H.G. Wells, a cornerstone of science fiction, possessed a mind that appeared to travel far beyond the confines of his own time, the Victorian era. With predictions and inventions that resonate profoundly with today’s technology and contemporary themes, one could whimsically wonder if Wells had a time machine of his own. Here are ten captivating facts about this prophetic author.
1. Prophetic Visions: Born in 1866, H.G. Wells was a British writer whose creative imagination foresaw inventions like emails, phones, and lasers. It was his groundbreaking novel, ‘The Time Machine,’ that introduced the concept of a ‘time machine’ to the lexicon in 1895.
2. Turbulent Personal Life: Wells’s personal life was as eventful as his literary one. He married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells in 1891 but their union ended when he fell for one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins. This tumultuous period, however, coincided with his most prolific writing phase, giving us classics like ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Time Machine.’
3. Colonial Critique in Martian Fiction: The invasion narrative of “The War of the Worlds” emerged from Wells’s ponderings about a Martian invasion of Britain, drawing a dark parallel to the British colonial extermination of the Tasmanian indigenous population, which scholars now often refer to as a genocide.
4. Atomic Bomb Prediction: H.G. Wells not only anticipated the atomic bomb but also coined the term in his 1914 novel “The World Set Free,” astonishingly describing a type of weapon similar to nuclear bombs, two and a half decades before the Manhattan Project began.
5. Literature to Lethal Panic: In a tragic case of life imitating art, a radio adaptation of ‘The War of the Worlds’ broadcasted in Ecuador in 1949 incited a panic that led to a mob burning down the radio station when the hoax was revealed, resulting in over ten fatalities.
6. Disaster Movie Blueprint: With his 1897 short story “The Star,” Wells essentially created the prototype for the modern disaster movie. The narrative details the catastrophic near-miss of a meteor with Earth, causing natural disasters on a global scale, presaging a genre that would captivate millions.
7. Teaching A.A. Milne: Before A.A. Milne created the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh, he was a student of H.G. Wells, who taught at a public school that Milne attended, demonstrating Wells’s influence extended into the personal lives of other significant writers.
8. Gaming Innovator: Wells was not only a literary genius but also an innovator in gaming. In 1913, he laid down the foundational rules for turn-based strategy games, influencing a myriad of tabletop and video games and paving the way for giants like Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons.
9. Diabetes Advocacy: Among his less known but impactful contributions, H.G. Wells was a co-founder of Diabetes UK, one of the main diabetes charities in the United Kingdom, showing his involvement in social issues of his time.
10. Monumental Legacy: A testament to his enduring legacy, a 23-foot high sculpture of a Martian Tripod from ‘The War of the Worlds’ stands in Woking, England, where H.G. Wells once lived, immortalizing his impact on literature and the imaginations of generations.
Whether Wells had prescient abilities or simply a visionary mind, his legacy continues to influence and entertain, leaving an indelible mark on the worlds of literature, film, and even gaming.