Utopian Society Thinkers Herbert George Wells Part 1

About the famous utopian thinker Herbert George Wells and history of his planned utopia.




H. G. Wells was called "the man who invented tomorrow," a title he richly deserved. In his books, he foresaw thruways, tanks ("big, fat pedrail machines," he called them), a world monetary system, and a "world brain" (long before Wendell Willkie's "one world").

A child of the lower middle class, he was the son of a professional cricketeer and a lady's maid. His mother, who in her later years dressed in black silk like Queen Victoria, valued nothing more than respectability, and she saw a great future for her son as a respectable draper. There was nothing Bertie wanted less, and with stubbornness, histrionics, and brains, he succeeded in educating himself beyond it.

At the Normal School of Science, which he attended on a scholarship, he studied under Prof. T. H. Huxley, the biologist, who, though aging and ill, affected Wells profoundly. Wells could have made a great biologist. H. L. Mencken said of him, "He has made three separate careers. He began as a biologist, switched to journalism, and then to literature, and finally set up shop as a prophet. My guess is that he'd have been a happier fellow, and much more useful to his nation and his time, if he had stuck by his first choice."

By the age of 19, Wells was already writing science fiction. One of his early stories described what might happen if a device for perpetual motion took over the London subway.

As a young man, he was romantic and intense, blond and stocky with a drooping mustache, a massive head, and pale blue eyes under tufted eyebrows. His intensity overwhelmed his cousin Isabel, whom he married in 1891. Four years later, they were divorced, and he remarried. His new wife was a "new woman," a somewhat liberated female named Amy Catherine Robbins. She didn't satisfy him for long, and for the rest of his life he indulged in a series of affairs, mostly with other liberated women, among them Rebecca West, by whom he had a child, Anthony.

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