Sunday, February 16, 2020

Review: The Invisible Man

invisible man

Review of The Invisible Man

          The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells. Basically, a mad scientist develops superpowers, and makes himself invisible before he knows how to reverse the condition.

          A brilliant, self-absorbed researcher discovers the secret to creating a machine that will turn things and people invisible. After three years, Griffin succeeds, just when he has reached the end of his resources and is facing eviction. Fearful that someone will discover his secretive work, he turns himself invisible. Unfortunately, being invisible comes with unforeseen problems. Griffin finds himself running around barefoot and without clothes in the middle of winter. He’s an invisible stumbling block, and people keep bumping into him.

          The story is from the perspectives of the people the invisible man encounters. The third person is a nice change from first person books, because it shows how actions cause ripple through the community. The reader is not asked to empathize with any one person, as each side gets the chance to voice their own viewpoint, but each side tells a different part of the story, so it does not repeat itself.

          H.G. Wells makes an interesting case for responsible use of power, by showing the difficulties that result from misusing power over others. This is a classic, and with good reason. There’s a lot of plot here, and a lot of thought went into the mechanics of invisibility; for instance, it wouldn’t work in the rain or if the person gets muddy. Griffin himself is an interesting case from a mental standpoint. He is completely alone in the world. No friends, no relations, and extremely secretive. I would expect a normal person on the point of eviction to acquire some investors for his working invention, not turn invisible and take to the streets. The thought of an invisible madman running loose, to do what he likes without consequences, is frightening.

Five out of five stars.


          I listened to the audio-book read by Alex Foster, who has a nice voice and an English accent. He did a good job. He did voices for some of the characters, so it is very easy to follow conversations. Alex Foster kindly made his recording free via Librivox.







Saturday, February 1, 2020

Review: Jurassic Park


Jurassic Park

A review of Jurassic Park  

           The field of genetic technologies booms. Cutting edge genetic scientists are whisked away to build an ambitious dinosaur theme park. Problems soon arise: The story opens on the adjacent mainland, where the reader is given the distinct impression that some of the dinosaurs may have already escaped. To allay investor concerns, John Hammond, the park owner assembles a team of experts for a tour. Unfortunately, an attempt at industrial espionage shuts off the fences, stranding the experts (and two children) in the middle of Jurassic park.

            This is a good read, even if you have already seen the movie. The plot is much more complicated and involved then the film adaption, and the characters are more developed. Dr. Grant loves children, especially dinosaur-obsessed children. Their adventure together is much longer and more exciting then the film version. There is an overabundance of detail in every scene. The dinosaur behaviors are extremely comprehensive and consistent. Modern bird and reptile hunting styles have been considered and used to enhance the details of the dinosaur’s hunts.

            The first third sets up the premise in a series of scenes, which include technical explanations for everything from genetic sequencing to paleontology to investors speculating on potential profits. Also, an interesting investigation of dinosaur attacks helps keep up the pace.

            The final two-thirds is just straight-up action-packed adventure. The elaborate security measures are down! Dinosaurs have escaped! Lovable characters are being hunted! Annoying characters are being eaten! The only gun on the island capable of stopping a tyrannosaurus rex is missing! Amidst all the confusion, Dr. Grant and his two new wards must embark on an arduous trek through some of the most dangerous paddocks on the island. Only time is running out, because they possess information that may be vital to the survival of untold others!


Five stars