The Time Machine and The Invisible Man (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

The Time Machine and The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble ...
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The Time Machine and The Invisible Man (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

The Time Machine and The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

 

The Time Machine, H. G. Wells’s first novel, is a tale of Darwinian evolution taken to its extreme. Its hero, a young scientist, travels 800,000 years into the future and discovers a dying earth populated by two strange humanoid species: the brutal Morlocks and the gentle but nearly helpless Eloi.

The Invisible Man mixes chilling terror, suspense, and acute psychological understanding into a tale of an equally adventurous scientist who discovers the formula for invisibility—a secret that drives him mad.

Immensely popular during his lifetime, H. G. Wells, along with Jules Verne, is credited with inventing science fiction. This new volume offers two of Wells’s best-loved and most critically acclaimed "scientific romances.” In each, the author grounds his fantastical imagination in scientific fact and conjecture while lacing his narrative with vibrant action, not merely to tell a "ripping yarn,” but to offer a biting critique on the world around him. "The strength of Mr. Wells,” wrote Arnold Bennett, "lies in the fact that he is not only a scientist, but a most talented student of character, especially quaint character. He will not only ingeniously describe for you a scientific miracle, but he will set down that miracle in the midst of a country village, sketching with excellent humour the inn-landlady, the blacksmith, the chemist’s apprentice, the doctor, and all the other persons whom the miracle affects.”

 

Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College-Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593080327
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 307,731
  • Product dimensions: 4.13 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

H. G. Wells
Alfred Mac Adam teaches literature at Barnard College-Columbia University. He is a translator and art critic.

Biography

Social philosopher, utopian, novelist, and "father" of science fiction and science fantasy, Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent. His father was a poor businessman, and young Bertie's mother had to work as a lady's maid. Living "below stairs" with his mother at an estate called Uppark, Bertie would sneak into the grand library to read Plato, Swift, and Voltaire, authors who deeply influenced his later works. He shoed literary and artistic talent in his early stories and paintings, but the family had limited means, and when he was fourteen years old, Bertie was sent as an apprentice to a dealer in cloth and dry goods, work he disliked.

He held jobs in other trades before winning a scholarship to study biology at the Normal School of Science in London. The eminent biologist T. H. Huxley, a friend and proponent of Darwin, was his teacher; about him Wells later said, "I believed then he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet." Under Huxley's influence, Wells learned the science that would inspire many of his creative works and cultivated the skepticism about the likelihood of human progress that would infuse his writing.

Teaching, textbook writing, and journalism occupied Wells until 1895, when he made his literary debut with the now-legendary novel The Time Machine, which was followed before the end of the century by The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, books that established him as a major writer. Fiercely critical of Victorian mores, he published voluminously, in fiction and nonfiction, on the subject of politics and social philosophy. Biological evolution does not ensure moral progress, as Wells would repeat throughout his life, during which he witnessed two world wars and the debasement of science for military and political ends.

In addition to social commentary presented in the guise of science fiction, Wells authored comic novels like Love and Mrs. Lewisham, Kipps, and The History of Mister Polly that are Dickensian in their scope and feeling, and a feminist novel, Ann Veronica. He wrote specific social commentary in The New Machiavelli, an attack on the socialist Fabian Society, which he had joined and then rejected, and literary parody (of Henry James) in Boon. He wrote textbooks of biology, and his massive The Outline of History was a major international bestseller.

By the time Wells reached middle age, he was admired around the world, and he used his fame to promote his utopian vision, warning that the future promised "Knowledge or extinction." He met with such preeminent political figures as Lenin, Roosevelt, and Stalin, and continued to publish, travel, and educate during his final years. Herbert George Wells died in London on August 13, 1946.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The War of the Worlds.

Good To Know

In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel. However, he eventually left her for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895.

Wells was once interviewed on the radio by an extremely nervous Orson Welles. The two are unrelated, of course.

Many of Wells's novels became film adaptations, including The Island of Dr. Moreau, filmed in 1996 by Richard Stanley and John Frankenheimer, and The Time Machine, filmed in 2002 by Wells's great-grandson, Simon Wells.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Herbert George Wells (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1866
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bromley, Kent, England
    1. Date of Death:
      August 13, 1946
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Read an Excerpt

From Alfred Mac Adam’s Introduction to The Time Machine and The Invisible Man

The Time Machine (1895) and The Invisible Man (1897) are now more than a century old. Yet they endure as literary texts, radio plays, and movies, because they appeal directly to two of our deepest desires: immortality and omnipotence. The time machine would allow us to escape death and gain knowledge of the fate of the earth, while invisibility would enable us to go and come as we please, under the noses of friends and enemies. At the same time, both fictions show us the dangers of fulfilled wishes: The Time Traveller discovers the future of humanity is not bright but hideously dark, while the Invisible Man drowns in the madness brought about by his own experimentation.

Of course, what Herbert George Wells (1866–1946) wanted to express in these fantasies and what generations of readers have made of them are two radically different things. Erroneously labeled "science fiction,” and tricked out in their film versions with all kinds of fanciful devices with flashing lights and ominous buzzers Wells never mentions, they are really tales that enact the author’s theories and speculations about human society, human nature, and natural history in allegorical fashion. That is, the "science” in Wells’s fictions is nothing more than stage machinery. But, ironically, it is the machinery that has come to dominate our collective imagination.

There is nothing unique in this. Think of Gulliver’s Travels (whose long-forgotten original title is Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World), a book that Wells read as a boy and reread throughout his life. In 1726 Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) satirized English political parties, religious quarrels, theories of world government, and science, but his work was so grounded in eighteenth-century British culture that today’s readers need extensive preparation to fathom it. The story of Lemuel Gulliver’s visits to lands populated by giants or intelligent horses has, however, become a staple of children’s literature. The same applies to Robinson Crusoe (1719), by Daniel Defoe (1660–1731). Only scholars see the relationship between Crusoe’s shipwreck and Defoe’s ideas on the fate of the middle classes during the Restoration, when Charles II returned to England in 1660. Defoe’s message and all his political intentions have been lost, but his story endures as a wonderful demonstration of self-reliance. In the literature of the United States, we have the example of Herman Melville (1819–1891) and his Moby-Dick (1851): Most readers learn about the ambiguous struggle between good and evil embedded in the work long after they’ve read a novel about nineteenth-century whaling and the strange characters engaged in that dangerous work.

Much the same has taken place with Wells’s Time Machine and The Invisible Man. Wells cloaked his ideas about the future of society and the role of science in the world so well that readers simply do not see those issues and instead read his short novels as examples of a kind of fiction based on the simplest of propositions: "What if it were possible to travel through time by means of a machine?” or "What if it were possible to make oneself invisible?” In a world—one we share with Wells despite the fact that more than a hundred years separates the moment he published these two works from our own age—when scientists seem to make discoveries every day, it requires no great leap of imagination, no "willing suspension of disbelief,” to accept the basic premise of each text.

This is what differentiates Wells from Jules Verne (1828–1905), author of Voyage to the Center of the Earth (1864) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Wells, in a 1934 preface to a collection of his early fictions comments on why they are not comparable to Verne’s writings:

These tales have been compared with the work of Jules Verne and there was a disposition on the part of literary journalists at one time to call me the English Jules Verne. As a matter of fact there is no literary resemblance whatever between the anticipatory inventions of the great Frenchman and these fantasies. His work dealt almost always with actual possibilities of invention and discovery, and he made some remarkable forecasts. . . . But these stories of mine . . . do not pretend to deal with possible things; they are exercises of the imagination in a quite different field. They belong to a class of writing which includes the Golden Ass of Apuleius, the True Histories of Lucian, Peter Schlemil, and the story of Frankenstein. . . . They are all fantasies; they do not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good gripping dream (The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells).

Wells links himself to a tradition, but at the same time he misleads the reader. It is true, as he says in the same preface, that "The invention is nothing in itself,” by which he means that the applied science of Verne is of no interest in his kind of tale. It is also the reason why rediscoveries of Verne, especially films, are always set in the past: His projections became fact very quickly. By the same token, this explains why Wells’s inventions and their ramifications will always be modern.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 225 )
Rating Distribution

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(84)

4 Star

(67)

3 Star

(37)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(22)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 229 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 14, 2009

    This is a poor edition of these books

    I recently bought two B&N Classics editions. The other was Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Both books have the same problems, but it seems worse in the Wells edition.<BR/><BR/>Both begin with an introduction that I feel should not be read first if you've never read these books. If B&N truly wants to include these opinions, they should be in the back of the book.<BR/><BR/>More irritating is the constant need to define words. In the first chapter of Time Machine, I believe 6 words were given a * with clarification in the footnotes.<BR/><BR/>Dorian Gray had this, too, but it was mostly to clear up antiquated local knowledge points. That is useful.<BR/><BR/>What is not useful is breaking up the reading flow to offer a definition of a normal - not even obscure - English word. For example, in Chapter 1, the term "sleight of hand" was defined in this manner. Odds are, if you're reading this book, you already know that term.<BR/><BR/>I wanted these books in my house, and the price looked great, but next time I'll buy a more pure edition. The constant notations in this edition are the literary equivalent of pop-ups on a website.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:

    Great Classic Book!!

    The Invisible Man is a great classic book... HG Wells is a master at creating suspense and leaving you wanting more. This is the 3rd book i read from him and he still has yet to disappoint ! Recommend you read this soon !!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A very entertaining read.

    I am continued to be blown away by H.G. Wells. Everyone one of his stories brings something new to the science fiction genre and never lets down his true fans' expectations.

    The time machine seemed more thought out, but I cant put my foot on which story I enjoyed more.

    Anyways, If you are looking for a book to keep you glued to the couch for a couple of hours, then I recommend this.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    Sci Fi Classic Must list

    This is the foundation and origin of science fiction as we know it. Easy read. You will enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Classic Sci-Fi

    The Time Machine is a great, if short, story giving a glimpse into human nature, society, and an author's vision going so far into the future it's awe inspiring.

    The Invisible Man is a horror story at the core, and excellent display of desire and loss of control.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a timeless classic.

    I read this book a long time ago, in grade school. I purchased this copy, because I wanted to read it immediately preceding Stephen Baxter's Time Ships, which is said to be the sequel to Well's Time Machine.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    BACK TO THE FUTURE -1

    The Time Machine was one of H.G. Wells' greatest books. I liked this book because his theories are convincing, like that we could travel through time, as our minds do, and this book shows that when life becomes perfect life will still be imperfect. This story tells us about the fall of man as intelligence degrades, and cannibalism comes forth. Although the ending is sad, I recommend this book to anyone who understands H.G Wells' style of writing

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved the way wells rights he puts in details that put you in the amazing worlds he travels to. Well worth your time

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006

    What is the Nature of Time?

    The 'Time Machine' is a wonderful little novel. Its plot is very straightforward, interesting, and well-written, but more than that the ideas that it arouses are very special. I love books about the nature of time, and this is a good starting place to search for its meaning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    X

    X

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great combination of two of my favorite HG Wells books!

    This book has a lot going for it. Not only do you get two of the most compulsively readable Wells novels but you also get a lot of extras. One of the more interesting extras is the "Based on..." section that goes into the rather interesting history of the movies, TV shows, and other fiction inspired by and based on these two books. Highly recommended!

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating, but Mildly Underwhelming

    The Time Machine: I found this short work to be rather enjoyable and interesting. The plot was captivating, albeit due to its basis in the fantastical realm of literature, but rather underdeveloped. While the ending is rather fitting, I felt the story-line gave in too quickly and left me aching for a larger, more epic work of science fiction literature. Had Wells continued with and elaborated on his completely brilliant story, it could very well be the best piece of pure science fiction ever written. Regrettably, that is not the case.

    The Invisible Man: Intriguing from beginning to end. This made up for and surpassed, by far, The Time Machine. The story in its entirety is not that long, but extremely well developed. Deep psychological issues are dealt with, in addition to several, diverse conflicts involving right and wrong and complicated ethics issues. The only advisory I would give, though I had no problem with it personally, was that some scenes are violent.

    The Time Machine was underwhelming due to a seemingly blaring lack of completion of a superb plot. Conversely, The Invisible Man was immaculate in context and pristine in delivery with an outstanding plot. Overall this book is a good read and a library staple, if given ample consideration for its shortcomings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Historical must read

    H.G. Wells is one of those writers where I find that I am more interested in him than I am in his writing. Does that make me hopeless? I liked the Time Machine and the Invisible Man, but I don't love them. They are interesting as early speculative fiction and certainly interesting in the social perspective that they uncover. But interesting is not the same as moving for me, somehow.
    Of the two novels, I liked the Time Machine the best. Justly famous both for being an ancestor of modern speculative fiction and for its social message about classes, it is a strong piece of writing. The Morlocks, the Eloi, the decaying world-- Wells paints a compelling picture, and I understand and appreciate the work.
    The Invisible Man seemed much less developed to me. I like the way that the main character's invisibility both led to and stemmed from his questioning of moral certainty. Unfortunately the idea seemed much more developed than the story itself-- as though Wells had been bored with carrying things through.
    I think that the next Wells that I pick up would be his Experiment in Autobiography. I suspect that given how much more I like his ideas than his fiction skills I may be better off with non-fiction and letters.
    Both these short novels are still must-reads by virtue of their influence and historical significance. Recommended for readers of all ages. In fact, they might have gone down better with me when I was younger.

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  • Posted July 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    B&N Classics has given us two original sci-fi series that go above and beyond what few others have done. H. G. Well's ability to present a personally political and moral view into such tales is incredible. He mends his philosophies and politics into proper characters and situations to creat wonderful books. Not only are they clever, but thrilling and engaging. The stories move fast yet have so much detail and attention that nothing feels slacked off. They stimulate your thinking and knowledge even long after you're done with the book. Plus the 'introduction' pages give you an in-depth understanding of the author and his stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    interesting title

    cannot give a review..I bought it as a gift to my cousin

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Time Machine

    Much suspense and action! Classic that is anjoyed and will be loved by readers for many centuries. Probably one of H.G. Well's best written books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just pure genius

    Got this book couple of month's ago before new years. I just got up to chapter 3 of Time Machine. and I can tell this a great book You can't put it down unless you have to. this One H.G wells greatest work If you enjoy this you should buy some of his other works. If I had to describe this book in word it would be genius.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2008

    Fantastic adventure

    To think this classic is still on bookshelves makes clear that H. G. Wells was and still is absolutely phenomenal. Great character discriptions. Outstanding story and plot. Another MUST READ sci-fi story for the history books. I hope to find this book again in my next life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2007

    Sweetness review

    The book was good i really liked it although there were some boring parts in the beginning of 'The Time Machine.'

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    a reviewer

    The book The Time Machine was an okay book. It was very confusing at times because of the unusual words the auther uses. I didn't think it was very interesting because he had so many details you really didn't need to know. It was also a very slow book and didn't get to the pont right away he would put confusing details which made it hard to understand. Overall, the book was fine but i would not recommend it to anyone.

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