H.G. Wells

(1866 - 1946), English

Herbert George Wells was an English author and an acclaimed social scientific and prolific writer. He is most popular for his contributions to the field of science fiction and comic realism. Born in Bromley, Kent, to a father who was a shopkeeper and a mother – a maid for the wealthy,

Wells’s upbringing shared an equal measure to a typical lower-class family. The odds notwithstanding, Wells would go on to become one of England’s most renowned science fiction writers of all time but not without some serious dose of hard work, a lot of education, and a few times here and there picking up odd jobs, like draper.


Life Facts

  • Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866
  • He married his first cousin Isabel Mary Wells in 1891
  • Wells predicted the event of the atomic bomb years before its invention.
  • His book ‘The Time Machine‘ was the breakthrough that propelled him into the famous author status
  • Herbert George Wells is known as the father of science fiction. He was at one point called the ‘Shakespeare of Science Fiction’ but he was modest and would always turn down the title.

Interesting Facts

  • Herbert George Wells is credited to have inspired space travel and innovation
  • Despite being married, Wells maintained an open relationship whereby he had several other outside affairs which very likely bore him a lot of children
  • His book ‘The Time Machine‘ became an immediate success after it was published, and was described as an “overnight literary sensation”.
  • Wells was so naturally talented in writing that his productivity rate averaged three books per year
    • One of Wells’ books titled ‘The War of the Worlds’ caused mass panic in New Jersey after it was broadcast over the radio in the format of a news bulletin, leaving the people thinking aliens had really invaded earth.


Famous Books By H.G. Wells

The Time Machine is H. G. Wells’s first-ever novel which also became his best in terms of popularity and representation of his person, beliefs, and vision. Wells’ idea for the accomplishment of the time machine comes from the book ‘The Chronic Argonauts,’ a short story he wrote in 1888 while still in college.

Aside from proving his unnatural skill in storytelling, Wells used the book to complete a call for action on the sociopolitical issues involving technology and social class during his time.

The War of the Worlds is one of Wells’ classic masterpieces which was so good it inspired scores of film adaptations – including a radio version cast by Orson Wells. The book is a certified groundbreaker for all things – whether books or films centering on – alien invasions.

The First Men in the Moon gets inspiration from Jules Verne’s works, still, it is a worthy classic stroke by Wells involving scientific romance and trips to the outer world and squabbling with aliens.

The Sleeper Awakes is a dystopian fiction that appears to be Wells’s own remaking of his earlier novel called When the Sleeper Wakes. In the ‘Sleeper,’ Wells tells an interesting story of a man called Graham who falls into a coma for several hundred years only to wake up and finds that he is the world’s richest man.

In the Days of the Comet Wells describes a certain green comet that comes off the top of the earth releasing some kind of gaseous ‘green vapors’ which sinks down to earth and sort of spreads joyous and peaceful feelings among the people of earth.


Early Life

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, England, on September 12, 1866. Being a part of the lower class with his father working as a shopkeeper and his mother a maid, it was always going to be hard for Wells to make it in life. Far and wide, Wells was in the streets picking up odd jobs including working as a helper for a chemist as well as selling clothes to make ends meet.

After a series of life’s tests and endurance on his part, Wells landed a teaching job at Hanley House School, London, and was now earning a steady income. His first marriage saw him tie the knot with his cousin Isabel Mary but the couple later got separated around 1894. Wells later took another wife in Amy Robbins and had two sons. He would then go on to have other relationships with several women outside his marriage, at the consent of his wife.


Literary Career

Wells’s birth coincided with the time of year when new technology and innovations such as telephone, electricity, airplanes among others were starting to be popularized. The scientific depth and sublimity of his book The Time Machine indicate that Wells might well have been a brilliant student who excelled in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology – a field to which he wrote a textbook two years before The Time Machine.

Wells’ didn’t exactly have the easier of life growing up seeing he was from a poor family. This reality forced him out early on and had him pick up street jobs, one time as a draper, the other time as an assistant chemist – quitting only after he got a scholarship to study at the Normal School of Science, London. However, life was still pretty tough in that the stipends he got were hardly enough to get him enough food. Being one of the brightest, he pioneered the founding of the Science School Journal, a platform on which he wrote ‘The Chronic Argonauts,’ laying the framework for The Time Machine.


Legacy

Herbert George Wells is regarded as one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time due to a number of prolific classics he racked up between 1895 to 1900s in the category of science fiction. Some of H.G. Wells’ best works include ‘When the Sleeper Wakes,’ ‘The First Men in the Moon,’ ‘The Time Machine,’ and ‘The Invisible Man.’

Wells authored several other epochal books which were groundbreakers in their own right, and by the time he stopped living – at age 79 –  he had been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature, a record, four times.


Literature by H.G. Wells

Explore literature by H.G. Wells below, created by the team at Book Analysis.