The Invisible Man was another classic by H. G. Wells, and it was awesome.
It’s a mystery, science-fiction, adventure. It really drove home a point that I’ve learned about science fiction, and that is that science fiction is not its own genre, but more like a set of circumstances surrounding a genre from another story. In The Invisible Man, a mysterious figure shows up in town and stays in the local tavern conducting some kind of experiments. The locals wonder who he is, why he’s there, what’s going on, and how he is sometimes in his room, sometimes not there, and sometimes apparently haunted by demonic ghosts from the great beyond that can move things without having any kind of physical form.
The science fiction element in this story is the way that the invisible man eventually explains the science behind how he became invisible (which I won’t give away here, spoiler!). Science fiction is the set of circumstances that led to this mystery story.
I think the most important thing I got from this book was that raw, unrestrained power corrupts. The invisible man was able to do whatever he wanted, and therefore, he did whatever he wanted. He stole, he robbed, he killed. Because there was no law regarding invisible people and their respective rights, he was above, beyond, and outside of the law. This power eventually convinced him that terror was the best way to control people and have what he wanted. His end was ignominious at best.
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or a Mormon, and in the Book of Mormon, there is a scripture that we are pretty familiar with. It reads: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” The natural man is the carnal man. The animal inside of each of us that only responds to instincts, needs, hunger, sex, cravings. The natural man cannot control himself.
In short, The Invisible Man tells the story of a natural man who never curbs his appetites, and suffers accordingly.