Bungay is in fact nothing other than a pleasant-tasting liquid with no positive effects. Nonetheless, when the young George Ponderevo is employed by his Uncle Edward to help market this ineffective medicine, he finds his life overwhelmed by its sudden success. Soon, the worthless substance is turned into a formidable fortune, as society becomes convinced of the merits of Tono-Bungay through a combination of skilled advertising and public credulity. As the newly rich George discovers, however, there is far more to class in England than merely the possession of wealth.

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells (and others)

A seminal and hugely imaginative work of early science fiction, H.G. Wells's The Time Machine is the first and greatest modern portrayal of time-travel, edited by Patrick Parrinder with an introduction by Marina Warner and notes by Steven McLean in Penguin Classics.

When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. But they have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity - the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels, if he is ever to return to his own era.

This edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. Marina Warner's introduction considers Wells's development of the 'scientific romance' and places the novel in the context of its times.

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 Time Machine, you might like Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, also available in Penguin Classics.

The First Men in the Moon

H.G. Wells (and others)

When penniless businessman Mr Bedford retreats to the Kent coast to write a play, he meets by chance the brilliant Dr Cavor, an absent-minded scientist on the brink of developing a material that blocks gravity. Cavor soon succeeds in his experiments, only to tell a stunned Bedford the invention makes possible one of the oldest dreams of humanity: a journey to the moon. With Bedford motivated by money, and Cavor by the desire for knowledge, the two embark on the expedition. But neither are prepared for what they find - a world of freezing nights, boiling days and sinister alien life, on which they may be trapped forever.

The History of Mr Polly

H.G. Wells (and others)

Mr Polly is an ordinary middle-aged man who is tired of his wife's nagging and his dreary job as the owner of a regional gentleman's outfitters. Faced with the threat of bankruptcy, he concludes that the only way to escape his frustrating existence is by burning his shop to the ground, and killing himself. Unexpected events, however, conspire at the last moment to lead the bewildered Mr Polly to a bright new future - after he saves a life, fakes his death, and escapes to a life of heroism, hope and ultimate happiness.

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

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent, England, on September 21, 1866. His father was a professional cricketer and sometime shopkeeper, his mother a former lady's maid. Although "Bertie" left school at fourteen to become a draper's apprentice (a life he detested), he later won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, where he studied with the famous Thomas Henry Huxley. He began to sell articles and short stories regularly in 1893.

In 1895, his immediately successful novel rescued him from a life of penury on a schoolteacher's salary. His other "scientific romances" - The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), and The War in the Air (1908) - won him distinction as the father of science fiction.

Henry James saw in Wells the most gifted writer of the age, but Wells, having coined the phrase "the war that will end war" to describe World War I, became increasingly disillusioned and focused his attention on educating mankind with his bestselling Outline of History (1920) and his later utopian works. Living until 1946, Wells witnessed a world more terrible than any of his imaginative visions, and he bitterly observed: "Reality has taken a leaf from my book and set itself to supercede me."