When Dr Philip Raven, an intellectual working for the League of Nations, dies in 1930 he leaves behind a powerful legacy - an unpublished 'dream book'. Inspired by visions he has experienced for many years, it appears to be a book written far into the future: a history of humanity from the date of his death up to 2105. The Shape of Things to Come provides this 'history of the future', an account that was in some ways remarkably prescient - predicting climatic disaster and sweeping cultural changes, including a Second World War, the rise of chemical warfare, and political instabilities in the Middle East.
Following the development of massive airships, naïve Londoner Bert Smallways becomes accidentally involved in a German plot to invade America by air and reduce New York to rubble. But although bombers devastate the city, they cannot overwhelm the country, and their attack leads not to victory but to the beginning of a new and horrific age for humanity. And so dawns the era of Total War, in which brutal aerial bombardments reduce the great cultures of the twentieth century to nothing. As civilization collapses around the Englishman, now stranded in a ruined America, he clings to only one hope - that he might return to London, and marry the woman he loves.
A troubled insomniac in 1890s England falls suddenly into a sleep-like trance, from which he does not awake for over two hundred years. During his centuries of slumber, however, investments are made that make him the richest and most powerful man on Earth. But when he comes out of his trance he is horrified to discover that the money accumulated in his name is being used to maintain a hierarchal society in which most are poor, and more than a third of all people are enslaved. Oppressed and uneducated, the masses cling desperately to one dream - that the sleeper will awake, and lead them all to freedom.
With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin - the new guest at The Coach and Horses - is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however - and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.
Gathered together in one hardcover volume: three timeless novels from the founding father of science fiction.
The first great novel to imagine time travel, The Time Machine (1895) follows its scientist narrator on an incredible journey that takes him finally to Earth’s last moments--and perhaps his own. The scientist who discovers how to transform himself in The Invisible Man (1897) will also discover, too late, that he has become unmoored from society and from his own sanity. The War of the Worlds (1898)--the seminal masterpiece of alien invasion adapted by Orson Welles for his notorious 1938 radio drama, and subsequently by several filmmakers--imagines a fierce race of Martians who devastate Earth and feed on their human victims while their voracious vegetation, the red weed, spreads over the ruined planet.
Here are three classic science fiction novels that, more than a century after their original publication, show no sign of losing their grip on readers’ imaginations.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this--a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." So says Ursula K. Le Guin in her Introduction to The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells's 1901 tale of space travel. Heavily criticized upon publication for its fantastic ideas, it is now justly considered a science fiction classic.
Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home.
Graham, an 1890s radical pamphleteer who is eagerly awaiting the twentieth century and all the advances it will bring, is stricken with insomnia. Finally resorting to medication, he instantly falls into a deep sleep that lasts two hundred years. Upon waking in the twenty-second century to a strange and nightmarish place, he slowly discovers he is master of the world, revered by an adoring populace who consider him their leader. Terrified, he escapes from his chamber seeking solace--only to realize that not everyone adores him, some even wish to harm him.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Time Machine
When the Time Traveller courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything had changed. In this unfamiliar, utopian age creatures seemed to dwell together in perfect harmony. The Time Traveller thought he could study these marvelous beings--unearth their secret and then return to his own time--until he discovered that his invention, his only avenue of escape, had been stolen.
H. G. Wells's famous novel of one man's astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination first appeared in 1895. It won him immediate recognition and has been regarded ever since as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction.
The War of the Worlds
H. G. Wells's science fiction classic, the first novel to explore the possibilities of intelligent life from other planets, is still startling and vivid nearly a century after its appearance, and a half century after Orson Welles's infamous 1938 radio adaptation.
This daring portrayal of aliens landing on English soil, with its themes of interplanetary imperialism, technological holocaust, and chaos, is central to the career of H. G. Wells, who died at the dawn of the atomic age. The survival of mankind in the face of "vast and cool and unsympathetic" scientific powers spinning out of control was a crucial theme throughout his work. Visionary, shocking, and chilling, The War of the Worlds has lost none of its impact since its first publication in 1898.
Illus. in black-and-white. When a turn-of-the-century scientist travels into the distant future in his time machine, he expects to find progress and superior people. But instead he discovers a world in decay. Reading level: 2.4.
Written in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of the earliest scientific romances. An instant sensation, it was meant as a commentary on Darwin's theory of evolution, which H. G. Wells stoutly believed. The story centers on the depraved Dr. Moreau, who conducts unspeakable animal experiments on a remote tropical island, with hideous, humanlike results. Edward Prendick, an English-man whose misfortunes bring him to the island, is witness to the Beast Folk's strange civilization and their eventual terrifying regression. While gene-splicing and bioengineering are common practices today, readers are still astounded at Wells's haunting vision and the ethical questions he raised a century before our time.
A gripping and entertaining tale of terror and suspense as well as a potent Faustian allegory of hubris and science run amok, @18@The Invisible Man@19@ 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, @18@The Invisible Man@19@ is as remarkable and relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. As Arthur C. Clarke points out in his Introduction, @95@#8220;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?@95@#8221;
Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo - a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery's master, the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments - with truly horrific results.
Presented as a miraculous cure-all, Tono-Bungay is in fact nothing other than a pleasant-tasting liquid with no positive effects. Nonetheless, when the young George Ponderevo is employed by his Uncle Edward to help market this ineffective medicine, he finds his life overwhelmed by its sudden success. Soon, the worthless substance is turned into a formidable fortune, as society becomes convinced of the merits of Tono-Bungay through a combination of skilled advertising and public credulity. As the newly rich George discovers, however, there is far more to class in England than merely the possession of wealth.
Herbert George Wells was perhaps best known as the author of such classic works of science fiction as The Time Machine and War of the Worlds. But it was in his short stories, written when he was a young man embarking on a literary career, that he first explored the enormous potential of the scientific discoveries of the day. He described his stories as "a miscellany of inventions," yet his enthusiasm for science was tempered by an awareness of its horrifying destructive powers and the threat it could pose to the human race. A consummate storyteller, he made fantastic creatures and machines entirely believable; and, by placing ordinary men and women in extraordinary situations, he explored, with humor, what it means to be alive in a century of rapid scientific progress.
With a contemporary review by R.H. Hutton, from the Spectator.'Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare'Chilling, prophetic and hugely influential, The Time Machine sees a Victorian scientist propel himself into the year 802,701 AD, where he is delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty and contentment in the form of the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man. But he soon realizes that they are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and living in terror of the sinister Morlocks lurking in the deep tunnels, who threaten his very return home. H. G. Wells defined much of modern science fiction with this 1895 tale of time travel, which questions humanity, society, and our place on Earth.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
'People screamed. People sprang off the pavement ... "The Invisible Man is coming! The Invisible Man!"'
With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin - the new guest at The Coach and Horses - is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however - and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
'And so, in a trice, he came into the garden that has haunted all his life.'H.G. Wells was a pioneer of science fiction, its first and greatest influence. Here his boundless invention creates three very stories: a poignant parable of a mysterious door, a thrilling account of be-tentacled sea creatures and the darkly comic chronicle of an academic rivalry taken too far . . .This book includes The Door in the Wall, The Sea Raiders and The Moth.
The story of an apprentice chemist whose uncle's worthless medicine becomes a spectacular marketing success, Tono-Bungay earned H. G. Wells immediate acclaim when it appeared in 1909. It remains a sparkling chronicle of chicanery and human credulity, and is today regarded by many as Wells's greatest novel. As Andrea Barrett observes in her Introduction, "Through its detailed, often brilliant descriptions and powerful imagery, [Tono-Bungay] slyly satirizes British imperial policy as a whole. . . . The insights into class, money, advertising, public relations, and the power of the press still ring horrifyingly true."
This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the original 1909 edition.
When penniless businessman Mr Bedford retreats to the Kent coast to write a play, he meets by chance the brilliant Dr Cavor, an absent-minded scientist on the brink of developing a material that blocks gravity. Cavor soon succeeds in his experiments, only to tell a stunned Bedford the invention makes possible one of the oldest dreams of humanity: a journey to the moon. With Bedford motivated by money, and Cavor by the desire for knowledge, the two embark on the expedition. But neither are prepared for what they find - a world of freezing nights, boiling days and sinister alien life, on which they may be trapped forever.
'I will go in, out of this dust and heat, out of this dry glitter of vanity, out of these toilsome futilities. I will go and never return.'Three disturbing, mysterious and moving stories from Wells, science-fiction pioneer.Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.H. G. Wells (1866-1946). Wells's works available in Penguin Classics are Ann Veronica, The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories, The First Men in the Moon, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Kipps, Love and Mr Lewisham, A Modern Utopia, The New Machiavelli, The Shape of Things to Come, A Short History of the World, The Sleeper Awakes, The Time Machine, Tono-Bungay, The War in the Air and The War of the Worlds.
ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED WORKS OF SCIENCE FICTION
H.G. Wells' classic The Invisible Man is an artful combination of a psychological thriller and science fiction novel. A young scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility feels initial joy at his newfound freedoms and abilities, but quickly turns to despair when he realizes the many things he has sacrificed in the pursuit of science. While he struggles to create the formula that will restore his visibility and his connection to other people, murder and mayhem ensue.
THE ART OF THE NOVELLA
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers but beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. The Art of the Novella Series celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners. The series has been recognized for its "excellence in design" by AIGA.
With an essay by John Huntington.'Death!' I shouted. 'Death is coming! Death!'In this pioneering, shocking and nightmarish tale, naïve suburban Londoners investigate a strange cylinder from space, but are instantly incinerated by an all-destroying heat-ray. Soon, gigantic killing machines that chase and feed on human prey are threatening the whole of humanity. A pioneering work of alien invasion fiction, The War of the World's journalistic style contrasts disturbingly with its horrifying visions of the human race under siege.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
'That black figure, with its eyes of fire, struck down through all my adult thoughts and feelings, and for a moment the forgotten horrors of childhood came back to my mind'Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo - a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery's master, the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments - with truly horrific results.The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
H. G. Wells' revolutionary human rights manifesto is reissued by Penguin with a new introduction by fellow novelist and human rights campaigner Ali Smith
'Penguin and Pelican Specials are books of topical importance published within as short a time as possible from receipt of the manuscript. Some are reprints of famous books brought up-to-date, but usually they are entirely new books published for the first time.'
H. G. Wells wrote The Rights of Man in 1940, partly in response to the ongoing war with Germany. The fearlessly progressive ideas he set out were instrumental in the creation of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the EU's European Convention on Human Rights and the UK's Human Rights Act.When first published, this manifesto was an urgently topical reaction to a global miscarriage of justice. It was intended to stimulate debate and make a clear statement of mankind's immutable responsibilities to itself. Seventy-five years have passed and once again we face a humanitarian crisis. In the UK our human rights are under threat in ways that they never have been before and overseas peoples are being displaced from their homelands in their millions. The international community must act decisively, cooperatively and fast. The Rights of Man is not an 'entirely new book' - but it is a book of topical importance and it has been published, now as before, in as short a time as possible, in order to react to the sudden and urgent need.
With a new introduction by award-winning novelist and human rights campaigner Ali Smith, Penguin reissues one of the most important humanitarian texts of the twentieth century in the hope that it will continue to stimulate debate and remind our leaders - and each other - of the essential priorities and responsibilities of mankind.