H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells ( or “H. G.” Wells as most know him) is considered to be one of the creators of science fiction. He is famous for his popular novels such as The War of the Worlds (1898), The Time Machine (1895), and The Invisible Man (1897).
Writing at the turn of the nineteenth century, the British author was among the first to write novels about invasions from outer space, time travel, invisibility, and bio engineering. Many science fiction movies we watch today contain concepts he was the first to describe in fiction.
H.G. Wells earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. He wrote over 100 fiction and nonfiction books in his lifetime, including the Outline of History. He was a socialist, a feminist, and was antiwar, and his works are filled with social commentary.
Quite by accident I stumbled onto an article about Peter Cushing, who plays General Tarkin in Star Wars. The article mentions that Cushing was avidly into miniature wargaming, and used the Little Wars rule set by H. G. Wells. I had no idea that H. G. Wells wrote a set of rules for a war strategy game, rules that are still used by hobbyists today. One could say that Wells was was at the forefront of developing a predecessor to Dungeon and Dragons.
The full title of Wells’ book is Little Wars: a game for boys from twelve years of age to one hundred and fifty and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books. The book was published in 1913 to share written “simple rules of movement, firing, and close combat” for toy soldier battles.
Women in Science
Well’s lengthy title for Little Wars was a jab at the fact that in Victorian times. many thought you had to be a particular age or gender to enjoy and learn certain things. Wells thought differently. He wrote six novels dealing with women’s rights including Ann Veronica (1909). Ann Veronica is about a 22 year old woman who wants to get a Bachelor of Science in Biology against her father’s wishes. She pursues the degree on her own, serves time in prison for participating in a suffragette demonstration, reconciles with her father, and continues her studies. The novel was considered scandalous at the time of publication.
Free audio and E-text copies of H.G. Wells books are available from Project Gutenberg .