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It's one of the most famous novels of the 19th century, and probably the one that's least actually read. *The Invisible Man,* first published in 1897, became the basis for the classic 1933 film starring Claude Rains-as well as its many spinoffs-but the novel is quite different: it's an early example of science fantasy that was as much about character as it was about concept. One of the most enduringly popular writers of modern literature, Wells here assured his position as one of the fathers of imaginative literature with his psychologically complex tale of a scientist who renders himself invisible and eventually goes mad because of it. And because it focuses more on people than on technology, it remains a compelling tale even more than a century after it was written. British author HERBERT GEORGE WELLS (1866-1946) is best known for his groundbreaking science fiction novels *The Time Machine* (1895), *The Invisible Man* (1897), and *The War of the Worlds* (1898).
Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent, England, on September 21, 1866. His father was a professional cricketer and sometime shopkeeper, his mother a former lady’s maid. Although "Bertie" left school at fourteen to become a draper’s apprentice (a life he detested), he later won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, where he studied with the famous Thomas Henry Huxley. He began to sell articles and short stories regularly in 1893. In 1895, his immediately successful novel rescued him from a life of penury on a schoolteacher’s salary. His other "scientific romances"—The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), and The War in the Air (1908)—won him distinction as the father of science fiction.
Henry James saw in Wells the most gifted writer of the age, but Wells, having coined the phrase "the war that will end war" to describe World War I, became increasingly disillusioned and focused his attention on educating mankind with his bestselling Outline of History (1920) and his later utopian works. Living until 1946, Wells witnessed a world more terrible than any of his imaginative visions, and he bitterly observed: "Reality has taken a leaf from my book and set itself to supercede me."