|Herbert George "H. G." Wells |
(21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946)
Wells's earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of "Journalist."Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole.
Wells's literary reputation declined as he spent his later years promoting causes that were rejected by most of his contemporaries. G. K. Chesterton quipped: "Mr. Wells is a born storyteller who has sold his birthright for a pot of message."
Wells was a diabetic,[and a co-founder in 1934 of what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people living with diabetes in the UK.
On 28 October 1940, on the KTSA radio station in San Antonio, Texas, Wells took part in a radio interview with Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed an infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds. During the interview, by Charles C Shaw, a KTSA radio host, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his "more obscure" titles.
Wells died of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946 at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London, aged 79. Some reports also say he died of a heart attack at the flat of a friend in London. In his preface to the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: "I told you so. You damned fools." He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea.