Did You Know?

Since my blogs posts have become more free form compared to what I started with, and the change feels more-or-less okay, I thought of working on a new series on Wednesdays.

Lately, I’ve been re-reading the books that I’ve loved growing up. I know they made me into the person that I am today. In a way, it’s been getting back in touch with that younger, more impressionable me. The experiment has been fun so far and illuminating as well. Have you noticed that as we grow up and change, our reading style and what we take away from books changes also? What stood out most for me when I read The Time Machine for the first time isn’t what touches me most now.

Anyhow, that’s not a point I want to further. I also realized that back in the day when I read these books, the days sans internet, I knew very little about the author other than what was written on the back flap. Now, Google tells me surprising facts about the people behind the stories, sometimes making them even more larger than life and at others, humanizing them with their regular-human-like faults. I enjoyed finding out more. No wonder reality shows are such a hit with our generation. I thought of compiling a few facts (some well-known, some not) about some of my much-revered authors.

Starting today with H. G. Wells.

PC:Wikimedia Commons

Herbert George Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England on September 21, 1866. In his childhood, Wells did received spotty education at best. He became a draper’s apprentice for some time but fought hard to earn a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley (famous for his support of Darwin’s evolution theories and for helping them gain wider acceptance through his debates) at the Normal School of Science. He lost that scholarship later though and went through financial hardship once again. He started writing to supplement his income.

  • Wells is known some­times as “the Father of Futur­ism” but more widely as “the Father of Sci­ence Fic­tion.”
  • His first novel, The Time Machine (1895) was an instant suc­cess, an “overnight lit­er­ary sensation”.
  • Wells was a prolific writer, publishing nonfiction books, novels, essay collections and short stories with astounding frequency. In his 50-year writing career, he published more than 50 novels, more than 70 works of nonfiction and hundreds of articles. At one point he aver­aged three books a year. He pub­lished the The Island of Doc­tor Moreau in 1896,The Invis­i­ble Man in 1897 and The War of the Worlds in 1898.
  • Wells was a socialist and his views are clearly captured in one of his most successful books, The Outline of History (1920), an encyclopaedic collection of articles about the world from pre-history to the First World War. This book was also made famous when a Canadian teacher named Florence Deeks sued Wells for copyright infringement and breach of trust, arguing that Wells had plagiarized from a history book one of her manuscripts.
  • Wells pub­lished a non-fiction book of his future forecasts named Antic­i­pa­tions (1901) in which he predicted eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, rise of cities and sub­urbs as well as some astoundingly accu­rate pre­dic­tions of mil­i­tary conflicts.
  • Wells had what would be called an open marriage now–with the permission of his wife, he had other affairs as well as children outside of his marriage.

H.G. Wells was a staunch believer of Darwinism and social equality. Those themes clearly show in his fiction, as in The Time Machine. He was also a firm believer in free speech and free thought. He worked for the establishment of the League of Nations during the First Word War. Later, during the Second World War, he helped lay the groundwork for the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

How many of these facts did you already know? Did I miss something interesting that you want to add? I’d LOVE to hear from you.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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