The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth

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Author: H.G. Wells
Published: 1904
Language: English
Wordcount: 75,574 / 225 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 61.4
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 5,613
Added to site: 2004.07.01 8358
More Info:

Several novels by H.G. Wells have shown his extraordinary power of vividly realizing the most daringly-imagined conditions. "The Food of the Gods" is a surpassing example of these powers; and in it Mr. Wells combines them with a curious but always very telling addition of humor and pathos.

Show Excerpt

his in food, he would do away with the "resting phase," and instead of growth going on in this fashion,

[Illustration] it would (if you follow me) go thus--



The night after his conversation with Redwood Mr. Bensington could scarcely sleep a wink. He did seem once to get into a sort of doze, but it was only for a moment, and then he dreamt he had dug a deep hole into the earth and poured in tons and tons of the Food of the Gods, and the earth was swelling and swelling, and all the boundaries of the countries were bursting, and the Royal Geographical Society was all at work like one great guild of tailors letting out the equator....

That of course was a ridiculous dream, but it shows the state of mental excitement into which Mr. Bensington got and the real value he attached to his idea, much better than any of the things he said or did when he was awake and on his guard. Or I should not have mentioned it, because as a general rule I do not think it is at all


Average Rating of 3.4 from 5 reviews: ****
JoJo Biggins

I have never been a Wells fan and this story, if possible, has lowered my opinion of him. As usual, the language is ancient, the descriptions long and boring, and the action is AWOL.

Unlike other Wells' works, I could not finish this one. I read for entertainment, not to be lulled to sleep.

Henry L. Ratliff

(1904) Sci-fi
Plot bullets

  • The Food of the Gods? Perhaps the folly of man.

  • A super food is invented that effects the young. The young anything, flora or fauna.

  • A cheap unlimited food supply? Well there is a drawback. It creates giants. Giant anything.

  • Accidentally let loose, the food begins to reek havoc.

  • Large insects and overgrown grasses and such, are only part of the problem.

  • What about the children?

The story is in three parts. The first: the invention of the food and it's minor effects, with some humor. The second: the spread of the food and an increase of problems. The Third: the moral and social (this is a Wells story, after all) impact of the food. It progresses from the inventions of a well meaning, bungling professor to a comment on the English class structure and society in general.

Rob Reader

The Food of the Gods is a poor and inadequate effort by Mr. Wells. He is a far, far better author than demonstrated in this book.
The book begins with two men who discover a substance which when consumed by man or beast greatly enhances the growth cycle and creates bees the size of condors and all manner of other monstrosities. One of the inventors rents a cottage and hires an elderly and exceedingly incompetent couple to take care of the experiment. Here the book begins it's slippery slide into the empire of the inane. Wells is far superior to this in everything else he wrote. The only saving grace in this story is the injection of humor and the absurd which the author has graciously included.
I can not recommend this book, rather read The Sleeper Awakes or The Country of the Blind or The Time Machine or almost anything else written by Mr. Wells.


H. G. Wells was one of the originators of science fiction. This is one of his minor works, but it's quite clear why Wells was such a master. Food of the Gods is by turns terrifying, insightful, and hilarious.


This is an excellent example of early sci-fi. It was interesting. It was written at a time when language was still quite formal, and had a quaint "old world" feel to it, but the story structure was much more modern and contemporary. It was kind of a weird mesh of old and new that was a little unsettling at first, but once I found the rhythm of the book, I found it to be a quite enjoyable read. If you've not read it, I should warn you that modern readers might find the ending rather abrupt, but I found that it was appropriate.

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