H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells – Retouched from original at Wikipedia

H. G. Wells (Herbert George, 1866-1946) was a British author born in Bromley, Kent. After teaching at a Grammar School, Wells studied biology and taught at the Universal Tutorial College.

During this time he wrote short stories and dabbled in liberal-progressive politics. His short stories gained popular acclaim. So he decided to pursue a full-time writing career that, altogether, reaped over 100 books and articles.

Wells is seen by many as the father of modern science fiction, a title also given to Jules Verne. He authored several sci-fi classics, such as The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), Men Like Gods (1923) and The Shape of Things to Come (1933).

Wells enjoyed immense popularity during his lifetime, although this began to diminish somewhat during his final years, a time when he became increasingly critical of Catholicism.

English: First edition (in London by Heinemann...
First edition (in London by Heinemann in 1896) cover of The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Concerning religion as a whole, in a letter to his lover and intellectual sparring partner, Rebecca West, he wrote:

I can’t – in my present state anyhow – bank on religion. God has no thighs and no life. When one calls to him in the silence of the night he doesn’t turn over and say, ‘What is the trouble, Dear?’¹

But Wells also had something of a mystical side:

At times, in the lonely silence of the night and in rare, lonely moments, I come upon a sort of communion of myself with something great that is not myself.²

If anything, it seems that he didn’t connect with Christianity or, for that matter, organized religion but realized that some people could.

Of Christianity he has this to say: “… it is not now true for me … Every believing Christian is, I am sure, my spiritual brother … but if systemically I called myself a Christian I feel that to most men I should imply too much and so tell a lie.” Of other world religions he writes: “All these religions are true for me as Canterbury Cathedral is a true thing and as a Swiss chalet is a true thing. There they are, and they have served a purpose, they have worked. Only they are not true for me to live in them … They do not work for me.”³

English: Alien tripod illustration by Alvim Co...
Alien tripod illustration by Alvim Corréa, from the 1906 French edition of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among many other successful comedic and dramatic works, Wells also penned a two-volume Outline of History (1920), which is hardly surprising since he was interested in the idea of time travel.

¹ http://www.libidomag.com/nakedbrunch/archive/sexbiowells.html This link is great for more info on Wells’ many romantic affairs, and his views on the liberation of women and birth control.

² http://ext.sagepub.com/cgi/pdf_extract/103/2/45

³ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells Wells’ views about organized religion remind me a bit of David Bowie. Both men are incredibly talented at their far-out endeavors, yet ironically, seem to actually know very little about the spiritual life. It seems some of us are inspired to create bona fide works of genius, but in the process, don’t really gain any kind of advanced knowledge about God and God’s workings.

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