He was born in Kent, England, on September 21, 1866.
        He died in London on August 13, 1946.
What was Wells' childhood like?
        His parents, who had both been domestic servants, ran a
small crockery shop.  They lived in the same building and Wells
would play with the bits and remains of crockery in the back
yard.  This family had but recently been servants, so there was
not much time for "idle imagination."  But Wells seemed to be
always imagining far-off times and places and this was noted by
parents and friends.  He made castles and forts and little cities 
of Mars out of the shards and things he found in the rubbish behind
his parents' shop.  He read everything he could find. Reading
took the boy out of the daily grind and gave him a window beyond
the world of his small possibilities.
What were Wells' prospects?
        In H.G. Wells' day, people of his income level and social 
standing were almost never able to attend college.  But Wells was so adept 
at his studies that he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science 
in Kensington in 1884. Normal Schools were teacher training colleges, not 
elite colleges, such as Oxford.  He studied there with honors for one year
under the science historian Thomas Henry Huxley.  But something happened 
to Wells. His enthusiasm left him.  He left Kensington without a degree.
What did this break cause?
        Whatever happened to H. G. Wells to cause him to leave the Normal
School for science teachers also unlocked his desire to write.  And writing
meant for someone like Wells, who had felt as stifled as Wells, to have
a voice and to become some kind of agent in his own life.  He wrote an
amazing article for _The Fortnightly Review_ called "The Rediscovery of
the Unique."  It must have referred to reawakening a sense of wonder,
because Wells' first book was _The Time Machine_.  
What did Wells wonder about in _The Time Machine_?
        Wells had been subjected to the cruel class prejudices of his
day.  He saw what we would call a glass ceiling being placed over his
hopes and dreams, regardless of his level of talent.
       By creating two sub-species of the future and calling them the 
Eloi and the Morlocks, Wells found a voice for his feelings about the
extent of the unadmitted prejudice in England and what this was doing to
people.  He did not romanticize either the upper classes, the Eloi, or
the lower classes, the Morlocks.  He simply showed them slowly moving
away from each other and becoming two ENTIRELY different species.  There
is a sadness about all this.  Though Wells doesn't preach, there is a
sadness in the story. 
Why did Hollywood change Wells'vision?
        Sometime rent the video of the 1960 film, _The Time Machine_,
starring Rod Taylor, and you will be surprised to see that the whole 
far future sequence has been removed.  This changes the meaning of the
story.  You are invited to imagine how.
How was Wells regarded?
        Wells' name is a household word today in many countries and we 
still know the phrase "time machine" even if we haven't read the
book nor seen the film.
        But Wells was not popular with the fashionable modern writers
of his day.  Modern writers were not questioning things as basic as Wells
was, or at least they didn't recognize what he was doing.  Modernist
writers were experimenting with style and getting into individual
consciousness.  They used elaborate, lengthy sentences, allusions,
metaphors, symbolism.  Wells wrote in a simple style, a style much more
like journalism.  He made his style clear and easy to understand, unlike
the modernist writers.  So, the modernist writers dismissed Wells as
an "old-fashioned realist" with nothing important to say.  You 
can read Virginia Woolf's review of _The Time Machine_ to see how one of 
the more upper-class modernist writers responded to Wells' style and 
        Interestingly, our President Theodore Roosevelt read _The Time
Machine_ and was saddened by the inexorable cruelty of class prejudice
and how the tale spun into a future of lack of sharing and caring. But
he felt that people had agency (which is probably what Wells also felt
or why bother writing) and that we all needed to TRY!  You can read
the meeting that H. G. Wells had in the Rose Garden with President
Theodore Roosevelt.  (Can you imagine any current presidents being
able to discuss literature? -Just a thought.)
What do we do as a reader with all this?
        The web here is a very interactive medium.  This form of text
encourages the reader to "actively construct" the text as a reading.
        Do you agree with Wells' vision of the future?
        Disagree with Wells' vision of the future?
        You might go beyond merely agreeing and disagreeing to think
of what background issues you may have to cause you to agree and to


        Think of how each time--our own time as well--can make us feel
that we have no influence, even in our own lives. We're not in precisely
the position of H. G. wells, but we also can look for little ways to
express our thoughts about our own lives.  Or even take a wider view
of things. First of all for Wells, there was the box of time.  We today
live longer than in Wells' day: 80, 90, or even 100 years.  But that is
just a moment in the river of time. Wells sensed this box first.
        Beyond the physical boundary of our Time Box, you might try to
think or where you feel cut off, submerged, unable to express your 
hopes or aspirations.  How can you get out of "the box?"

 My thoughts on Wells' Box

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