Author: H. G. Wells
Genre: Short Stories, Science Fiction
# pages: 432
Date published: 2007
5-star rating: 4.8 stars
Would you recommend it: Yes
H. G. Wells is most famous for writing The War of the Worlds, but to think that is the work that best describes him does the author a disservice. This collection of short stories, entitled The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories, is so diverse that it is surprising that their author is most well known for another work. There are definitely similar characteristics found among the stories, but the tales offer their own themes. General ideas seem to be more important than specific features in each story, and the overall focus of each one is usually philosophical. Although the stories are of varying quality, each offers an engaging message.
The Lord of the Dynamos,” for instance, is a nine-page story that comments on both religion and technological advancement. Short and powerful, it sticks with you. “A Slip under the Microscope” is an extraordinary piece that explores death and medical science.
Each story has something to say about the impact of human advancement and has much more depth than your average science fiction work. Technological themes in particular dominate the work, perhaps because Wells was born in the late 1800s, a time when technological advancements and speculation on what technology meant were at a high point.
Despite the aging science of the stories, Wells’s writing remains universal and explores the question of why humans change rather than how technology advances. My personal favorite out of the whole collection is “A Story of the Stone Age” which takes place, as the title suggests, in the Stone Age, and explores the relationship of two outcasts from their tribe. The story reveals how human nature has not changed all that much, regardless of our scientific feats.
Overall, I would highly recommend this collection to anybody who is interested in short stories. I also recommend it to anyone who likes science fiction, though it is very different from contemporary science fiction work. Although some of the stories are better than others, overall it is an excellent collection, and offers great insight into Wells beyond The War of the Worlds.
Review by Michael Solah, A&S '15