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The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth
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The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  1,887 ratings  ·  104 reviews
It all began with the research of two scientists, Mr. Bensington and Professor Redwood, into the principles of growth in living matter. The fruit of their labors was a substance known by several names...the more academic was Herakleophorbia IV, but their own private term was "The Food of the Gods," because of its very special properties...

Their tests produced a baby chick
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Paperback, 254 pages
Published 1965 by Berkeley Publishing (first published 1904)
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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
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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
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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
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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 ...more
Matt
Jul 11, 2008 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of intellectual science fiction, if they want to see where it started
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 ...more
Vicious
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
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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 ...more
Sarah
Many people may not realize that H.G. Wells had a very wry yet subtle sense of humor in his works, and this novel in particular shows it quite well. The first half of "The Food of the Gods" was funny and a bit whimsical, but the latter half takes a serious turn and presents a great commentary on mankind. My favorite part was when one of the giants roams through London and passes a neon sign flashing ads for liquor, beauty soap, and pills. Indeed, these are the things that mankind has become ensl ...more
Mohamed Osman
عندما يمضي علي صدور الرواية أكثر من مائة عام ولا تزال ساحرة ، فإتها حقا كتبت بيد عبقري ، الرواية ممتعة لمحبي مؤلفات هربرت جورج ويلز و لمحبي الخيال العلمي ،و ذلك بغض النظر عن أن الفكرة الأساسية التي تقوم عليها الرواية تخالف المنطق العلمي ، لكن مع ذلك تحتوي علي بعد نظر قد يتحقق في المستقبل القريب ، عندما يصبح الإنسان قريب من الآلهة أو ربما نقول ستحقق عندما ينتهي جنس الانسان الهومو ، ويصبح لإنسان فصيلة جديدة قام تطورها علي العلم فقط ، وعندها ربما نقول اننا تناولنا طعام الآلهة أو الغذاء السحري كما ن ...more
حسام عادل
لم تعجبني تلك الرواية كثيراً للأسف,قرأت اسم الكاتب عدة مرات لأتأكد منه:هل هو فعلاً هربرت جورج ويلز؟.
تحكي الرواية عن اكتشاف مادة جديدة مذهلة يمكنها تعديل نمو الكائن وجعله يتضخم ليصبح في حجم العمالقة,يتدخل الجشع فى موقف وسوء التصرف والإهمال في مواقف أخرى لنجد أن (طعام العمالقة) ذاك - عذراً فهذا أقرب تعريب للعنوان - قد تسرب إلى عدة حيوانات بجانب الحيوانات الأصلية التى تمت عليها التجربة,جرذان ودبابير ودجاج,لتتحول تلكم الحيوانات إلى كائنات هائلة الحجم تعيث فساداً وتثير الرعب في البلدة بأكملها,بل ووصل
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Kiran Kumar
One of the best writers of fiction in the 60s and 70’s, H G Wells’s another great work of fiction which later was converted into a Hollywood movie, under the same title, released in 1976. The movie was a big success then.

Storyline: Somewhere in England, Professor Redwood and Mr Bensington were two hard core scientists, who always believed in creating something new and useful to the mankind. After thorough research, they discover a formula, that created a substance, which when fed to animals or p
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David
თავდაპირველად სამი ქულის დაწერას ვაპირებდი, მიუხედავად იმისა, რომ ნაწარმოები საკმაოდ რთულად იკითხება და უცნაური სტრუქტურა აქვს (პირველი მესამედის შემდეგ, გგონია რომ ისტორია უნდა დამთავრდეს, რეალურად კი ტონი მთლიანად იცვლება და ისტორია სულ სხვა მიმართულებით მიდის). ყველაზე ძლიერი მომენტი, ერთი-ერთი "ჩამორჩენილი" გოლიათის ეგზისტენციალური პრობლემებია, რომელიც ადამიანებსაც კარგად ერგება. ერთი ქულა იმიტომ დავაკელი, რომ არ მომწონდა იდეა, რომელსაც როგორ ჩანს უელსი ნაწარმოებში ადვოკატირებდა. სხვა და სხვ ...more
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 ...more
Rachel
Great book; very interesting overlap with current fears of GMO becoming more prevalent in our foods...
Joe Santoro
I'd never heard of this before I picked it up, and was extremely interested when I read the back of the book. I had no idea it was satire. Pretty good satire too. It took me quite a while to get through it, though, alot of extra details in setting and naming random background characters, villagers, and the like.

Then there's the fact that there's no ending, which I hate... I can clearly see why this is one of his lesser known stories (thought it did get a movie in the mid 70s, so wiki says.)
David
Just to be upfront about it, the only reason I picked up this book was because I had rather liked the cheesy Food of the Gods movie adaptation (the 2nd one). I already had known it won't be anything close to the movie and I was right. The movie sort of just took the idea of the Food and the giant rats and made it into a monster movie.

I found the prose to be rather antiquated and I had to read some sentences carefully. As the foreword mentioned, it's unfortunate that the prose didn't age well.

The
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Vera
H.G.Wells has predicted genetic modification in this story, that he wrote 110 years ago; in 1904. The so-called 'food of the gods' causes living thing to grow to a gigantic size - if plants, animals or people. Though I like the idea, especially because Wells again predicted the development of the world and science, the book wasn't convincing to me. I didn't enjoy the way of writing nor the way in which the story was told very much.
Shawn Thrasher
Not as good or compelling as The War of the Worlds. Giant rats and wasps probably make better movie monsters than they do books; it was difficult at times to understand the scale of how big the insects and rodents and people had grown. The latter half of the book about the growth of the children was clearly a metaphor for something - I thought probably the growth of the lower and middle classes in England through education and political power and the eventually clash between the classes. That se ...more
David Cain
This work is one of H.G. Wells' more obscure titles, if my previous lack of familiarity with it is any indication. This was mildly entertaining but not particularly well written by today's standards. The novel's structure was poorly laid out, and the plot really feels like several separate stories grafted onto one another. Most of the characters are undeveloped and one-dimensional. The ending does not resolve any of the conflict nor tie up any loose threads. The few bright spots: like many of We ...more
Lane
Feels like cheating, but I listened to an audio version of this while I worked alone in a library on weekends.
The voices the reader used for the characters were especially obnoxious.

As far as the actual story, it was fairly enjoyable when the focus was on giant rats and wasps, but once it shifted to the giant children I found myself bored. There just wasn't much of an arc to the story. You'd think rising tensions and a possible war between giants and little people would be more interesting, but
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Colleen
Begins very strong, then peters out. It feels like it's going to have a classic H G Wells social commentary, but then feels like it's trying too hard to have one, without actually making it there. The description of academics and academia in the first few chapters is worth it's weight in gold however.
Alan Smith
There's no doubt that Herbert George Wells is one of the fathers of science fiction. And in "War of the Worlds," "The Time Machine" and "The Invisible Man" he produced a triumvirate of works that could be listed amongst the best books ever produced in the genre

Unfortunately, "Food of the Gods" is a case of "even Homer nods". This rather silly plot, about a substance that makes anything that consumes it grow, might have worked as a short story, but massive vegetables and farm animals are not real
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Saint No Stopping Us

Six out of ten.

Two scientists, Professor Redwood and Mr. Bensington, stuble upon an amazing discovery, that which they have dubbed Herakleophorbia, or the food of the gods. This substance has the properties to cause any living thing to grow continuously, but will this cause more harm than good?

Steve Joyce
This one is pretty much Wells the Storyteller in the first part and Wells the Preacher in the last part. It all starts out very whimsically with the distracted scientists Bensington and Redwood bumbling around with their new invention (a growth chemical) kind of like Cavor in The First Men in the Moon.

But in the 2nd half, Wells shifts gears and emphasizes the conflict between the downtrodden / out-numbered human giants and the rest of humanity.

TFotG would have worked better if he had figured ou
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James Carmichael
I hadn't read Wells in _years_. My main surprises:

* the prose is excellent. It's crisp and humorous and generally elegant, even beautiful in places. It's a real pleasure to read.

* for me, the story was incomplete-feeling, more like an exegesis of thoughts/ramifications of the core concept than an arced story driven by the core concept. That said, I didn't mind at all. I really enjoyed the curling narratives it unrolled then kind of discarded.

* Wells invests time in his characters, and that made
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Audrey
Two scheming scientists think they will achieve fame - and do good for the world - by making animals and plants grow super fast. They accidentally create a generation of giants - from rats and chickens and morning glories, to fifty-foot-tall human children. Classic case of "they knew they could, but didn't ask if they should."

The book's a hundred years old and thus the plot is super foresightful (e.g. reminiscent of the current proliferation of GMOs) - unfortunately, though, I just don't like H.
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Edward Davies
This book is probably most famous for the movie version in which people are devoured by giant rats, but that isn't the be-all and end-all to the premise. The idea is that people need more food so a supplement is discovered that can expand said food to feed the populace, but some people start feeding it to their children and accidentally create a race of giants. The treatment of these giants is what forms the basis of this satirical book, which in many ways is one Wells' best.
Suby
I read this book written in late 19th century thinking it was a H.G. Wells original. It is science fiction alright. But the style of writing leads me to think it was written by someone else.
It is about a scientist who manages to separate a growth promoting organic substance and prepare in large quantities. From the date of first trial on chickens things get out of hand for him eventually leading to the creation of a new species of human beings - the giants. Then it is between the pygmies and the
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Dj
Despite being horribly voiced in this audiobook, I ate this story up. The majority of the book isn't quite character driven. It's one of the only books I know of in that respect. The premise is simple. 2 scientists researching growth come up with a food that creates tremendous growth in the consumer. I was surprised to get a gamut of emotions content from this. Throughout is the intrigue of the premise, but scary scenes, sad scenes, and funny scenes were a surprise. Who/what actually consumes th ...more
Sharon
Food of the Gods is one of HG Wells sci-fi novels, but it has elements of his later Utopian fantasies. A pair of scientists discover a nutrient that, if added to food, allows an organism to reach an enormous size. The substance is sloppily handled and begins to spread outside the laboratory, resulting in giant insects, plants and, by deliberate experimentation, giant children.

The plot is also sloppily constructed. There are some entertaining character sketches, but the story does not flow well a
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In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol ...more
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“We do our job and go. See? That is what Death is for. We work out all our little brains and all our little emotions, and then this lot begins afresh. Fresh and fresh! Perfectly simple. What's the trouble?” 2 likes
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