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H G Wells

The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents

The Stolen Bacillus and other incidents was first published in 1895, before H G Wells had made his name with his longer stories. I sometimes feel that his later works concentrate too much on social commentary, and that the short stories of this book allow the reader to see more of Wells' unique inventiveness. There are are stories involving attacks by mysterious animals, as well as a couple of deadly plants. If you want to see how Wells' began his career as a novelist, or if you just like to read short stories then you'll probably enjoy the plot twists of these early examples.

In the title story a bacteriologist impresses an interested visitor with the deadliness of the cholera germs he keeps in a sealed tube in his laboratory. But all is not as it seems - neither of them are being truthful. As well as science-fictional stories, there are several which involve explorers/soldiers (of course Wells was writing in the days of the British Empire and so had a different viewpoint to the one we have today), and throughout the book the reader gets a glimpse of the nature of British society at the end of the nineteenth century.

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