The War of the Worlds
- "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own..."
The Time Machine
- "Very simple was my explanation, and plausible enough—as many wrong theories are!"
Visionary or crackpot, great artist or great hack, the debates rage on about Herbert George Wells among historians, sociologists, and literary scholars still. A staunch socialist and free thinker, his personal life was as tumultuous as the response to his “science fiction” novels and short stories.
Born in Bromley in September 1866 AD, H.G.’s was a working-class background, although his father did play professional cricket. Bedridden for several months at the age of seven as the result of an accident, young Wells became an avid reader. When his father’s hardware shop failed, H.G. and his brothers were apprenticed to a draper and his mother took work as a housekeeper on an estate, where the boy had access to the owner’s extensive library. Wells now devoured (figuratively, of course) great literary works. He soon found a way to turn all this reading stuff to use, winning a scholarship to the Normal School of Science where he studied physics, chemistry, astronomy, and biology, along with more mundane subjects.
H.G. Wells, by the time he graduated from college, had no doubts about what he was destined to do. Even in college he used his growing knowledge of the fringes of Victorian science to begin writing what he called “scientific romances.” Several were published in minor literary magazines. In 1895, when he was a teacher, Wells became an overnight literary sensation with the appearance of 'The Time Machine.' With that, he could leave teaching, and for the rest of his life simply write … essays, short stories, articles, and nonfiction books as the mood struck him, most dealing with science and the future.
Wells died in Regent’s Park in 1946, having lived to see some of the horrors he had predicted.