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Herbert George "H.G." Wells

Herbert George Wells — known as H. G. Wells — was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games.

Birth of a science fiction writer 

H.G. Wells was an English writer who lived from the years 1866-1946. He is best known today as a science fiction writer. 

Wells generally exhibited a concern for social welfare and justice, which shows up over the course of his works. This has led some to make an analogy between him and his fellow Englishman Charles Dickens

In his lifetime, Wells also produced several works of nonfiction that lay out several aspects of his general worldview. For whatever reason, though, these works have be remembered less than his science fiction works. 

The Time Machine, War of the Worlds and more works by H.G. Wells

Some of the most well-known works of Wells include The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and the War of the Worlds, which became a sensational radio broadcast in 1938.

These are all classic works of science fiction, and they were all produced at a time when the entire genre of science fiction itself was only in its genesis phase. Works such as these have led to Wells being hailed by critics as one of the founding fathers of the genre.

Wells also wrote works of nonfiction, including The Future of America and God the Invisible King, in which he attempted to develop and express his views regarding a broad range of social and ideological issues. 

Adding social and political concerns to literature

Wells' writing style is strongly driven by ideas, and his stories cannot be easily understood any other way than as a reflect of the author's ideological convictions. 

For example, Wells was a socialist. And in his work The Time Machine, Wells portrays an underground working class that has essentially evolved into its own species as a result of long-term seclusion and oppression. This surely hearkens back to the Marxist tradition of critique against capitalism

Likewise, several of Wells' other works can also understood as warnings of what would happen if certain dark trends within his contemporary society were to continue unchecked. 

H.G. Wells - Awards and Distinctions

Wells was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. This is intriguing if one bears in mind that after his time, the science fiction genre as a whole tended to branch away from the main path of what was considered serious world literature: the genre, for example, developed its own set of awards and credentials (such as the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award) and tended to become its own community and subculture.  

In this context, it could be suggested that Wells was working at a particular juncture within literary history at which the demarcation of science fiction as an independent genre had not yet been made, and works of science fiction were thus considered as seriously by the literary community as any other form of literature. 

In any event, although Wells is best known as a science fiction writer, he also made some attempts to explore the world through the nonfiction form. For example, in his work God the Invisible King, Wells tries to systematically develop a contrast between God-as-Nature (developed most thoroughly by the philosopher Spinoza) and God-the-King (developed most thoroughly within the Christian Gospel). 

However, it would seem that in general, Wells did not pursue his themes in this direction with adequate lucidity, with the result that many readers find his points to be jumbled and/or simplistic. There is thus probably some justice in the fact that his claim to fame rests on his works within the domain of science fiction. 

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