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The Invisible Man

Cover of The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man

A Grotesque Romance
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A gripping and entertaining tale of terror and suspense as well as a potent Faustian allegory of hubris and science run amok, The Invisible Man endures as one of the signature stories in the literature of science fiction. A brilliant scientist uncovers the secret to invisibility, but his grandiose dreams and the power he unleashes cause him to spiral into intrigue, madness, and murder. The inspiration for countless imitations and film adaptations, The Invisible Man is as remarkable and relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. As Arthur C. Clarke points out in his Introduction, "The interest of the story . . . lies not in its scientific concepts, but in the brilliantly worked out development of the theme of invisibility. If one could be invisible, then what?"

From the Trade Paperback edition.
A gripping and entertaining tale of terror and suspense as well as a potent Faustian allegory of hubris and science run amok, The Invisible Man endures as one of the signature stories in the literature of science fiction. A brilliant scientist uncovers the secret to invisibility, but his grandiose dreams and the power he unleashes cause him to spiral into intrigue, madness, and murder. The inspiration for countless imitations and film adaptations, The Invisible Man is as remarkable and relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. As Arthur C. Clarke points out in his Introduction, "The interest of the story . . . lies not in its scientific concepts, but in the brilliantly worked out development of the theme of invisibility. If one could be invisible, then what?"

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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    4 - 7

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1 THE STRANGE MAN'S ARRIVAL

    THE STRANGER came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand. He was wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his soft felt hat hid every inch of his face but the shiny tip of his nose; the snow had piled itself against his shoulders and chest, and added a white crest to the burden he carried. He staggered into the Coach and Horses, more dead than alive as it seemed, and flung his portmanteau down. "A fire," he cried, "in the name of human charity! A room and a fire!" He stamped and shook the snow from off himself in the bar, and followed Mrs. Hall into her guest parlour to strike his bargain. And with that much introduction, that and a ready acquiescence to terms and a couple of sovereigns flung upon the table, he took up his quarters in the inn.

    Mrs. Hall lit the fire and left him there while she went to prepare him a meal with her own hands. A guest to stop at Iping in the wintertime was an unheard-of piece of luck, let alone a guest who was no "haggler," and she was resolved to show herself worthy of her good fortune. As soon as the bacon was well under way, and Millie, her lymphatic aid, had been brisked up a bit by a few deftly chosen expressions of contempt, she carried the cloth, plates, and glasses into the parlour and began to lay them with the utmost eclat. Although the fire was burning up briskly, she was surprised to see that her visitor still wore his hat and coat, standing with his back to her and staring out of the window at the falling snow in the yard. His gloved hands were clasped behind him, and he seemed to be lost in thought. She noticed that the melted snow that still sprinkled his shoulders dropped upon her carpet. "Can I take your hat and coat, sir," she said, "and give them a good dry in the kitchen?"

    "No," he said without turning.

    She was not sure she had heard him, and was about to repeat her question.

    He turned his head and looked at her over his shoulder. "I prefer to keep them on," he said with emphasis, and she noticed that he wore big blue spectacles with sidelights, and had a bushy side-whisker over his coat-collar that completely hid his cheeks and face.

    "Very well, sir," she said. "As you like. In a bit the room will be warmer."

    He made no answer, and had turned his face away from her again, and Mrs. Hall, feeling that her conversational advances were ill-timed, laid the rest of the table things in a quick staccato and whisked out of the room. When she returned he was still standing there, like a man of stone, his back hunched, his collar turned up, his dripping hat-brim turned down, hiding his face and ears completely. She put down the eggs and bacon with considerable emphasis, and called rather than said to him, "Your lunch is served, sir."

    "Thank you," he said at the same time, and did not stir until she was closing the door. Then he swung round and approached the table with a certain eager quickness.

    As she went behind the bar to the kitchen she heard a sound repeated at regular intervals. Chirk, chirk, chirk, it went, the sound of a spoon being rapidly whisked round a basin. "That girl!" she said. "There! I clean forgot it. It's her being so long!" And while she herself finished mixing the mustard, she gave Millie a few verbal stabs for her excessive slowness. She had cooked the ham and eggs, laid the table, and done everything, while Millie (help indeed!) had only succeeded in delaying the mustard. And him a new guest and wanting to stay! Then...
About the Author-
  • Arthur C. Clarke is the author of more than sixty works of science fiction, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood's End. He lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Reviews-
  • Upton Sinclair "I personally consider the greatest of English living writers [to be] H. G. Wells."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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A Grotesque Romance
H.G. Wells
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