Happy Birthday, H. G. Wells!

Happy B-day HG Wells

Happy Birthday to H.G. Wells, one of the undisputed giants of science fiction (actually “scientific romance” to be more accurate.*) Among his many stories were: “War of the Worlds” (1898), “The Island of Doctor Moreau” (1896), “The Invisible Man” (1897), “Things to Come” (1935), and of course, “The Time Machine” (1895). He was a Utopianist and wrote on the subject often.

The image here is NOT of Wells himself, but Malcolm McDowell playing Wells in the 1979 movie, “Time After Time.” (It’s one of my favorites and McDowell is just adorable in it.) There is often some confusion about the actual novel, “The Time Machine,” that it is Wells himself who builds the device and travels into the future. It is not. While his hero is a scientist and adventurer, he is not H.G. Wells. (Although, as the story is told in the first person, the superficial confusion is unsurprising.) In the movie, “Time After Time,” the conceit is that by building a time machine and traveling into the future, Wells is inspired to write his famous novel. Interestingly, he does marry a woman named Amy Catherine Robbins in a second marriage, and this gives the movie another “meta-gem” of authenticity.

*The term “scientific romance” was popularized by Wells. One of his early tales, ”The Chronic Argonauts” (1888) has the honor of being the first British story featuring an inventor who builds a time machine. The term science fiction (originally, “scientifiction”) does not appear until 1926 when Hugo Gernsback creates “Amazing Stories” magazine.

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