Tuesday, February 27, 2007

H. G. Wells – The Invisible Man (Audio book)

Title: The Invisible Man
Author: H. G. Wells

Narrator: Alex Foster

Publisher: www.librivox.org

First Published: 1897

Running time: 4 hours 54 min 55 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 5/10

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.

I found much of this quite comical. For being swaddled in bandages and heavy clothing, "the stranger" has a flair for exhibitionism when he feels like it, shown in the furniture "going crazy". I was laughing as I walked down the street!

This definitely has all the elements of a slightly comedic horror as well as being classic sci-fi. Although Griffin isn't a particularly sympathetic or even remotely likeable character, one can't help but enjoy his antics. Kemp, by comparison, seems rather a weak character and although he's the more likeable of the two, I actually found him rather annoying and vapid.

To be honest, I haven't been overly impressed by this one and I very much doubt it's one I'd actually pick up to read after listening to it. I did like the way it was presented as a report on happenings from an outside point of view, giving the stories of the people involved in the action, but it then spoils the effect at the end by revealing something that an observer wouldn't know in the epilogue, which is a bit of a shame.

Overall, I found it a bit hit-and-miss. Alex Foster is a capable enough narrator for audio fiction, and although it’s sometimes a little difficult to differentiate between character’s voices when they are in conversation with each other, he does quite well in the presentation and has a pleasant enough voice to hold the interest of the listener.


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