Film Review: “The Invisible Man” (2017)

Production image for the 2017 UK film “The Invisible Man”

For a variety of reasons, I’m giving the trial version of Amazon Prime a whirl. Since it offers a streaming service, I took a look at their film offerings to see if anything piqued my interest. Except for a few small gems, everything seemed either uninteresting or it was material I’d previously viewed and had no interest in seeing again.

One exception was a 2017 UK production of The Invisible Man, a modern retelling of the H.G. Wells classic.

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Time Traveler in Plain Sight

sundial

From Sammi Cox’s blog

“Time machine? Why would you leave a time machine in plain sight, Rodney?”

“What better place to hide it, Yvette? No one would suspect it’s more than a simple sundial.”

“So you showed up for my time traveler party last week because you saw the advert in the paper the day afterward.”

“Don’t be absurd. I’m not from the future.”

“But then how…?”

“Seems the esteemed scientist Stephen Hawking has the same idea fifty years from now. I heard about it up the timeline and decided to search the records to see if anyone else did it before him. Your name came up.”

“Who?”

“Never mind. You’ll be an old woman by the time he becomes famous.”

“So when are you from, Rodney?”

“Actually, the name’s not Rodney. You see, I discovered that I’ve become rather famous by now so I assumed this name.”

“And what may I call you?”

“Herbert will do, Yvette.”

“You mean you’re…?”

“Yes. Care for a spin? I believe I’m in the mood for ancient Egypt just now.”

I wrote this for the Weekend Writing Prompt #33 – Time. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 175 words long for a prose story. The first word must be “time” and that word must be repeated in the story at least twice. The theme is “time travel,” a favorite of mine.

I’ve milked the idea of H.G. Wells having actually invented a time machine more than once and thought I’d recycle it here since I’ve never posted anything on Sammi Cox’s blog before.

I’ve heard of these parties for time travelers before but had no idea Stephen Hawking had actually held one. Of course no one came. If time travel is impossible, that explains everything, and if it is, no time traveler worth his or her salt would screw up the timeline by attending a party thrown by one of the most famous physicists in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Oh, the name “Rodney” is taken from actor Rod Taylor who starred in the 1960 film The Time Machine along with actress Yvette Mimieux.

As you may have guessed, my story is set in 1962.

Links to other stories based on the prompt can be found Here.

Elusive

 

storage shed

© Russell Gayer

“Got the DNA evidence from SFPD in 2007, and it leads here, April.”

Two temporal investigators closed in on the Zodiac Killer at an abandoned farm’s outbuilding.

“Go in here, H.G. I’ll circle around.”

The young 19th century man waited and then entered the cinder block building.

“H.G! Hurry!”

He rushed inside and saw her standing by the body. “What happened? Dead?”

“Very, but how?”

“Who said I was dead?” The voice came from all around them. Both H.G. Wells and April Dancer realized the murderer was really a demon who had been possessing serial killers since the dawn of time.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge for December 1st. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I’m leveraging a story I wrote last week for Rochelle’s challenge, Just Stepping Out for a Week, Be Right Back about a time traveler who occasionally helps H.G. Wells track down some of history’s most notorious killers.

In this case, I continued that story only to have them find the nature of the Zodiac is actually a single eternal spirit, one who possesses the bodies of human beings and compels them to kill.

I admit to stealing the idea from an episode of the original Star Trek series Wolf in the Fold written by Robert Bloch and leveraging his own “Jack the Ripper” theme.

Unfortunately, 100 words isn’t a lot to explore a complete concept, but hopefully I’ve managed to instill some sense of mystery and menace.

Oh, I took the name “April Dancer” from the title character of a late 1960s TV show called The Girl from U.N.C.L.E (a spin off of The Man from U.N.C.L.E) starring Stefanie Powers.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Just Stepping Out For A Week – Be Right Back

 

closet

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Oh there you are. I was wondering where I put you.”

April opened her “junk closet” and finally found the time machine. She hadn’t used it in so long she’d forgotten where it was hidden.

“Honey, what are you doing?” Brady was calling from the kitchen while making breakfast.

“Be there in a minute,” she called back.

The text message she’d received last night from H.G. said he’d finally found the Zodiac killer and he needed help taking him down. Shouldn’t take more than a week or so, but she’d be back before her husband had the bagels toasted.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 99.

I saw the clock in the photo and immediately thought “time machine”. I mixed in a few character references I’ve used in the past in relation to the topic and created my occasional “time cop”. She has to help H.G. Wells capture the infamous Zodiac Killer which will take about a week, but with a time machine, from Brady’s point of view, she’ll only be gone a few seconds. Just feeling a tad whimsical this morning.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Synthetic Men of Mars

alien head

© A Mixed Bag 2009
[Synthetic Alien Head from the National Space Centre, Leicester, UK]

“So why bring me here to see a bloody fake alien head, Ian?”

“It’s synthetic Dolores, not fake.”

“What’s the difference?”

“The difference, you silly twit, is that fake means it’s totally not alien. Synthetic means it’s an artificial head made by aliens.”

“Now that’s just stupid.”

“No it’s not. Listen. I was talking to the Professor and…”

“The Professor is just some homeless bloke who lives in the park and who’s been off his nut for years.”

“He’s smart, I tell you. He says he’s done his research on the head and it belongs to a race of synthetic men created by aliens to take over the Earth.””

“Oh is that so? Then why didn’t they take over?”

“Turns out that the old H.G. Wells novel wasn’t entirely fiction. The synthetics had no immunity to our diseases. They all died out because they caught the cold.”

“You are so gullible, Ian. Now take me to the cinema like you promised.”

The National Space Centre curator Patrick Moore had been listening to the conversation. “Damn kids came too close to the truth. I see sacking the Professor wasn’t enough. I’ll have to take stronger measures.”

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for July 30th 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long based on the image above. My word count is 195.

Since the caption read “synthetic” rather than “fake,” I thought I’d take my cue from that for my story. The title is from the old Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Synthetic Men of Mars which is the ninth book in his “John Carter of Mars” series. Of course, I’m also suggesting that the H.G. Wells novel “War of the Worlds” had some basis in fact. But it’s just all for fun.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Time Line Twisted

time travel

Image: BBC News

The Third Hunter and Ellison Time Travel Adventure and a direct sequel to In Search of the Time Traveler.

“I have a bad feeling about this, Josue.”

“Stop that! This is serious. This isn’t when we are supposed to be.”

Josue Hunter and Wyatt Ellison thought they were finally closing in on Heloise Amanda Westcott, the mysterious and elusive time traveler first detected in 1885 England. They’d found H.G. Wells, author of the famous novel “The Time Machine” and confederate of Westcott in Texas in 1940, and persuaded him to reveal the place and time they could locate her.

Wells wrote it down on a pad of paper with the letterhead of the hotel in which he’d been staying. Friday, 15 August 1994, 8150 Olive Avenue, Huntington Beach, California.

“Checking the unitool.” Hunter’s all-purpose utility device was disguised as a wrist watch. He set it to review the most recent log of their trip back in time.

“Damn.”

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Tracks Across Time

time machine

Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells in the 1979 film “Time After Time

“The Temporal Event Indicator’s lighting up. Looks like we have another trip in our near future.”

“Or our far past, Josue.”

Wyatt Ellison walked over next to where his partner Josue Hunter was gazing down at the screen of the Indicator. It actually wasn’t a screen in a conventional sense. Both men were looking at a holographic projection inside a spherical depression about the size of a bowling ball (and they were among a very small group who still knew what a bowling ball was) set in a table top.

The Sky Disc of Nebra, Hunter mused. “We can’t actually let these two morons find it.”

“That’s our job. Suppress revolutionary discoveries that would take the course of this time line on a different trajectory, Josue.”

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Invisible

invisible man

Image: From the 1933 film The Invisible Man

When Charlie Rainier realized he could turn invisible, he was absolutely giddy. From his point of view, nothing had changed. He could still see his reflection in a mirror, he cast a shadow, he didn’t have to take his clothes off like in the old movies, and he could still see. But no one else could see him.

If invisibility worked by causing light to pass directly through a person or to curve around him, he should be blind. To see, light enters the eyes through the pupil. The iris changes the size of the pupil depending on how bright the light is. Then the lens focuses that light onto the retina at the back of the eye. Light has to stop after hitting the retina.

If light curved around the invisible person, it would never reach the eye and the invisible person would be blind. If light went right through him, it wouldn’t stop at the retina but pass right through it, and again the person would be blind.

Fortunately for Charlie, he found a way around that problem.

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If Only Time Would End

time machine

Actor Rod Taylor as H. George Wells in “The Time Machine” (1960)

Truth be told, Gerald Fisher had been working on his time machine off and on for decades, but nearly four years ago, he received a strong boost in his motivation to make it functional. Fisher started the work almost as a lark, just proof-of-concept. He had no real interest in visiting the future or changing the past.

But times change and now he was desperate to change history before it was too late, and events were right on the cusp of being too late. The world was about to come to an end.

Ph.D in Physics from Stanford at eighteen, Fisher had established and sold nearly a dozen companies in the last decade alone. He held a lengthy list of patents on his revolutionary devices and it was mild praise indeed to refer to him merely as a genius.

He had been lured into a career in physics not by the possible but by the impossible. He’d read H.G. Wells’ novel “The Time Machine” when he was eight and couldn’t stop imagining the possibilities. As he matured, he realized the full implications of time travel and determined never to do anything that might endanger the time line, however, he never lost the desire to prove that he could invent the first functioning time machine.

Gerald never imagined a world so terrible that he’d consider changing history to prevent it, that is, not until four years ago, and especially over the past few months now that America and Russia were seriously rattling their nuclear sabers at each other.

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