counter create hit The Food of the Gods - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Food of the Gods

Availability: Ready to download

What happens when science tampers with nature? A riveting, cautionary tale with disastrous results reveals the chilling answer. Hoping to create a new growth agent for food with beneficial uses to mankind, two scientists find that the spread of the material is uncontrollable. Giant chickens, rats, and insects run amok, and children given the food stuffs experience incredibl What happens when science tampers with nature? A riveting, cautionary tale with disastrous results reveals the chilling answer. Hoping to create a new growth agent for food with beneficial uses to mankind, two scientists find that the spread of the material is uncontrollable. Giant chickens, rats, and insects run amok, and children given the food stuffs experience incredible growth--and serious illnesses. Over the years, people who have eaten these specially treated foods find themselves unable to fit into a society where ignorance and hypocrisy rule. These "giants," with their extraordinary mental powers, find themselves shut away from an older, more traditional society. Intolerance and hatred increase as the line of distinction between ordinary people and giants is drawn across communities and families. One of H. G. Wells' lesser-known works, The Food of the Gods has been retold many times in many forms since it was first published in 1904. The gripping, newly relevant tale combines fast-paced entertainment with social commentary as it considers the ethics involved in genetic engineering.


Compare
Ads Banner

What happens when science tampers with nature? A riveting, cautionary tale with disastrous results reveals the chilling answer. Hoping to create a new growth agent for food with beneficial uses to mankind, two scientists find that the spread of the material is uncontrollable. Giant chickens, rats, and insects run amok, and children given the food stuffs experience incredibl What happens when science tampers with nature? A riveting, cautionary tale with disastrous results reveals the chilling answer. Hoping to create a new growth agent for food with beneficial uses to mankind, two scientists find that the spread of the material is uncontrollable. Giant chickens, rats, and insects run amok, and children given the food stuffs experience incredible growth--and serious illnesses. Over the years, people who have eaten these specially treated foods find themselves unable to fit into a society where ignorance and hypocrisy rule. These "giants," with their extraordinary mental powers, find themselves shut away from an older, more traditional society. Intolerance and hatred increase as the line of distinction between ordinary people and giants is drawn across communities and families. One of H. G. Wells' lesser-known works, The Food of the Gods has been retold many times in many forms since it was first published in 1904. The gripping, newly relevant tale combines fast-paced entertainment with social commentary as it considers the ethics involved in genetic engineering.

30 review for The Food of the Gods

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    Originally published in 1904, The Food of the Gods by H. G. Wells is less well known than the author’s The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds but it is a highly philosophical and entertaining science fiction novel and one not to be missed. And I’d suggest the SF Masterworks edition since there's an informative, insightful Introduction by Adam Roberts. The storyline is simple: two amateurish scientists, Mr. Bensington and Professor Redwood, create a miracle substance accelerating growth in bot Originally published in 1904, The Food of the Gods by H. G. Wells is less well known than the author’s The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds but it is a highly philosophical and entertaining science fiction novel and one not to be missed. And I’d suggest the SF Masterworks edition since there's an informative, insightful Introduction by Adam Roberts. The storyline is simple: two amateurish scientists, Mr. Bensington and Professor Redwood, create a miracle substance accelerating growth in both plants and animals. They carry out their experiment on a farm run by a Mr. and Mrs. Skinner, feeding their “Herakleophorbia IV” to chicks. The chicks grow to six times their normal adult size. Unfortunately, the slovenly Skinners are careless, spilling the substance all over the ground and very quickly thereafter other plants and animals grow to monstrous proportions - vines, grass and gulp! - wasps. Then even more alarming news: rats! Newspapers run headlines about the monstrosities. Bensington and Redwood know something must be done forthwith. The scientists swing into action - here are my comments coupled with a number of direct quotes from Chapter 3 - The Giant Rats: "The doctor, one gathers, stood up, shouted to his horse, and slashed with all his strength. The rat winced and swerved most reassuringly at his blow—in the glare of his lamp he could see the fur furrow under the lash—and he slashed again and again, heedless and unaware of the second pursuer that gained upon his off side." ----------Completely uninformed about recent developments with various animal life, a country doctor returns home on his horse-drawn carriage after delivering a baby only to be attacked in the early dawn by three giant rats. One of the most vivid scenes in all of literature. The way in which the narrator reports the unspeakable horror of such an occurrence passes over into humor. "Go up the street to the gunsmith's, of course. Why? For guns. Yes—there's only one shop. Get eight guns! Rifles. Not elephant guns—no! Too big. Not army rifles—too small. Say it's to kill—kill a bull. Say it's to shoot buffalo! See? Eh? Rats? No! How the deuce are they to understand that? Because we want eight. Get a lot of ammunition. Don't get guns without ammunition—No!" ---------- Bensington and Redwood lean on civil engineer Cossar, just the Action Jackson to organize a hunting party to kill the giant rats. Such an ugly turn of events. An to think, the two Brit scientists had no more evil intentions with their growth formula than Laurel and Hardy. Unfortunately, Bensington and Redwood had hardly more brains than those two famous film nitwits. "By five o'clock that evening this amazing Cossar, with no appearance of hurry at all, had got all the stuff for his fight with insurgent Bigness." ---------- What is so striking is the enormity of the change in nature, a change that will expand into global crisis, and the reaction from this small band of bumbling Brits. Hey, why get the government involved when we can organize our own hunting party? Perhaps H. G. Wells is making a statement on the general state of human intelligence - hardly above the level of the Three Stooges. "They left the waggonette behind, and the men who were not driving went afoot. Over each shoulder sloped a gun. It was the oddest little expedition for an English country road, more like a Yankee party, trekking west in the good old Indian days." ---------- I so much enjoy the British author's swipe at the American frontier mentality. I can clearly picture these eight men - Redwood, Bensington, Cossar and the five men Cossar rounded up - striding down the road on their rat hunt. "Redwood had kept his gun in hand and let fly at something grey that leapt past him. He had a vision of the broad hind-quarters, the long scaly tail and long soles of the hind-feet of a rat, and fired his second barrel. He saw Bensington drop as the beast vanished round the corner." ---------- This encounter with the giant rats (seven feet long from head to tail) has all the making of a blockbuster B film. Many are the movie posters featuring the attacking giant rats. "When things were a little ship-shape again Redwood went and stared at the huge misshapen corpse. The brute lay on its side, with its body slightly bent. Its rodent teeth overhanging its receding lower jaw gave its face a look of colossal feebleness, of weak avidity. It seemed not in the least ferocious or terrible. Its fore-paws reminded him of lank emaciated hands. Except for one neat round hole with a scorched rim on either side of its neck, the creature was absolutely intact." ---------- And what is Professor Redwood's reaction to such a event? He chimes: "This is like being a boy again." The immaturity of the current human population is one of the novel's abiding themes. "Cossar was on all fours with two guns, one trailing on each side from a string under his chin, and his most trusted assistant, a little dark man with a grave face, was to go in stooping behind him, holding a lantern over his head. Everything had been made as sane and obvious and proper as a lunatic's dream. --------- Cossar crawling through the giant rat holes, shooting the giant rats, makes for a spectacularly harrowing scene in a B film. Oh, incidentally, the boy's adventure also includes dealing with giant wasps. Alas, Redwood feeds the “Boomfood” to his own son. Likewise, there are other children raised on the miracle formula. Soon the world has to deal with baby giants and toddler giants and then, fully grown giants (forty feet tall, as tall as a four story building). With such sad giants inhabiting the planet, sad because the little people become increasingly intolerant of their presence, The Food of the Gods turns into a tale of pathos and high drama, a tale of political corruption and general ineptitude in humans dealing with anything outside their conventional framework and worldview. Also added into the philosophic mix is a topic of particular relevance in today’s world – genetic modification and the so called Frankenstein foods. All in all, there is good reason why The Food of the Gods is published as part of the SF Masterworks. Highly recommended. British author H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    The Food of the Gods is science-fiction, but its premise of science gone mad and things happening beyond our control is strangely plausible.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Of all the many books written by H G Wells, this is not one that usually springs to mind. However this is a good, if rather overlooked, scientific romance that is worthy of your attention. The tale is fairly straightforward. Two scientists, Mr Bensington and Professor Redwood, create a miracle chemical that they call (rather unpronounceably) Herakleophorbia IV. This chemical element accelerates physical growth and creates animals that are much bigger than normal. Thinking that they are Advancing S Of all the many books written by H G Wells, this is not one that usually springs to mind. However this is a good, if rather overlooked, scientific romance that is worthy of your attention. The tale is fairly straightforward. Two scientists, Mr Bensington and Professor Redwood, create a miracle chemical that they call (rather unpronounceably) Herakleophorbia IV. This chemical element accelerates physical growth and creates animals that are much bigger than normal. Thinking that they are Advancing Science and have created a solution to future world supplies, the two scientists test their compound by creating giant chicks and set up an experimental farm for their study. However, mismanagement by the Skinners, an inept couple given charge of the farm, leads to the giant poultry escaping. The problem is exacerbated when it is found that other animals have fed on the food and soon giant worms, earwigs, wasps (as shown on the cover) and rats are found across the countryside. The media publicise this with gusto. Consequently the scientists, with a civil engineer named Cossar, track the giant vermin down and to halt further problems the farm is burnt to the ground. However most of the book is concerned with the humans who have eaten the food, now called Boomfood. Redwood’s own child, Edward (Teddy), is fed the food, as too Albert Caddles, the grandson of the couple given the farm to look after. Unable to stop eating the food (as that would prove fatal) the giants created are seen as a boon yet ultimately lead a sad life. Intelligent and physically advanced, the super-sized innocents are shunned and reviled by human society, seen as freaks and treated with mistrust. Bensington is driven into hiding by the media. A politician, John 'The Giant Killer' Caterham , uses the public fear of the giants through the media to whip up feeling against them, which has tragic consequences. In the end it seems clear that there is to be a war between the repressed giants, the Children of the Food, and the human Pygmies. However, as this tale is not told here, the reader is left to wonder ‘what-if?’The last paragraph is an epic Stapledonian-type moment: ‘For one instant he shone, looking up fearlessly into the starry deeps, mail-clad, young and strong, resolute and still. Then the light had passed and he was no more than a great black outline against the starry sky, a great black outline that threatened with one mighty gesture the firmament of heaven and all its multitude of stars.’ For a book that is over a hundred years old, this book (as mentioned in the new introduction by Adam Roberts) is surprisingly relevant in these days of Frankenstein foods and genetic modification. The corrupt politician, the restrictions of a hierarchical class society, bureaucratic ineptitude, the gullibility of the masses and the influence of the media are surprisingly apt keystones, not just for the 20th but also for the 21st century. In this study of ‘Man versus Science’, though the technology in Wells’ tale may be different, the social consequences are both appropriate and thought-provoking. Wells manages to show the consequences of scientific progress, whilst warning of corruptible politicians and evoking the inequality of slavery. Wells’ combination of both light humour (at the beginning) and darker pathos (towards the end) work surprisingly well here, though they are relatively simple in execution. The need for the giant Young Caddles who travels to London to determine the meaning of life is both amusing and affecting. Some of the scenes of the giant creatures attacking humans are quite horrific. The characters are a little caricaturist, and show their age, though this is perhaps deliberate. It must be remembered that the book was written for the primary purpose of entertainment, though its sly commentary (if a little simplistic) is engaging and appropriate. It’s more readable than Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and in the best tradition of Wells’ scientific romances makes the reader consider alternative options to reality. This is a good book for those who want to read more Wells, beyond the usual Time Machine and War of the Worlds. Recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    Story - 3.4 Stars Narration - 3.5 Stars A story about science gone wild. Two dudes invent a super-food and test it unwisely. Recommended but only if you love H.G. Wells because this style may not be for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Gibson

    My misconceptions: --Wells’ novels are for teenage boys. --They are hopelessly antiquated. --Every title I know has come from a movie adaptation and I have actually never read any of his books. My reaction: --I was having difficulty reading a new novel (‘2030, The Real Story of What Happens in America’) and searched my Kindle for some free titles for a diversion. There, I found all the H.G. Wells novels in public domain. What the hell… no price is the right price. My revelation: --This book is good! No My misconceptions: --Wells’ novels are for teenage boys. --They are hopelessly antiquated. --Every title I know has come from a movie adaptation and I have actually never read any of his books. My reaction: --I was having difficulty reading a new novel (‘2030, The Real Story of What Happens in America’) and searched my Kindle for some free titles for a diversion. There, I found all the H.G. Wells novels in public domain. What the hell… no price is the right price. My revelation: --This book is good! Not for kids—with surprising contemporary subject matter. --About the dreadful movie which airs on Chiller at 2 AM once in a while: borrowed the title and has nothing to do with the book. Surprised? You probably know the gist of the story: two chemists invent a food substance that accelerates growth. They figure this is the answer to feeding the world. More than just plants grow big. What you may not know: how clever and witty the writing. Wells can draw a character as in-depth and enjoyable as say, Hardy. He never lets a character go. Even minor people get a full description—and a marvel of inventive language. Holy shit. Wells didn’t know it, but long before the genome was discovered, he was talking about genetic engineering. As I read about the plants and animals affected by Wells ‘superfood’ I couldn’t help make comparisons to Monsanto’s genetic altered corn, wheat and soy. Practically everything we touch today has been genetically or chemically altered from its original state. I had more ‘Ah-ha’ moments in this hundred year old book than anything contemporary I have read in a long time. Aside from horse-and-carriages, perambulators, and lack of phones, this has a very modern feel to it. And so much better use of language. And… it’s FUN! Wells can spin a great yarn.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I find the works of H.G. Wells to be remarkable in several ways. Although stories that bear the marks of the modern science fiction genera include Shelley's Frankenstein and the imaginative works of Jules Verne, its HG Wells that really set the stage for modern science fiction. Additionally, Wells is one of the first modern wargamers, and his publication of 'Floor Games' and 'Little Wars' sparked the wargaming movement that would eventually set the stage for both Role Playing Games and video gam I find the works of H.G. Wells to be remarkable in several ways. Although stories that bear the marks of the modern science fiction genera include Shelley's Frankenstein and the imaginative works of Jules Verne, its HG Wells that really set the stage for modern science fiction. Additionally, Wells is one of the first modern wargamers, and his publication of 'Floor Games' and 'Little Wars' sparked the wargaming movement that would eventually set the stage for both Role Playing Games and video games. So, in many ways, H.G. Wells is the 'Father of Modern Geekdom'. The majority of the popular fiction of H.G. Wells for which he is usually remembered dates from a single 6 year period at the very cusp of the 20th century. From this period we get such well known classics as 'The Time Machine' (1895), 'The Island of Dr Moreau' (1896), 'The Invisible Man' (1897), 'The War of the Worlds' (1898), and 'The First Men on the Moon' (1901). Slightly past the end of the prolific period is a much more obscure work - 'The Food of the Gods' (1904) - which is today best known for its inspiration of some very bad B-rate horror movies. The work, along with the similarly obscure 'In the Days of the Comet' (1906) marks an important transition point in Well's fiction, from the successful scientific romances of his early career to the much less readable and less well known political science fiction of his latter career. In the esteem of readers and critics, 'The Food of the Gods' is generally lumped in with Wells later works, which in my opinion is a shame because this is I think Wells at his most powerful. 'The Food of the Gods' combines Wells best talents as a writer of adventure stories which he has honed over the course of several previous novellas, with his highest ambitions and seriousness of his later years in a way that I think is superior to either what comes before or what comes after. No other book by Wells covers quite the range of emotions as this book, from wry humor, to terrible pathos, horror, and elation. This is in my opinion the first great science fiction novel, and one that wasn't equalled until the post-WWII crop of giants created what's now called the Golden Age of Science Fiction. The basic plot of the story follows a pair of eccentric scientists who, with the best of intentions, set out to create a treatment which will promote a healthy giantism in living things so as to create a world without scarcity or poverty. The niavity of the scientists and the fervor with which they pursue their work is alternately funny and terrifying. I love just about everything about this novel: the easily readable early adventures against giant monsters grown from household animals before the book takes a decidedly dark turn, the pitiable character of Caddles, the episode of the man released from prison, and the soaring vision of the sons of Cossar and Redwood. The book touches on alot: debates about nurture vs. nature, feelings of isolation and technological alienation, invidual freedom vs. community safety, terrorism, politics, transhumanism, and pretty much anything that will come up later in science fiction. After reading the story you'll see echos of it in just about all modern science fiction - from the 'ecology strikes back' disaster movies of the 70's to mutant conflict in the X-Men to the 'future shock' style dystopian novels.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Hey look! A book finally made it off the death-trap that is my 'To-Finish-Someday' list. I finally finished it! Wells jumps right into the action with this story of growth-hormones gone amiss. Giant wasps, giant rats, giant chickens...no wonder the countryside is terrorized! However, his intrepid scientists decide 'NBD' and give the growth formula to children. Because why not. An interesting and yet disconcerting read. Wells's sympathy lies with the scientists and the giants they created. Mankind Hey look! A book finally made it off the death-trap that is my 'To-Finish-Someday' list. I finally finished it! Wells jumps right into the action with this story of growth-hormones gone amiss. Giant wasps, giant rats, giant chickens...no wonder the countryside is terrorized! However, his intrepid scientists decide 'NBD' and give the growth formula to children. Because why not. An interesting and yet disconcerting read. Wells's sympathy lies with the scientists and the giants they created. Mankind remains petty and political in the face of this next step in evolution. In this book, progress necessitates good. Sure, giant wasps now abound, but so do giants with massive brains! It is an interesting contrast and certainly makes this worth reading and chewing over. However, I find my personal values and expectations about such a result diverge considerably from the author's. Despite the exciting start, the book concludes on a more somber note, full of an old man's reflections about life and the next generation. Philosophically interesting but not likely to keep a reader hooked.

  8. 5 out of 5

    sologdin

    Nutshell: uppity scientists solve food distribution problem, which causes increase in proletarian demographic power, which induces proto-fascists to start a war of extermination. First third is dominated by development of hypertrophying foods, their dissemination among animals, and the destruction of those animals. Lots of this early section is a creature thriller wherein people hunt down gargantuan rats that have terrorized the countryside, but I could be wrong, as I yawned my way through it. Re Nutshell: uppity scientists solve food distribution problem, which causes increase in proletarian demographic power, which induces proto-fascists to start a war of extermination. First third is dominated by development of hypertrophying foods, their dissemination among animals, and the destruction of those animals. Lots of this early section is a creature thriller wherein people hunt down gargantuan rats that have terrorized the countryside, but I could be wrong, as I yawned my way through it. Rest of volume concerns political problems caused by human infants fed hypertrophying foods, which “increased the amount of growth from six to seven times, and it did not go beyond that whatever amount of the Food was taken in excess” (105). Very plainly in a certain tradition with notes such as “he’ll only be one solitary Gulliver in a pigmy world” (59)—that makes the proto-fascists into Lilliputians, I suppose. Socialist author makes his sympathies plain: “It spread beyond England very speedily. Soon in America, all over the continent of Europe, in Japan, in Australia, at last all over the world, the thing working towards its appointed end. Always it worked slowly, by indirect courses and against resistance. It was bigness insurgent. In spite of prejudice, in spite of law and regulation, in spite of all that obstinate conservatism that lies at the base of the formal order of mankind, the Food of the Gods, once it had been set going, pursued its subtle and invincible progress” (125). Giants similarly complain that “Your little people made all that before I was born. You and your law! What I must and what I musn’t. No food for me to eat unless I work a slave, no rest, no shelter” (216). Conclusion is appropriately stark. Recommended for indefatigable lichenologists commenting on the work of other indefatigable lichenologists, those who want a nice straight road in the place of all these rutty little lanes, and readers who are for Reaction—unstinted and fearless Reaction.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    H.G. Wells is a very well known science fiction writer, and many people will be aware of his most famous tales. I have read a few of his books, and was surprised to come across this one in the library as I have never heard of it. I'm not sure why this one has slipped into obscurity because, in my opinion, it's up there with his best. This is a story about a couple of scientists who make a substance, the Food of the Gods, which can make things grow to extremely large sizes. As usual, they have no H.G. Wells is a very well known science fiction writer, and many people will be aware of his most famous tales. I have read a few of his books, and was surprised to come across this one in the library as I have never heard of it. I'm not sure why this one has slipped into obscurity because, in my opinion, it's up there with his best. This is a story about a couple of scientists who make a substance, the Food of the Gods, which can make things grow to extremely large sizes. As usual, they have no idea of the consequences of their actions and predictably things get out of hand quite quickly. Although on the surface the idea is a good, solid premise in itself, Wells takes the book much deeper than surface level. What this book is really about is society, and what happens when people are faced with something new and scary, which they may not understand or know how to deal with. It confronts the problem on a personal level through various different characters, a political level and even in terms of class. Wells asks a very important question here and I think the series of events has insight into the human condition and our inability to deal with change, to adapt and to be accepting of those who are different to ourselves. I enjoyed this book on many levels. It was entertaining, it was a good and interesting story, and it made me think. I particularly liked the ending - I felt it was very fitting and I was happy that I could leave the story there. I would highly recommend this to anyone, not just sci-fi fans, because it is so much more than just another far-fetched imagining.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wally Flangers

    “And maybe in the next life, WE are the ants” has been an ongoing joke that I’ve used for several years now with my kids whenever I’ve seen them step on a pile of ants or crush an ant hill…. It’s a humorous warning to open their eyes (on a much smaller scale) that someday the tables MAY turn and you should respect all living things, even those of smaller stature…. “What goes around, comes around”, right? The thought of this notion gets their tiny little minds turning and help them understand tha “And maybe in the next life, WE are the ants” has been an ongoing joke that I’ve used for several years now with my kids whenever I’ve seen them step on a pile of ants or crush an ant hill…. It’s a humorous warning to open their eyes (on a much smaller scale) that someday the tables MAY turn and you should respect all living things, even those of smaller stature…. “What goes around, comes around”, right? The thought of this notion gets their tiny little minds turning and help them understand that they wouldn’t think it was very funny if it was THEM who saw a big foot, blacking out the sun, falling down from the sky to mash their body into the ground…. Does it hinder any chance of future squashings or ant genocide? Absolutely not…. But, at least they get the idea. It was interesting for me to see how H.G. Wells could capitalize on that joke through science fiction. “The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth” is a science fiction novel that was first published in 1904 by Macmillan. It is a very popular book among H.G. Wells’ fans…. In summary, the novel is about a couple of scientists who invent a new kind of food that accelerates the growth of anything that consumes it. This includes vegetable plants, fruit trees, and even children – resulting in reaching heights of forty feet tall, turning them into giants once they reach adulthood. For a more descriptive plotline with some MINOR SPOILERS, “The Food of the Gods….” is split up into three different Books (or sections). Book I is titled, “The Discovery of the Food” and introduces a chemist named Mr. Bensington and a Professor named Mr. Redwood. These two men join forces and dedicate a year of their time on research and development for a substance that can accelerate the process of growth. After developing a substance for testing, they called it “Herakleophorbia IV” (named after Hercules) and would later be referred to by the locals as “Boom Food”. The mad scientists decide to test their new substance on chickens and are amazed at their findings. But, as with any experiment or finding of this magnitude, there will come great consequence…. Book II is titled, “The Food in the Village” and is about the development of the children who have been subjected to “Herakleophorbia IV”. As expected, eventually the children end up morphing into giants…. This obviously becomes a problem and soon the English population gets fed up with giants running around and are forced to make a collective decision. Book III is titled, “The Harvest of the Food” and is about the struggle for survival for both parties, the giants and the English population. This section of the story was ultimately inevitable and contains the most action sequences. Overall, this was a terrific book and full of innovative ideas, drama, and elements of war as the giants fight for their survival. It’s actually a pretty cool concept… It certainly made me ponder over what it would be having giants on earth with me. How would you react? Would you seek and destroy or embrace them with open arms? I especially liked how the pace of the story progresses in each Book…. It ramps up in suspense rather quickly and ends on a high note. As usual, H.G. Wells does not provide a lot background on the characters, at least not enough to really get you connected to any of them, but the story itself is so good that I can give him a pass on that lack of development. My only complaint with this book is that the story seemed a bit rushed…. It was written more like a novella in many ways. I would have preferred a lot more science behind understanding how “Herakleophorbia IV” was created and worked, along with more background on the scientists and their experiments on the farm. I think that would have helped build up the suspense. “The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth” was adapted for film, more than once. The original adaptation was released in 1965, titled “Village of the Giants”. In 1976, the same director released another adaptation with the title “The Food of the Gods”. The novel was also adapted, multiple times, into a comic book but I have never read any of the comic versions. FINAL VERDICT: I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. “The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth” is one of my favorite H.G. Wells books and among his most notable works of fiction…. I would highly recommend it to science fiction lovers or readers with big imaginations, especially If you are a “Twilight Zone” fan.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    It all begins as humor. Two British scientists come up with a substance that causes flora, fauna, and people to become giants. At first, there are giant nettles, mushrooms -- but then it ramps up, with giant rats that can take down and eat horses and wasps so large one could hear them half a mile off. In the end it becomes a tragedy: several hundred children around the world had been given this "food of the gods" and grow to a height of around forty feet. And this is something that society canno It all begins as humor. Two British scientists come up with a substance that causes flora, fauna, and people to become giants. At first, there are giant nettles, mushrooms -- but then it ramps up, with giant rats that can take down and eat horses and wasps so large one could hear them half a mile off. In the end it becomes a tragedy: several hundred children around the world had been given this "food of the gods" and grow to a height of around forty feet. And this is something that society cannot and will not take:Don't you see the prospect before us clear as day? Everywhere the giants will increase and multiply; everywhere they will make and scatter the Food. The grass will grow gigantic in our fields, the weeds in our hedges, the vermin in the thickets, the rats in the drains. More and more and more. This is only a beginning. The insect world will rise on us, the plant world, the very fishes in the sea, will swamp and drown our ships. Tremendous growths will obscure and hide our houses, smother our churches, smash and destroy all the order of our cities, and we shall become no more than a feeble vermin under the heels of the new race. Mankind will be swamped and drowned in things of its own begetting! And all for nothing! Size! Mere size! Enlargement and da capo. Already we go picking our way among the first beginnings of the coming time.An anti-Food of the Gods politician is elected, and war breaks out. H.G. Wells in The Food Of The Gods has created an extraordinarily well thought out work of science fiction/fantasy. It is also an object lesson that from small beginnings giant problems grow. There is a particularly effective scene in the novel in which a prisoner who has been out of circulation for many years takes a train trip into the country with his brother and sees his world changed in strange ways. When war does break out between the giants and the "Pygmies," the former come up with a weapon (which I will not divulge) that guarantees that, whatever happens to themselves, their cause will not die.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill Wellham

    Recently re-printed in a hardback on the S.F. Masterworks series, I was compelled to buy it. The other H.G. Wells which I have read are Time Machine, War of the Worlds, and Island of Dr Moreau. This is written in the same style, with a Victorian feel throughout the pages. I am starting to feel that H.G. Wells had a definate distrust for science (scientists), whilst having an imagination of science that far surpassed those of the scientific profession at the time. This story seems like a warning Recently re-printed in a hardback on the S.F. Masterworks series, I was compelled to buy it. The other H.G. Wells which I have read are Time Machine, War of the Worlds, and Island of Dr Moreau. This is written in the same style, with a Victorian feel throughout the pages. I am starting to feel that H.G. Wells had a definate distrust for science (scientists), whilst having an imagination of science that far surpassed those of the scientific profession at the time. This story seems like a warning to meddling in nature, using a different method to Island of Dr. Moreau. The scientist in that novel was all out nasty and mad, whereas the scientists in this book are quite good chaps with an honest belief in improving the world. So... a couple of scientists invent a food which makes everything grow to enormous sizes. We have giant plants, insects, and eventually giant children. The world doesn't want it, and effectively goes to war against the giants. How will it all end, eh? The best way to read H.G. Wells is to do your best stuffy Victorian accent, and read aloud as if on stage! It is fun. Although, like me, you will stumble and struggle through the rural accents and yokel slangisms. Once you have the feel of the style of dialogue, it becomes quite witty and sharp. Or not, depending on your taste. I have only given this two stars because it just bored me after a while. It didn't really conclude with any purpose. Maybe it is supposed to leave the reader with worrying questions about the future of science etc. The whole book feels a little too wooden and old fashioned for my tastes. Sometimes I felt like speed reading and page jumping, but I stuck with it. I have to remind myself that the book is 100 years old, and should be read with that in mind. God bless the old genius of scientific adventure. War of the Worlds is better though.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    This was a bit of a mixed bag. The book is split into 4 smaller "books" which in turn are split into chapters and they too are divided into mini chapters. The Food Of The Gods begins with 2 scientists who stumble across a formula  for a food that will make the consumer grow gigantic (they call it "Herakleophorbia 4", the public call it "Boom Food" and the narrator refers to it as "The Food Of The Gods"). This has modest beginnings in the form of a chicken farm, but things soon go very wrong and p This was a bit of a mixed bag. The book is split into 4 smaller "books" which in turn are split into chapters and they too are divided into mini chapters. The Food Of The Gods begins with 2 scientists who stumble across a formula  for a food that will make the consumer grow gigantic (they call it "Herakleophorbia 4", the public call it "Boom Food" and the narrator refers to it as "The Food Of The Gods"). This has modest beginnings in the form of a chicken farm, but things soon go very wrong and poor management results in other creatures gaining access to the food thus resulting in giant ants, wasps, rats ect.  It's an interesting concept - or at least it would have been at the time of its writing, though in our day and age there's no shortage of giant things in film, television and books. There was certainly many a  movie back in the day that involved the attack of some horrendously giant creature. "Them!" (giant ants), "Tarantula" (giant spider), "Attack of The 50 Foot Woman" (giant woman), "King Kong" (giant ape) for example. H.G. Wells of course, wasn't the first to cover this idea. It was also briefly explored in Jonathan Swift's classic, "Gulliver's Travels". Interestingly enough, both Wells and Swift used the the concept not merely as a tool for fantasy storytelling but as a metaphor for the political happenings of the time. The original motive for creating the food was of course relatively noble. The goal was to increase the amount of food available to mankind by making animals and plants larger than normal. The focus on giant insects and animals soon completely withers away though and the majority of the book actually focuses on how the food inadvertently results in a race of giant people and their inability to function together in a society dominated chiefly by little people. This could have been interesting, but it was mostly quite dull. With a concept such as this - where a substance is loose, even airborne and is resulting in the uncontrollable growth of anything it comes into contact with... There's so much you could do! So much to write about. Why then, does Wells spend 50 pages on the dissatisfaction of a giant toddler? A further 30 pages on "giant lovers" and the rest of the book on politics? There was actually a moment in the book where I thought "Yes! Now we're getting somewhere!" as Wells begins an introduction to a new part of the story and propels our minds forward to a time when giant things and little things have become the norm and the world has never known anything different.  There are giant plants, bugs, animals, people of various sizes all over the place due to an idea two scientists were unable to control. Good setting. Let's get on with it. Wells says: "To tell fully of it's (the food of the Gods) coming would be to write a great history, but everywhere there was a parallel chain of happenings. To tell therefore of the manner of it's coming in one place is to tell something of the whole." No! No, Wells. You've told me the beginning. I'm already half way through the book. Move on! OK. Rant over. Some of it was amusing, some of it was cool and some of it was quite interesting, but there's definitely too much time and detail given to the less interesting parts of the book. I understand that the book is partly allegorical, but that doesn't really serve as an excuse. I would criticise the lack of character development and story, but I don't think that would be fair as it's not what the real issue is here. It's not really that sort of book. The issue is that there is all the right amount of focus and detail put on the wrong aspects of the story. The concept needed further exploring. No harm would have been done in providing some decent character development but it probably would have been futile in as much as it would in Asimov's "Foundation". Both books of which are split into sections detailing different time periods and focusing on different scenarios of different characters. I'm a big H.G. Wells fan, but he does sometimes have a tendency to gloss over the interesting aspects of his ideas and spend forever on things that most readers won't even care about.  If you're a fan, by all means read it. There's some good stuff in here. Otherwise, unless you're interested in the frustrations of a giant toddler and the political issues of a future society made up of big and little people - give it a miss. I did rather like the end of the book. The big people have been at war with the little people and the little people have given the big people terms for peace: they are to be given a region where they will live out the rest of their lives in seclusion, unable to spread the food of the gods and forbidden to reproduce. They are offered the opportunity to live providing they also allow their race to fall into extinction.  So I will leave you with the closing moment in which the leader of the giants  delivers an inspiring speech to his fellow beings in retaliation of the terms given (paraphrased): "It is not that we would oust the little people from the world" he said, "in order that we, who are no more than one step upwards from littleness, may hold their world forever... For we are but the momentary hands and eyes of the life of the world... This earth is no resting place; this earth is no playing place, else indeed we put our throats to the little people's knife, having no greater right to live than they... We fight not for ourselves but for growth, growth that goes on forever. Tomorrow, whether we live or we die, growth will conquer through us. That is the law of the spirit for evermore... To grow at last into the fellowship and understanding of God. Growing... Till the earth is no more than a footstool... Till the spirit shall have driven fear into nothingness, and spread..." He swung his arms heavenward - "There!" His voice ceased. The white glare of one of the searchlights wheeled about, and for a moment fell upon him, standing out gigantic with hand upraised against the sky.  For one instant he shone, looking up fearlessly into the starry depths, mail clad, young and strong, resolute and still. Then the light had passed and he was no more than a great black outline that threatened with one mighty gesture the firmament of heaven and all it's multitude of stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Noel Coughlan

    In The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, two scientists (Redwood & Bensington) discover a ‘food’ which causes any creature that eats it to expand to gigantic proportions. Things go wrong at their experimental farm due to the incompetence of the couple charged with managing it. Exposed to the food, nature runs amok. However, one of the scientists commits a worse sin. Children are exposed to the Boomfood,either through error or deliberate experimentation creating a race of giants that ult In The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, two scientists (Redwood & Bensington) discover a ‘food’ which causes any creature that eats it to expand to gigantic proportions. Things go wrong at their experimental farm due to the incompetence of the couple charged with managing it. Exposed to the food, nature runs amok. However, one of the scientists commits a worse sin. Children are exposed to the Boomfood,either through error or deliberate experimentation creating a race of giants that ultimately comes in contact with disastrous results. This book is at times satirical, whimsical, thrilling and tragic, but the transitions between these moods are sometimes jarring, and the jocularity sometimes undercuts the drama. It can be a little repetitive and drawn out, and the ending may not be to everyone’s tastes. From a modern perspective, it is hard to believe that Redwood would deliberately feed his son the Boomfood but it might have been believable to contemporary audiences given safety standards were less stringent back then. I didn’t particularly enjoy Mr. Skinner’s lispy accent. It wath a bit thuffbcating at timeth to thtruggle through long paragraphth of ‘im thpeakin’. Fortunately, his dialogue is confined to the early part of the novel. I was intrigued by the association of enormity with advancement. The idea had a certain quaintness about it. (It was written over a hundred years ago.) It certainly takes bigger and better to an (illogical) extreme. It puts me in mind of dinosaurs for some reason. If you approach this book without too high expectations, you will find a lot to enjoy here despite its flaws.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelleyo

    Probably 3.5 Four stars might be generous because I liked it a lot more than I'd expected. I expected more horror, based on the bad 70s movie of the same name and the one about giants I know was inspired by the book. Neither have any resemblance to the novel, and both were directed by Bert I. Gordon. Someone should have sat him in a corner and taken away his megaphone, even though Village of the Giants and some of his other movies made for enjoyable episodes of MST3K. As for the book itself, the Probably 3.5 Four stars might be generous because I liked it a lot more than I'd expected. I expected more horror, based on the bad 70s movie of the same name and the one about giants I know was inspired by the book. Neither have any resemblance to the novel, and both were directed by Bert I. Gordon. Someone should have sat him in a corner and taken away his megaphone, even though Village of the Giants and some of his other movies made for enjoyable episodes of MST3K. As for the book itself, the written-out dialect is painful to read in a way I guess it wasn't in 1904, and Wells isn't subtle when making a point. You learn to live with the repetition and the overwrought dialogue pretty early on. That didn't keep me from enjoying it for its good qualities. It's a satire, a pretty good one, and it's surprisingly funny at times. There are horrific things that happen, and giant creatures like wasps and rats that cause some menace. But it's more a morality tale about scientists trying to play god, humanity's lack of care for most things and our shortsightedness, and the potentially dire consequences of both. There's also a theme running through it about how we all tend to treat the "other" and the "different," and a lot of taking the piss of the social conventions of the times. My eyes did glaze sometimes during long, repetitive passages and all that dialect (though reading it aloud was kind of fun), but overall I really enjoyed it. The final image of Redwood, one of the first children of the Food who grew up to be a giant, illuminated briefly with his fist held up toward the sky was poignant and chilling. I'm looking forward to reading more of Wells' books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eman AlRaesi

    This H.G.Wells book talks about a certain food invented by two scientists that makes every living thing that consumes it gigantic. So you can imagine all the bizarre weird events of the book, even at the beginning and it freaked me out. It mentions gigantic hens, wasps and even rats that eat a horse with all sort of grotesque details no wonder I was so scared. It did take some nerves to finish reading it. From a Sci-Fi point of view and considering it was written more than a century ago the nove This H.G.Wells book talks about a certain food invented by two scientists that makes every living thing that consumes it gigantic. So you can imagine all the bizarre weird events of the book, even at the beginning and it freaked me out. It mentions gigantic hens, wasps and even rats that eat a horse with all sort of grotesque details no wonder I was so scared. It did take some nerves to finish reading it. From a Sci-Fi point of view and considering it was written more than a century ago the novel is outdated, But of course Wells's language is classical and fine, I enjoyed it like poetry. One shouldn't forget he was a highly profiling author with a degree (with honors) in biology, no wonder this knowledge is invested in this book. Sometimes while you're reading you feel like it's a pamphlet authored by Darwin, reminded me a little of Origin of Species. Anyway in "The Food of the Gods" Wells just like most (possibly all) early Sci-Fi writers debates the ethical aspect of science. You can feel that like a true man of science he felt the great responsibility of educating the masses through his writings. Of course considering how limited late 19th and early 20th century technology was don't expect a wild imagination and bizzare occurrences, Most of the things mentioned are possible if they didn't already happen if the last century. Also don't miss the subtle remarks and hidden commentary on society back then.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Griffin

    I normally have very few issues reading any classics, but this book was very challenging for me. Seems like there was such a great departure in style from the other HG Wells novels I have read. The book is littered with run-on sentences, what seemed like endless comma hyphenation in some sentences/paragraphs, and half-sentences where the sentence is cut off and the other party in the conversation is having to infer the rest of the sentence from the speaker. That got frustrating after a while. Wor I normally have very few issues reading any classics, but this book was very challenging for me. Seems like there was such a great departure in style from the other HG Wells novels I have read. The book is littered with run-on sentences, what seemed like endless comma hyphenation in some sentences/paragraphs, and half-sentences where the sentence is cut off and the other party in the conversation is having to infer the rest of the sentence from the speaker. That got frustrating after a while. Worse yet was the constant attempts to mimic someone's specific dialect, especially one of the characters who had a lisp. Unfortunately, there were too many of these instances, and they occurred to frequently to enjoy the "novelty" of this. As far as the plot goes, this was another disappointment for me. I was hoping there would've been a lot of war between gigantic animals, insects and the like…but this was not the case. The story seemed to jump around between several different plot lines, and none of them were really resolved satisfactorily (to me at least). Although I have re-read many of Wells' novels several times, this book rates no more than a 2 for me, and will definitely be a one-and-out read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean Bennett

    I am usually a huge fan of H.G. Wells and other classic science fiction in general but this particular story was somewhat of a disappointment. As with most of Wells' works the settings and people who populate them are all well characterised but the plot itself is jumbled and hard to follow, often switching between people, time periods, or both. What little I could grasp of the plot was this: buy some method, humans discover a substance that causes people (specifically children) to grow extremely I am usually a huge fan of H.G. Wells and other classic science fiction in general but this particular story was somewhat of a disappointment. As with most of Wells' works the settings and people who populate them are all well characterised but the plot itself is jumbled and hard to follow, often switching between people, time periods, or both. What little I could grasp of the plot was this: buy some method, humans discover a substance that causes people (specifically children) to grow extremely quickly, causing a controversy over whether or not it should be used. H.G. Wells was a brilliant author who was lightyears ahead of his time, but I think that this book does not live up to the standard of his other works.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

    It was enjoyable, but I would have found it much more interesting were it written at greater length and in more detail. The food of the gods has aged much better than some of H. G. Wells' other works.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Again, another book by Wells that is a little boring, but the concept is just amazing considering what time period it was he wrote this book. He was a man with one foot into the future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Data

    I know it's supposed to teach us a lesson, but I laughed out loud at this book. Thoroughly entertaining!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    It might be said that the science fiction works of H G Wells involve great events happening to very ordinary people. The characters who populate his early short stories and novels are often comically mundane individuals who suddenly find themselves confronted by extraordinary events that are beyond their comprehension or expectation. There are great men in these early works (never women), usually pioneering scientists, but notably they are usually over-reachers who meet an unhappy end – Moreau, G It might be said that the science fiction works of H G Wells involve great events happening to very ordinary people. The characters who populate his early short stories and novels are often comically mundane individuals who suddenly find themselves confronted by extraordinary events that are beyond their comprehension or expectation. There are great men in these early works (never women), usually pioneering scientists, but notably they are usually over-reachers who meet an unhappy end – Moreau, Griffin, Cavor, The Time Traveller etc. The Food of the Gods is unusual in that it involves an extraordinary discovery that is made by very ordinary men. The scientists who come upon the mysterious Food are personally unremarkable men, and Wells has fun in the first chapter of the book pointing to the dullness of real-life scientists. Indeed the problems facing humanity in the book might have been ameliorated considerably if Mr Bensington’s Cousin Jane (the voice of prim respectability) had allowed him to keep tadpoles in the house. As it is, Bensington (a chemist who works on the Food with the physiologist Professor Redwood) makes the misjudgement of experimenting with his Food on chickens in a farm ran by the slatternly Skinners. The chickens grow to extraordinary proportions, but the carelessness of the Skinners causes the Food to be left exposed. Soon the local community is fighting giant rats, wasps and earwigs, as well as the enlarged local flora. Bensington and Redwood are supported by the resourceful civil engineer, Cossar, in quelling these menaces, but their troubles are only just beginning. Mrs Skinner steals some of the Food and leaves with it. She is feeding it to her child, as is the enterprising Redwood. Soon the Food leaks out and there are plenty more invasions of giant insects and animals for the community to contend with. However, the greater problem lies with the Children who have absorbed the foodstuff. After they grow to enormous heights, their societies desperately try to confine them to small areas, and a hostile movement builds up against them. This finally spills over into conflict. The first round is won by the Children. At the end of the book, the Children reject the prime minister’s peace terms and lay down terms of their own which will involve everyone eating the Food and a new generation of Children. It is unclear who will prevail in the battle, but it is certain that the Food cannot be suppressed, and there will be more giant animals and Children in the future. It might be assumed that this is another book about the dangers of scientific discovery getting out of control and becoming a threat, but strangely it is not. It is true that the Food turns out to be a Pandora’s Box that unleashes a whole range of problems on the world. However, the scientists behind it remain unabashed by these problems, and Wells seems to support them in this. In a society of pygmies, they are thinking big. In this light, Wells’ sympathies are with the giants. They are all young children growing to adulthood, and they are all likeable characters. Notably the Food itself is called Herakleophotbia, a name that identifies the Children with the greatest of Greek heroes. The dangers lie with the smaller humans who try to contain them and prevent their growth, literally and metaphorically. Hence Caddles, one of the giant children, is denied a proper education by a rigid clergyman, and grows up in a state of imbecilic innocence. He finally breaks out of this and travels to London causing havoc, desperately asking the smaller Londoners what they are for, before he is tragically killed by the authorities. Indeed this is a question that runs through the book. What are we for? Whatever it is, we are held back by small minds, religious or political. The prime minister, Caterham, is religious and highly politicised, concerned only with the trappings of political power, and gaining votes. This leads him to sweep to power on a populist vote of quelling the Giants, but it is clear that this is too much for his narrow mind or abilities. He is soon left quailing by the power and resourcefulness of the Giants, and he is forced to desperately seek a compromise. Indeed, the Giants are unable to find any suitable way of working well with the ordinary humans, and even their attempts to build roads or houses for the humans are opposed by a community who are still caught up in the old considerations of bureaucracy and law that are now threatened by the new order of larger people. Social distinctions too are beginning to collapse. Absurd attempts to marry a giant Princess to a much smaller Prince soon fall to ground when she decides instead to choose one of her own kind over one of her own class. This rather suits the socialist Wells, though his book does seem to replacing one elite with another. The Food of the Gods is not held in the same respect as earlier sci-fi novels by Wells. There are good reasons for this. It is more broadly philosophical, and does not have a taut adventure story, or a fixed group of central characters that the reader can follow. There are exciting passages, notably the battle with the giant wasps and rats in the early part of the book. However these give way to a slower pace in the later sections of the book. This is a book to ponder over, not a page turner. Another reason why the book seems less respectable is that the movies based on the novel have not been kind to it. The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Dr Moreau and The First Men in the Moon have spawned decent movies, as well as respectable failures. However, only Bert I Gordon, a notoriously bad moviemaker, has made movies using The Food of the Gods as his inspiration, and these films have concentrated on cheesy giant monsters, rather than on the serious content of the story. Whether or not The Food of the Gods is as good as the more respected sci-fi novels is a matter of opinion, but it is a good read, sometimes funny, sometimes exciting, sometimes tragic, and always thought-provoking.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Dunsbee

    What a mix up! But also so interesting and engaging. The first part is almost all light hearted,comic and satirical..... Then a sad but still tongue in cheek part deals with young Caddles... A short fairytale romance follows And finally grim " reality " of sorts where two kinds of humans will not agree or even leave each other in peace.... It's not realistic in many ways of course, and the practical aspects of being a giant is hardly touched on , especially for the upper class and intelligent giants What a mix up! But also so interesting and engaging. The first part is almost all light hearted,comic and satirical..... Then a sad but still tongue in cheek part deals with young Caddles... A short fairytale romance follows And finally grim " reality " of sorts where two kinds of humans will not agree or even leave each other in peace.... It's not realistic in many ways of course, and the practical aspects of being a giant is hardly touched on , especially for the upper class and intelligent giants......yet ,sadly the people and their oddities,or uncaring selfish attitudes are very clear. It also is very fresh seeming and modern , only in two sections where house transport is mentioned are you reminded that this is set over a hundred years ago. The society divided theme never seemed more apt than in recent years....countless times have different groups of people been targeted and made to feel they should not exist.....

  24. 4 out of 5

    James

    As always an excellently written book by Wells. In part lands in Science Fiction, part Horror, part Dystophian Future. The first two parts fit wonderfully into the horror genre, describing the huge animals, hunting and large plants. Within the story is a word of warning for potential things to come. Looking at and exploring the dangers of scientific farms, testing and the potentials of a small leak to have great ramifications nationally and ultimately globally. There is a very good message as to As always an excellently written book by Wells. In part lands in Science Fiction, part Horror, part Dystophian Future. The first two parts fit wonderfully into the horror genre, describing the huge animals, hunting and large plants. Within the story is a word of warning for potential things to come. Looking at and exploring the dangers of scientific farms, testing and the potentials of a small leak to have great ramifications nationally and ultimately globally. There is a very good message as to what can go wrong with research, the intentions and ideals you may have to begin with, ultimately it will not go according to the plan/ intentions you have. The fun aspect of this book is that is overlays nicely with the geographic region set out in War of the Worlds. The only downside to this book was the ending. Quite weak, but, brings out the dystopian side to it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aileen Doran

    I was very apprehensive of this book in the first few chapters and found it quite hard to focus on, but as it progressed it pulled you more in and ended up being an extremely enjoyable read. It brings you on a journey through a changing world, from the initiation, with the food of God's, to years later the influence of this on the world. Greatly enjoyed. Reflects how society would react in a similar situation even today

  26. 4 out of 5

    Simon Pressinger

    Read this if you like the idea of giant wasps, giant rats, giant chickens and giant children on the loose.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Not one of Wells better known books and it isn't hard to see why. This isn't to say that it is poorly written or uninteresting. Wells was a master. But rather that it is nowhere near as marketable or instantly memorable as, say, alien invasion, time travel, or animal-human hybrids. The titular food is based on hilariously outdated science (hey, you can't blame Wells for trying) but that doesn't ruin the interest the book creates. The idea of a food that creates giants of all types is interesting Not one of Wells better known books and it isn't hard to see why. This isn't to say that it is poorly written or uninteresting. Wells was a master. But rather that it is nowhere near as marketable or instantly memorable as, say, alien invasion, time travel, or animal-human hybrids. The titular food is based on hilariously outdated science (hey, you can't blame Wells for trying) but that doesn't ruin the interest the book creates. The idea of a food that creates giants of all types is interesting but not quite fascinating enough to become a classic. And while the science is questionable, Wells does a mostly good job of showcasing how people would likely react to this food and the giants that it creates. The ending is particularly interesting and about the best he was going to get from the situation. However, there are faults here that take t down a notch. Like with most Wells books, the characters are paper-thin and exist purely to serve a purpose: though he does a good job describing each character's physical nature and hints at their personalities, the differences between the two lead scientists is essentially nil. One disappears from the plot and the story just continues on: you can't quite remove that scientist because his fate is used to reveal how the creators of such advances may suffer by those who do not understands them. That said, this lack of focus hints at the book's biggest problem: the episodic nature. Though everything progresses quite logically, the book jumps from scene to scene and character to character. This does a good job of painting a broader view - which is critical in a book like this - but does little to detail the characters. Don't read this for character drama, that's all I'll say. Also: Wells' position here is a bit outdated for me. Clearly, he identifies with the concept of scientific progress at all cost, including the creation of the giants. So he doesn't question Redwood (one of the food creators) and his decision to recklessly give his own child the food. That kind of questionable behavior would be lambasted in a modern book on scientific discovery (rightly) but, beyond a few moments of brooding, mostly does not receive a comment at all. This position is very hard to hold in modern times because creatures that receive The Food even once are, in essence, addicted to it! They discover that stopping the food will inevitably kill a creature who receives it and that these creatures demand the food above all else. And while the giants do outgrow their need for it, they are essentially doomed to gigantism. That concept is INSANELY scary and Wells never, ever seems to realize it. The idea that the head scientist hopelessly addicted his child to a substance that will make him grow over 30-feet in height is NEVER addressed. Neither are the careless ways they handle The Food in the beginning, allowing for the creation of giant rats and other creatures that maim and kill people. Not that I consider this a flaw of the book, per se: applying modern perspectives to books like this is not a good idea. Wells and others like him were thrilled by the possibilities of science and what it could achieve - they believed it would set man free from himself. So the pursuit of all scientific progress, consequences be damned, was not unusual. So of course the scientist gives his child The Food and of course the scientists are forgiven by the book to get the food to animals: their lack of proper storage and scientific method helped progress, so it is good. And this doesn't even touch on the concept of the political movement AGAINST the food. People end up becoming terrified of the new food and Wells, to his credit, does admit that the "pygmies" (i.e. those who have not eaten the food) are right to fear the giants and change...from their perspective. However, a lengthy monologue at the end of the book suggests that the giants are RIGHT from all perspectives, not just theirs. And that a war will break out to decide the fate of the Earth and that the giants are most likely to succeed. The fact that I've written a long review showcases the fact that this book is an interesting, well-written, and good little yarn. Wells rarely lets a good concept go to waste and he does a good job here. It's just that modern readers may be shocked by the consequences and the questionable moral and ethical implications that are hinted at and then ignored.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Adi

    Great sf story with place for the human element.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I picked this book off the library shelves having only once heard the title before, and that connected to a cheesy horror film from the 70s, about giant rats. The introduction to the book actually apologizes for Wells' more "casual" tone to the story, and the lack of the "lyrical" style he brought to the War of the Worlds or the Time Machine. With those two things in mind, I dove it, with my nose held. This book was #$%@ing fantastic. Couched in the realm of science fiction, Wells produced one of I picked this book off the library shelves having only once heard the title before, and that connected to a cheesy horror film from the 70s, about giant rats. The introduction to the book actually apologizes for Wells' more "casual" tone to the story, and the lack of the "lyrical" style he brought to the War of the Worlds or the Time Machine. With those two things in mind, I dove it, with my nose held. This book was #$%@ing fantastic. Couched in the realm of science fiction, Wells produced one of the most accessible social commentaries I've read since Jonathan Swift. Two scientists, doing what they do, ostensibly to "be included in the Royal Society and forgotten" discover a formula that, when given to living things, causes the subject to very quickly grow to forty times its normal size. Being men of some means, they continue their experiments at an experimental farm that they entrust to the care of arrogant idiots, and that as they say, is that. (This is where the film begins and ends its adaptation.) The plot then moves toward the next phase of experiments, and they begin feeding the food to babies. The final act of the book is all ramifications, and through it all, the whole story becomes a metaphor for man's fear of change and the insistence upon the status quo at all costs. Read with today's eyes, there is still such powerful comparisons to be made - the "ungodliness" of science and its discoveries. One thing that is puzzling is that Wells starts off the book with a completely unreliable narrator, who says things like, "Well if you haven't heard that bit yet, it ain't worth going into..." Understandably, but noticeably, as the book goes on, and the theme becomes clearer, the homespun wit of the narrator becomes less, but the social commentary increases. Even a brief passage about falling in love becomes an opportunity to poke fun at the overwrought descriptions in romance novels. For those who like sci-fi, or just want to read a book about giant wasps, giant chickens, and giant ... er... GIANTs and what happens when you introduce all of these to turn of the century London - here you go.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Houghton

    Not Wells' most tightly-written work, nor his most interesting, Food of the Gods is still worth reading for any fan of his novels. Stylistically, it begins somewhere between Dickens and Barbara Pym, a peculiar narrative tone that sits uneasily with the rest of his books. Coupled with a cast of almost trivial comic caricatures and a few embarrassingly hackneyed accents, it isn't a promising start. About two-thirds of the way through, however, the tone changes, and you realise that the trite, home Not Wells' most tightly-written work, nor his most interesting, Food of the Gods is still worth reading for any fan of his novels. Stylistically, it begins somewhere between Dickens and Barbara Pym, a peculiar narrative tone that sits uneasily with the rest of his books. Coupled with a cast of almost trivial comic caricatures and a few embarrassingly hackneyed accents, it isn't a promising start. About two-thirds of the way through, however, the tone changes, and you realise that the trite, homely, mild-mannered obsessions of the first part were deliberately ridiculous and low-key. The story takes on an epic quality, the comedy is ditched, and the overriding metaphor of youth inevitably succeeding age, and of things evolving whether we like it or not, and in a direction not of our choosing, becomes clear. The story has its weaknesses, particularly in terms of character, and the pace can be a little slow; but Food of the Gods rewards persistence.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.