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H G Wells
Herbert George Wells English author and political philosopher, most
famous for his science-fantasy novels with their prophetic depictions of
the triumphs of technology as well as the horrors of 20th-century warfare.
Wells was born September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent, and educated at the
Normal School of Science in London, to which he won a scholarship. He worked
as a draper's apprentice, bookkeeper, tutor, and journalist until 1895,
when he became a full- time writer. Wells's 10-year relationship with Rebecca
West produced a son, Anthony West, in 1914. In the next 50 years he produced
more than 80 books. His novel The Time Machine mingled science, adventure,
and political comment. Later works in this genre are The Invisible Man,
The War of the Worlds, and The Shape of Things to Come; each of these fantasies
was made into a motion picture. Wells also wrote novels devoted to character
delineation. Among these are Kipps and The History of Mr. Polly, which
depict members of the lower middle class and their aspirations. Both recall
the world of Wells's youth; the first tells the story of a struggling teacher,
the second portrays a draper's assistant. Many of Wells's other books can
be categorized as thesis novels. Among these are Ann Veronica, promoting
women's rights; Tono-Bungay, attacking irresponsible capitalists; and Mr.
Britling Sees It Through, depicting the average Englishman's reaction to
war. After World War I Wells wrote an immensely popular historical work,
The Outline of History. Throughout his long life Wells was deeply concerned
with and wrote voluminously about the survival of contemporary society.
For a time he was a member of the Fabian Society. He envisioned a utopia
in which the vast and frightening material forces available to modern men
and women would be rationally controlled for progress and for the equal
good of all. His later works were increasingly pessimistic. '42 to '44
castigated most world leaders of the period; Mind at the End of Its Tether
expressed the author's doubts about the ability of humankind to survive.
He also wrote An Experiment in Autobiography. Wells died August 13, 1946,
in London.
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