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.
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
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.