Herbert George Wells, 1866 - 1946

portrait of H. G. Wells
(Circa 1915)
H. G. Wells signature

Born: 21 September 1866, Bromley, England, UK
Died: 13 August 1946, London, England, UK

Wells' family was lower middle class, his father Joseph had a small shop (china and sporting goods, seems an odd combination) that didn't provide much income. Joseph played cricket for the Kent county team. Happy fans would make contributions after a game rather than buying tickets, which meant that this income was sporadic, and ended when he fractured his thigh in 1877. Wells himself broke a leg in 1874 and was confined to bed, during which time he acquired his love of reading. He attended Morley's Academy from late 1874 to 1880 when, due to lack of income, he was apprenticed to a draper. His parents separated when his mother took a job as lady's maid at Uppark in Sussex where there was no accommodation for family, but whenever "Bertie" came upon hard times he retreated there and was allowed to stay briefly, time he spent mostly in the large library of the estate. He served as a pupil-teacher briefly and also apprenticed as a chemist. In 1884 he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science where he studied biology under Thomas Henry Huxley, completing his studies without a degree in 1887, and writing his first fiction there. He did earn a BS in Zoology from the University of London External Programme in 1890. It was only in 1901 that his writing really thrived, after the Orson Welles radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds Wells referred to it as one of his "more obscure" titles. In his last years he was embittered and his commercial and critical success waned. He was an independent socialist politically, but publicly enough that the SS plans for invasion of England included him on the list of intellectuals and politicians to be immediately arrested. His science fiction works forecast a number of development that came to pass, but completely missed others, such as the airplane (he didn't expect them before 1950) and submarine (such wouldn't do "anything but suffocate its crew and founder at sea"). Wells married a cousin in 1891 but left her for a student in 1894, they married the next year and had two sons. He was hardly faithful, he is known to have had affairs with at least five women, several of them prominent, and had at least two bastard children. He suffered from diabetes and though no formal cause of death is recorded, this is most likely. The American rocket developer Robert H. Goddard was inspired by his work, his work directly led to the German V2 and hence the US space program.

Biography from Wikipedia and War of the Worlds (British fan site)

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