Celebrating 155 Years of H. G. Wells

An Illustration to a sci-fi novel
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This week marks one hundred and fifty-five years since the birth of Herbert George Wells, a prolific writer, who is often referred to as “the father of science-fiction genre”. A shrewd social critic and a scientific prophet, Wells wrote dozens of literary works, with some of them entering the ranks of iconic masterpieces thanks to the author’s eerily accurate predictions about the future. Despite being written in the 19th century, these thrilling tales are still sending the ripples of curiosity, which only magnify with time. 

The First Men in The Moon by H. G. Wells

IMage Credit: K. Haustein

“When an absent minded scientist and a hard headed playwright find the secret of a gravity defying substance, they set about building a vessel that will take them into space. What begins as a light-hearted adventure on the moon’s surface turns into a terrifying danger. Held captive by peculiar insect-like inhabitants of the moon’s caverns and threatened by the deathly cold lunar night, the two desperate explorers must attempt a nearly impossible escape.”- C.Moi

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The Country of The Blind by H. G. Wells

IMage Credit: LVL

“In the wildest wastes of Ecuador’s Andes, there nestled a valley that was cut off from the world outside. Though the valley was lush and beautiful, it harboured a mysterious disease that rendered its entire populace blind.

Enter Nuñez, a mountaineer from the modern world who, cushioned by a deep drift of snow, miraculously survives a fall from 1,000 feet. He stumbles upon the legendary ‘Country of the Blind’, a place known to him only in folklore. Arrogant and opportunistic, he seeks to use his fifth sense to gain some leverage over the ‘simple’ villagers – possibly symbolic of the Spanish Conquistadors who thought themselves superior to the indigenous population under their subjugation.

In summary, this is a wonderful little allegory which sees H.G. Wells using personification to great effect, attributing human characteristics to the magnificent features of the valley’s natural surroundings. Nuñez is verily the serpent in the villagers’ Garden of Eden.”- K. Ansbro

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The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

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Before this literary tour de force saw the light of day, the concept of time travel in fiction was in its infancy. Humans were transported into different dimensions through time slips with no way of knowing where and when they were going to end up next. H.G. Wells wrote a new chapter in the history of science-fiction with his invention of the time machine. For the first time, a character gained control over a vehicle to tear through the fabrics of time to the destination of his choice. When he did, he travelled to the year 802,701 to meet the Morlocks and the Eloi, the Yin and Yang of the human race, to see a polarised world filled with danger only to then witness the last days of the Earth thirty million years later.

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The Sleeper Awakes by H. G. Wells

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A troubled insomniac in 1890s England falls suddenly into a sleep-like trance, from which he does not awake for over two hundred years. During his centuries of slumber, however, investments are made that make him the richest and most powerful man on Earth. But when he comes out of his trance he is horrified to discover that the money accumulated in his name is being used to maintain a hierarchal society in which most are poor, and more than a third of all people are enslaved. Oppressed and uneducated, the masses cling desperately to one dream – that the sleeper will awake, and lead them all to freedom.

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The War of The Worlds by H. G. Wells

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When a giant ‘meteor’ crash-lands in Surrey, the earthlings rejoice at the thought of meeting visitors from outer space. Yet a menacing greeting with a heat-ray blast leads humanity to a chilling conclusion- the Earth is under siege. Unbeknown to anybody, the ripple effect of alien invasion will soon be felt throughout the country as Martians start using extraterrestrial technology against mankind. Transported by three-legged war machines, aliens incinerate and poison their way through to London, killing and feeding on humans in the process. And even when it seems like all hope is lost, mother nature comes to the rescue with an ultimate weapon against the invaders. 

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The Food of The Gods by H. G. Wells

Image Credit: Dover Publications

Hoping to create a new growth agent for food with beneficial uses to mankind, two scientists find that the spread of the material is uncontrollable. Giant chickens, rats, and insects run amok, and children given the food stuffs experience incredible growth–and serious illnesses. Over the years, people who have eaten these specially treated foods find themselves unable to fit into a society where ignorance and hypocrisy rule. These “giants,” with their extraordinary mental powers, find themselves shut away from an older, more traditional society. Intolerance and hatred increase as the line of distinction between ordinary people and giants is drawn across communities and families. 

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Ann Veronica by H. G. Wells

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“Twenty-one, passionate and headstrong, Ann Veronica Stanley is determined to live her own life. When her father forbids her from attending a fashionable Ball, she decides she has no choice but to leave her family home and make a fresh start in London. There, she finds a world of intellectuals, socialists, and suffragettes – a place where, as a student in Biology at Imperial College, she can be truly free. But when she meets the brilliant Capes, a married academic, and quickly falls in love, she soon finds that freedom comes at a price.”- Penguin

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The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

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The fascination with human invisibility has been an ever-lasting source of inspiration for authors and film directors alike. One of the first science-fiction writers to portray this phenomenon was H.G. Wells, who offered a poignant insight into obscurity in his cautionary tale of obsession. The arrival of a mysterious stranger swathed in bandages in West Sussex leaves plenty of room for speculation. But for Dr Jack Griffin, a reclusive scientist, who spends most of his days researching the side effects of his new invisibility formula, the lack of social life might be the least of his worries. Soon, as the small town of Iping becomes a testing ground for Griffin’s experiments, things get as murky as the misty English countryside, in which the story is set. 

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The Wheels of Chance by H. G. Wells

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“Wheels of Chance is a romantic adventure that deserves more notoriety than it has. The hero of this tale is hardly the juggernaut of his dreams but when the beautiful lady in gray crosses his path, his life changes. Jesse Milton, an eighteen year old girl, flees from her home and stepmother to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. She soon falls prey to a married man that had designs on compromising her but the hero; Mr. Hoopdriver comes like a knight in shining armor, to her rescue. This is a surprisingly refreshing story that should please the masses; I certainly enjoyed it. I can recommend this to all who are looking for a light, humorous love story.”- T Swennes

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The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

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“Written in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of the earliest scientific romances. An instant sensation, it was meant as a commentary on Darwin’s theory of evolution, which H. G. Wells stoutly believed. The story centers on the depraved Dr. Moreau, who conducts unspeakable animal experiments on a remote tropical island, with hideous, humanlike results. Edward Prendick, an English-man whose misfortunes bring him to the island, is witness to the Beast Folk’s strange civilization and their eventual terrifying regression. While gene-splicing and bioengineering are common practices today, readers are still astounded at Wells’s haunting vision and the ethical questions he raised a century before our time.” – Penguin Random

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Stella is a Marketing Consultant and has been writing content for Full Text Archive since 2015. When she is not writing, she is meticulously planning our social and e-mail campaigns. Stella holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian Literature, which has provided a broad foundation from which she continues to explore the written world.

She spends her free time reading, visiting old castles and discovering new coffee shops. She can be reached at stella

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