H.G. Wells was an English writer, novelist, and social commentator. He is famed for being one of the great English writers in history, and many of his works are still studied and enjoyed today. His preferred genre was science fiction, which led many to label him as the “Father of sci-fi.” Wells was nominated for 4 Nobel Prizes for literature over the course of his career and remains one of the most respected writers of all time.
Born in Bromley, Kent, H.G. Wells has left a lasting legacy on the world of science fiction novels. His most famous works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), and The War of the Worlds (1898). Join us, as we take a closer and deeper look at the man and his work, to discover more about the genius behind some of the world’s finest books.
Herbert George Wells was born in Kent in September 1866, into a poor family. The family business was running a shop that sold sporting goods, but this wasn’t successful. In 1874, Wells broke his leg and was bedridden; he passed the time by reading books from the local library. It was through this that he developed the love of words and storytelling that would serve him so well in later life.
As a young boy, he had an apprenticeship in Portsmouth working as a draper. Wells hated the work and the long hours, but it would go on to inspire some of his later novels. Things became bleak in his personal life after his parents separated – though the house he and his mother stayed at had an extensive library. Feeling an affinity for words, Wells made the decision to become a teacher.
Taking a pupil-teacher apprenticeship, Wells secured a position at Midhurst Grammar School in Southsea. He was on a fairly decent wage at the time and was comfortable in his new vocation. In 1889 he managed to find a position at Henley House School where he taught a number of pupils, including future author A.A. Milne. It was also here that he published his first written works – a biology textbook! After finishing his teaching career, Wells found himself without sufficient income and was forced to stay with his aunt. It was then that he started writing humorous articles for journals and newspapers, beginning his writing career.
After falling in love with one of his students, and separating from his wife, Wells moved with her to Woking. It was here that he planned and wrote three of his best-known works – The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. His early works were influential in the science fiction genre and contained many of the themes that are now considered classics of the genre. His novels were often seen as a commentary on society, and the worked the world worked, interspersed with his own ideals.
Wells’ work was widely read across Europe, and proved particularly popular in Germany and Austria, though they were shunned by the Nazis. He also wrote the books Floor Games, and Little Wars, which proved popular with young boys. Towards his final year, Wells’ reputation declined slightly, up until his passing in 1946, but he remains one of the most influential writers of all time.
H.G. Wells has influenced the course of science fiction writing and is largely credited for taking sci-fi mainstream. He has been a big influence on many of the other famous writers we know and love. And his legacy will endure with a handful of wonderful stories that captured the zeitgeist of the times.