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H.G. Wells Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 21 September 1866Bromley, Kent, England, UK
Date of Death 13 August 1946London, England, UK
Birth NameHerbert George Wells
Nickname The Man Who Invented Tomorrow

Mini Bio (2)

Writer, born in Bromley, Kent. He was apprenticed to a draper, tried teaching, studied biology in London, then made his mark in journalism and literature. He played a vital part in disseminating the progressive ideas which characterized the first part of the 20th-c. He achieved fame with scientific fantasies such as The Time Machine (1895) and War of the Worlds (1898), and wrote a range of comic social novels which proved highly popular, notably Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr Polly (1910). Both kinds of novel made successful (sometimes classic) early films. A member of the Fabian Society, he was often engaged in public controversy, and wrote several socio-political works dealing with the role of science and the need for world peace, such as The Outline of History (1920) and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Lester A Dinerstien <lester1@earthlink.net>

H.G. Wells, born in the London suburb of Bromley in 1866, began his literary career in earnest in 1895 with the publication of his first novel, "The Time Machine." Until this first success his life had been a patchwork of unsatisfactory drapery and chemist apprenticeships that were interrupted by stints as a teacher's assistant, and eventually acceptance into London's Normal School of Science where he studied biology under Darwin's "bull dog," the great T.H. Huxley. The 1890's saw the publication of the "scientific romances" that were to make him the most successful author of his time. Following "The Time Machine" was "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (1896), "The Invisible Man" (1897), "The War of the Worlds" (1898), "When the Sleeper Wakes" (1899), and "The First Men in the Moon" (1901). After this point he turned his prolific pen to social topics, history, and even a bit of hopeful prophecy with books like "Anticipations" (1901), "The Discovery of the Future" (1902), "Mankind in the Making" (1903), "The Future in America" (1906), "The War in the Air" and "New Worlds for Old" (1908), "What is Coming" (1916), "War and the Future" (1917), "The Salvaging of Civilisation" (1921), "The Open Conspiracy" (1928), "The Shape of Things to Come" (1933), and "The New World Order" (1939). A revolutionary in thought and deed, Wells was often the subject of public controversy owing to his attitude on so-called "free love" and women's rights. He was also a life-long believer in Socialism as the means to mankind's ultimate social salvation. His particular brand had nothing to do with the retrogressive Marxist strain and also helped bring him in conflict with other leading Socialist thinkers of his day during his brief stint with The Fabian Society. The outbreak of the First World War found a heretofore pacifist Wells changing his mind to support of this Great War against the Hohenzollern "Blood and Iron" Imperial aggression. He reacted by writing a pamphlet in 1914 addressing the anti-war and pacifist elements in Britain entitled "The War That Will End War." Its title became proverbial almost instantly and is used to refer to the First World War even today. After spending time with the British government's War Office in the Propaganda Department and helping to define a clear set of war aims, he resigned and returned to writing propaganda his way. Even before the Great War began he published "The World Set Free" early in 1914. It was a prophetic novel about a world war against Imperial Germany and her "Central European Allies" which included a remarkably accurate forecast of atomic warfare and even coined the term "atomic bomb." He was among the first to call for a post war League of Nations but was bitterly disappointed with and critical of the actual League that developed. He spent the early part of the 1920's writing "The Outline of History," which like so many of his previous works was also enormously successful on both sides of the Atlantic. The 1930's found H.G. profoundly disturbed by the rising din of Nietzschean nationalism from Nazi Germany and Fascism in Italy. His critical writings on the aggressive "Krupp cum Kaiser" Imperial Germany coupled with his outright vicious attacks on Adolf Hitler and his accomplices earned H.G. Wells the distinction of having his "anti-German" books burned by Goebbels during the infamous book bonfires at German universities. The name "H.G. Wells" also appeared very near the top of a list compiled by the SS/SD command staff of those intellectuals and politicians slated for immediate liquidation upon the invasion of Britain by the Nazis. Winston Churchill was also named. He remained at his London flat off Regent's Park throughout the war and walked his own fire watch, even as his equally wealthy neighbors fled the Luftwaffe's Blitz to their comfortable country estates. He died quietly at home on 13 August 1946. In any appraisal the 20th century, H.G. Wells must be considered among its very most important and influential thinkers and authors. Evidence of his influence can be found in Hollywood to this day in recent films such as "The Island of Dr. Moreau," the Dreamworks version of "The Time Machine;" and also the unspoken but obvious (and rather clumsy) copying of his original ideas and themes in films like "Independence Day" and "Hollow Man."

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Charles R. Keller II, The H.G. Wells Society, <kellercl@planetkc.com>

Spouse (2)

Amy Catherine Robbins (1895 - 1927) (her death) (2 children)
Isabel Mary Wells (1891 - 1895) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Frequently has a fire in his books (i.e. in the book The Time Machine, he sets a forest on fire).
His main characters often are scientists whose experiments on themselves or others end tragically (examples include 'The Invisible Man', 'The Island of Dr. Moreau', 'The Time Machine')

Trivia (15)

H.G. Wells was driving through San Antonio, Texas and stopped to ask the way. The person he happened to ask was none other than Orson Welles who had recently broadcast "The War of the Worlds" on the radio. They got on well and spent the day together. (A recording also exists, of the two discussing the broadcast and the public's reaction.)
Great-grandfather of Simon Wells
Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
His great grandson Simon Wells directed the 2002 remake of The Time Machine which was based on his novel.
Cheated on his wives repeatedly. He even demanded of his second wife the "right" to take lovers. His son with journalist Rebecca West, Anthony West, wrote about their relationship in "Aspects of a Life" (1984). He also had a child with Amber Reeves, the daughter of one of London's most prominent families. His other lovers included Odette Keun, Moura Budberg and Margaret Sanger. Wells may have fathered up to five children out of wedlock.
His first wife, Isabel, was the daughter of his father's cousin.
Was the first novelist to employ the themes of time travel ("The Time Machine"), interplanetary invasion ("The War of the Worlds"), genetic manipulation ("The Island of Dr. Moreau"), and nuclear war ("The World Set Free") - the latter in 1913, a year before World War I broke out, and over three decades before the first atomic bomb (which term he also originated).
Gave up his teaching career when he came down with tuberculosis, and turned to writing for a living as he recovered.
Enjoyed playing with toy soldiers throughout his life.
Although H.G. Wells does not have a grave (he was cremated and his ashes scattered), he was quoted later in life (after witnessing the development of the atomic bomb and it being used for warfare) as making the bitter suggestion that his epitaph should say "God damn you all, I told you so." This suggestion has often led to mistaken claims that this was indeed his actual epitaph. Nevertheless, he has no grave, no headstone, and thus no epitaph.
He was an active member in the socialist Fabian Society. He was also a Labour Party candidate for the UK Parliament in 1921 and 1922, but was easily defeated.
His name was found among some papers in Nazi Germany as a target for suppression once Great Britain was defeated. Wells always considered this a kind of dark flattery.
Created a game called "Little Wars" which used toy soldiers, bases, barracks, assembly areas, and fortresses. The game also had rules for infantry, cavalry and artillery. It is thought by many to be the first table-top war game.
He is the subject of the 1979 movie Time After Time (1979). It depicts Wells (played by Malcolm McDowell) inventing a time machine which Jack the Ripper uses to travel to 1979 San Francisco, and so Wells must follow him there.
His work and influence on the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who (1963) was the subject of the documentary All's Wells That Ends Wells (2011). His role as the father of British science-fiction had inspired Glen McCoy to write Doctor Who: Timelash: Part One (1985). He thought it would be amusing for British television's most famous science-fiction character, the Doctor, to meet Wells. In the story, Wells is depicted simply as "Herbert". The Doctor is also portrayed reading "The Time Machine" in Doctor Who (1996) as a tribute to him.

Personal Quotes (10)

Some people bear three kinds of trouble - the ones they've had, the ones they have, and the ones they expect to have.
Advertising is legalized lying.
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
Our true nationality is mankind.
What really matters is what you do with what you have.
Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
Cynicism is humor in ill health.
The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it.
Inside these old forgotten books on shelves are wonders, miracles!

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