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H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells (1866-1946)

 

English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian, whose science fiction stories have been filmed many times. H.G. Wells's best known works are The Time Machine (1895), one of the first modern science fiction stories, The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). Wells wrote over a hundred of books, about fifty of them novels.

"No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water." (from War of the Worlds)

Along with George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, which was a pessimistic answer to scientific optimism, Wells's novels are among the classics of science-fiction. Later Wells's romantic and enthusiastic conception of technology turned more doubtful. His bitter side is seen early in the novel Boon (1915), which was a parody of Henry James.

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent. His father, Joe, was a shopkeeper and a professional cricketer until he broke his thigh - the accident happened while he was helping a girlfriend climb over a wall while his wife was at church. It has been said, that Wells inherited infidelity from his father.

In his early childhood, Wells developed love for literature. His mother served from time to time as a housekeeper at the nearby estate of Uppark, and young Wells studied books in the library secretly. When his father's business failed, Wells was apprenticed like his brothers to a draper.

Wells spent the years between 1880 and 1883 in Windsor and Southsea, and later recorded them in Kipps (1905). In the story Arthur Kipps is raised by his aunt and uncle. Kipps is also apprenticed to a draper. After learning that he has been left a fortune, Kipps enters the upper-class society, which Wells describes with sharp social criticism.

In 1883 Wells became a teacher/pupil at Midhurst Grammar School. He obtained a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London and studied there biology under T.H. Huxley. However, his interest faltered and in 1887 he left without a degree. He taught in private schools for four years. In Kilburn his star pupil was A.A. Milne. Wells did not his B.S. degree until 1890. Next year he settled in London, married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells and continued his career as a teacher in a correspondence college. By 1894 the marriage was over. Wells left Isabel for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine Robbins, whom he married in 1895. Their first son, George Philip, was born in 1901.

From 1893 Wells devoted himself entirely to writing. Lung problems and a prognosis that he would die, added an extra urgency to a tremendous four-year burst of creativity, during which he produced his famous "scientific romances" As a novelist Wells made his debut with The Time Machine, a parody of English class division. The narrator is Hillyer, who discusses with his friends about theories of time travel. A week later their host has an incredible story to tell the in a late Victorian smoking-room - he has returned from the year 802701. The Time Traveler had found two people: the Eloi, weak and little, who live above ground in a seemingly Edenic paradise, and the Morlocks, bestial creatures that live below ground, who eat the Eloi. The Traveler's beautiful friend Weena is killed, he flees into the far future, where he encounters "crab-like creatures" and things "like a huge white butterfly," that have taken over the planet. In the year 30,000,000 he finds lichens, blood-red sea and a creature with tentacles. He returns horrified back to the present. Much of the realistic atmosphere of the story was achieved by carefully studied technical details. The basic principles of the machine contained materials regarding time as the fourth dimension - years later Albert Einstein published his theory of the four dimensional continuum of space-time.

The Time Machine was followed by The Island of Dr. Moreau  (1896), in which a mad scientist transforms animals into human creatures. The story is told in flashback by a man named Edward Prendick, who ends up on a remote island controlled by Dr. Moreau, a notorious vivisectionist.  Moreau experiments with animals in his laboratory, and has created Beast People. At the end, Moreau is killed by Puma-Woman and Prendick escapes from the island, and returns to London. He concludes the tale: "Even then it seemed that I, too, was not a reasonable creature, but only an animal tormented with some strange disorder in its brain, that sent it to wander alone, like as sheep stricken with the gid." Wells, who was a Darwinist, did not reject the evolutionary theory but attacked optimists and warned that human progress is not inevitable. Moreover, the novel offered a cautionary view on the rise of laboratory science. In film versions the character of Dr. Moreau has inspired such actors as Charles Laughton, Burt Lancaster, and Marlon Brando.

The Invisible Man was a Faustian story of a scientist who has tampered with nature in pursuit of superhuman powers, and The War of the Worlds, a novel of an invasion of Martians. The story appeared at a time when Giovanni Schiaparelli's discovery of Martian "canals" and Percival Lowell's book Mars (1895) stirred speculations that there could be life on the Red Planet. The narrator is an unnamed "philosophical writer" who tells about events that happened six years earlier. Martian cylinders land on earth outside London and the invaders, who have a "roundish bulk with tentacles" start to vaporize humans. The Martians build walking tripods which ruin towns. Panic spreads, London is evacuated. Martians release poisonous black smoke. However, Martians are slain "by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put on this earth." Cecil B. DeMille bought the rights of the novel in 1925. In 1930 Paramount offered the story to the Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, but he never attempted an adaptation. Its later Hollywood version from 1952, in which terrifying aliesn invade Earth via the American midwest, reflected Cold War attitudes. The spectacular special effects cost $1,400,000. A great deal of money and effort was put in the final attack on Los Angeles.

The First Men on the Moon (1901) was prophetic description of the methodology of space flight, and The War in the Air (1908) foresaw the importance of air forces in combat. Although Wells's novels were highly entertaining, he also tried to arise debate about the future of the mankind. His novel, In the Days of the Comet  (1906), was about a giant comet, that nearly hits Earth, but its tail gases cause changes in human behaviour. One of Wells's earlier stories, 'The Star' (1897), tells of a planet, that almost demolishes the world before hitting the sun. However, in The Shape of Things to Come (1933), Wells failed to anticipate the importance of atomic energy, although in The World Set Free (1914) a physicist manages to split the atom.

After settling in Sandgate on the Kent coast, Wells slowly gained his physical health, and acquired a lifelong passion for cycling. "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race," he said. Dissatisfied with his literary work, Wells moved into the novel genre with Love and Mr. Lewisham (1900). Kipps strengthened his reputation as a serous writer. Wells also published critical pamphlets attacking the Victorian social order, among them Anticipations (1901), Mankind in the Making (1903), and A Modern Utopia (1905). In The History of Mr. Polly (1909) Wells returned to vanished England.

Passionate concern for society led Wells to join in 1903 the socialist Fabian Society, that advocated a fairer society by planning for a gradual system of reforms. Wells did not believe in Marx's proletarian socialism, and wrote a messianic dystopia about socialist revolution, When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), in which the organiser of the revolution, Ostrog, says: "All power is for those who can handle wealth. . . . You must accept facts, and these are facts. The world for the Crowd! The Crowd as Ruler! Even in your days that creed had been tried and condemned. To-day it has only one believer--a multiplex, silly one--the mall in the Crowd."

Wells soon quarreled with the society's leaders, among them George Bernard Shaw. This experience was basis for his novel The New Machiavelli (1911), which portrayed the noted Fabians. At the outbreak of war in 1914, Wells left his lover, Elizabeth Von Arnim, and began a love affair with a young journalist, Rebecca West, 26 years his junior. West and Wells called themselves "panther" and "jaguar". Their son Anthony West later wrote about their difficult relationship in Aspects of a Life (1984).

In his novels Wells used his two wives, Amber Reeves, Rebecca West, Odette Keun and all the passing mistresses as models for his characters. ''I was never a great amorist,'' Wells wrote in Experiment in Autobiography (1934) ''though I have loved several people very deeply.'' On the other hand, he also liked to call himself "the Don Juan of the intelligentsia." Rebecca West became a famous author and married a wealthy banker, Henry Andrews, who had business interests in Germany. Elizabeth von Arnim dismissed Wells, and Moura Budberg (1892-1974), Maxim Gorky's former mistress, refused to marry him or even be faithful. When quizzed by Somerset Maugham on what she saw in "the paunchy, played-out writer," who had a squeaky voice, she replied: "He smells of honey." Moura was known as the "Mata Hari of Russia." Her lovers included the British spy Sir R.H. Bruce Lockhart. In 1951 she tipped off MI6 that Sir Anthony Blunt was a communist.

"Nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the early twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bombs burst in their fumbling hands." (from The World Set Free, 1914)

At the call of Charles Masterman, a member of H.H. Asquith's Cabined, Wells joined a group of editors from the British press and senior writers – among them G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Gilbert Murray, George Trevelyan and Israel Zangwill – whose task was to represent the British viewpoint and counterbalance German propaganda in Allied and neutral nations. From May to July 1918 Wells served as the director of propaganda literature against the Germans at "Crewe House" at the residence of the Marquess of Crewe in Curzon Steet, London. Wells urged "a clear and full statement of the war aims of the Allies," which he chrystallized in the phrase "The League of Free Nations" and in the dream of perpetual international peace.

After WW I Wells published several non-fiction works, among them Outline of History (1920), The Open Conspiracy (1928), and The Science of Life (1929-39), written in collaboration with Sir Julian Huxley and George Philip Wells. At this time Wells had gained the status as a popular celebrity, and he continued to write prolifically. In 1917 he was a member of Research Committee for the League of Nations and published several books about the world organization. Rising militarism disgusted Wells. "The professional military mind is by necessity an inferior and unimaginative mind," he said, "no man of high intellectual quality would willingly imprison his gifts in such calling." (from The Outline of History, 1920)

In the early 1920s Wells was a labour candidate for Parliament. Although Wells had many reservations about the Soviet system, he understood the broad aims of the Russian Revolution, and had in 1920 a fairly amiable meeting with Lenin, though temperamentally he was hostile to Marxism. Lenin, behind his back, called him "a dreadful bourgeois and a little philistine." Wells introduced in The Open Conspiracy they idea of a new world order, in which "suitably equipped groups of the most interested, intelligent, and devoted people" would form a world directorate to run humanity's public affairs.

While touring in the Soviet Union in 1920, Wells stayed in Maxim Gorky's apartment in Petrograd and had an affair with Gorky's secretary Moura Budberg. "I believed she loved me and I believed every word she said to me. No other woman has ever had that much effectiveness for me," Wells recalled later. They met again nine years later and Moura became part of his life in the 1930s in London. On the French Riviera he had a liaison with Constance Coolidge and a few months after with the American journalist and writer Martha Gellhorn in Washington. Between the years 1924 and 1933 Wells lived mainly in France. His close friends included Christabel McLaren, who prized his friendship but made it clear from the beginning that she never intended to sleep with him.

Wells had discussions in 1934 with both Roosevelt, whose world-saving plans did not appeal to him, and Stalin, who left him disillusioned. Speaking of human nature, Stalin said: "You, Mr Wells, evidently start out with the assumption that all men are good. I, however, do not forget that there are many wicked men. I do not believe in the goodness of the bourgeoisie." (from Stalin - Wells Talk: The Verbatim Record, published in the New Statesman) Wells was convinced that Western socialists cannot compromise with Communism. Also one of his mistresses, Moura Budberg, turned out to be a Soviet agent for years. In The Holy Terror (1939) Wells studied the psychological development of a modern dictator exemplified in the careers of Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler.

Orson Welles' Mercury Theater radio broadcast, based on The War of the Worlds, caused a panic in the Eastern United States on October 30, 1938. In Newark, New Jersey, all the occupants of a block of flats left their homes with wet towels round their heads and in Harlem a congregation fell to its knees. Welles, who first considered the show silly, was shaken by the panic he had unleashed and promised that he would never do anything like it again. Later Welles attempted to claim authorship for the script, but it was written by Howard Koch, whose inside story of the whole episode, The Panic Broadcast; Portrait of an Event, came out in 1970. Wells himself was not amused with the radio play. He met the young director in 1940 at a San Antonio radio station, but was at that time mellowed and advertised Welles next film, Citizen Kane.

"Those who have not read The War of the Worlds may be surprised to find that, like much of Wells's writing, it is full of poetry and contains passages that catch the throat. Wells tried to pretend that he was not an artist and stated that "there will come a time for every work of art when it will have served its purpose and be bereft of its last rag of significance." This has not yet happened for the best of Wells's science fiction, though it has done so for all but a few of his realistic and political novels." (Arthur C. Clarke in Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!, 1999)

From 1934 to 1946 Wells served as the International president of PEN. He lived through World War II in his house on Regent's Park, refusing to let the blitz drive him out of London. Even at the age of seventy-four, he still enjoyed the company of prostitutes. His last book, Mind at the End of Its Tether  (1945), was about mankind's future prospects, which he had always viewed with pessimism. "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe," he wrote already in The Outline of History. Wells died in London on August 13, 1946.

For further reading: H. G. Wells: Another Kind of Life by Michael Sherborne and Christopher Priest (2012); Shadow Lovers: The Last Affairs of H. G. Wells by Andrea Lynn (2001); The Invisible Man: The Life and Liberties of H.G. Wells by Michael Coren (1993); A Critical Edition of The War of the Worlds, ed. by David Y. Hughes and Harry M. Geduld (1993); H.G. Wells: Six Scientific Romances Adapted for Film by Thomas C. Renzi (1992); H.G. Wells by Brian Murray (1990); H.G. Wells under Revision, ed. by Patrick Parrinder and Christopher Rolfe (1990); H.G. Wells by Brian Murray (1990); H.G. Wells: A Comprehensive Bibliography, published by the H.G. Wells Society (1986); The Time Traveller: Life of H.G. Wells by Norman and Jean Mackenzie (1973); H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage, ed. by P. Parrinder (1972); H.G. Wells by L. Dickson (1969); The Early H.G. Wells by Bernard Bergonzi (1961); A Companion to Mr. Wells's "Outline of History," by Hilaire Belloc (1926); The World of H.G. Wells by Van Wyck Brooks (1915) - See also: Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Selected works:

  • Text-Book of Biology, 1893 (2 vols., with introduction by G.B. Howes) 
  • Honours Physiography, 1893
  • The Lord of the Dynamos, 1894
    - Voimakoneitten Herra ja muita tapauksia (suom. Väinö Hämeen- Anttila, 1907)
  • The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents, 1895
    - Varastettu basilli ja muita kertomuksia (suom. Väinö Hämeen-Anttila, 1907)
  • The Time Machine, 1895
    - Aikakone (suom. Lyyli Vihervaara, 1917; Matti Kannosto, 1979; Tero Valkonen, 2000)
    - films: TV film 1949,  starring Mary Donn, Christopher Gill and Eugene Leahy; 1960, dir. by George Pal, starring Rod Taylor, Alan Young and Yvette Mimieux; TV film 1978, dir. Henning Schellerup, starring John Beck, Priscilla Barnes and Andrew Duggan; 2002, dir. by Simon Wells, starring Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Mark Addy, Phylidda Law, Orlando Jones and Jeremy Irons; Morlocks, TV film 2011, dir. Matt Codd, starring Hamish Clark, Christina Cole and Owen Davis 
  • The Wonderful Visit, 1895
  • Select Conversations with an Uncle, Now Extinct, and Two Other Reminiscences, 1895
  • The Red Roos, 1896
    - Punainen huone (suom. Matti Rosvall, 1994)
  • The Wheels of Chance: A Holiday Adventure, 1896
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896
    - Kauhun saari (suom. Teppo Heino, 1920) / Tohtori Moreaun saari (suom. Markku Salo, 1986)
    - films: Die Insel der Verschollenen, 1921, prod. Corona Filmproduktion, dir. Urban Gad; The Island of Lost Souls, 1932, dir. by Erle C. Kenton, starring Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams; The Island of Doctor Agor, dir. Tim Burton; Terror Is a Man, 1959, dir. Gerardo de Leon; The Twilight People, 1973, dir. Eddie Romero; 1977, dir. Don Taylor, starring Burt Lancaster, Michael York and Nigel Davenport; 1996, dir. by John Frankenheimer, starring David Thewlis, Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer
  • The Invisible Man, 1897
    - Näkymätön mies (suom. Aino Tuomikoski, 1922; Tapio Hiisivaara, 1966)
    - films: 1933, dir. by James Whale, screenplay R.C. Sheriff, starring Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart and William Harrigan; Invisible Agent, 1942, dir. Edwin L. Marin, starring Ilona Massey, Jon Hall and Peter Lorre; TV series 1959, starring Lisa Daniely, Tim Turner and Johnny Scripps; TV series 1975, starring David McCallum, Melinda O. Fee and Craig Stevens; Chelovek-nevidimka, 1984, prod. Mosfilm, dir. Aleksandr Zakharov, starring Andrei Kharitonov, Romualdas Ramanauskas and Leonid Kuravlyov; TV series 1984, starring Pip Donaghy, David Gwillim and Gerald James TV series 2000-2002, starring Vincent Ventresca, Paul Ben-Victor and Shannon Kenny   
  • The Valley of Spiders, 1897
    - Hämähäkkilaakso ja muita kertomuksia (suom. Werner Anttila, 1907)
  • The Star, 1897 (short story)
    - Tähti (suom. 1903)
  • The Plattner Story, and Others, 1897
  • Thirty Strange Stories, 1897
  • Certain Personal Matters, 1897
  • The War of the Worlds, 1898
    - Maailmojen sota (suom. Matti Kannosto, 1979)
    - Orson Welles's radio dramatization of it in October 1938 caused widespread panic in the U.S. In Byron Haskin's film from 1953 the alien ship attacks Los Angeles. 'Haskin admits that the film was a war picture even without the Martian shots: "if Russia and the United States had started hostilities, you could have substituted the Russian invasion and have had a hell of a war film. '"(from Novels into Film by John C. Tibbets and James M. Welsh, 1999). Films: 1953, dir. Byron Haskin, starring Gene Barry, Ann Robinson and Les Tremayne; TV series 1988-90, starring Jared Martin, Lynda Mason Green and Philip Akin; Independence day, 1996, dir. Roland Emmerich, sticks closely to the plot of Well's story; War of the Worlds, 2005, dir. by Steven Spielberg, screenplay by David Koepp, starring Tom Cruise, Justin Chatwin, Dakota Fanning, Tom Robbins. Spielberg's film is set in New Jersey today.
  • Tales of Space and Times, 1899
  • When the Sleeper Wakes, 1899 (rev. ed., The Sleeper Awakes, 1910)
    - Kun nukkuja herää (suom. Jalmari Finne, 1907; Tero Valkonen, 2001)
  • A Cure for Love, 1899
  • The Vacant Country, 1899
  • Love and Mr Lewisham, 1900
    - films: TV series 1959, starring Alec McCowen, Sheila Shand Gibbs and Annette Carell; TV series 1972, starring Brian Deacon, Carolyn Courage and Hilary Mason
  • Anticipations, 1901
  • The First Men in the Moon, 1901
    - Ensimmäiset ihmiset Kuussa (suom. S. Samuli, 1907)
    - films: 1919, dir. Bruce Gordon, J.L.V. Leigh, starring Bruce Gordon, Heather Thatcher, Hector Abbas, Lionel d'Aragon,Cecil Morton York; 1964, dir. Nathan Juran, starring Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and Lionel Jeffries
  • Anticipations of the Reactions of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, 1901
  • The Discovery of the Future, 1902
  • The Sea Lady, 1902
  • Twelve Stories and a Dream, 1903
  • Mankind in the Making, 1903
  • The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, 1904
    - films: Village of the Giants, 1965, dir. Bert I. Gordon, starring Tommy Kirk, Johnny Crawford and Ron Howard; Dan-dan han changugi gyo in, 1970, starring Capri, Hyang-a Kim and Beru-Bera Lin
  • A Modern Utopia, 1905
    - Nykyaikainen Utopia (suom. Ville-Juhani Sutinen, 2006)
  • Kipps The Story of a Simple Soul, 1905
    - Kipps esiintyy seurapiireissä (suom. Ahti M. Salonen, 1946)
    - films: 1921, dir. Harold M. Shaw, starring George K. Arthur, Edna Flugrath and Christine Rayner; 1941, dir. by Carol Reed, screenplay Sidney Giallat, starring Michael Redgrave, Phyllis Calvert, Philip Frost, Diana Wynyard; Half a Sixpence, dir. George Sidney, starring Tommy Steele, Julia Foster and Cyril Ritchard
  • In the Days of the Comet, 1906
  • Socialism and the Family, 1906
  • Faults of the Fabian, 1906
  • The Future in America, 1906
  • Reconstruction of the Fabian Society, 1906
  • Will Socialism Destroy the Home?, 1907
  • This Misery of Boots, 1907
  • The So-Called Science of Sociology, 1907
  • Tono-Bungay, 1908
  • The War in the Air, 1908
    - Ilmasota: tulevaisuuden kuvaus (suom. Toivo Wallenius, 1910)
  • First and Last Things, 1908
  • New Worlds for Old: A Plain Account of Modern Socialism, 1908
    - Uusia maailmoita vanhojen sijaan (suom. J. Hollo, 1925)
  • Ann Veronica: A Modern Love Story, 1909
  • The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, 1909
  • The History of Mr Polly, 1910
    - films: 1948, prod. Two Cities Films, dir. by Anthony Pelissier, starring John Mills, Sally Ann Howes and Betty Ann Davies; TV series 1959, starring Emrys Jones, Mary Mackenzie and Daphne Anderson; TV mini-series 1980, starring Andrew Sachs, Anita Carey and John Clive; TV film 2007, dir.  Gillies MacKinnon, starring Lee Evans, Anne-Marie Duff and Julie Graham
  • The New Machiavelli, 1911
  • The H.G. Wells Calendar: A Quotation from the Works of H. G. Wells for Every Day in the Year, 1911 (selected by Rosamund Marriott Watson)
  • Floor Games, 1911 (with marginal drawings by J. R. Sinclair)
  • The Country of the Blind, 1911
  • The Door in the Wall, and Other Stories, 1911 (illustrated with photogravures from photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn)
  • Marriage, 1912
    - film 1927, dir. Roy William Neill, adaptation by Gertrude Orr, starring Virginia Valli, Allan Durant´ and Gladys McConnell
  • The Great State, 1912 (ed. with G.R.S. Taylor and Frances Evelyn Warwick)
  • Kipps, 1912 (play, with Rudolf Besier)
  • Great Thoughts From H. G. Wells, 1912
  • The Labour Unrest, 1912
  • Liberalism and Its Party, 1913
  • Little Wars. A Game for Boys, 1913
  • War and Common Sense, 1913
  • Thoughts from H.G. Wells, 1913 (selected by Elsie E. Morton)
  • The Passionate Friends, 1913
  • The Star, 1913 
  • The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman, 1914
  • The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind, 1914
  • An Englishman Looks at the World: Being a Series of Unrestrained Remarks upon Contemporary Matters, 1914
  • The War That Will End War, 1914
  • Boon, 1915
  • The Research Magnificent, 1915
  • Bealby: A Holiday, 1915
  • The War & Socialism, 1915
  • The Peace of the World, 1915
  • The Elements of Reconstruction, 1916 (as D.P.) 
  • What is Coming?: A Forecast of Things after the War, 1916
  • Mr Britling Sees It Through, 1916
    - Mr. Britling pääsee selvyyteen 1-2 (suom. 1918-19)
  • God the Invisible King, 1917
    - Kuninkaitten kuningas (suom. Eino Palola, 1926)
  • The Soul of a Bishop, 1917
  • Introduction to Nocturne, 1917
  • A Reasonable Man's Peace, 1917
  • War and the Future: Italy, France and Britain at War, 1917
  • British Nationalism and the League of Nationa, 1918
  • In the Fourth Year, 1918
  • Joan and Peter: The Story of an Education, 1918
  • The Undying Fire, 1919
    - Ikuinen liekki: Jobin kirjaan perustuva romaani (suom. Susanna Hirvikorpi, 1999)
  • History Is One, 1919
  • The Idea of a League of Nations, 1919 (with others)
  • The Way to the League of Nations, 1919 (with others)
  • The Outline of History, 1920 (rev. ed., 1931; see also Raymond Postgate)
    - Historian ääriviivat: kansantajuinen esitys elämän ja ihmiskunnan historiasta (suom. 1923-24)
  • Frank Swinnerton, 1920 (with Arnold Bennett, Grant Overton)
  • Russia in the Shadows, 1920
  • The New Teaching of History, 1921
  • The Salvaging of Civilization, 1921
  • The Wonderful Visit, 1921 (play, with St. John Ervine)
  • The Secret Places of the Heart, 1922
  • A Short History of the World, 1922
  • Washington and the Hope of Peace, 1922 (US title: Washington and the Riddle of Peace, 1922) 
  • The World, Its Debts, and the Rich Men: A Speech, 1922
  • Socialism and the Scientific Motive, 1923
  • Thirty-One Stories by Thierty and One Authors, 1923 (contributor)
  • Men Like Gods, 1923
  • Tales of the Unexpected, 1922-23
  • The Dream, 1924
    - Uni (suom. Väinö Nyman, 1926)
  • The P.R. Parliament, 1924
  • The Story of a Great Schoolmaster: Being a Plain Account of the Life and Ideas of Sanderson of Oundle, 1924
  • The Works of H.G. Wells. Atlantic Edition, 1924-27 (28 vols., New York, Charles Scribner's sons)
  • A Year of Prophesying, 1924
  • A Forecast of the World's Affair, 1925
  • A Short History of Mankind, 1925 (adapted and edited for school use from the author's "Short History of the World" by E. H. Carter)
  • Christina Alberta's Father, 1925
  • The World of William Clissold: A Novel at a New Angle, 1926
  • Mr. Belloc Objects to "The Outline of History", 1926
  • Works, 1926-27 (24 vols., The Essex Thin-Paper Edition; London, Benn)
  • In Memory of Amy Catherine Wells (Jane Wells), 1927
  • Wells' Social Anticipations, 1927 (edited by Harry W. Laidler) 
  • Meanwhile: The Picture of a Lady, 1927
  • Democracy under Revision, 1927 (a lecture delivered at the Sorbonne)
  • The Short Stories of H.G. Wells, 1927
  • Mr. Blettsworthy on Rampole Island, 1928
  • Quartette of Comedies, 1928
  • H.G. Wells Comedies, 1928 (plays, with Frank Wells)
  • The Open Conspiracy, 1928 (rev. ed., The Open Conspiracy: A Second Version of This Faith of a Modern Man Made More Explcit and Plain, 1930; as What Are We To Do with Our Lives?, 1931)
  • The Way the World is Going, Guesses & Forecasts of the Year-Ahead 1928
  • The Book of Catherine Wells, 1928 
  • The Common Sense of World Peace, 1929 (an address delivered in the Reichstag)
  • Imperialism and the Open Conspiracy, 1929
  • The King Who Was a King, an Unconventional Novel, 1929
  • The Adventures of Tommy, 1929 (illustrated in colours by the author) 
  • The Science of Life, 1929-30 (Julian S. Huxley, G. P. Wells)
    - Elämän ihmeet 1-4 (suom. Aarno Jalas, 1936-39)
  • The Autocracy of Mr Parham, 1930
  • Divorce as I See It, 1930 (with others)
  • Points of View, 1930 (with others)
  • The Problem of the Troublesome Collaborator, 1930
  • Settlement of the Trouble Between Mr. Thring and Mr. Wells: A Footnote to The Problem of the Troublesome Collaborator, 1930
  • The Way to World Peace, 1930
  • The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind, 1931
  • The Stolen Body, and Other Tales of the Unexpected, 1931
  • The New Russia, 1931
  • What Are We to Do with Our Lives?, 1931
  • Selections From the Early Prose Works of H. G. Wells, 1931
  • The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind, 1931-32
  • What Should Be Done -- Now: A Memorandum on the World Situation, 1932
  • The Bulpington of Blup, 1932
  • After Democracy: Addresses and Papers on the Present World Situation, 1932
  • Evolution, Fact and Theory, 1932 (by H.G. Wells, Julian S. Huxley and G.P. Wells)
  • Reproduction, Genetics and the Development of Sex, 1932 (by H. G. Wells, Julian S. Huxley and G. P. Wells
  • The Human Mind and the Behaviour of Man, 1932 (by H.G. Wells, Julian S. Huxley, and G.P. Wells
  • The Scientific Romances of H.G. Wells, 1933 (with an introduction by the author)
  • The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution, 1933
  • Experiment in Autobiography, 1934 (2 vols.) 
  • Stalin-Wells Talk. The Verbatim Record and a Discussion by G. Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, J. M. Keynes, Ernst Toller and Others, 1934
  • The New America, the New World, 1935
  • Things to Come, a Film, by H.G. Wells; a New Story Based on the Material Contained in Book The Shape of Things to Come, 1935
    - films: The Shape of Things to Come, 1936, directed by William Cameron Menzies, adapted by H.G. Wells, starring Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman and Ralph Richardson. "The book, unlike the film, does not end on a note of risk taking and space exploration; it is more interested in establishing the importance of the confluence of wills over the importance of individuals." (from Novels into Film by John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh, 1999); The Shape of Things to Come, 1979, dir.  George McCowan, starring Jack Palance, Carol Lynley and Barry Morse
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles; A Film Story, 1936
  • The Idea of a World Encylopædia, 1936 (a lecture delivered at the Royal institution)
  • The Anatomy of Frustration, 1936
  • The Croquet Player, 1937
  • Brynhild; or, The Show of Things, 1937
  • The Camford Visitation, 1937
  • Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia, 1937
  • The Favorite Short Stories of H.G. Wells, 1937
  • World Brain, 1938
  • Apropos of Dolores, 1938
  • The Brothers, 1938
  • The Holy Terror, 1939
  • The Fate of Homo Sapiens, 1939
  • Travels of a Republican Radical in Search of Hot Water, 1939
  • All Aboard for Ararat, 1940
  • Babes in the Darkling Wood, 1940
  • Two Hemispheres of One World?, 1940
  • Short Stories by H.G. Wells, 1940
  • The Common Sense of War and Peace: World Revolution or War Undending, 1940
  • H.G. Wells, S. De Madariaga, J. Middleton Murray, C.E.M. Joad on the New World Order, 1940
  • The New World Order: whether It Is Attainable, How It Can Be Attained, and What Sort of World a World at Peace Will Have to Be, 1940
  • The Rights of Man, 1940
  • You Can't Be Too Careful: A Sample of Life 1901-1951, 1941
  • Guide to the New World: A Handbook of Constructive World Revolution, 1941
  • The Pocket History of the World, 1941
  • The Conquest of Time, 1942
  • Modern Russian and English Revolutionaries, 1942
  • The Outlook for Homo Sapiens: An Unemotional Statement of the Things That Are Happening to Him Now, and of the Immediate Possibilities Confronting Him, 1942
  • Phoenix: A Summary of the Inescapable Conditions of World Reorganization, 1942
  • Science and the World-Mind, 1942
  • A Thesis on the Quality of Illusion, 1942
  • The Empire of the Ants, 1943
  • The Inexperience Ghost, 1943
  • The Land Ironclads, 1943
  • The New Accelerator, 1943
  • The Truth About Pyecraft and Other Short Stories, 1943
  • Crux Ansata: An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church, 1943
  • The Mosley Outrage, 1943
  • The Illusion of Personality, 1944
  • '42 to '44: A Contemporary Memoir upon Human Behavior during the Crisis of the World Revolution, 1944
  • Reshaping Man's Heritage, 1944 (with J.S. Huxley and J.B.S. Haldane)
  • Mind at the End of its Tether, 1945
  • The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life, 1945
  • Marxism vs Liberalism, an Interview [between] Joseph Stalin [and] H.G. Wells, 1945
  • 28 Science Fiction Stories, 1952
  • The Desert Daisy, 1957 (with an introduction by Gordon N. Ray)
  • The H.G. Wells Papers at the University of Illinois, 1958 (ed. by Gordon N. Ray)
  • Selected Short Stories, 1958 (16th printing) 
  • Henry James and H.G. Wells, Record of Their Friendship, Their Debate on the Art of Fiction, and Their Quarrel, 1958 (edited with an introd. by Leon Edel & Gordon N. Ray)
  • Arnold Bennet and H.G. Wells, a Record of a Personal and a Literary Friendship1960 (edited with an introd. by Harris Wilson)
  • George Gissing and H.G. Wells, Their Friendship and Correspondence, 1961 (edited with an introd. by Royal A. Gettmann)
  • Journalism and Prophecy 1893-1946: An Anthology, 1966 (compiled and edited by W. Warren Wagar)
  • Hoopdriver's Holiday, 1964 (play, adaptation of the novel The Wheels of Change; edited with notes and introd. by Michael Timko)
  • The Inexperienced Ghost and None Other Stories, 1965 (selected and with an introduction by Hart Day Leavitt)
  • The Best Science Fiction Stories of H.G. Wells, 1966
  • The Last Books of H. G. Wells, 1968 (edited with an introduction and appendix by G. P. Wells)
  • The Wealth of Mr. Waddy: A Novel, 1969 (eited, with an introd. by Harris Wilson; pref. by Harry T. Moore)
  • H.G. Wells: Early Writings in Science and Science Fiction, 1975 (edited, with critical commentary and notes, by Robert M. Philmus and David Y. Hughes)
  • The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H.G. Wells, 1978 (with a preface by the author)
  • H.G. Wells's Literary Criticism, 1980 (edited by Patrick Parrinder & Robert Philmus) 
  • H.G. Wells in Love: Postscript to An Experiment in Autobiography, 1984 (edited G.P. Wells) 
  • The Man with a Nose, and Other Uncollected Short Stories of H.G. Wells, 1984 (edited and with an introduction by J.R. Hammond)
  • The Complete Short Stories of H.G. Wells, 1987
  • Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells, 1995 (edited by J. Percy Smith)
  • The Correspondence of H.G. Wells, 1996 (4 vols., edited by David Clayton Smith)
  • "The Country of the Blind" and Other Science-Fiction Stories, 1997 (edited by Martin Gardner)
  • The Open Conspiracy: H.G. Wells on World Revolution, 2002 (edited and with a critical introduction by W. Warren Wagar)
  • The H.G. Wells Reader: A Complete Anthology from Science Fiction to Social Satire, 2003 (edited by John Huntington)
  • Selected Stories of H.G. Wells, 2004 (edited and with an introduction by Ursula K. Le Guin)
  • Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia, 2006 (edited by John Huntington)
  • Things to Come: A Critical Text of the 1935 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices, 2007 (edited by Leon Stover)


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