Only logged in members can reply and interact with the post.
Join SimilarWorlds for FREE »

Happy Birthday H.G. Wells

On this date in 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working-class family in Kent, England. He received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teen. Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884 to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London.

After marrying his cousin Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897) and The War of the Worlds (1898). Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced Isabel to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to "indiscriminate") love. He continued to openly have extramarital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a 10-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children.

As a member of the socialist Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included nonfiction such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933) and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a "divine will" in his book God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration.

Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism. D. 1946.

"Indeed Christianity passes. Passes — it has gone! It has littered the beaches of life with churches, cathedrals, shrines and crucifixes, prejudices and intolerances, like the sea urchin and starfish and empty shells and lumps of stinging jelly upon the sands here after a tide. A tidal wave out of Egypt. And it has left a multitude of little wriggling theologians and confessors and apologists hopping and burrowing in the warm nutritious sand. But in the hearts of living men, what remains of it now? Doubtful scraps of Arianism. Phrases. Sentiments. Habits."

—H.G. Wells, "Experiment in Autobiography" (1934), cited by Ira D. Cardiff, "What Great Men Think of Religion" (1945)

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.
ArishMell · 70-79, M
He also wrote a non-science novel based very much on Earth, [i]The History of Mr. Polly. [/i]

This was one of the set English Literature books at school, and is the biography of a fictional draper. I don't recall being told at the time that Wells himself had been an apprentice in that trade, so I see now he may have drawn on some of his experiences, or at least knowledge, of that for the story.

He does start with Mr Polly's apprenticeship as a draper; but has his hero go on to marry, and to stay a draper with his own shop for much of the novel. I won't give away why only "much" of the narrative - I can still remember it despite my reading it only on that course well over 60 years ago.

Wells' [i]War Of The Worlds[/i] is really a much thinner story than [i]Polly[/i], but I have read an intriguing short sequel by another, recent author (sorry, I forget his name and the title ). In that, a manned exploration of Mars from Earth, discovers what had happened to the Martians and why they tried their invasion described by Wells.

Post Comment
20,106 people following
Personal Stories, Advice, and Support
New Post
Associated Forums Topic Members