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The Wonder (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)
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The Wonder (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)

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3.34  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Nothing will ever mystify or challenge the Wonder. He masters entire libraries and languages with little effort. No equation, no problem is too difficult to solve. His casual conversations with ministers and philosophers decimate their vaunted beliefs and crush their cherished intellectual ambitions. The Wonder compels obedience and silence with a glance. His mother ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Bison Books (first published 1911)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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Michael
190717: read yesterday, thought today. not an easy get: copy read in 'special collections' at u. from 1911. an original take on superhuman intelligence mutation from child of cricket player, himself a 'wonder'. early science fiction treatment more ideas than plot. child makes enemies of churchmen, makes friends of enlightened aristos, curious journalist, but once idea, implications, projected future established, the story sort of ends. fascinating look at era, ways of thinking, politics, ...more
Roddy Williams
‘Nothing will ever mystify or challenge the Wonder. He masters entire libraries and language with little effort. No equation, no problem is too difficult to solve.
His casual conversations with ministers and philosophers decimate their vaunted beliefs and crush their cherished intellectual ambitions. the Wonder compels obedience and silence with a glance. His mother idolizes him as a god. yet no one is more hated and alone than the Wonder.

This is the chilling tale of Victor Stott, an English boy
...more
Andrii Mironchenko
The topic by itself (Übermensch) is very interesting, but also quite complicated for a writer, because a writer who is only a human has to describe a life of a superhuman being.

And I think Beresford failed on this way.

The character of The Wonder is only sketched.
It is easy to say that The Wonder can read the books 100 times more quickly than human, that he can easily understand the most complicated mathematical problems etc.

It is not understandable, what is the sense of life of The Wonder, what
...more
Donna Nova
As confusing at times, to me, as a cricket match.

I had a tough time with this as soon as it became about cricket. I actually wondered if I was reading the same book. I did enjoy when "The Wonder" was around. I wish there was more about him. He could have been nearly anything. And no chance to continue the story.
Steven
Jun 11, 2008 rated it liked it
precursor to Stapledon's Odd John and Wylie's Gladiator, oh my! Grateful to have stumbled across this copy, abandoned on Mission St.
Carla Remy
I did not read this book. As far as I can tell, computers are haunted.
J.L. Dobias
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelf-004
The Wonder (The Hampdenshire Wonder)by J.D. Beresford

This is billed as Science Fiction and it is; but the reader is required to endure 50 pages of build up to get to it. Not that that's entirely bad, because the writing is fairly engaging; it's just that sometimes it becomes questionable where the whole thing is heading. There is a sort of feel similar to some Mark Twain story telling that left me looking for the humorous turn of events coming up around the bend. But this is more of a serious
...more
Sherry Schwabacher
"A fascinating forerunner of modern science fiction: The mind-bending story of a prodigy in Edwardian England

Born to a famous cricket player, Victor Stott is a giant-headed, awkward boy who never cries or says a word. At first, he is branded an idiot, but as he grows up it becomes apparent that Victor possesses a superior intelligence. He can master any language, memorize entire libraries—perhaps even control people with his mind. As word of his otherworldly gifts spreads, so too do fears of
...more
Sue Bastiani
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stefan Rijkse
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great work on the unattainability of perfect knowledge of life and the world. Or at least the unattainablity in Beresford’s time. Still relevant today of course. The child wonder is an embodiment of full perfect knowledge of life. If this perfect knowledge exists, how would the world react to it and how would you the reader? Very strong conceptual work with a sensible and clear view of the importance and relevance of attempting a perfect philosophy and a perfected scientific knowledge.
Bitsy Kemper
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

Can't remember how I happened upon this book, don't know if it's well known or not, but I loved how well it showed the era/time it was written in, even though that's not why it was written. Does that makes sense? Just like Anna Karenina shows the life of that era. Lots of philosophy and philosophical questions thrown in too.
Deanna
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating to read about a child prodigy perceived by “normal” folk as being an idiot because his world was beyond their understanding. The attitudes of the time illustrated as such an aberration should be kept behind closed doors and shut away in an insane asylum. And yet there is more to the boy prodigy than meets the eye.
Much to consider, much to think about.
Rose
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking example of early sci-fi. Slow and rather odd beginning that quietly meanders to its somewhat obvious conclusion. More mystery than science fiction really, with philosophical musings thrown in for good measure. Not certain I enjoyed the story exactly, but I am still thinking about it.
Marcy Mancini
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The voice in my head as I read it...

The voice in my head as I read it... not sure why exactly, but the voice of Vincent Price was in my head as I read this book. It just seemed appropriate. Very intriguing book. I will definitely continue reading other works by this author.
Briankiwi
Quite an entertaining read, even if somewhat dated in parts, and freely available on Project Gutenberg. I came to this one via a recommendation by Graham Greene in his autobiography A Sort of Life. The language seemed fresh for a book more than 100 years old.
Connie Zinsmeister
Intriguing and unique.

This was absolutely fascinating and not like anything else I have ever read. Each character was unique and the entire story was intriguing.
Cal Jeannette
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing story that touches on promising characters and deep themes of understanding and existence, but fizzles out on both at the end.
Michelle Good
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written child prodigy story set in Edwardian England.
Carolyn Injoy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wonder is the shorted title from the original, The Hampdenshire Wonder, first published in 1911. It is one of the first science fiction novels describing a wunderkind. Victor Stott, the son of a famous cricket player, has a slight deformity accounting for his extraordinarily powerful brain. The character may be Beresford's reference to his mentor, H.G. Wells's father, Joseph Wells.



Love this book, love, love! The reason I chose this book is to investigate how speculative fiction treats
...more
Sharon Graff
Insightful and as true today as when it was written

The language, erudite in 1911 when it was written, but antiquated and stilted sounding as a trip through rhetoric class, it nevertheless conveys the human attitude towards gifted children in the past and the present. A disturbing and sad book.
Jamey Mast
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It made me relize that there are times we all think what we see is the whole story. Victor makes us realize that knowing what we are and where we are going is not allthereisto life./ This boy lived his life ful of love andknowledge and taught the men who ook the time toknow him alot about lif.
Kieran Reilly
Couldn’t find this in book form so I read this as a scanned pdf on an iPad. Early science fiction novel of a very intelligent boy born to a very normal couple. Overall a good story in the tradition of H. G. Wells, John Whyndam etc

Well worth tracking down for an enjoyable read.
Hollybird
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
I accidentally read this thinking it was "Wonder", the young adult fiction. I didn't figure it out until 75% of the way through! Ugh. Very British and fairly boring book. I don't think I will finish it. Did anyone else make this mistake?
Diane
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just did not like this book. I did not like it from page one. so anyone expecting an intelligent, well thought out review. I guess you will need to look further. Sorry.
Aimee
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting "what if."
Sean Randall
May 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had a rather Midwich Cuckoos vibe from this work. I enjoyed the quality of the writing, but couldn't really warm to the story.
BRT
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1911, this is purportedly the first story of a superhuman. More than that, it's about science versus religion, the hubris of academic intelligensia, and the future of humanity.
Lisa
Mar 03, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Only read if you understand cricket. I had zero idea what was being discussed, and only got to page 22 of 182.
Steve Joyce
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quirky story told in a quirky manner but "quirky" can come across as genuine and, for the most part, it did in this instance. Nice ambiguous finale.
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John Davys Beresford
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“Surely we should all perish through sheer inanity, or die desperately by suicide if no mystery remained in the world.” 2 likes
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