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The Food of the Gods

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  2,487 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
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
Paperback, 200 pages
Published by University Publishing House (first published 1904)
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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan DoyleThe Call of the Wild by Jack LondonPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Best Books of the Decade: 1900's
89th out of 306 books — 581 voters
The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. ChestertonThe Food of the Gods by H.G. WellsThe Master of the World by Jules VerneSultana's Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat HossainWith The Night Mail by Rudyard Kipling
Radium Age Sci-Fi: 100 Best
2nd out of 98 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oct 27, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 31, 2013 sologdin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
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.

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.
Jul 11, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
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
Eman AlRaesi
Oct 03, 2015 Eman AlRaesi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 14, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
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 ...more
Noel Coughlan
May 12, 2016 Noel Coughlan rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
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 ...more
Bill Wellham
Jun 13, 2011 Bill Wellham rated it it was ok
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
Sep 01, 2016 David rated it liked it
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.
Jan 11, 2016 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Challenge: The First Book You See In A Bookstore
A Book Chosen Solely Off Its Cover

The Food of the Gods is about two scientists who create a growth chemical that is unleashed upon the public in disastrous ways. The story is divided between three "books" beginning with the creation with growth chemical and the other two focused on the children who were exposed to the "food" and the lasting impact gigantism has on society and how creating this new race of man means for the old one.

The writing was
Joel Julian
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 po
Robert Griffin
Feb 04, 2015 Robert Griffin rated it it was ok
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
Apr 26, 2013 Vicious rated it really liked it
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
Gordon Houghton
Feb 03, 2013 Gordon Houghton rated it liked it
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
Sean Bennett
Feb 28, 2014 Sean Bennett rated it did not like it
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
Mohamed Osman
Nov 13, 2013 Mohamed Osman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2016 S rated it it was amazing
This book was an absolute surprise. I picked it up at the MSU book sale by author alone - figured it couldn't be that bad because it's only a couple hundred pages.

It's NOTHING like I remember War of the Worlds or The Time Machine being. Maybe a little like The Time Machine, in that it has serious morale tones about the future and what not. But this book was funny in it's own way and the whole book reminded of so many of the great parts of things I've already read. IT HAS EVERYTHING - including:

Jun 23, 2016 Steven rated it liked it
Before I get into the actual review, let me preface this by saying that I am a big fan of H.G. Wells. In many ways he took the foundation laid by Jules Verne for fantastic science fiction and put a more realistic twist on his stories. But this particular book missed the mark for me.

A simple plot told in three "books" starts with two scientists developing what more or less amounts to a growth formula. But the effects of creating a formula that makes things many times their natural size have drast
Jeanne Lombardo
Mar 18, 2016 Jeanne Lombardo rated it really liked it
It takes a certain adjustment of the literary ear to appreciate fiction written a century ago, but H. G. Wells never disappoints. Wry, comical, irreverent, the book skewers the narrowness of English village life and the failings and unforeseen consequences of the scientific empirical mindset in this tale of the invention of a new super food and its effect on the countryside surrounding Hickleybrow in Kent (Wells's birthplace). Dubbed "Herakleophorbia IV," the food is put, by its creators, under ...more
Kiran Kumili
Feb 20, 2014 Kiran Kumili rated it liked it
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
Jan 12, 2015 Edgar rated it really liked it
H.G. Wells did a great job bringing imaginary godpowerlike stuff into the real world. The characters are fun but shown from the surface only, anyway seem like the thing autor wanted to show to the reader.
Villagers are following orders but feel like doing something on their own which eventually messes everything up, just like in reality. Scientists are inventing and that's their job. Communicating with the world and making everything running smoothly in NOT. SO running the tests (view spoiler)
Aug 05, 2013 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a mystery, this one. The intellectual journey of a man trying to dedicate his life to the life of a true aristocrat - meaning with honor and without prejudice or jealousy. But he often can't see the proverbial forest for the trees and if I didn't know better, I'd think that Wells was advocating for some kind of Buddhist middle way.

Really interesting novel.
Peter E.  Frangel
"There is his imagination to be fed. That, after all, is the crown of every education. The crown — as sound habits of mind and conduct are the throne. No imagination at all is brutality; a base imagination is lust and cowardice; but a noble imagination is God walking the earth again."
Jan 21, 2016 Linda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked it up because my husband, a non-reader, said he read it years ago. I have enjoyed other books by the author, but really, this is a pointless and unsubtle jumbled bit of nonsense. Wells might have made it work if he had just kept the first part and left it as a novella, but he dragged the story on, and turned a jab at the arrogance of scientists into some sort of commentary on politics, or something. I'm really not quite sure what the author was trying to get at. The writing is uneven, a ...more
Sep 12, 2015 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited to read this book, not only because I am a huge fan of H.G. Wells, but also because of the content being discussed in this book. When I read a synopsis it made it seem like it was related heavily to genetic engineering and the potential dangers of tampering with nature through science. And although the synopsis was not a lie, this book is definitely my least favorite H.G. Wells book, and there were times when I was definitely struggling to finish this book.

The book starts off
Erik Graff
Aug 05, 2008 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Another of the novels read in Norway while restricted to a diet of better-than-average science fiction books by authors such as Wells and Verne. Definitely not my favorite, but I was an addict after The War of the Worlds.
Scott Marley
May 23, 2015 Scott Marley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: h-g-wells
The idea of this story is very original and very disturbing. Using science as the primary antagonist isn't new nowadays but when this came out I'd venture it wasn't. An effect that increases growth rates to new heights is what science would be hurrying to discover/create. However telling people to use it or not cannot be answered by science and therein causes the conflict.

I liked when the vermin and plant life were being effected by this 'boomfood' but when it shifted ultimately as it would if t
Jun 06, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it
Great book; very interesting overlap with current fears of GMO becoming more prevalent in our foods...
Nov 05, 2015 Dave rated it it was amazing
“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.”

“And none of them seemed to see, as he could do, the drink-sodden wretchedness of the painted women at the corner, the ragged misery that sneaked along the gutters, the infinite futility of all this employment. The infinite futility! None of them seeme
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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?” 4 likes
“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 their littleness, may hold their world forever. It is the step we fight for an not ourselves... We are here, Brothers, to what end? To serve the spirit and the purpose that has been breathed into our lives. We fight not for ourselves - for we are but the momentary hands and eyes of the Life of the world... This earth is no resting place... We fight not for ourselves but for growth - growth that goes on forever. Tomorrow, whether we live or die, growth will conquer through us. That is the law of the spirit for ever more. To grow according to the will of God! To grow out of these cracks and crannies, out of these shadows and darknesses, into greatness and the light! Greater,' he said, speaking with slow deliberation, 'greater, my Brothers! And then - still greater. To grow, and again - to grow. 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 arm heavenward: - 'There!” 1 likes
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