recognized as one of the fathers of modern science fiction
. His work centers around the perfection
of humanity through evolution
, scientific innovation
, and the realization of communist
ideas in society
H. G. Wells was born Herbert George Wells on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, Kent, on the outskirts of London. His parents, Joseph and Sarah Wells were lower-middle class and worked low-paying jobs to support the family. Sarah encouraged her son to learn a trade and become an apprentice in a trade shop when he became old enough, but a broken leg at the age of seven prevented him from working. It was during the recovery of this injury that Wells began reading anything he could get his hands on. His mother worked to save what she could to send him to various schools in their area. He read Gulliver's Travels and The Republic and gained an appreciation for a life of wealth and leisure.
As his talents grew, Wells taught during the day and studied in the evenings for a series of tests in physiography, geology, physiology, chemistry, and mathematics. His scores were so exceptional that he was awarded a scholarship to the Normal School of Science. There, he met Thomas Huxley. Huxley introduced Wells to the theories of Charles Darwin.
After his job teaching, Wells was employed by Lewis Hind as a journalist. He then produced the short novel The Time Machine. In his journalistic writings, Wells began to develop his socialist ideas by addressing the social and political problems of England. His work was optimistic about the future of humanity.
H. G. Wells' works include the following novels and short stories:
As a polemicist, Wells was an advocate of free love, a theme which he developed in some of his works. He thought that the stifling moral and religious constraints that influenced many people had no validity. He sought to liberate Western culture from such dogma. As his work progressed, he abandoned his earlier optimistic attitude towards humanity and developed the idea that serious social change was necessary if human beings were to survive as a species. The moral views in many of his books reflect this, particularly in The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Fate of Homo Sapiens and The Rights of Man. Most of his other nonfiction work deals with this problem as well.
He also implemented his study of Darwin's work: "We improve our favorite plants and animals - and how few they are - gradually by selective breeding; now a new and better peach, now a seedless grape, now a sweeter larger flower, now a more convenient breed of cattle. We improve them gradually, because our ideas are vague and tentative, and our knowledge is very limited; because Nature, too, is shy and slow in our clumsy hands." (Wells, The Time Machine, 39).
Wells uses most of his fiction and nonfiction work to develop his ideas about how he thinks a society should function and the role that science and technology play in that society. He creatively combines his social and scientific theories into well written, thought provoking stories of science fiction. "The whole world will be intelligent, educated, and co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards the subjugation of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall readjust the balance of animal and vegetable life to suit our human needs." (Wells, The Time Machine, 39)