H. G. Wells Considered one of the most influential 20th century writers. Words that describe Wells: Novelist Essayist Futurist Historian Socialist Teacher Biographical background B. September 21, 1866 Kent County, England Mother: Sarah Neal, maid to the upper classes Father: Joseph Wells, shopkeeper and professional cricket player The Wells were very poor Parents had troubled marriage and eventually lived apart Youth: Bookworm to Draper Defining incident: child Herbert becomes avid reader while bedridden after breaking his leg; writing interest develops later Attended Thomas Morley’s Academy Father broke leg; income from playing cricket eliminated => HG drops out of school at 14 to get a job, help support family => Becomes apprentice to a draper (fabric & sewing supplies) => Apprenticeship provides wealth of experience and insight that would influence much of his writing Higher Education 1883: scholarship to London’s Normal School of Science Studies biology and Darwinism under Thomas Henry Huxley (grandfather of Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World) Realizes science would serve him well in his writing Unable to complete degree; loses scholarship Financial hardship; moves in with Aunt and Uncle Wells Tutors while studying part-time at uncle’s school Graduates London University, Bachelor of Science with Honors in Zoology Troubled Relationships 1891 marries cousin Mary; marriage lasts 4 years 1895 marries one of his students, Amy (Jane) Catherine Robbins; 2 sons Numerous relations with other women while married to Jane Two children born to Wells and two other women The Writer Emerges Novels: Common themes: Evolution: Is human civilization advancing or degrading – physically, intellectually, ethically? Science Progressivism: When and how much should scientific technology intervene to “improve” humanity? Socialism: What happens when the upper classes exploit the lower classes? The future: What would it be like to travel to the future? The moon? To meet an alien? Quotations from Wells “History is a race between education and catastrophe.” “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” “If we don't end war, war will end us.” “You have learned something. That always feels at first as if you had lost something.” The World-Renown Author 1914: Predicted the atomic bomb Coauthored a 3-volume reference book with his son, zoologist and author, George P. Wells, and biologist Sir Julian Huxley, The Science of Life [microbes to human life]. Became a well-travelled celebrity, meeting with world leaders and other exceptional authors. Died August 13, 1946 at his home in Regent’s Park, London Though not engraved on a tombstone (his body was cremated and ashes were dispersed over the sea), he wrote his own epitaph: “I told you so. You damned fools.” Traits of Science Fiction A setting in the future, an alternate time, or a past that is different from our actual past A setting in space or an invented/alternate word. Characters may be human, alien, or some of each. Technology or scientific principles beyond current advancements or that go against current laws of natures. Discovery or application of new scientific advances (time travel, space travel, etc). New and different political and social systems. Bibliography [Comic book image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://looky.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/ron-malletts-time-machine/ [Black and white portrait photos]. (n.d.) Retrieved from H. G. Wells Photo Gallery, http://colemanzone.com/Time_Machine_Project/wells_pics.htm [Antique sewing kit image]. (n.d.) http://elegantarts.com/index.php?cPath=4 The Independent. London Street Photography. [Sepia street image with children]. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts- entertainment/art/features/london-street-photography- 2217610.html?action=Gallery&ino=16 Merriman, C. D. “H. G. Wells.” The Literature Network. 2007. 27 March 2011. http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/.