Saturday, September 21, 2013
September 21 - H.G. Wells
Novelist and journalist Herbert George "H. G." Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in a suburb of London. His parents were shopkeepers of little means, and his education was haphazard. In the 1880s he studied under biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who advocated Darwin’s theory of evolution. In 1895 Wells published his hugely successful novella, The Time Machine, the story of a Time Traveler’s journey to a dystopian, dying Earth in the distant future. His second major “scientific romance” – a genre now known as science fiction – was The War of the Worlds (1898), in which Earth is invaded by Martians whose superior force strikes into the heart of Britain at the height of its own imperialism. The novel is a brutal vision of millennial apocalypse at the close of the 19th century, in the tradition of “invasion literature,” addressing many disturbing themes: the rise of total war stripped of moral constraints, the industrialization of weaponry, the grim path of human evolution, race and class issues via Social Darwinism, and the separation of science from faith.