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Preface by H.G. Wells In the Days of the Comet The Invisible Man The Island of Dr. Moreau The Time Machine The War of the Worlds The First Men in the Moon The Food of the Gods


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Preface by H.G. Wells In the Days of the Comet The Invisible Man The Island of Dr. Moreau The Time Machine The War of the Worlds The First Men in the Moon The Food of the Gods

30 review for The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H.G. Wells

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    This edition is sexy. Unlike another reviewer who said this is dated, that is just what is so lovely about H.G. Wells. Good vintage sci-fi not only tells a good story, but acts as a time capsule to reveal the views and concerns of a generation. Even the writing style is very revealing. So, if you do prefer to feel like you are sitting on the edge of your seat, Wells is not for you. If you weird enough to enjoy feeling like you are eavesdropping on your ancestors, this book is awesome. Did I ment This edition is sexy. Unlike another reviewer who said this is dated, that is just what is so lovely about H.G. Wells. Good vintage sci-fi not only tells a good story, but acts as a time capsule to reveal the views and concerns of a generation. Even the writing style is very revealing. So, if you do prefer to feel like you are sitting on the edge of your seat, Wells is not for you. If you weird enough to enjoy feeling like you are eavesdropping on your ancestors, this book is awesome. Did I mention that is really sexy looking?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    Of the seven novels included in this omnibus, I've read three over the course of time: The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau and The War of the Worlds. The first and third, in separate, standalone editions initially. This volume has become my usual reading before going to bed as I endeavor to complete the collection. As of writing this note, I'm in the middle of The First Men in the Moon [November 2020]. As long as you can deal with the fact that H.G. was a white, male, European writer of his Of the seven novels included in this omnibus, I've read three over the course of time: The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau and The War of the Worlds. The first and third, in separate, standalone editions initially. This volume has become my usual reading before going to bed as I endeavor to complete the collection. As of writing this note, I'm in the middle of The First Men in the Moon [November 2020]. As long as you can deal with the fact that H.G. was a white, male, European writer of his time, the stories are entertaining and there is a certain fascination with seeing what constituted a "hero" in the late Victorian era. I was struck particularly with the cruel, heartless pragmatism of the "hero" of Dr. Moreau. And, for whatever reason, I still find the final words of WotW moving: "And strangest of all is it to hold my wife's hand again, and to think that I have counted her, and that she has counted me, among the dead."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    After reading other readers review of this collection of 7 stories -- I am definitely in the minority with how I rate it. Yes, it was worth reading and I am glad I read the stories ("The Time Machine", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", "The Invisible Man", "The War of the Worlds", "The First Men in the Moon", "The Food of the Gods" and "In the Days of the Comet"). However, I did find Wells style very static and dated. Static in the way he does not introduce much dialogue in characters. Most of the sto After reading other readers review of this collection of 7 stories -- I am definitely in the minority with how I rate it. Yes, it was worth reading and I am glad I read the stories ("The Time Machine", "The Island of Dr. Moreau", "The Invisible Man", "The War of the Worlds", "The First Men in the Moon", "The Food of the Gods" and "In the Days of the Comet"). However, I did find Wells style very static and dated. Static in the way he does not introduce much dialogue in characters. Most of the stories are in a narrative form offered by the main character, and most of the stories wander into side items that don't truly propel the story along. All of the stories are well meant with the protagonist mainly of intentions offering political sensibility of the time as well as some thought provoking attitudes on class structures. My favorite story of the seven was what other readers typically have pointed as Wells weakest of the seven stories. I truly liked "In the Days of the Comet," and mainly for one reason, it offered the most in what could be looked at as dialogue, and it offered a female character. Most of the other stories are told by males, with just a random mention to women. I found this as odd in span of the other 6 stories. Not that an adventure (SciFi or other genre) requires a love interest to make it a good story. I mean if that was the case, I guess I would reading Fabio style Harlequin romances (I always joke with my wife that Danielle Steel -- in that "he" is her favorite author!). I just felt that I needed some dialogue, and I needed some heart. I mean, I had read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables (unabridged 1400 page version), and loved the side stories and the richness and the main characters (both male and female). As a whole that book was completely rewarding and was "great!" As for Wells style, maybe the true lover's of SciFi novels are use to the narrative style, I was not. So my endorsement is that if you want to say you have read these classic stories and mark them off your 'bucket' list of stories read -- then by all means read this book. For me however it was sort of...dry. (long review, but I deserve it after reading a very long collection of stories!)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    The Time Machine: 4* The Invisible Man: 4* The Island of Dr Moreau: 4* The War of the Worlds: 4.5* The First Men in the Moon: 4.5* The Food of the Gods: 4* In the Days of the Comet: 4*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leelan

    Bought the book to read "Food of the Gods". It's very different from how I remember it from reading it in the Seventies. Their is almost no real science fiction. It's all politics and social strife that comes from science that is more like magical fantasy. So it was a bit disappointing. Not only that. But it was disheartening to find out that Books-A-Million does not in fact have a million books. Nor do they keep classics like the books of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne in stock. And, even worse, the Bought the book to read "Food of the Gods". It's very different from how I remember it from reading it in the Seventies. Their is almost no real science fiction. It's all politics and social strife that comes from science that is more like magical fantasy. So it was a bit disappointing. Not only that. But it was disheartening to find out that Books-A-Million does not in fact have a million books. Nor do they keep classics like the books of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne in stock. And, even worse, the staff of the bookstore do not stock shelves in anything like alphabetical order. It took a divining rod to find even one book by H.G. Wells. You would think that "Wells" would be among the "W"'s, wouldn't you? It was somewhere near the "L"'s. Oy vey . . .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    *While technically this is one of seven stories in a single volume, due to the amount of time it is taking me to finish the last story and the fact that each story is a novel in its own right, I have made the not-very-carefully considered decision to review each tale individually. I made the equally-carefully-considered decision to start with the second story in the book, because I can. The Island of Dr Moreau A creepy, disturbing story that has as much horror as science fiction, The Island of Dr *While technically this is one of seven stories in a single volume, due to the amount of time it is taking me to finish the last story and the fact that each story is a novel in its own right, I have made the not-very-carefully considered decision to review each tale individually. I made the equally-carefully-considered decision to start with the second story in the book, because I can. The Island of Dr Moreau A creepy, disturbing story that has as much horror as science fiction, The Island of Dr Moreau explores the separation between humans and animals, ways to bridge that gap, the importance of ethics, and the limitations of behaviour modification. Cruelty to animals is a common theme throughout the narrative, if this is something you find deeply distressing I would skip this book entirely. It also has the standard level of racism for a book published in 1896, always a fun addition to any narrative. One of the things I did appreciate, and did not expect in the story, was Wells' consideration of the mental state of his narrator upon his return to society. Edward Prendick does not leave Moreau's island unchanged. To my untrained mind, it sounds as if his experience has left him with PTSD, although surely this book was written long before anyone coined the phrase. It adds an element of realism to a surreal tale of scientific discovery, ethics, and horror. The Time Machine One of the most well known HG Wells novels, The Time Machine is a story narrated to our narrator at a dinner party hosted by the inventor of said machine, after his weeks-long, mysterious disappearance and equally concerning return. Hosting skeptics and believers alike, he attempts to persuade them that he has in fact just returned from a trip to the far distant future, a world filled with beings barely recognizable as our descendants, and a whole second-class society tucked literally underground, representing simultaneously the oppressed working class agitating for change and a nebulous threat aiming to destroy society from within. I guess depending on your perspective both can be true; if you're part of the upper class and your position, power, and wealth depend on keeping the people beneath you exactly where they are with no more than what they already have, anyone pushing to reform that is "destroying society from within." These themes crop up repeatedly throughout Wells' works, although his attitudes towards them seem to change. The pastoral society Wells' protagonist travels to also resembles something pulled from a distant, bucolic past. There are no vast cities. The skies are devoid of cars/airplanes/carriages. Technology of any sort seems to be completely lacking and there is an unsettling dichotomy between an egalitarian-seeming, vegan upper class and the shunned, feared, carnivorous denizens of the nether world who appear to be responsible for the actual labour keeping the utopia...utopic. Disappointingly, rather than investigate the caste system the time traveller prefers to go exploring, set a bunch of stuff on fire, and then come home. That brings me to The Time Machine's most important lesson. One which is still relevant today: never leave your campfire unattended. The Invisible Man Having existed without having read hardly any HG Wells or having had much experience with his works (until very recently), I nevertheless managed to form some impression of the plot of a couple of his most famous works: The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man. Both of my impressions were completely wrong and bore no resemblance to either book, which has been weirdly disappointing and may have resulted in my not appreciating the stories as much as I would have had I been able to come to them with a clean slate and unformed expectations. But, here we are. The Invisible Man is another story crafted, it seems, to showcase the mediocre awfulness of the average man. It drops us in the middle of the plot when a strange guest arrives at a small town inn requesting a very private room, private meals, and remains constantly bundled even in the summer weather. As though he's hiding the ravages of leprosy. Shockingly, under his scarves and gloves and glasses lie not someone afflicted with leprosy, but someone who brewed an elixir granting them near-perfect invisibility and who realized too late he stopped his studies prematurely; after losing his original recipe and realizing he has failed to also craft an antidote. Finding invisibility less useful under these circumstances than he had hoped, he turns to crime. Robbery. Violence. Get-rich-quick schemes. While not a rollicking adventure by today's standards, The Invisible Man is still a good read. (Even if I still wish it was completely different.) It's easy to imagine the readers of yesteryear being glued to the page. And carefully bolting their doors at night so the invisible man can't sneak in to steal the silverware. The First Men in the Moon (Yes, the title is accurate. It's still weirding me out, but it makes sense when you read the book. Which you can. If you want. I guess.) Twenty pages, when I count it, seems like a perfectly reasonable chunk of paper to allow for background and build up. Mr Bedford and Mr Cavor are going to the moon, after all. Surely we can allow them more than a few paragraphs to invent the method of travel which will take them there. In practice? Twenty pages became a barely tolerable burden. They blew up a house? Great. Don't care. Issues with their assistants? Well, it's 1901 so they're probably mad that you treat them like expendable crap and pay them a pittance, cut that out and they'll probably quit whining. Let's. Get. To. The. Moon! And we did. And it was weird. Wells was able to allow for the length of time it takes to travel to the moon - approximately three days, rather than a couple of hours - but pictured a completely fantastical landscape and society. Flora and fauna. An atmosphere. Like The Time Machine, we see the structure of this world only in glimpses until a clash of circumstance and egos separates our travellers and gives one of them an in-depth tour of this bizarre place. Mostly what struck me were things I don't believe Wells intended to be the take-away points of this story. Things like supporting characters with forced accents. The way Bedford and Cavor converse entirely in half-sentences. Bedford's intolerable cowardice and selfishness; by the end of the book I saw him almost as an anti-hero, I disagreed so deeply with the decisions he made. Again, this book was nothing like what I expected it to be and I think, if I had known in advance what it was going to be like, I would have skipped it entirely. If you are a huge fan of HG Wells or early sci fi I would definitely support you reading The First Men in the Moon, but if you aren't this is certainly one I think you could skip without guilt. The Food of the Gods Of the lesser known works by Wells, The Food of the Gods was the one I found most enjoyable. A mix of somewhat successful satire and social commentary, The Food of the Gods imagines a miracle substance which, when added to any being's dietary intake, produces incredible, unstoppable physical growth until the end of puberty. It appears to be addictive. Once something has started consuming the Food of the Gods it is a required part of the diet until growth is completed and Wells suggests that premature cessation would result in death. It's hard to be sure, as I'll explain further in a minute. The scientists who invented this miraculous goop, which they refer to as Herakleophorbia IV, envision it solving world hunger; to this end they hire a couple of farmers to feed it to chickens and track their growth. Unfortunately for the world these farmers are slobs. Improperly stored and handled Herakleophorbia is quickly ingested by every living creature around the farm, resulting in plagues of giant wasps, rats big enough to kill a horse, and stinging nettles the size of trees. And of course a couple people feed it to children. This is where the addictive aspect shows up; while non-human subjects don't seem to require a stable supply children fed Herakleophorbia get very upset when the concerned parent - only too happy to experiment on them mere weeks ago when they were a normal sized baby - stops dosing them. Eventually the constantly screaming child forces a return to the required dosage. Naturally, word gets out about this creation - dubbed "Boomfood" by the press - and uproar results. The final half of the novel revolves around the societal and class issues that crop up once there is a race of giants scattered around the globe: how are they to be fed? Housed? Clothed? Should they be treated as equals or used as a source of incredibly powerful manual labour and made into slaves? The last goes over about as well as you'd think and sparks a war between the now adult giants and the remnants of humanity. Wells declines to resolve these issues and leaves us on the brink of a complete overhaul of humanity. Or perhaps its destruction. That kind of felt like a cop-out, personally I love when an author tidies up all the loose ends, but it really makes The Food of the Gods feel especially relevant in today's climate of social and political upheaval. Here's hoping for a happy ending. In the Days of the Comet Despite being less than 200 pages, In the Days of the Comet took me over a month to read. I actively avoided it. Wells employs his now standard method of having the narrator relate to us a story told to him via another man's memoirs; in this case the narrator appears to have been teleported to a distant time and place where a kindly gentleman has just completed the aforementioned memoirs and is more than happy to allow this total stranger access to his account of a time of great upheaval in the world, namely the days immediately following the atmospheric impact of a mysterious green comet, for months prior growing larger in the sky. It effects a miraculous change on all of humanity with only a few hours of unconsciousness. Quite unfortunate if you were swimming or driving or manning a factory but I guess even visitors who come in peace should be allowed a few casualties. The kindly gentleman talks a lot about how he used to believe it was incredibly unfair that his girlfriend fell in love with someone else. So it's nice that the comet makes him stop thinking that, even if the whole scenario is weirdly anti-climactic. Wells wrote a story where a magical comet wipes all prejudice, selfishness, and cruelty off the face of the earth and still manages to make the dawn of a society of perfect equality and peace quite dull. Personally, once you get to the part where everyone wakes up after the comet lands, you may as well just stop. Nothing much happens. Save yourself the time. Everything works out quite nicely and some people even have open relationships, a discovery that rubs the narrator the wrong way but doesn't actually go anywhere. I feel like I should have been impressed, but it was like this story got published when it was still in the draft stage. Please excuse me, I'm gonna go read something trashy. With a plot.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shad

    We love these books from Barnes and Noble. Time Machine - I think it was interesting and was surprised to read that this was the first instance of a time machine in a novel. The Island of Dr. Moreau - I don't mind the religious overtones, mostly since I don't believe they correlate with my own. I think the book is interesting and rewarding, offering insights and thought-provoking ideas. The Invisible Man - It is probably difficult to appreciate now how novel Wells' ideas really were at the time. I We love these books from Barnes and Noble. Time Machine - I think it was interesting and was surprised to read that this was the first instance of a time machine in a novel. The Island of Dr. Moreau - I don't mind the religious overtones, mostly since I don't believe they correlate with my own. I think the book is interesting and rewarding, offering insights and thought-provoking ideas. The Invisible Man - It is probably difficult to appreciate now how novel Wells' ideas really were at the time. I did like the perspective on how men react to power (though, I am a bit more optimistic than Wells). It seems his books became more and more satircal and less and less about science fiction, though that seems always to have been a part of science fiction. Maybe that's why so many write and read science fiction - because they are unsatisfied with what this world presents. I thought some of the social commentary was interesting, though reading became more of a chore in the later books. Of course, not being a fan of certain types of "progressivism" or any type of socialism or "sexual liberation", I found many of his veiled arguments distasteful (not to mention lacking in foundation and reason).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    When I think science fiction, I think H.G. Wells. What a creative man. My dad and I were at the bookstore one day, and I came across this collection, my dad told me I would probably enjoy it. Man...Was he right. Each story is so different, interesting, and a masterpiece in their own right. If you read science fiction, you have to read this collection. This is a book you buy, and keep, reas it, and pass it down. Just awesome. So glad I still have my copy proudly on my bookshelf.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nathanielk

    HG Wells was way ahead of his time. Very little that is bad in this book, except may Year of the Comet. Food of the Gods is a very well written book. Time Machine is ground-breaking. War of the Worlds and Island of Doctor Moreau are better than their movies. From Earth to the Moon is almost prophetic of Apollo in many of its details.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    There is no point in me providing a detailed critique of each of the individual novels in this omnibus edition of Wells' early science fiction books. They are, with the probable exception of 'The Food of the Gods' and 'In The Days of the Comet', extremely well known texts that have been discussed by thousands over the century or so since they were first published. Having said that, and as this is about the fourth or fifth time I have read these individual stories (in the case of 'The War of the W There is no point in me providing a detailed critique of each of the individual novels in this omnibus edition of Wells' early science fiction books. They are, with the probable exception of 'The Food of the Gods' and 'In The Days of the Comet', extremely well known texts that have been discussed by thousands over the century or so since they were first published. Having said that, and as this is about the fourth or fifth time I have read these individual stories (in the case of 'The War of the Worlds' maybe another few times on top of that), I would argue that some of the novels are much stronger than others, and there are issues I have picked up that were not so obvious to me in the past. First off, it is clear that Wells often was more focused on the idea or ideas that he wished to examine through the artifice of a story, rather than writing a fully realised novel that is multilayered in terms of character or narrative. In my opinion the better novellas are those that are not so ideologically or thematically simplistic. For example, 'In The Days of the Comet' is a early socialist utopian novel that at times reads like a bad romance. 'War of the Worlds', classic as it is, still has issues regarding the narrative continuity and under-developed protagonist. 'Food of the Gods' is a rather uneven tale that veers into an unresolved silly fable having spent far too much time in the opening chapters focused on the science of 'Boom Food'. 'The Time Machine' is also rather shallow. Having said all this, almost all of the novels herein are significant texts both in terms of Wells' career and the development of science fiction as a genre. 'The Food of the Gods' and 'In the Days of the Comet' are far less important books; to be honest if one wanted a better representation of Wells' corpus perhaps one of his social romances ('Tono Bungay', 'Ann Veronica', 'Kipps', 'The History of Mr Polly') could have been included instead of those two books. However the publishers decided that they wanted to focus on Wells' science fiction novels and that has led to the inclusion of these lesser works. as I said before, this is not the first time I read this omnibus edition. However I was able to note this time around certain aspects of each novel that I had missed before. for example, in 'In The days of the Comet' Wells makes a rather obnoxious anti-semitic statement. In 'The War of the Worlds' the narration is seriously flawed. My opinion of 'The First Men in the Moon' has been elevated, whereas I found 'The Invisible man' less laudable than before. Tat this edition of so many Wells' novels may still be available is a good thing, and if you want to read these works I have no hesitations in giving my recommendation. However I have some issues with the novels selected, and at over 800 pages it may be more more engaging that the reader looks for the individual novels.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    I had only read a couple of HG Wells’s science fiction works in condensed versions as a child, but it is impossible to escape a certain awareness of at least four of them, as woven as they are into the fabric of our popular culture. 'The Time Machine,' 'The Island of Doctor Moreau,' 'The Invisible Man,' 'The War of the Worlds' – even if you haven’t read these novellas, you very likely know their essences. A big reason for this is the purity of their concepts. As a pioneer in speculative fiction, I had only read a couple of HG Wells’s science fiction works in condensed versions as a child, but it is impossible to escape a certain awareness of at least four of them, as woven as they are into the fabric of our popular culture. 'The Time Machine,' 'The Island of Doctor Moreau,' 'The Invisible Man,' 'The War of the Worlds' – even if you haven’t read these novellas, you very likely know their essences. A big reason for this is the purity of their concepts. As a pioneer in speculative fiction, Wells homed in on pure premises (“What if we could travel through time?” “What if the distinction between humans and animals was willfully blurred?” “What if we could turn invisible?” “What if an alien race arrived, who were too powerful to be withstood?”), and like Gogol’s overcoat, they – along with the work of Jules Verne and perhaps Hugo Gernsback – seeded an entire new genre in fiction. When I came across a beautiful volume of Wells’s collected science fiction (there are three additional titles that are not as well known), it was a great opportunity to properly acquaint myself with Wells. I am particularly glad I did so in this manner, because Wells’s science fiction novels make an even stronger impression when taken collectively and in chronological order. The evolution of his ideas, his skill, and his capacity as a writer add another layer to the enjoyment of any of the stories in isolation. 'The Time Machine' is a striking debut, rough around the edges but profoundly strange. The “science” of the machine is dispensed with rather quickly, and the impression is that Wells’s true intent was to speculate on the evolution (or devolution, as it may be) of humans as organisms and as a society. He creates a secular, Darwinian, and even Marxist future in which homo sapien has bifurcated into a surface species and a subterranean one, whose relationship turns out to be not that complicated. The lingering influence of the detritus of earlier civilization has resulted in strange, talismanic echoes that shape the behavior of the surface people as they fail to realize its pointlessness. Most interesting, though, is Wells’s seeming discomfort with gender – Weena, a member of the surface people, is female but interacts more on the level of a child and even a pet, making her an extremely uncomfortable romantic foil for the narrator. 'The Island of Doctor Moreau' is in many ways a recapitulation of The Time Machine. This time it is a destination in geography rather than time that affords Wells his speculative opportunity, but in both cases, a male narrator winds up in an isolated place and encounters a provocative alternative to the norms of his own world. Wells takes even stronger positions on the fragility of civilization, stressing how easily it can erode at any time. Authority may derive from something real, but it can just as easily be arbitrary and insubstantial. There is an echo here of Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein (in Moreau) and an interesting prefiguring of Renfield (in Montgomery) in Bram Stoker’s 'Dracula,' published the following year. To the modern reader, the narrator’s relative comfort with animal vivisection may be the most disturbing element, though apparently the novel served as a catalyst for anti-vivisectionist sentiment in the years after its publication. 'The Invisible Man' is the first of Wells’s works to attain a literary quality, its conceptual ideas rounded out with psychological depth and thematic nuance. There are passing references to both The Time Machine (an aside about the fourth dimension) and Doctor Moreau (an aside about vivisection), and one is practically asked to take a structuralist view of the way these stories represent an evolution. The greater impact of this third story may also derive from its more familiar setting – the invisible man is the only anomaly. As such, Griffin’s complete miscalculation (in developing a power with a serious downside), and the impotent rage and borderline mental instability it engenders in him makes the lasting impression. By The War of the Worlds, one senses Wells increasing confidence. He increases his scope dramatically, describing a conflict that ranges over a larger landscape with more characters and greater detail. Perhaps by coincidence, the “science” in this fiction is much less compelling than in the previous three stories. Both the technology and the biology of the Martians is rather absurd, but again, that’s not really Wells’s primary focus. Most interesting is the soldier encountered by the narrator late in the conflict, who has envisioned the new world order once the human race has capitulated and is subservient to the Martians. He predicts a reasonably comfortable existence within certain boundaries, at the same time that he lapses into the baser instincts that will render him useless to the invaders. This secondary character might be the most complex of Wells’s constructions thus far. 'The First Men in the Moon' feels like the first real misstep for Wells. It is very much a diluted amalgam of previous stories (the alien race of 'Time Machine,' the futile rage brought on by useless power in the 'Invisible Man,' and the conflict between invader/invaded from 'War of the Worlds') and wades back into a rather heavy-handed treatment of how civilization might evolve along different lines – those lines amounting to an extreme socialism in which the moon people might as well be worker bees in a hive. This book also suffers from an ungainly structure, especially once the rather engrossing first eighty percent is revealed to be the set-up for the much flatter socialist fantasy at the end. 'The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth' returns Wells to his footing and carries him forward. It is as speculative as the previous works, but must subtler, and not nearly as political, despite its political subplot. There are interesting new elements to Wells’s writing here: a light comedic humor particularly at the beginning, a much more ambiguous ending, and most interestingly, the use of allegory. Ultimately Food of the Gods is about the classic generation gap, in which parents work so their children will have more than they did, and then are tempted to resent their children when they see them go further, accomplish more, and threaten the old ways simply by perceiving alternatives. 'In the Days of the Comet,' published eleven years after 'The Time Machine,' is a full order of magnitude greater than that first work. It is the most literary, and on the whole the most subtle of the novels, even as the undercurrent of Wells’s politics finally surfaces completely. It begins with his most assured, most compelling rendering of a character – Willie Leadford, the angry young man who is on his downward spiral as the comet approaches. And Wells has also achieved a new level of control over his plot, finding for the very first time romantic notes in what has heretofore been a notably sexless and un-erotic canon. The hybrid utopia/communism brought about by the comet’s changes to the Earth’s atmosphere is a touch naïve, but Wells has woven his story so skillfully that for the first time the politics feel truly organic, rather than an indulgence. Most interesting might be his take on the new, post-Change interpersonal dynamics, which include polyamory. A month spent with Wells provides a stimulating history lesson on speculative fiction, and it’s easy to see why so many speculative writers find him a tonic in which to distill their ideas. It is easy to admire the purity of his premises, and instructive to realize that the heart of his stories is invariably the human experience, not the science fiction.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ogden Jones

    This rating is based on the average of all 7 novels. Some were not all that interesting. They are all science fiction. They were all written between 1895 and 1906. The ones written earlier I tended to like more. The best were The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The War of the Worlds. These are all very good and still readable today. If it were just those three stories, this review would be 3 or 4 stars. I found the premise of The Invisible Man not that interesting. I remember having This rating is based on the average of all 7 novels. Some were not all that interesting. They are all science fiction. They were all written between 1895 and 1906. The ones written earlier I tended to like more. The best were The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The War of the Worlds. These are all very good and still readable today. If it were just those three stories, this review would be 3 or 4 stars. I found the premise of The Invisible Man not that interesting. I remember having seen it as a horror movie as a child. The Time Machine is also a pretty famous 1930s movie. The First Men in the Moon suffers from history having overtaken the novel. We've been there. There are no moon men living underground. But, if you can get past the silliness, it does have a plot of sorts that keeps you somewhat interested. The last two are very political and not all that interesting. The Food of the Gods is a farce and political satire about a new race of giants. Parts are funny, but it really drags. In the Time of the Comet he uses the comet as a device to lead into his ideas on utopian society. After the comet hits everyone magically changes, forgets about class distinctions, and forms a new socialist society. The ideas are interesting, but somehow the novel is not. Ironically, in the preface Wells says to start with the third novel (Invisible Man), because the first two - Time Machine and Dr. Moreau are not that good. I beg to differ. Those stories are among his best.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Lawson

    War of the Worlds - quintessential science fiction, one of the defining novels of the genre in the 19th century. [5/5] Time Machine - another absolute classic with imaginative speculation about the future and sophisticated thought into future societal structures. [5/5] Invisible Man - More of a social novel yet fantastic. [4.5/5] Island of Dr. Moreau - intriguing story with a great twist and plenty of fodder for bioethical debate. [4.7/5] First Men in the Moon - I like pre-1969 books about the Moon. War of the Worlds - quintessential science fiction, one of the defining novels of the genre in the 19th century. [5/5] Time Machine - another absolute classic with imaginative speculation about the future and sophisticated thought into future societal structures. [5/5] Invisible Man - More of a social novel yet fantastic. [4.5/5] Island of Dr. Moreau - intriguing story with a great twist and plenty of fodder for bioethical debate. [4.7/5] First Men in the Moon - I like pre-1969 books about the Moon. This one is imaginative both in the device of transport and the flora/fauna of the moon. [4.0/5] Food of the Gods - This one is pretty lame and suffers from Wells's failure to account for the mass square law. The social commentary was mediocre and the engineer was the best character. [3.0/5] Days of the Comet - comet hits earth and turns it into a socialist paradise. The book kept building up "the Change" but ended up being anticlimactic. Well developed characters, though. [3.3/5] Composite Score: 4.2/5

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Dunmire

    I tried. I read The Island of Dr. Moreau, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man (many years ago), and some of The Time Machine. After that sampling, I can say I am not a fan of HG Wells. He has a similar style about all of them—no character development, sets up an improbable explanation for improbable science (like how I felt when reading Frankenstein), 1st person objective narrative, and plodding plot. I can appreciate the imaginative writing in its time and the horror vibe along with sci-fi, bu I tried. I read The Island of Dr. Moreau, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man (many years ago), and some of The Time Machine. After that sampling, I can say I am not a fan of HG Wells. He has a similar style about all of them—no character development, sets up an improbable explanation for improbable science (like how I felt when reading Frankenstein), 1st person objective narrative, and plodding plot. I can appreciate the imaginative writing in its time and the horror vibe along with sci-fi, but it’s just not enjoyable to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Shaner

    Great book to have, if just to be able to have some great stories in one easy to carry book. I checked out a very early copy that had that '1970's' hardcover conversion/update done to it back in the day. It's ugly as sin, but it was a great weekend read, with those beautiful old pages and that glorious antique smell that hides inside all old books. Great book to have, if just to be able to have some great stories in one easy to carry book. I checked out a very early copy that had that '1970's' hardcover conversion/update done to it back in the day. It's ugly as sin, but it was a great weekend read, with those beautiful old pages and that glorious antique smell that hides inside all old books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    BookBec

    I enjoyed many of these classics, but In the Days of the Comet was a real slog. My library copy (Dover Publications) didn't include the introduction that other reviewers refer to; I wish it did. I enjoyed many of these classics, but In the Days of the Comet was a real slog. My library copy (Dover Publications) didn't include the introduction that other reviewers refer to; I wish it did.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie

    I will review this book along with the book Blood Work by Holly Tucker

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Keen

    I love Well's science fiction and how ahead of his time he was. I love Well's science fiction and how ahead of his time he was.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marika

    I'm actually reading the 1934 edition (first US printing) of this collection, set in a rather unusual two-column format. I don't know that I will read all seven stories, but classic Sci-fi just felt right for the first read of the summer. And it has been whispering to me from the shelf by the pool table triangle for so long now. Every evening when Chris and I play our usual cocktail hour best of three, it beckons me with its heft, its rough faded green binding and smoooooth tissue thin pages, it I'm actually reading the 1934 edition (first US printing) of this collection, set in a rather unusual two-column format. I don't know that I will read all seven stories, but classic Sci-fi just felt right for the first read of the summer. And it has been whispering to me from the shelf by the pool table triangle for so long now. Every evening when Chris and I play our usual cocktail hour best of three, it beckons me with its heft, its rough faded green binding and smoooooth tissue thin pages, its promise of "old book" smell. I could no longer resist its siren call. (sorry, could not figure out how to work in sense of taste without going really overboard). First up, The Time Machine. 5 stars. I have a vague sense of the plot of this story from a movie I must have seen years ago. And of course, the movie must have been quite different, so a corner of my mind was always struggling with these half formed contradictions. But that is not the fault of the original, so full 5 stars! Actually, I found the plot of the story to be the secondary element. More interesting was the Time Traveller's evolving hypotheses on the world that greeted him in the year 802,701. His 1890s understanding of humanity had to be dismantled element by element before he could accurately grasp this future world. As a true scientist, he embraced each new understanding as it came, and would chastise himself each time a bias would slip into his theories. The Time Traveller was likeable and believable. HG Wells' future vision was handled with a light touch. Although descriptive passages were needed to set the scene, this did not feel like a lecture or dissertation like many utopian / dystopian stories can. Wells created enough surprises and interesting but believable twists to make it feel like a truly new world, without getting carried away. The Time Traveller remained the focus of the story, as he should. Good Sci Fi isn't about the the science. Like all good fiction, it's still about the person. I'm up for another ... The Island of Dr Moreau, perhaps? The Island of Dr. Moreau. 5 stars Started a little slow, but then it picked up nicely. If you rewrote Dr. Moreau as a gene-splicer rather than a vivisectionist, you would have a current day plot with current event topicality. The theme, again, is really about humanity. The line between human and beast is a little blurrier and a lot thinner than we may think ... So, was Dr. Moreau the original mad scientist living on a deserted island with a volcano at its center, and with an odd, lisping assistant? It's funny when something is SUCH a cliche that even the (possibly) original upon which all others are based makes you roll your eyes. Someone had to be the first... I am skipping The Invisible Man. 3 stars. I read it awhile ago. I recall the main character did entirely too much yelling and crashing about. But, War of the Worlds? can't pass up that one ... Wow. War of the Worlds Can I give 6 stars? That was so interesting to read from the perspective of a jumping-off point in literature. It seems all alien invasion stories are in some fashion derivative of this story. So well thought out, so believable in every phase of people's reaction to the invasion, so many interesting tidbits (like the incidental invasive red weed). And then on top of it, it was simply a really great story! A really great story. He even had his narrator suffer from PTSD. The only downside was that I might have understood a little better if I had a better understanding of the geography of the greater London area. I think that's enough HG Wells for now. I fear I will be disappointed by any other story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I began reading this book as my bedtime reading (a chapter or so each night) back in February; I found it to be entertaining reading, especially as I knew the earlier books well, and the later ones not at all. (I will note that the original edition of this book, published in 1934, was titled Six Famous Novels of H. G. Wells; I had been wondering why a “complete science fiction treasury” would not include When The Sleeper Wakes. I did enjoy this collection, even though Wells had trouble in ending I began reading this book as my bedtime reading (a chapter or so each night) back in February; I found it to be entertaining reading, especially as I knew the earlier books well, and the later ones not at all. (I will note that the original edition of this book, published in 1934, was titled Six Famous Novels of H. G. Wells; I had been wondering why a “complete science fiction treasury” would not include When The Sleeper Wakes. I did enjoy this collection, even though Wells had trouble in ending his books well. After a preface by H. G. Wells, this “complete science fiction treasury” consists of The Time Machine (regarding the Future, There and Back Again), The Island of Dr. Moreau (don’t mess with Mother Nature), The Invisible Man (before making yourself invisible, give some though as to how to become visible again), The War of the Worlds (man impotent, bacteria saves the day), The First Men in the Moon (the closest Wells ever came to a comic novel), The Food of the Gods (is Bigger Better?), and In The Days of the Comet (comet arrives, changes the world, fortunately for the smarmy socialist self-absorbed main character). Wells is at his best with describing the effects of technology, good and bad; but he is also addicted to long windy passages of social commentary, his romantic scenes are rather stiff, and, as noted, he does not seem to know how to end several of the books well. I do like H. G. Wells, and found this “complete science fiction treasury” to be great bedtime reading; but I do wish the editors had included When The Sleeper Wakes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James

    A great collection of classic science fiction written by HG Wells and put together in a B&N Leather* bound edition. The seven included stories are, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods and In the Days of the Comet. Many of these have been made into movies (and subsequently remakes of those movies and in a few cases remakes of the remakes of the remakes – real original Hollywood). The cover seems a bit A great collection of classic science fiction written by HG Wells and put together in a B&N Leather* bound edition. The seven included stories are, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, The Food of the Gods and In the Days of the Comet. Many of these have been made into movies (and subsequently remakes of those movies and in a few cases remakes of the remakes of the remakes – real original Hollywood). The cover seems a bit cheesy to me, but you know what they say about books and covers, right? If you don’t like it, open it up and read the words inside. The stories are very well written and incredibly interesting and entertaining, but as with all classics the wording and technology portrayed will seem a little dated to some readers. The Time Machine is a story about a scientist who invents a time machine to save the love of his life and comes to the realization that some things happen for a reason and some things cannot change or be undone no matter how hard you try. The Island of Doctor Moreau is an incredibly gripping story about genetic engineering The Invisible Man is of course about a man who becomes invisible and suffers a bit of insanity A very well put together collection and worth grabbing a copy for your book shelf, even if the cover looks a bit like something from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Five stars all around for this book, mainly for the re-readability factor.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Always wanted to read the original Time Machine novel. More of a short story really in essence. More or less what I expected, but the film was in my mind throughout. Indeed the film was better than the book in this case. None of the World Wars or the apocalyptic stuff in here. Nor indeed the 'Filbey' connection. All told in retrospect. Disappointing, but considering it was written over 100 years ago, historically of interest. The second novel, The Island of Dr Moreau wasn't bad and this time I hadn' Always wanted to read the original Time Machine novel. More of a short story really in essence. More or less what I expected, but the film was in my mind throughout. Indeed the film was better than the book in this case. None of the World Wars or the apocalyptic stuff in here. Nor indeed the 'Filbey' connection. All told in retrospect. Disappointing, but considering it was written over 100 years ago, historically of interest. The second novel, The Island of Dr Moreau wasn't bad and this time I hadn't seen the film(s) (?) A mariners tale shall we say. The subject matter, well told, is the attempted humanising of animals. Quite nasty in parts. Yeah, not bad, not bad at all. The Invisible Man was boring. The man himself, Griffin, was a bad tempered old sod who seems to enjoy thumping everybody until a navvy hits him over the head with a spade. Didn't half drag this one. And there, I stopped. Didn't fancy the First Men on The Moon, especially as I had the Clangers/Ben and Holly go to the moon in my head. I guess that is a posthumous insult to Mr Wells, but I didn't feel I could read it properly with kids programmes running through my mind. So I'll blame my Granddaughter and leave it at at that. I suspect I'll come back to the other stories at some juncture. Until then this heavyweight tome will take up residence in my bottom drawer until such time as Ben and Holly's little Kingdom is annihilated by German dive bombers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Lombardo

    It takes a certain adjustment of the literary ear to appreciate fiction written a century ago, but H. G. Wells never disappoints. Wry, comical, irreverent, the book skewers the narrowness of English village life and the failings and unforeseen consequences of the scientific empirical mindset in this tale of the invention of a new super food and its effect on the countryside surrounding Hickleybrow in Kent (Wells's birthplace). Dubbed "Herakleophorbia IV," the food is put, by its creators, under It takes a certain adjustment of the literary ear to appreciate fiction written a century ago, but H. G. Wells never disappoints. Wry, comical, irreverent, the book skewers the narrowness of English village life and the failings and unforeseen consequences of the scientific empirical mindset in this tale of the invention of a new super food and its effect on the countryside surrounding Hickleybrow in Kent (Wells's birthplace). Dubbed "Herakleophorbia IV," the food is put, by its creators, under the supervision of an uneducated and slovenly pair of yokels on an "experimental farm," where it soon enters the local food chain. The resulting giant wasps, rats, and chickens (not to mention foliage) wreak havoc on the countryside. Once let out, the food cannot be contained however, and is soon fed to one of its creator's children and a small number of other babies, including a princess. What happens when these giants grow to adulthood is nothing short of an evolutionary and civilizational upheaval. Far from the kind of "nature strikes back" scenario so beloved of film adaptations of science fiction novels, the giants prove to be a strong and noble offshoot of the species, and the book ends on a lyrically optimistic note, at least for those who entertain the possibility of positive human evolution.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    I always wanted to read HG Wells' major novels, and I'm glad I finally did. This B&N edition is a fine addition to anyone's bookshelf, and the novels within are, for the most part, fun to read. I give 4 stars to the collection as a whole, but individually, this is how I would rate them: The Time Machine - 4 stars The Island of Dr Moreau - 3 stars The Invisible Man - 4 stars The War of the Worlds - 5 stars The First Men in the Moon - 3 stars The Food of the Gods - 3 stars In The Days of the Comet - 2 st I always wanted to read HG Wells' major novels, and I'm glad I finally did. This B&N edition is a fine addition to anyone's bookshelf, and the novels within are, for the most part, fun to read. I give 4 stars to the collection as a whole, but individually, this is how I would rate them: The Time Machine - 4 stars The Island of Dr Moreau - 3 stars The Invisible Man - 4 stars The War of the Worlds - 5 stars The First Men in the Moon - 3 stars The Food of the Gods - 3 stars In The Days of the Comet - 2 stars In The Days of the Comet was the only novel I found not particularly fun to read. It is the story that has the least connection with Science Fiction, and is more a polemic on the society of the day (1906) and/or a socialist tract. After this novel, Wells wrote almost exclusively of politics and society. The rest, however, were genuinely fun to read. I had never read any before, although of course I was familiar with the stories of some of them, although most later treatments (particularly movies) changed many of the details. In addition to the stories themselves, it was interesting to read the works that - along with Jules Verne 30 years earlier - formed the genesis of Science Fiction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    J.f. Dargon

    H. G. Wells is definitely my favorite science fiction writer. He was clearly ahead of his time in the manner in which he interpreted and proposed the scientific theories of his time. For me, I found his short story, "The Time Machine" to be the most intriguing and thought provoking of all his writings. I greatly enjoyed "The War of the Worlds", and found "The Island of Dr. Moreau" to be almost prescient in its depiction of medical science gone mad, a la the Nazi Dr.Joseph Mengele. Had NASA not l H. G. Wells is definitely my favorite science fiction writer. He was clearly ahead of his time in the manner in which he interpreted and proposed the scientific theories of his time. For me, I found his short story, "The Time Machine" to be the most intriguing and thought provoking of all his writings. I greatly enjoyed "The War of the Worlds", and found "The Island of Dr. Moreau" to be almost prescient in its depiction of medical science gone mad, a la the Nazi Dr.Joseph Mengele. Had NASA not landed astronauts on the moon, "First Men in the Moon" would have been more entertaining, but it still holds out possibilities, a la Ancient Alien theory. "The Food of the Gods" is a warning against those who advocate genetic manipulation of the natural food supply to take special care, and is extremely insightful. In "The Days of the Comet" I can picture actor Bruce Willis trying his best to help the world avoid a catastrophe. In short, I would recommend any one of these stories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    Yep, I had to abort my Wells mission. I only wound up reading three of the stories in this collection, and got halfway through The War of the Worlds before ditching it out of boredom and disappointment. Seriously, I wanted more Martians and less, "The field was dark. The sky was clear. Soldiers were milling about. I could see my house. I was suddenly very angry. Then my anger passed, and I became elated. That, too, passed, and I returned to staring at my house. Oh, by the way, Martians invaded B Yep, I had to abort my Wells mission. I only wound up reading three of the stories in this collection, and got halfway through The War of the Worlds before ditching it out of boredom and disappointment. Seriously, I wanted more Martians and less, "The field was dark. The sky was clear. Soldiers were milling about. I could see my house. I was suddenly very angry. Then my anger passed, and I became elated. That, too, passed, and I returned to staring at my house. Oh, by the way, Martians invaded Britain. I looked out the window in my study..." Not an exact quote, obviously, but suffice it to say that the bland domestic description to alien action ratio was WAY off. I'm going to include links to the three stories I did read in this collection, once I get done with reviewing them. A bit of background on this edition will also be coming up soon.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Island of Dr. Moreau: Sci-Fi book that dealt with scientific prowess and the (un)intentional consequences of humanity. It was a short, interesting read that really made me think about science and ethics. The War of the Worlds: Wells' book took aim at the elites of Britain and their idea of an immortal empire. Wells sought to remind his readers that empires rise and fall frequently, often overnight. From the time of the Babylonians to the swift, rise of Imperial Japanese, empires move upward freq Island of Dr. Moreau: Sci-Fi book that dealt with scientific prowess and the (un)intentional consequences of humanity. It was a short, interesting read that really made me think about science and ethics. The War of the Worlds: Wells' book took aim at the elites of Britain and their idea of an immortal empire. Wells sought to remind his readers that empires rise and fall frequently, often overnight. From the time of the Babylonians to the swift, rise of Imperial Japanese, empires move upward frequently and fall just as hard. This story reminds us of the short span of life and about the futility of mankind's effort to play lord over the earth. A short, suspenseful read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    John Montagne

    H.G. is a fantastic science fiction writer, and viewed as one of the founding fathers - and rightfully so. Some of his work verges on prophetic in regard to advances in the future. His writing may be considered a little dry in comparison to contemporary works of science fiction, but I personally don't think so - especially considering the time it was written - ground breaking. For detailed descriptions and lengthy critiques, I'd suggest readers look him up elsewhere. I'd like to mention though, H.G. is a fantastic science fiction writer, and viewed as one of the founding fathers - and rightfully so. Some of his work verges on prophetic in regard to advances in the future. His writing may be considered a little dry in comparison to contemporary works of science fiction, but I personally don't think so - especially considering the time it was written - ground breaking. For detailed descriptions and lengthy critiques, I'd suggest readers look him up elsewhere. I'd like to mention though, if one has an interest in the actual history of science fiction as a genre itself, H.G. is a must read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scott Breslove

    Finally finished this fully. What a slog. Some of the stories were pretty good, I think, I mean I started it in 2012, would read some and then stick it back on the shelf, only to pick it up months or years later to knock off another story. Don’t remember much, but I do know the last couple were a bit trying to get through. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, but the combination of the old English and his penchant for over explaining even the most mundane made for some struggle reading, skimmin Finally finished this fully. What a slog. Some of the stories were pretty good, I think, I mean I started it in 2012, would read some and then stick it back on the shelf, only to pick it up months or years later to knock off another story. Don’t remember much, but I do know the last couple were a bit trying to get through. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, but the combination of the old English and his penchant for over explaining even the most mundane made for some struggle reading, skimming or even straight out skipping some sections.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    So far I've read The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau and have loved them both. I'm currently in The Invisible Man, and there are some turns of phrase in here that I just laugh out loud at. These books are so good! It was split down the middle for me. I loved The Time Machine and The Food of the Gods, and enjoyed The Island of Doctor Moreau for a time, but I wasn't a fan of the others. I didn't even make it through In the Days of the Comet. I made it to the third chapter or so and ju So far I've read The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau and have loved them both. I'm currently in The Invisible Man, and there are some turns of phrase in here that I just laugh out loud at. These books are so good! It was split down the middle for me. I loved The Time Machine and The Food of the Gods, and enjoyed The Island of Doctor Moreau for a time, but I wasn't a fan of the others. I didn't even make it through In the Days of the Comet. I made it to the third chapter or so and just ended up being like, "Fuck it." and returned it.

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