HG Wells (1866 – 1946) who, along with French writer Jules Verne was known as one of the fathers of science fiction was a prolific writer. He has over 100 works attributed to him, ranging from fiction novels to short stories to non fiction essays. He is perhaps best known for his 1898 novel, War of the Worlds describing an invasion of earth by the inhabitants of Mars.
HG Wells was born into a poor family, but he managed a rather comfortable existence as a teacher. His first works were published in 1895. His early writings were primarily science fiction, several of which have become classics. Even today, these science fiction works are extremely popular. Several of Wells’ writings have been made into movies and television series. His most popular works fiction works are:
War of the Worlds (1898) depicting an invasion from a technologically superior Martian race and the defense raised by the Earth’s military. The story describes a journalist and his dealings with the invaders, the defending forces and the local residents.
The Time Machine (1895) is about an amateur inventor and scientist who travels 800,000 years into the future by means of his time travel machine. There he finds Earth inhabited by a peaceful race of humans called the Eloi. He also encounters a dreaded race of cannibals called the Morlocks.
Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) depicts a God-like doctor who experiments with humans and animals. The doctor spends his time creating beings that are half human and half animal.
The Invisible Man (1897) about a strange scientist that ventures out only at night and whose body is completely covered with gloves, a hat and bandages. This scientist has made himself invisible and as a result is slowly becoming mad.
The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth (1904) describes a chemical created by 2 scientists that, if ingested by animals would cause the animal to grow many times its normal size. The chemical is eaten by many different animals crating havoc. Eventually, it is ingested by humans creating even more dangers.
The First Men in the Moon (1901) is a story about two men, a scientist and a businessman who travel to the moon. There they encounter alien life, including the insect like Selenites. The Selenites capture the two men and keep them prisoner. One of the men manages to escape back to Earth, but the other remains a captive and stays behind.
Wells was a self described socialist and was a member of several socialist societies, most notably, the Fabian Society. Many of his non-fiction writings such as a Modern Utopia (1905) and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1931) contain elements describing of his political beliefs. He even ran for political office as a Labor Party candidate in 1922. He also wrote several history books including The Outline of History (1920) and A Short History of the World (1922).
Wells is most noted for his science fiction works. Many of his writings are still popular and widely read today. There have been many depictions of his science fiction works into movies, most notable “The War of the Worlds”. Additionally, “The Time Machine”, “The Island of Doctor Moreau” and “The Food of the Gods” have been made into either movies, television series or both. A 1938 radio version of “War of the Worlds” caused widespread panic as many listeners believed the events portrayed on the radio were actually happening.
Like many science fiction writers, Wells predicts the future. For example, he describes (somewhat inaccurately) space travel and air travel. He also described heat rays (lasers) and genetic tinkering. HG Wells died in London, England in 1946. The cause of death is not known, but is suspected to be cancer of the liver.