Books

Book Review – A Slip Under the Microscope by H. G. Wells (Penguin Little Black Classics)

A Slip Under the MicroscopeTitle: A Slip Under the Microscope
Author: H. G. Wells
Genre: Classics/Short Stories/Science Fiction
Date: 
2015
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 55
Started: 24th April 2016
Completed: 24th April 2016
Rating: 3/5
Summary: ‘I will go in, out of this dust and heat, out of this dry glitter of vanity, out of these toilsome futilities. I will go and never return.’ Two disturbing, mysterious and moving stories from Wells, science-fiction pioneer.


A Slip Under the Microscope is a collection of just two short stories by H. G. Wells which includes the title story which was originally published in 1896 and “The Door in the Wall” which was first published in 1906.

Wells is best known for his science fiction novels, especially The Tome Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, but he also wrote social commentaries and non-fiction books.

The Little Black Classics series are either short stories, poetry collections, or snippets of larger classic texts. They’re very affordable (usually only 80p or £1 in the UK) and some of them are very good. I’ve only had a chance to read the ones that feature short stories and poetry but I do plan on reading Circles of Hell, a short snippet of Dante’s Divine Comedy, soonish.


This is going to be a mini review because there’s only two short stories and I can’t really write a lot about them.

The Door in the Wall (1906)

I liked the plot of ‘The Door in the Wall’. It was very mysterious. The two characters were interesting too as the narrator is meant to be telling the story in the exact way that he heard it from his friend but you can never be sure that he hasn’t misunderstood something or left an important detail out.

The opening is fantastic. I particularly liked the imagery of this line: ‘stripped of the glamour of his earnest slow voice, denuded of the focussed shaded table light, the shadowy atmosphere that wrapped about him and the pleasant bright things, the dessert and glasses and napery of the dinner we had shared, making them for the time a bright little world quite cut off from every-day realities,’. I really liked the ambiguous ending too because this short story is designed to make you think and the ending offers no solution.

This particular edition is a bit confusing at times concerning who is speaking when but I think that’s because the page is so small and not well spaced on the page.

A Slip Under the Microscope (1896)

I didn’t really like the plot of this little story. It was a bit odd in my opinion but I did enjoy the ending.

This story talks about social class at universities in the late 1800s and it also looks at the idea of scholarships. The main character is the son of a cobbler and he’s at university on a scholarship, unlike the other students who are from wealthy families who are able to pay for their education. Wells’ social commentary in this story is very interesting and I enjoyed that aspect of the novel.


I did enjoy this book but it’s perhaps the Little Black Classic that I’ve enjoyed the least. I think that including another story would have helped but it’s still great value for money. Also, the layout was a bit off in my opinion. It could have been space out more to make the page easier to read.

If you don’t want to buy the book but you want to read one of two of the stories they’re all available to read online. Just follow the links that I’ve provided.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review – A Slip Under the Microscope by H. G. Wells (Penguin Little Black Classics)

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