Saturday, May 14, 2011

104. The Door in the Wall by H.G. Wells


The Door in the Wall by H.G. Wells (Canada)
Penguin Mini Modern Classics

Pages: 66
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 3, 2011
First Published: 2011 (this form) (1911, 1897, 1895) orig. short stories
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: short stories
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:


One confidential evening, not three months ago, Lionel Wallace told me this story of the Door in the Wall.


Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: I enjoy the author.

This is a small book, about the size of a man's hand and contains three short stories. 2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Penguin Modern Classics list and in honour of this event they have published 50 of these "Mini Modern" books to celebrate the great short story writers. The books are all uniform.

I like H.G. Wells; I've read all his fiction, some of the novels more than once. I especially like his science fiction, the classics "The Time Machine" and "The Invisible Man". I read his short stories when I was a kid in a humongous old tome entitled "The Complete Works of H.G. Wells", though it's completeness was referring to his fiction, so I must have come across these stories at least once before though they were not familiar to me at this reading. The three stories are very different from each other. The first is mostly humorous with a trick ending, the second is what we expect when we hear the name H.G. Wells: science fiction and the third is more a horror story in the vein on Poe. None of the stories were particularly impressive to me. They were all OK, with the sci-fi one standing out amongst the three but I'm sure someone could have picked three more outstanding stories to represent this great writer. Overall, just OK.

The Door in the Wall - The titular story in this collection and the longest is about a man who recounts the story of an old school chum who came to visit him in the night who tells him the tale of how he has been haunted his entire life by a mysterious door in the wall, which he entered once, and the narrator tells us how this story ends tragically. 3/5

The Sea Raiders - A day when the Devonshire coast is attacked by strange aggressive man-eating tentacled sea creatures. My favourite of the collection. 4/5

The Moth - A man is either being haunted by his late academic rival or his death has driven him insane. 3/5

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