Herbert George Wells: A Novelist and Author of the Time Machine

Wells' writing is a wise reflection on the natural world and a cautionary tale for all those who would like to play god and be like tiny physician Moreau.

Herbert George Wells: A Novelist and Author of the Time Machine
H. G. Wells: A Life of Science Fiction. Credit: Picryl

Herbert George Wells was born in the middle class on September 21, 1866, in the city of Bromley. He was the third child of a family that didn't have a lot of money. His family called him "Bertie". He became interested in books while he was in bed for a while because he broke his leg. During this time, his father filled "Bertie's" free time with books, and he became so used to this "diet" that he could not be stopped.

After working as an apprentice in the textile industry, he went back to the world of letters in 1881 by enrolling in the grammar school in Midhurst, England. He got a scholarship to study biology at the Royal College of Science in London from 1884 to 1887. At the same time, he joined the school debate club and helped start The Science School Journal, which was where The Chronic Argonauts, which is better known as "The Time Machine," was first published.

H. G. Wells wrote more than a hundred books, including The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The First Men on the Moon.

Besides being the voice of science, fiction, and science fiction, he was also the voice of the people, the underdogs, and those who were left out. After getting tuberculosis, H. G. Wells spent the rest of his life writing. He died in London in August 1946. He had lived a long and successful life for 80 years, which may not seem like much to people who like his stories.

Brief chronology of the life of H.G. Wells

(Bromley, 1866 - London, 1946)

1889-1890. Wells teaches at Henley House School. Publishes several articles in scientific journals.

Contracts tuberculosis. Quits teaching and devotes himself to writing.

Publishes The Time Machine: a reworking of a serialized novel published in the National Observer. The success of the novel gives him enough money to make a living from writing.

He joins the Fabian Society, which advocated evolutionary and moderate socialism. Wells' ideas of "man for man" ended up clashing with the Fabians.

He becomes a fierce advocate of human rights, both for women and men. At all times he seeks to get humans to humans to overcome their clashes.

On his deathbed in front of his friends and family, he said goodbye saying, "You go on, I already have everything."

H.G.Wells: Men as Gods

Herbert George Wells, the man with the long mustache, the chubby cheeks, and the bright eyes, made the imagination of the 20th century reach the limits of human nature. One of his favorite things to write about was the question, "What would happen if we could change the laws of nature with reason?"

He got ideas for all of his work from his studies in biology, which led him to play with nature. In this way, Wells is like Doctor Frankenstein because he played with his characters as if they were gods. He was a literary geneticist.

In another work, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) Prendick -the main character- rebukes the Doctor about the pain he has caused in animals. Moreau replies that pain is neither good nor bad, but only an artifact for survival, and finishes by saying: "the study of Nature makes man as cruel as Nature herself".

Doctor Moreau does the opposite of dehumanization, which is also worse: he "deanimalizes" animals. This means that he takes their natural essence and turns them into monsters that are more like humans. So, it creates a process of assisted denaturalization and programs them with a set of artificial laws that make them repeat things like: "The Law says that you can't walk on all fours. Are we not Men?..."

Wells' literature is both an intelligent reflection of nature and a warning to those who want to play at being little doctors Moreau: those men as gods.

Wells's books Men as Gods (1923), The Man Who Could Work Miracles (1898), and The Food of the Gods (1904) are all about people who are gods. In the last book, a substance called herakleophorbia is added to food, which makes a new race of giants. Wells says that the new organisms made by scientists who are not responsible will win out over other kinds of life. A good warning for the obsessive fashion of transgenic food.

But Wells is also known for another of his favorite topics that he was against the war. He wrote a series of apocalyptic novels about the war that foretold a scary future caused by two things: the rise of technology and the rise of politicians who don't care about people. In his 1908 book War in the Air, H.G. Wells wrote about how terrifying aerial bombardment would be.

In The World Set Free (1914), he wrote about how the atom could destroy everything. In 1898, he made a prediction that hasn't come true yet: in The War of the Worlds, a Martian civilization kills humans with heat rays as if they were the gods of the new century. What would happen if a civilization from another planet ran into ours?

Wells gives a biological answer to this question. It's almost as if his book ends with this idea: it's possible that the aliens would start by eating us, but in the end, the planet, which is like a big living organism, would eat them. By eating the invader, the bacteria would win the battle. Definitely a great ending, and one that science fiction has used over and over again.

By Luis Perea and Hector Zalik, Source: UNAM Radio magazine No.52, Rubrica, pages 3-5, and page 31.