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Surprisingly lackluster story given the reputation of its eponymous character. I was confused how parochial the whole thing was, how gratuitous and cliched its short jaunt to London, how unconvincing and inconsistent Griffen's motivation. I suppose there are interesting things here about monstrous whiteness rather than invisibility. Just not inspired by the story to pursue it.
An impetuous scientist manages to make himself invisible by interfering with his body’s refractive index. However, on discovering the impossibility of reversing the process, he begins to consider how this new characteristic might have unexpected benefits. Turning to crime, he becomes obsessed with making the most of his invisibility and gradually descends into madness.
Given the plethora of film and TV series based on the book, it was interesting to see what HG Wells originally wrote. I was surprised to see the development of the character from a clever reclusive scientist, into a thoroughly unpleasant villain, though the change makes total sense. The story is mostly told in third-person dramatic, so many of the protagonist’s antics are seen from the point of view of the villagers, the two doctors and the tramp-cum-assistant, Marvel.
A clever and thoughtful tale that explores the social restrictions and accepted behaviour of the time. It also rubber-stamped the author’s talent for writing what was then referred to as ‘scientific romance’, but would eventually become known as science fiction.