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H. G. Wells

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The English author, Herbert George Wells, also commonly referred to as the father of science fiction. In addition to writing a lot of science fiction works, Wells also produced other numerous literary works under many other genres including history, social commentary, politics and contemporary novels and text books.

H.G. Wells was born in Bromley, Kent County, England on September 21, 1866 to Sarah Neil who worked as a maid to the upper class and Joseph Wells, a professional cricket player and a shopkeeper. The family suffered poverty and Wells’ parents did not lead a happy married life. They eventually separated but neither of them married again. Wells developed an interest in reading beginning in his childhood. He would devote a lot of his time to reading everything that came his way. Wells studied at Thomas Morley’s Academy but was forced to drop out not being able to afford an education when his father broke a leg and was unable to play cricket and pay for Herbert’s school. Wells now fourteen began working as an apprentice to a draper where he gained experience and inspirations later reflected in his works Kipps (1905), a story about an orphan, Artie Kipps who makes his way to the upper class after gaining a large inheritance and education. His experience at the drapers shop was also reflected in The Wheels of Chance: A Bicycling Idyll (1896).

In 1883, Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London where he discovered his interest in science. Under the expert teachings of Thomas Henry Huxley, Wells studied Biology and Darwinism. However, once again Wells was unable to complete the course of his studies. Unable to meet the degree requirements, Wells lost the scholarship. Facing an extreme financial crisis, he began living with his aunt and uncle at Fitzroy Road in London. During this time, Wells taught at his uncle’s school and also studied there part-time. In 1891, he married his cousin, Isabel Mary who also lived with the aunt and uncle. The marriage dissolved four years later when Wells left Mary for one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins. The two got married in 1895 and had two sons. In spite of being married to Amy, Wells kept relations with other women who also became inspirations for some of his characters. Two of these women, Amber Reeves and Rebecca West gave birth to Wells’ children.

Although Wells had been writing for a long time, he published several of his stories in 1895. Some of his early published stories include Select Conversations with an Uncle was his first, followed by The Time Machine (1895), The Wonderful Visit (1895), and The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents (1895). His collection of essays and stories, Certain Personal Matters (1896) was followed by The Invisible Man (1897). In 1899, Wells published When the Sleeper Wakes followed by Love and Mr. Lewisham (1900) and The First Men in the Moon (1901). Wells’ first bestseller, Anticipations (1901) was about what the world would be like in the year 2000. A Modern Utopia was published in 1905.

Continuing to write prolifically, Wells published more significant works including Tono-Bungay (1909), Floor Games (1911), The Great State: Essays in Construction (1912), An Englishman Looks at the World (1914), The War That Will End War (1914), and Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916), Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Science of Life (1930), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), The Holy Terror (1939), The New World Order (1939) and Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945). H.G. Wells died in his home on August 13, 1946.

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