H.G. Wells: The Odd Man Who Shaped a Genre
Herbert George (H.G.) Wells was a man of many passions both strange and ordinary, but despite his eccentricities, he impacted science fiction and fantasy in a profound and noticeable way. As a man who bridged the entertainment gap between the upper and lower classes that existed at the time, H.G. Wells books felt right at home from the 1890’s clear through the Lost Generation (British Writers, Vol. 6, 226). Fantastical plots and relatable language aside, he was also what one might consider a normal man. Despite his being repulsed by monogamy, he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and indulge in worldly pleasures (British Writers, Vol. 6, 227).
Born Herbert George Wells on Saturday, 21 September 1866 in Bromley, Kent, England, H.G. Wells was the third son of poor protestant shopkeepers Sarah and Joseph Wells (British Writers, Vol. 6, 225). After a short, but not intellectually uninvolved childhood, Wells was sent to Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy in Bromley at the age of 8 where he studied general education (Murray, 11). During his time here he nurtured his love of reading, taking any spare time he could to indulge himself. He stayed there until moving to Midhurst for a few years to work under pharmacist Samuel Cowap, beginning his love for science (Murray, 11). Having known a good deal about the sciences at this point in time, he then spent a year at Midhurst Grammar School as a teaching scholar, and moved on to the Normal School of Science in South Kensington where he furthered his scientific knowledge by studying biology and editing the Science Schools Journal (Murray, 11). This study eventually earned him a B.Sc from London University, giving way to his next three years of teaching at the University Correspondence College in London (Murray, 11). While there he spent a decent amount of his time, though not too much considering the time sink of your average college student, writing his major scientific essay entitled The Rediscovery of the Unique, that he had published in The Fortnightly Review (“spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk”).
While there, he began one of his many odd relationships with his cousin Isabel, marrying her in 1891 and divorcing her just after his departure from the college in 1894. A year later he published his works The Time Machine, The Wonderful Visit, and The Stolen Bacillus, earning him a grand total of £792 that year (British Writers, Vol. 6, 226). Between the years of 1901-1914, while continuing to gain popularity in his writing, and continuing to study various scientific theatres, Wells had four children: George Phillip Wells (who went on to co-author several books, including the extension to H.G. Wells autobiography H.G. Wells In Love), Frank Wells, Anna-Jane Blanco-White, and Anthony West (Murray, 12).
In the years that followed, going through the first (in which Wells was already too old to fight) and second world wars, Wells became disillusioned to war, and instead of themeing...