Steampunk: H.G. Wells – H.G. Wells, Zdenko Bašić, Manuel Sumberac

SteampunkFrom No classic work lends itself better to Steampunk illustrations than The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, and “The Country of the Blind,” written by H.G. Wells, who many consider to be the father of Steampunk itself. Wells’s tales of time travel and scientific romance is the perfect collection to the Steampunk series. Fans old and new will be delighted by Basic and Sumberac’s four-color illustrations spiked with Steampunk machinery, gadgets, and fashion.

Published: 2013 (Time Machine 1895, The War of the Worlds 1897The Country of the Blind, 1904.)

Why I Chose It: I saw this on the library book shelf and was immediately intrigued by the collection. I’ve wanted to read H.G. Wells for a while, and adding steampunk pictures seemed like a great opportunity!

The Review:

So I’ll break up this review into four sections: the overall collection; and each of the stories it contains.

The Collection

I actually liked the idea for the collection. Combining H.G. Wells’ works with steampunk pictures sounds pretty awesome, and for the most part, it was. I really liked the pictures. If I was rating on the pictures alone, this book would score pretty high. They were very pretty, and I really enjoyed seeing different parts of the stories come to life.

It was also really neat seeing the different steampunk aspects added into the story. The stories themselves were unchanged, which I appreciated because I think I would have been upset if they had actually changed Wells’ writing. The steampunk elements were added through the pictures alone. It was awesome to see all the little details that were in the pictures, and how the illustrators tried to represent the theme. Sometimes the illustrations didn’t quite match what was happening in the story, but I tried to take this in stride as artists’ interpretation.

The one thing I didn’t like about the overall collection was the size. It wasn’t that thick, yet it was heavy! The pages were pretty thick, which I think added to the weight. I actually stopped taking it to work to read on my lunch breaks because I found it was annoying. It was annoying to even hold the book up, so I preferred reading with  it set on something. While the book was quite beautiful, the enjoyment of reading it was ruined by the physical object.

Rating for the collection: 3.5 / 5

The Time Machine

The only thing I really knew about this story when I started I picked up from the 2002 movie. I was surprised to discover that it’s a pretty short story. Plus while the movie had portrayed a complicated future for the human race, the story actually portrays very simple creatures that have evolved from humans.  Being inside the time traveller’s head was really neat, because you got to see him puzzle out what might have happened to the human race and how these creatures might have evolved from them. It was very cool watching him go around and find artifacts from the world he knew.

Rating: 4 / 5

The War of the Worlds

So the only version I know of The War of the Worlds is Jeff Wayne’s musical version from 1978. I grew up listening to this, and I am in love with it. Of course I was excited to read the original story! I discovered that it is quite long, and unfortunately quite slow. I only skimmed the second half, so I feel really bad rating it. I want to tackle this one again in the future, so I’m going to hold off rating it for now until I finish it.

The Country of the Blind

I had never heard of this short story before, so it was really neat reading it. It’s about a man who stumbles into a hidden valley full of people that have been born blind for generations. I really love how Wells’ disected the smallest details in the charaters’ exchanges – for example, when the man says “I see” the blind people don’t understand. They can’t understand the concept of seeing and end up thinking he’s mad. This was a really intriguing story that made me think, and it was a really nice experience reading it.

Rating: 4 / 5




One comment on “Steampunk: H.G. Wells – H.G. Wells, Zdenko Bašić, Manuel Sumberac

  1. wsmarble says:

    I agree with you on how catchy this book is to the Steampunk imagination. It was the first book I ever bought, in fourth or fifth grade, and I can still picture its dramatic cover!

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