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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Review – Doctor Who: Into the Nowhere

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Title: Doctor Who: Into the Nowhere

Author: Jenny T. Colgan

Publisher: BBC Digital

Published: Jan 2014

Genre: Action/Adventure Short Story

Source: Netgalley*

My Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

When the Doctor and Clara land on a planet neither the Doctor nor the Tardis recognize, it doesn’t take long for the Doctor to want to start exploring. But the more of the planet they see, the further into danger they seem to be. As they try to navigate traps that seem to be alive, they start finding messages, and Clara’s fear grows. Can the Doctor help her through her fears, and does he know more than he is letting on?

 

I would classify myself as a fan of Doctor Who, but I have never read any Doctor Who books before.  I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading Into the Nowhere but finished knowing I will definitely be seeking out more Doctor Who books to read.

As it is a narrative, there is more explanation of thoughts and feelings than in a television episode, yet the action keeps the story fast-paced and exciting.  It didn’t feel all that different from watching an episode, which gave me my Doctor Who adrenaline fix that honestly I wasn’t expecting a book to be able to offer.  My main issue was that, while obviously a reading speed is slower than watching, this particular book felt a little short; it was as if the author had rushed through it and missed a lot of potential in the process. As I said, this was the first Doctor Who book I’ve read, but I’m hoping that they don’t all leave me with this feeling of being cheated of a full story.

Most of the book seemed to be in Clara’s point of view, and it gave me a completely different view of the character. In Into the Nowhere, Clara’s fear is stated many times, and a large part of me felt this wasn’t the Clara I knew.  I also wish that the author had focused on creating the feeling of fear, rather than telling the reader about it, as being told pulled me out of the world, meaning I wasn’t completely invested in it.

Overall, the book excited me to the possibilities of Doctor Who stories.  The fact that, even though it is a different media, it can still create a world of intrigue and raised emotions is something I always look with Doctor Who, and for the most part the book delivered on this. However, I do hope this isn’t the best of what is available, as it seemed to be slightly off in the deliverance, meaning that I, as a reader, had to work harder to stay in the world, when that is something that I feel reader’s should feel without noticing until they finish a book.

This book wasn’t all bad, as I stated earlier, a pleasant surprise was that it gave me the Doctor Who fix I wasn’t expecting.  Of course it may be my unfamiliarity with Doctor Who books that makes me unsure of this story in particular, but I will definitely be reading more, and hope they are all able to include the excitement and intrigue that Into the Nowhere did.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.