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 works include:
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 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
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 Steampunk
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.