There have been many greats in the world of literature and in this blog, we look at an Englishman who was once given the title of “the Father of Science Fiction”. This affectionate name was extremely apt, as H.G. Wells was a prolific writer in the genre and was responsible for a number of major works in the late 19th and early 20th century – a few of which have since gone on to be made into blockbuster movies. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, get your light sabre at the ready and take a look at our top 10 novels from HG Wells.
The Time Machine is an amazing tale of a great scientist who constructs a device that allows him to move through the fabric of time itself. His journey eventually takes him several hundred thousand years into the future where he discovers that the human race has evolved out of all recognition into two distinctly different species: The peaceful vegetarian Eloi race and the savage carnivore Morlocks. Where his journey from there goes is something you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Published in 1896, The Island of Dr Moreau is an intriguing and thought-provoking novel that sees Edward Prendrick find his way onto a mysterious island after being shipwrecked. It soon becomes clear that the man occupying the island – one Dr Moreau – is engaging in some very questionable genetic experiments involving human/animal splicing. These resultant freakish hybrids are macabre, of that, there is no doubt, however, it’s the ethical nature of his experiments that take centre stage in this truly unique masterpiece. This one is well worth a read.
Perhaps the most notable work penned by HG Wells is War of the Worlds, which sees Victorian Britain invaded by beings from Mars. Housed in large metal machines, these aliens cut a swathe through human defences and wrestle control of the earth from our hands. As hope for humanity seems to be disappearing for good, salvation comes from an unexpected source. This tale has been made into two major movies and a musical and is well worth its place on our list.
Long before men actually made to the surface of the moon, H.G.Wells was concocting science fiction stories of how two men journey there thanks to a newly invented material that defies gravity. The two men – Dr Cavor (the inventor) and Mr Bedford (a penniless businessman) – use the material to go to the moon and are surprised by the harsh environment they find when they arrive. Will they survive? Will they ever make it back home? You know just what to do to find out.
H.G.Wells was very interested in the subject of genetic engineering, as can be seen in another of his books that focus on the topic – The Food of the Gods. In an attempt to create an agent that makes giant food for the purposes of feeding humanity, scientists accidentally give birth to an uncontrollable element that turns usually tiny animals like chickens, insects and rats into marauding giant monsters. Where does this ethics-meets-genetic mutation tale lead? You’ll have a magical time finding out.
Our next novel sees Wells wrestle with the subject of politics as “The World Set Free” examines a future world peace that’s attained through a violent and bloody revolution. The story tackles the weighty issue of social reform, asking the question of whether a path to peace involving so much suffering and destruction is morally right or justified. This book is one of the most thought-provoking and cerebral from H.G.Wells and you might want to put a day aside to read it, but it’s one you won’t certainly won’t want to put down.
The Invisible Man is one of the most famous science fiction books of all time. Unlike his previous novels, Wells wrote this from a third person’s point of view. It tells the story of a scientist, Griffin, who creates a serum to make himself invisible. He is however unable to reverse the effect, and the inevitable violence ensues. He tries to take advantage of all he can while invisible, acting above the law as his life descends further into chaos. The super power that so many would wish for causes Griffin so much grief and total misery for all those around him. A memorable read with an iconic character from the horror fiction genre!
In a return to the science fiction sphere, The Sleeper Awakes is a great story of a chronic insomniac who suddenly and unexpectedly falls asleep and then doesn’t awake for two centuries. If that were not enough to contend with, he wakes to find that he’s the richest man in the world and his fortune is being used by the ruling elite to subjugate the rest of the human race. The enslaved have one thing in common in this tale – a shared belief that when he awakes, he will set them free. Talk about getting up on the wrong side of the bed!
H.G.Wells was always a writer with a penchant for utopian and dystopian stories, which features again in Men Like Gods, which was published in 1922. In this novel, a group of people who accidentally find themselves transported to a parallel world actually named ‘Utopia’. In this world, the working class have vanished and society is radically different, as well as being very advanced and living up to its name.
Their arrival sparks fears amongst Utopia’s population that they might be a threat to their seemingly idyllic society and all of a sudden this world does not seem quite so perfect anymore. A brilliant read and one you simply have to include in your H.G.Wells bucket list.
The last book on our list is The Country of the Blind which follows the tale of Nunez, who only sees through one of his eyes. However, he finds himself in a remote, cut-off village in the Andes mountains where every inhabitant is blind, possessing no concept of sight. As the old adage goes “In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is King” and the power that person could wield in this scenario could certainly prove tempting. Read this book and you’ll find out whether Nunez stays true to himself or lets temptation get the better of him.
So, there you have it. Ten of the very best from the pen of H.G.Wells. For fans of science fiction, this list is a veritable compendium of brilliant reads and we hope you have a wonderful time working your way through it.
Thanks for reading our blog. We’ll be back again soon with ten of the best from another of the greats of the literary world.
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