This version also includes bonus annotations on:
- information on the historical context of the book
- general synopsis
- detailed biography of the author
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.
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.
The Invisible Man flees to the downs, where he frightens a tramp, Thomas Marvel, with his invisibility and forces him to become his lab assistant. Together with Marvel, he returns to the village where Marvel steals the Invisible Man's books and apparatus from the inn while the Invisible Man himself steals the doctor's and vicar's clothes. But after the theft, Marvel attempts to betray the Invisible Man to the police, and the Invisible Man chases after him, threatening to kill him.
Marvel flees to the seaside town of Burdock where he takes refuge in an inn. The Invisible Man attempts to break in through the back door but he is overheard and shot by a black-bearded American, and flees the scene badly injured. He enters a nearby house to take refuge and dress his wound. The house turns out to belong to Dr. Kemp, whom the Invisible Man recognises, and he reveals to Kemp his true identity — Griffin, a brilliant medical student with whom Kemp studied at university.
Mr. Griffin explains to his old friend Kemp that after leaving university he was desperately poor. Determined to achieve something of scientific significance, he began work on an experiment to make people and objects invisible, using money stolen from his own father, who committed suicide after being robbed by his son. Griffin experimented with a formula that altered the refractive index of objects, which resulted in light not bending when passing through the object, thereby making it invisible. He performed the experiment using a cat, but when the cat's owner, Griffin's neighbor, realized the cat was missing, she made a complaint to their landlord, and Griffin wound up performing the invisibility procedure on himself to hide from them.