Sometimes reading classics I feel a bit like a seven year old trying on her mother’s make-up and high heels – that I’m attempting something that is a little beyond me at the moment. However, HG Wells has this way of writing that feels like you’re listening to someone talk rather than reading. This natural style means the pages just fly by and before I knew it I had finished one of the classic science-fiction stories of all time.
As is frequently the case, the original story of the Invisible Man is different from the various TV and film versions I’ve seen over the years (although I can now appreciate Kevin Bacon’s Hollow Man as being close to the source material!). The story actually starts in the middle and moves to near the end before flashing back to see how it all began. What comes through is how different the invisible man is – he feels superior to other people and looks down on them enabling to injure with impunity. In fact most of the time he isn’t named – just referred to as the invisible – it is only when referring to periods when he is visible that he is named.
Although a relatively short book there is plenty of excitement and adventure to keep most people happy and more philosophical ponderings for those wanting some pop with their snap and crackle. However, the lack a relatable hero to root for leaves you feeling as disconnected from the mayhem as the invisible man is. There are few characters that appealed to me and I was left feeling like this was more an intellectual exercise than an emotional one. But overall, I think I'm starting to grow into those high heels...I may even be able to walk them! :-)
Recommended for fans Issac Asimov and Alistair Reynolds. 7 out of 10