Creator: H. G. Wells

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) was a British Science Fiction writer who, along with Jules Verne, defined the genre during the late 19th and early 20th century, and spawned many tropes, including the Time Machine and the Alien Invasion.

His most famous works have been adapted into film multiple times. The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds are probably the best-known.

Many of his novels were written in the first person, narrated by an unnamed character. In many adaptations, The Time Machine's unnamed time-traveler is H.G. Wells himself, which has led to other works using the real-life Wells as a time-travelling character. Or, occasionally, a sometimes-evil sometimes-heroic 150-year-old time-travelling bisexual woman, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

In his later life, he turned more toward what he thought society should be like; fictional Utopias and Dystopias and nonfiction books on socialist thought alike. Though Wells thought of these works as more important, it's his early stuff that's thought of as classic, at least in part because it is generally better written. C. S. Lewis famously compared him to Esau, saying that just as the latter had sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, so Wells traded his talent for a pot of message.

Often portrayed, in fiction, in Beethoven Was an Alien Spy-style situations, involving either Time Travel or Aliens. Said fictional portrayals often leave out the fact that his voice sounded almost identical to that of Tex Avery's Droopy Dog (as can be heard in a radio interview he did with Orson Welles (no relation)).

It's been said that he invented almost every basic modern science fiction device except for alternate universes. His stories, along with those of Jules Verne, are also a major influence on Steam Punk.

In many ways, the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are polar opposites. Verne paid particular attention to technological realism, making him perhaps the world's first hard SF author; but he paid little heed to the social ramifications of such technology, projecting 19th century Europe into the future indefinitely. Wells, on the other hand, cared little if his proposed inventions violated every known law of science, but he was keenly interested in how society would change and pulled no punches when it came to civilization's impermanence.

He is also considered a founding father of commercial wargames. He and some of his adult friends started playing with toy soldiers, and starting codifying rules. He felt it was better than fighting a real war, because "Tin soldiers don't leave behind tin widows and tin orphans." Wells eventually published Little Wars which contains the story of the creation of the game, the many balance and Game Breaker issues they ran into, and a suggested set of large scale miniature rules. Little Wars is still required reading for prospective game designers. Another over-looked aspect of his life is that in his 'middle period' from around 1900-1920 he authored fiction that mostly lacked any science-fiction elements, such as Anne Veronica and The History of Mr. Polly.

It's probably also worth mentioning that the man was extremely popular with the ladies. The Other Wiki lists six confirmed lovers in addition to his two wives, and he probably managed quite a few others. Considering his bibliography runs to around 50 novels and a similar number of non-fiction works, he was clearly a master of time management. Hey, wait a second...

Works by H. G. Wells with their own trope pages include:

Other works by H. G. Wells provide examples of:

  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: "The Empire of the Ants" has an army of intelligent, unstoppable (albeit normal-sized) ants that are slowly conquering the Amazon region of South America; the narrator ends with a prediction that they'll reach Europe within a few decades.
    • Also packs of predatory squid-creatures in "The Sea Raiders" and migrating spiders in, well, "The Valley of the Spiders".
  • Adaptation Decay: Films made from his work often suffer from this, two particularly flagrant examples by Bert I Gordon are The Empire of the Ants and The Food of the Gods.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 1936 film version of The Man Who Could Work Miracles, whose script Wells contributed to, expands on the adventures of the eponymous George McWhirter Fotheringay (and gives an explicit source to his sudden powers).
  • Booby Trap: The poisonous thorns attached to "The Treasure in the Forest".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: "The Cone" has a man being thrown on top of a blast furnace.
  • Drunk with Power: Fotheringay gets more and more extravagant with his wishes. It ends very badly.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The passing of "The Star" through the Solar System inflicts this on humanity, stopping just short of an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
    • As implied by the title, "A Dream of Armageddon" has a character relating his vivid vision of a future world being consumed by global war.
  • Exact Words: In "The Truth about Pyecraft" the fat Pyecraft drinks an Indian potion which promotes "Loss of Weight". (The narrator describes it as "committing the sin of euphemism".) Instead of making him thinner the potion decreases his mass, making his body behave like a balloon. Since the lift of a man-sized balloon cannot be as strong as described, even for a very fat man, his gravitational mass may have become negative.
  • For Science!: Sort of the attitude of the protagonists of "The New Accelerator"; as the story ends, they are rather casually preparing to mass-produce and sell a product which will likely upend human society in countless ways. (See below under "Super Speed".)
  • God Guise: "Jimmy Goggles the God" has a character unwillingly becoming the god of a tribe of rather xenophobic tropical natives thanks to the primitive diving suit he's wearing when he encounters them. ("Jimmy Goggles" is the nickname that the suit is given before the encounter.)
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The narrator speculates that "The Crystal Egg" is an example of this, sent from Mars to allow that planet's inhabitants to (evidently idly) view life on Earth.
  • Karmic Death: The protagonists in "The Treasure in the Forest".
  • Literal Genie: In "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" has numerous examples of this, culminating in Fotheringay ordering the sun to not set. The wish-granting force, whatever it is, accomplishes this by abruptly halting the Earth's rotation. Just the Earth itself, not anything currently on the Earth's surface.
  • The Missionary: One appears at the end of "Jimmy Goggles the God".
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: "The Inexperienced Ghost"
  • Out, Damned Spot!: In "The Moth", a probably illusionary moth haunts the protagonist following the rather pitiful death of his hated scientific rival, finally landing him in an insane asylum.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite the comparisons between him and Verne above, his story "The New Accelerator" attempts to realistically show the dangers that would result if someone were to develop the ability to move at super-speed. (ie, clothes catching on fire due to the friction.)
  • Reality Warper: Fotheringay again.
  • Reset Button: After the Literal Genie incident above, Fotheringay very carefully makes one last wish that results in this.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Neptune gets destroyed in "The Star". And at the very end, Earth essentially becomes this, at least as far as observing Martian astronomers are concerned.
  • Super Speed: As noted, "The New Accelerator" depicts the narrator helping a scientist test the latter's new formula that induces this ability in humans.
  • Treasure Map: One appears in "The Treasure in the Forest".

Alternative Title(s):

HG Wells