The Invisible Man

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The Invisible Man is a science fiction novella by H.G. Wells published in 1897. Wells' novel was originally serialised in Pearson's Magazine in 1897, and published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man of the title is Griffin, a scientist who theorises that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result.


Plot summary

The book starts in the English village of Iping in West Sussex, as curiosity and fear are started up in the inhabitants when a mysterious stranger arrives to stay at the local inn, The Coach and Horses. The stranger wears a long, thick coat, gloves, his face is hidden entirely by bandages, large goggles, and a wide-brimmed hat. The stranger is extremely reclusive and demands to be left alone, spending most of his time in his room working with a set of chemicals and laboratory apparatus, only venturing out at night. He quickly becomes the talk of the village as he unnerves the locals.

Meanwhile, a series of mysterious burglaries occur in the village in which the victims catch no sight of the thief. One morning when the innkeepers pass the stranger's room, they enter in curiosity when they notice the stranger's clothes are scattered all over the floor but the stranger is nowhere to be seen. The furniture seems to spring alive and the bedclothes and a chair leap into mid-air and push them out of the room. Later in the day Mrs. Hall confronts the stranger about this, and the stranger reveals that he is invisible, removing his bandages and goggles to reveal nothing beneath. As Mrs. Hall flees in horror, the police attempt to catch the stranger, but he throws off all his clothes and escapes.

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