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Wells, H G

Category: Writer

 

Herbert George "H. G." Wells (1866 –1946) was an English author, now best known for his science fiction. Amongst his numerous works are  The Time MachineThe Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. His short story "The New Accelerator" was the inspiration for the Star Trek episode Wink of an Eye.  But he was a prolific writer, producing books on history, politics and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games.

What marks him out as somebody rather special from our point of view is his uncanny ability to prophesy – sometimes spot on, sometimes slightly out, but always close.  As long as he kept off politics, he seemed to be more accurate - his political commentary was often almost embarrassing - but his scientific predictions were uncannily accurate. 

Prophecy or science fiction?

Like all prophesies, they have tendency to become self-fulfilling because people read what has been predicted and start to act on them, but a prophesy is a prophesy. 

He also appears to have had access, via the spiritual world at large, to the ideas of others.  In 1927 a Canadian citizen, Florence Deeks, sued Wells for plagiarism, claiming that he had stolen much of the content of The Outline of History from a work, The Web, she had submitted to the Canadian Macmillan Company, but who held onto the manuscript for eight months before rejecting it. Despite numerous similarities in phrasing and factual errors, the court found the evidence inadequate and dismissed the case. A Privy Council report added that, as Deek's work had not been printed, there were no legal grounds at all for the action.

What gave him this ability? 

There was a period in his life that was deeply unhappy when he was serving an apprenticeship as a draper at the Southsea Drapery Emporium, Hyde's. His experiences at Hyde's, where he worked a thirteen-hour day and slept in a dormitory with other apprentices, later inspired novels, but these were neither spiritual nor prophetic.

 

Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science (later the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, now part of Imperial College London) in London, studying biology. He was given a weekly allowance of twenty-one shillings thanks to a scholarship. This ought to have been a comfortable sum of money, but in his Experiment in Autobiography, Wells speaks of constantly being hungry, and indeed, photographs of him at the time show a youth very thin and malnourished.  So here we have the possibility of Nutritional deprivation as  a driver at a time when he wrote the first version of his novel The Time Machine.

But it would seem that the greatest driver to H G Wells was love, unrequited love and requited love and passion – making love.

In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells; the couple agreed to separate in 1894 when he fell in love with one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins (known as Jane), whom he married in 1895.

 

With his wife's consent, Wells subsequently had affairs with the American birth control activist Margaret Sanger, the  novelist Elizabeth von Arnim, the writer Amber Reeves [with whom he had a daughter, Anna-Jane], and the novelist Rebecca West, 26 years his junior [ with whom he had a son Anthony West].

"I was never a great amorist", Wells wrote in Experiment in Autobiography (1934), "though I have loved several people very deeply".

Wells was also a diabetic and a co-founder in 1934 of what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes in the UK, so this too may have played its part. 

Wells died of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946 at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London, aged 79.

Time was when Nature [the magazine] was almost pedantically special and scientific. Its detachment from politics and general affairs was complete.
But latterly the concussions of the social earthquake and the vibration of the guns have become increasingly perceptible in the laboratories.
Nature from being specialist has become world — conscious, so that now it is almost haunted week by week by the question:
“What are we to do before it is too late, to make what we know and our way of thinking effective in world affairs?” [1936]

 Ah, how little changes.

References

The Official H G Wells website can be found using this LINK

Observations

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