Quotes by H. G. Wells
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.
The catastrophe of the atomic bombs which shook men out of cities and businesses and economic relations, shook them also out of their old-established habits of thought, and out of the lightly held beliefs and prejudices that came down to them from the past.
Heresies are experiments in man's unsatisfied search for truth.
And in the air are no streets, no channels, no point where one can say of an antagonist, "If he wants to reach my capital he must come by here." In the air all directions lead everywhere.
Kipps was unprepared for the unpleasant truth; that the path of social advancement is and must be strewn with broken friendships.
In England we have come to rely upon a comfortable time lag of fifty years or a century intervening between the perception that something ought to be done and a serious attempt to do it.
A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
Mankind which began in a cave and behind a windbreak will end in the disease-soaked ruins of a slum.
When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine.
I was never a great amorist, though I have loved several people very deeply.
The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is or has been is but the twilight of the dawn.
Cynicism is humour in ill health.
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature's inexorable imperative.
There comes a moment in the day when you have written your pages in the morning, attended to your correspondence in the afternoon, and have nothing further to do. Then comes that hour when you are bored; that's the time for sex.
"We were making the future," he said, "and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making. And here it is!"
If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.
He was inordinately proud of England, and he abused her incessantly.
Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
I had rather be called a journalist than an artist.
The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf. It's almost a law.
Since the passing of Victoria the Great there had been an accumulating uneasiness in the national life. It was as if some compact and dignified paper-weight had been lifted from people's ideas, and as if at once they had begun to blow about anyhow.
The third peculiarity of aerial warfare was that it was at once enormously destructive and entirely indecisive.
There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.
The crisis of yesterday is the joke of to-morrow.
The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive "policies" and "Plans" of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word "socialism", but what else can one call it?
Humanity either makes, or breeds, or tolerates all its afflictions, great or small.
An artist who theorizes about his work is no longer artist but critic.
Great and little cannot understand one another. But in every child born of man, Father Redwood, lurks some seed of greatness waiting for the Food.
They may fight against greatness in us who are the children of men, but can they conquer? Even if they should destroy us every one, what then? Would it save them? No! For greatness is abroad, not only in us, not only in the Food, but in the purpose of all things! It is in the nature of all things, it is part of space and time. To grow and still to grow, from first to last that is Being, that is the law of life. What other law can there be?
H. G. Wells's Biography
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.

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 was a shopkeeper and a professional cricketer until he broke his leg. 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. He 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, not taking his B.S. degree until 1890. Next year he settled in London, married his cousin Isabel and continued his career as a teacher in a correspondence college. Wells left Isabel for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895. Their first son, George Philip, was born in 1901.

From 1893 Wells devoted himself entirely to writing. 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 - 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 Prendick. He travels with a biologist to a remote island, which is controlled by Dr. Moreau. In his laboratory he experiments with animals, and has created Beast People. Moreau is killed by Puma-Woman. 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. 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 1953 reflected Cold War attitudes. 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' (1887), 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.

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 in London. It 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.'' 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, Maxim Gorky's former mistress, refused to marry him or even be faithful.

After WW I Wells published several non-fiction works, among them THE OUTLINE OF HISTORY (1920), THE SCIENCE OF LIFE (1929-39), written in collaboration with Sir Julian Huxley and George Philip Wells, and EXPERIMENT IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1934). 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. Wells 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)

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. In the early 1920s Wells was a labour candidate for Parliament. Between the years 1924 and 1933 Wells lived mainly in France. From 1934 to 1946 he was the International president of PEN. In 1934 he had discussions with both Stalin, who left him disillusioned, and Roosevelt, trying to recruit them without success to his world-saving schemes. Wells was convinced that Western socialists cannot compromise with Communism, and that the best hope for the future lay in Washington. 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, appeared 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.

Wells lived through World War II in his house on Regent's Park, refusing to let the blitz drive him out of London. 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.


Some rights reserved Petri Liukkonen (author) & Ari Pesonen. Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto 2008


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