The best HG Wells books 📚

Browse the best books on HG Wells as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau

By H.G. Wells

Why this book?

The reader is introduced to a collection of monsters, half-man/half-animal, who are abominations of nature created by the titular Dr. Moreau. He’s a demented scientist who wishes to exert his dominance over nature by perverting it. Wells makes us feel empathy for the monsters who suffer greatly at the hands of their creator. The book eventually makes us question who the true monster is—man or beast? 

From the list:

The best books that will make you afraid of the dark

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Book cover of The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter

By Megan Shepherd

Why this book?

This atmospheric novel, a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, is a perfect blend of gothic romance and haunting mystery. It’s beautifully written, well-paced, and filled with unexpected twists. I love the feminist theme presented through the main character, Juliet, who is independent despite the hardships she endures, is not dissuaded from pursuing her passion for science even though it wasn’t proper for a woman to do so at the time. There is also an underlying theme throughout the book that expertly juxtaposes sanity and madness, eliciting the question of where the line should be drawn.

From the list:

The best young adult books on retellings that capture the imagination

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Book cover of Mr. Britling Sees It Through

Mr. Britling Sees It Through

By H.G. Wells

Why this book?

H. G. Wells coined the wildly optimistic phrase “A war to end wars” in l914, but four bitter years later he would sadly admit “This war is the worst thing that’s ever happened to mankind.” His autobiographical novel traces the emotional and intellectual arc of this journey from idealism to disillusionment; a bestseller in l916, it still packs a punch, the testament of a compassionate, highly-civilized man powerless to stop the world’s agony.

From the list:

The best books that are unjustly forgotten from World War One

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Book cover of The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells

Why this book?

I first experienced The War of the Worlds on screen, with the movie from 1953 and then the incredibly obscure TV series in the late 1980s. I didn’t read the book until I was well into my 30s, but when I did, I was captivated. Wells told a story that was so difficult to accept that no one has even tried to accurately represent it on screen. But it’s brilliant: a tale about the horrors of war, written before any of the wars of the 20th century that would make people realize he was right.

From the list:

The best books for the end of the world

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Book cover of The Invincible

The Invincible

By Stanislaw Lem

Why this book?

Stanislaw Lem, the Polish philosopher and science fiction novelist, had the talent of writing novels that raise profound questions about the human condition. One of the issues he tackled was whether our human form of intelligence is just one of many types of intelligence that might be found in the universe.

In one of his most gripping and mind-stretching novels, The Invincible, an Earth spaceship lands on an apparently uninhabited planet only to find that many years previously, another race had crash-landed on the planet, and their small, robotic assistants were the main survivors of the crash. Those automata…

From the list:

The best science fiction books on artificial intelligence

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Book cover of The Alternate Martians

The Alternate Martians

By A. Bertram Chandler

Why this book?

There are so many science fiction books about Mars, so I wanted to choose at least one of the more obscure ones. This one is particularly interesting because it explores the idea of a universe in which the many famous Martian tales that came before it, like John Carter of Mars, were based on actual beings and events—the details were just embellished and perhaps misremembered a bit by the authors.

From the list:

The best books about life on Mars as we’ll soon know it

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