Review – Selected Short Stories by H.G. Wells

h. g. wells  short storiesTitle: Selected Short Stories (including The Time Machine)

Author: H. G. Wells

Published: 1958 (first pub. 1927)

Publisher: Penguin Books

Genre: Short Stories/Science-Fiction

Source: My bookshelf

My Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

(Sorry, unsure which American version has the same stories in)

I have wanted to read The Time Machine by H. G. Wells for quite some time so when I saw it on my shelf at my parents I had to pick it up. The book I have is actually a selection of Wells’ short stories, all of which are science-fiction.

To be honest I wasn’t overly impressed by The Time Machine, though I have a feeling that was largely due to having seen a film adaptation of it a few years ago.  However, all the other stories in the book blew me away. I have never been particularly drawn to science-fiction; it’s not that I won’t read it, simply that I’ll usually choose something else. After read this collection by Wells, I am now desperate to get my hands on anything science-fiction that can give me the same feelings of awe and inspiration.

Not only are his stories incredibly well thought out, they are also impeccably written. It isn’t often I find books that make me want to write because of the beauty of the language, so needless to say I will be looking into reading more of Wells’ work. One thing I found interesting was that in almost every story the narrator was someone retelling a story told to him by the protagonist. I am fairly certain trying this now would be shot down, but for the kind of stories Wells tells it works incredibly well and suspends the disbelief so it’s hard to remember it is just a story and not something that actually happened.

Admittedly sometimes the descriptions are a little long-winded, and occasionally pulls the reader out of the story, which is what happens with The Time Machine, however, the stories are usually worth getting through that. One thing I really loved about the stories is that many (all?) of them don’t have a purpose – they are not written for moral influence, in fact often they seem to have no point at all beyond simply telling a story. Usually this can work against a book, but as these are short stories it was actually pleasant to read without concerning ourselves with the ‘point’ of a book. It does make you wonder what kind of mind H. G. Wells had to come up with such incredible stories, especially given the time they were written, and I would give almost anything to have seen inside that mind, but at least we have many stories which undoubtedly cover a large range of ideas and concepts.

I hate that it took me so long to try H. G. Wells as he is one of the most inspiring and imaginative storytellers I’ve ever read. Yes, I will be reading everything else he’s written, and yes, I recommend his work to everyone. It may seem strange for me to say I recommend his work based on one collection of short stories, but the writing and imagination shown in them is so consistent I have a hard time believing he could have written something unenjoyable. Therefore I feel it’s safe to say H. G. Wells has earned his place as one of my favourite authors.

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