#2 = Volume 1, Part 2 = Fall 1973
The Books and Principal Pamphlets of H.G. Wells: A
This essay deals with books and pamphlets as abstract units rather than
physical objects. The place of publication is noted only where necessary to
other purposes and then only as UK or US. The dates given are for first book or
pamphlet publication, except that in #71 the dates for first serial publication
are also given. For each book or pamphlet the length is given in the pages of
the Atlantic Edition (¶4) or in abstract pages ("ap") of the same
size. For detailed information on the various first editions, the reader is
respectfully referred to the two major bibliographies (¶¶1-2).
Wells began his book-publishing career in 1893 with Text-Book of Biology
and Honours Physiography. Although I have glanced at copies of these
books, I have not read them and so do not presume to include them in this
survey. Besides, it seems eminently fitting to begin the survey with The Time
Machine, which is now known to have been published before Select
Conversations (see ¶3). With exception allowed for any work appearing in
the Atlantic Edition, I have also excluded publications of certain types listed
in the major bibliographies (see ¶2).
The annotations are intended to be, not evaluative as to literary quality,
but factually descriptive as to content and reputation; that is, terms like
classic and notable are used to indicate, not just opinions that I happen
to share, but opinions that seem to be widespread. The length of each annotation
is determined not by the supposed importance of the work but by the amount of
detail necessary to indicate the interrelations between Wells's various books
and to suggest both the continuities and the changes in his thought.
In classifying the various works of fiction, I have counted as
those that deal with the prehistoric past as traditionally envisioned in
theology or mythology; with future time as leading to judgment day; with outer
space as envisioned in theological astrology; or with the traditional personae
of demonology and mythology: angels, devils, and the demons of the air, ghosts
and human souls waiting to be born, magicians and witches, mermaids and fairies,
etc. Counted as delusional fantasy are stories that center on a dream or
daydream, or a sleeping or waking nightmare, of the protagonist.
On the other hand I have counted as science fiction stories that deal
with imagined developments in applied science, including social science and the
psychic; with imagined biological species, imagined survivals in presumably
extinct species, or imagined mutations in existing species; with natural
catastrophes of a nature or scope unparalleled in history, though perhaps not in
myth; with the prehistoric past as reconstructed in paleontology; with the
fourth dimension as a short-cut through time or space or as a link between
parallel worlds; or with outer space as an extension of the material world
perhaps inhabited by beings with humanlike or even godlike powers but not
exclusively or primarily by traditional beings behaving in the traditional ways.
Also counted as SF are those stories in which apparently supernatural phenomena
are made subject to natural law, as in #7§6.
In both fantasy and SF we have stories of the unresolved type: those
in which narrator and reader are left in doubt as to whether the ghost was real
or merely a delusion, or the claimed invention or discovery merely a fraud.
For stories counted neither as fantasy nor as SF, I have used four terms: the
noun novel or the adjective mundane for those predominantly
concerned with the world of the here and now as empirically verified in our
daily lives; colonial romance for the adventures of Europeans or
Americans ("white men") among the natives of the far places of the
world; and ruritanian romance for stories laid in imaginary small
kingdoms of the white man's world.
Finally, I have used the term mundane in two paradoxical ways: in mundane
fantasy for stories that contain nothing of the supernatural or
science-fictional but are too dreamlike to be called realistic and too
reasonable to be called surrealistic; and in such phrases as mundane farce
on the wonders of science for stories centering on astonished, marveling,
or worshipful reactions to the actual achievements of modern science.
¶1. Geoffrey H. Wells. The Works of H. G. Wells 1887-1925: A Bibliography,
Dictionary, and Subject-Index. 1926.
¶2. The H. G. Wells Society. H. G. Wells: A Comprehensive Bibliography.
1966, 1968 (rev), 1972 (with index). To avoid duplication, certain CB items
have been merged with certain Survey items (e.g., The Red Room, CB
7, is listed here only as a story in #7): 7/#7, 13/#71, 32/#38, 34/#27, 42/#71,
44/#71, 46/#38, 48/#38, 66/#52, 89/#27, 92/#67, 98/#74, 99/#74, 106/#82,
108/#82, 111/#82, 114/#75, 118/#82, 126/*95, 146/#100, 149/#111. With exception
allowed for any work that appears in the Atlantic Edition, CB items of the
following kinds have been excluded altogether: early textbooks (1, 2), books or
pamphlets to which Wells was merely a contributor, and pamphlets printed for
private circulation, issued as advertising brochures, or of less than 32ap (29,
31, 45, 49, 70, 72, 73, 80, 82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 95, 112, 113, 153), and two
items which I have been unable to locate (143, 151) and which are listed in CB
without sufficient detail to tell me whether they would qualify or even to
persuade me that they have actually been examined by the editors of CB.
¶3.Bernard Bergonzi, "The Publication of The Time Machine,
1894-1895," in Thomas D. Clareson, ed., SF: The Other Side of Realism (1971),
pp204-15; reprinted from Review of English Studies 11(1960):42-51.
¶4. The Works of H. G. Wells. Atlantic Edition. 28 vols. Vols. 1-3,
1924; 4-14, 1925; 15-22, 1926; 23-28, 1927. Referred to below as Al, A2, etc.,
with the prefaces designated as §0. The promise made in the prospectus for AE,
that its contents would be newly revised, was kept only in a very desultory
fashion with respect to the fictions and familiar essays, where the revisions
(except for #43) are not substantive but merely stylistic in quite trivial ways.
#1. The Time Machine: An Invention. US 1895; UK 1895 (rev). A1 (116p;
rechaptered). SF. Evolution to the end of time: social, biologic, geologic,
solar. Forms with ## 5, 8, 10, 14 the group of five scientific romances that
have won virtually unanimous acclaim.
#2. Select Conversations with an Uncle (Now Extinct) and Two Other
Reminiscences. 1895 (74ap). 14 familiar essays in which provincial common sense
is pitted against the artistic and social fashions of the metropolis.
#3. The Wonderful Visit. 1895. Al (155p). The first book-length story in
which Wells uses the method that predominates in his short stories, "the
method of bringing some fantastically possible or impossible thing into a
commonplace group of people, and working out their reactions with the comple test
gravity and reasonableness" (A1§0). An angel falls from his world (our
land of dreams) through the fourth dimension to our world (his land of dreams),
where he is immediately shot down by a bird hunting vicar, who then takes him
home to nurse, for until his wounds heal he will not be able to fly again. The
townspeople refuse to believe that he is anything other than some queer kind of
hunchback. Although a pure creature when he arrives, he gradually deteriorates
as he breathes our "poisonous air" (§48), so that when his wounds
heal, he finds himself not only unable to fly but also suffering from all the
human passions; cf #23. SF; if barely so: although the protagonist is called an
angel, he is not from the traditional heaven; moreover, the concept of parallel
worlds with each being the other's land of dreams would seem to belong to
psychic SF rather than traditional fantasy.
#4. The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents. 1895 (168ap).
§1. The Stolen Bacillus. Mundane farce on the wonders of science. A jesting
bacteriologist tells a visitor that the bottle in his hand contains enough
bacteria to poison London's entire water supply. Since modern science can do
anything, the credulous visitor, who happens to be an anarchist, runs away with
the bottle to do just what the bacteriologist has suggested.
§2. The Flowering of the Strange Orchid. Al. Biological SF.
§3. In The Avu Observatory. Biological SF.
§4. The Triumphs of a Taxidermist. Mundane satire on the passion to make a
name for oneself by the discovery of new species.
§5. A Deal in Ostriches. Mundane farce.
§6. Through a Window. Ironic mundane melodrama.
§7. The Temptation of Harringay. Fantasy: the infernal pact and artistic
§8. The Flying Man. Colonial romance with the wonders of technology: the
natives astounded by the use of a parachute.
§9. The Diamond Maker. SF of the unresolved type; cf #7§5.
§10. Aepyornis Island. A1. Biological SF.
§11. The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes. A1. SF: the fourth dimension.
§12. The Lord of the Dynamos. Al. Mundane tragedy involving the wonders of
science: a white man's brutal jest and a black man's religious response; cf §1.
§13. The Hammerpond Park Burglary. Mundane farce.
§14. The Moth. A1. Delusional fantasy satirizing the rivalry of biologists
in the discovery of new species.
§15. The Treasure in the Forest. Colonial romance.
#5. The Island of Dr. Moreau. 1896. A2(170p). Described by Wells as a
"theological grotesque" (A2§0), this story of animals turned into men
by surgery has been given various parabolic interpretations.
#6. The Wheels of Chance: A Holiday Adventure. 1896. A7 (231p). Novel. This
story of the misadventures of a draper's assistant on a bicycling holiday is the
first of the five comedies of lower middle-class life: "close studies"
of "personalities thwarted and crippled by the defects of our contemporary
civilization" (A7§0). Cf ## 13, 22, 32, 44.
#7. The Plattner Story and Others. 1897 (296ap).
§1. The Plattner Story. A1. SF: the fourth dimension.
§2. The Argonauts of the Air. SF: the building and launching of the first
successful aeroplane; cf #19§1.
§3. The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham. A1. Somatopsychic SF: a drug-induced
exchange of bodies.
§4. In the Abyss. Biological SF: a manlike species on the ocean floor.
§5. The Apple. Unresolved fantasy. A schoolboy dreading examinations is by a
mysterious stranger given an apple said to be from the Tree of Knowledge, but
loses it before he can nerve himself up to trying it out.
§6. Under the Knife. A1. SF in a delusional-fantasy frame. When soul and
body separate at the moment of death, the soul, being immaterial and hence
unaffected by either inertia or external force, remains fixed in space while
body, earth, and solar system speed away.
§7. The Sea Raiders. SF: man's predominance challenged by a hitherto unknown
species from the depths of the sea.
§8. Pollock and the Porroh Man. Colonial romance: the white man's arrogance and the black man's magic.
§9. The Red Room. A10. Psychic SF: fear as an externalized force; cf the
1956 film Forbidden Planet.
§10. The Cone. A1. Mundane melodrama involving the wonders of technology.
§11. The Purple Pileus. A1. A mixture of mundane comedy and delusional
fantasy resulting from the eating of a mushroom.
§12. The Jilting of Jane. A1. Mundane comedy.
§13. In the Modern Vein: An Unsympathetic Love Story. Mundane comedy.
§14.A Catastrophe. Al0. Mundane comedy.
§15. The Lost Inheritance. Mundane comedy.
§16.The Sad Story of a Dramatic Critic. Mundane comedy.
§17. A Slip Under the Microscope. A6. Mundane comedy of student life at the
Normal School of Science; cf # 13.
#8. The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance. 1897 A3 (203p). SF. mains the
model of stories using the method specified for #3 and one of the chief models
of the superman story.
#9. Certain Personal Matters: A Collection of Material, Mainly
Autobiographical, 1897 (240ap). 39 familiar essays, "the stuff of which
novels are made" (A6§0), of which 22 appear as The Euphemia Papers in
A6 (115p). Among those not in A6 are the two of most direct SF interest:
"The Extinction of Man" (the stuff of #7§7 and #71:§1:2) and
"From an observatory" (the stuff of #12§2).
#10. The War of the Worlds. 1898. A3 (241p). SF. Martians invade England with
a technological superiority as overwhelming and a ruthlessness as complete as
that with which Europeans have invaded Africa and Australasia. Remains the
standard of comparison for all stories on the world-catastrophe theme.
#11. When the Sleeper Wakes. 1899 (376ap). 1910 (rev as The Sleeper Awakes).
A2 (text of 1910; 304p). SF. The revolt of the proletariat in the megalopolis of
2100--a future extrapolated on the basis of Marxist theory and the assumption of
continued technological advance under laissez-faire government; thus a
laissez-faire utopia in that it realizes the dreams Free Enterprise, but also a
laissez-faire dystopia in that the effects are shown to be disastrous for the
human spirit. Although Wells regarded this work as artistically and
intellectually unsatisfactory (A2§0; #24§1), it as probably been the most
influential of his scientific romances. The revisions of 1910 consist in the
elimination from §14 of an 11-page account of the history of the period
1899-2100, from §16 of a 4-page account of flying inconsistent with the actual
flying of 1910, and from §23 and elsewhere of about 7 pages that suggest a love
affair between the Sleeper and the heroine. See #30.
#12. Tales of Space and Time. 1899 (269ap).
§1. The Crystal Egg. A1O. SF. Interplanetary television.
§2. The Star. A10. SF. A 16-page epitome of the colliding-worlds theme.
§3. A Story of the Stone Age. 79ap. SF. The invention of the axe, the taming
of the horse, etc.
§4. A Story of the Days to Come. 124ap. SF. Pastoral dream and megalopolitan
reality in the laissez-faire dystopia of 2100; cf #11.
§5. The Man Who Could Work Miracles. A10. SF: like #7§6 in bringing
supernatural phenomena into conflict with the Newtonian laws of motion. For the
film, see # 90.
#13. Love and Mr. Lewisham, 1900. A7 (278p). Novel. The ambitions of youth
abandoned under the pressures of sexuality for the comforts of marriage. This
second of the five comic novels (see #6) was Wells's first serious attempt at
realistic fiction and his bid for reputation as a serious novelist. Although it
failed in its immediate purpose, its depiction of student life at the Normal
School of Science and its portrait of Chaffery the Medium have since made it one
of his most popular novels.
#14. The First Men in the Moon, 1901. A6 (265p). SF. Regarded by Wells as the
best of his scientific romances and by many readers as the unrivaled masterpiece
of the cosmic voyage.
#15. Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon
Human Life and Thought. 1901. A4 (273p). In this book, which was more
responsible than any other for the development of futurology, Wells turned from
the Marxist thinking of #11 to the development of his own vision of the future.
The improvements in locomotion already well under way will cause cities to grow,
not in the immense vertical concentrations described in #11, but horizontally
along great roadways (§§ 1-2). The old social classes will dissolve into a new
mixture of four main elements: first, the Efficients, "more or less capable
people engaged more or less consciously in applying the growing body of
scientific knowledge to the general needs"; second, and perhaps as numerous
as the Efficients, the Speculators, "nonproductive persons living in and by
the social confusion"; third, the unemployables, or People of the Abyss,
those unable for one reason or another to develop the skills required by
mechanized industry; fourth, the Irresponsible Rich--rich because of their
ownership of shares in corporations, irresponsible because the control of those
corporations will be in other hands (§3). In the earlier years of the century
there will be not one but many moralities, not one but many reading publics,
etc., but as the years pass the Efficients will develop a common body of ideas
and gradually segregate themselves from the functionless elements (§4). Since
popularly elected governments inevitably drift into war, but cannot fight a war
effectively, they will give way to governments that can (§5). The nations that
survive the pressures of war and preparation for war will be those that achieve
the largest proportional development of Efficients; that is, those that are most
successful in eliminating, in one way or another, the Speculators, the People of
the Abyss, and the Irresponsible Rich (§6). The growing unity of the world will
result in the spread of those languages that offer the largest bodies of
imaginative and scientific literature, and also in the aggregation of smaller
states into larger ones; by the end of the century the world will probably be
dominated by three great powers: an English-speaking union, a federated Western
Europe, and an East Asian union, with Russia absorbed into the second or third
or divided between them (§§7-8). In the English-speaking union, at least, the
Efficients will become a New Republic, with a religion stripped of superstition
and with a morality and public policy shaped to favor the procreation of the
"fine and efficient and beautiful" and to prevent that of "the
mean and ugly and bestial in the souls, bodies, or habits of men"
#16. The Discovery of the Future: A Discourse Delivered to the Royal
Institution. 1902. A4 (33p). The classic statement of the difference between the
kind of mind that looks to the past and the kind that looks to the future.
#17. The Sea Lady: A Tissue of Moonshine. 1902. A5 (167p), Fantasy. The
Method of ## 3 and 8 with the subject matter of #13, except that here the
youthful ambitions include an advantageous marriage already arranged and are
abandoned for the "better dreams" advocated by the mermaid heroine.
#18. Mankind in the Making. 1903 (371ap).A4 (74p; selections as indicated
below). Concerned with education, health care, and social legislation as means
of making ordinary people Efficients rather than unemployables and thus of
saving them from the Abyss of #15.
§1. The New Republic. This first of the Wellsian manifestos (see ## 59, 69,
75) calls upon the reader to dedicate himself to "the service of the future
of the race."
§2. The Problem of the Birth Supply. A4. Argues against positive eugenics
and ridicules the fear of the rapid multiplication of the unfit.
§7. Political and Social Influences. A4 (first half only, as "The Case
for Republicanism"). The first of Wells's many attacks on the English
monarchy and aristocracy.
§8. "Thought in the Modern State." A4 (last paragraph only). On
the publishing and distributing of books.
§12. "Appendix: A Paper on Administrative Area Read Before the Fabian
Society." A4 (as "Locomotion and Administration"). This argument
that the administrative areas planned by the Fabians are far too small for the
demands of the modern world is mentioned frequently by Wells in his later work.
#19. Twelve Stories and a Dream. 1903 (274ap).
§1. Filmer. SF. The building of the first aeroplane. Cf #7§2.
§2. The Magic Shop. A10. Unresolved fantasy. Magic is in the eye of the
beholder. A classic story of the conflict between the child's vision and the
§3. The Valley of Spiders. A10. Biological SF within a parable of the ruler
and the ruled.
§4. The Truth About Pyecraft. A10. SF. The difference between fat and weight
in a story that brings supernatural phenomena into conflict with natural law; cf
§5. Mr. Skelmersdale in Fairyland. Fantasy. An epitome of one side of the
theme most pervasive in Wells's mundane fiction: Mr. Skelmersdale declines the
invitation of the fairy queen and then regrets having done so for the rest of
his life in this dreary world. Cf 17 and 33.
§6. The Inexperienced Ghost. A ghost story.
§7. Jimmy Goggles the God. A10. Colonial romance. The effect of the wonders
of technology on the superstitious natives.
§8. The New Accelerator. A10. SF. A drug that accelerates human reactions a
§9. Mr. Ledbetter's Vacation. Mundane farce.
§10. The Stolen Body. SF. Psychic research.
§11. Mr. Brisher's Treasure. Mundane farce.
§12. Miss Winchelsea's Heart. A6. Mundane comedy.
§13. A Dream of Armageddon. A3. SF. Love and honor in the world of 2100;
that is, the world of #11 and #12§4.
#20. The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth. 1904. A5 (299p). SF. Said
by Wells to be "the idea of the first chapter of `Anticipations' and of the
essay on `Locomotion and Administrative Areas' transmuted into fantasy"
(A5§0; see #12), this story of children grown so gigantic that they cannot
"get inside a church, or a meeting-house, or any social or human
institution" (§1:4:2; emphasis added), is his most elaborate
application of the method of #3 and #8 and his most extensive venture into
allegory. (On a number of occasions in his later writings, Wells uses the
expressions "Food of the Gods" and "Sea Lady" for opposing
forces in the human heart; for one example, see #35.)
#21. A Modern Utopia. 1905. A9 (350p; including the Appendix, "Scepticism
of the Instrument," which is of some importance in the history of
semantics). SF. The world as it might have been in 1905 if history had been
somewhat different, as shown by a parallel world out beyond Sirius; that is, a
world more technologically advanced than Edwardian England only in the ways and
to the degrees that would have been possible through the wider application of
techniques already available. The Irresponsible Rich of #15 have no existence in
Utopia, but the Efficients are present as the Poietic and Kinetic; the
Speculators as the Base, mostly banished to islands where they may cheat each
other to their heart's content (§5:2); the People of the Abyss as the Dull,
those failing in the educational program, now about 13% but a constantly
decreasing proportion of the population (§9:4); and the New Republicans of #15
and #18 as the Order of Samurai, in which Wells anticipates such organizations
as Lenin's Communist Party. Since the Order is open to 87% of the population,
subject only to one's willingness to abide by the Discipline, it cannot be said,
critics to the contrary, to be anything like a managerial elite.
#22. Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul. 1905. A8 (442p). Novel. With this
story of a draper's assistant who inherits a fortune, Wells achieved the success
that had eluded him with #13. Henceforth for many readers he was to be the
supreme interpreter of the life of the lower middle class-the "new
Dickens." Kipps was originally planned as part of a larger work;
Harris Wilson has compiled a continous narrative from the surviving pages of the
discarded manuscript and published it as The Wealth of Mr. Waddy (1969).
#23. In the Days of the Comet. 1906. A10 (313p). SF. The world before and
after the passage of a comet that purifies the air men breathe and thus awakens
"the Spirit of Man that had drowsed and slumbered and dreamt dull and evil
things" (§2:1:3; cf #3). The first half of this book presents a
considerably darker picture of lower-class life than that presented in #22 or
any of the other early comedies. There seems to be no term in current usage,
though eucatastrophe might serve, for a nonmillenial world-shaking
natural event of beneficial effect, the theme not being common in literature. So
far as I know, the only story comparable to #23 in this respect is Poul
Anderson's Brain Wave (1954).
#24. The Future in America: A Search After Realities. 1906. A26 (238p). An
examination of various aspects of American life in an effort to determine
whether the United States is on the way to become the kind of Great State that
Wells envisions in such works as ## 15, 21, 27, 38:7.
#25. Socialism and the Family. 1906. A16 (36p). A pamphlet on matters covered
more fully but less radically in #27.
#26. This Misery of Boots. 1907. A4 (25p). A frequently reprinted essay in
which shoddy footware is made to stand for all the inefficiencies of the
#27. New Worlds for Old. 1908 (272ap). An exposition of "modern
Socialism," directed primarily at the middle classes, and said to have been
the most widely influential socialist propaganda of its day. Includes the matter
of two pamphlets: Will Socialism Destroy the Home? (1907) and A Walk
Along the Thames Embankment (1923).
#28. The War in the Air, and Particularly How Mr. Bert Smallways Fared While
It Lasted. 1908. A20 (377p). SF. Notable for its blending of the science fiction
of great events with the comedy of lower middle-class life. After a series of
misadventures, Mr. Smallways finds himself on the flagship of the German Aerial
Navy and thus with a grandstand seat for the beginning of the war that destroys
civilization. Unlike ## 39 and 84 in that the destruction of civilization has no
#29. First and Last Things: A Confession of Faith and a Rule of Life. 1908
(212ap); 1917 (with addition of §1:12-15); see note on # 109. A11 (182p; 1917
text with deletion of §3:10-19). An introduction to philosophy. Begins with an
exposition of the "neo-nominalism" which Wells began to develop as
early as 1891 in "The Rediscovery of the Unique" (Fortnightly Review.
July), which he developed further in "Scepticism of the
Instrument" (#21, Appendix), which he continued to work at for the rest of
his life (see #111§4), and which forms the metaphysical foundation for his view
of what life is in the modern world and what one should do about it. Of the
sections omitted in A11, the first seven deal with the possibility of organized
brotherhoods along the lines of the Samurai (#21), and the last three with an
attitude toward war rendered difficult to defend if not untenable by 1914-1918.
#30. Tono-Bungay. 1909. A12 (520p). Novel. Widely regarded as Wells's
masterpiece, this is the autobiography of a scientist involved in the rise and
fall of a financial empire that originates in the success of the eponymous
patent medicine. In its concluding chapters, with the world collapsing around
the protagonists, it becomes somewhat farcical and science-fictional in the
search for an SF metal and the use of an SF aircraft. As has been noted by
several critics, this book does for turn-of-the century England, especially with
respect to advertising, corporate finance, and class relationships, what #11
attempted to do for the future. The most cogent account of the relationship
between the two books is given by Wells in a 1921 preface that appears in the
Collins edition of The Sleeper Awakes.
#31. Ann-Veronica: A Modern Love Story. 1909. A13 (390p). Novel. The first of
Wells's novels to deal primarily with the upper classes, and the first to
include extensive discussions of morality and politics, this story of a young
woman from a respectable home who defies her parents, first in going to London
to study biology and live on her own, then in demonstrating with the
suffragettes and going to jail for the cause, and finally in setting up
housekeeping with the man she loves even though he already has a wife,
scandalized a vocal segment of the older generation and became an international
success among young people.
#32. The History of Mr. Polly. 1910. A17 (280p):Novel. A return to the comedy
of lower middle-class life, this book had a success comparable to that of #22
and continues to be one of Wells's most popular books.
#33. The New Machiavelli. 1911. A14 (553p). Novel. The autobiography of a
politician who chooses, at the height of his career, to abandon politics for an
illicit love (cf #17). For the scandal that arose from the similarity of two of
the characters to Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and from the similarity of the
crucial love affair to an affair of Wells' own, see Lovat Dickson, H. G.
Wells: His Turbulent Life and Times. (1969), § 12. This is the first of the
five Prig Novels--stories that "turn on a man asking himself what he shall
do with his life" (A19§0), in each of which the protagonist is frustrated
in the attempt to live a nobly constructive life by the pressures of sexuality
or by the demands of a wife or husband interested only in mundane success (see
## 35, 37, 40, 45). Together with ## 13, 17, 62, they thus represent Wellsian
variations on the ancient theme of love and honor.
#34. Floor Games. With marginal drawings by J. R. Sinclair. 1911 (63ap). An
introduction to the art. See #36.
#35. Marriage. 1912. A15 (577p). The second of the prig novels (see #33):
"Trafford has eaten the Food of the Gods, and Marjorie is immune to that
stimulant and plays, in holy wedlock, the role of the Sea Lady" (A15§0).
#36. Little Wars: A Game for Boys from Twelve Years of Age to One Hundred and
Fifty and for That More Intelligent Sort of Girl Who Likes Boys' Games and
Books. With an Appendix on Kriegspiel. By ... the Author of "Floor
Games" and Several Minor and Inferior Works. With marginal drawings by J.R.
Sinclair. 1913 (103ap). 1970 (facsimile edition with Foreword by Isaac Asimov
and Introduction by Christopher Ellis). Ellis indicates that a considerable
literature has grown up in this field, all deriving from this book. If so, it
has in its field the same kind of importance that ## 15, 56, and 80 have in
#37. The Passionate Friends. 1913. A18 (376p). Novel. The most romantic of
the Prig novels (see #33)--and the book in which the phrase "open
conspiracy" first appears (see #75).
#38. An Englishman Looks at the World: Being a series of Unrestrained Remarks
on Contemporary Matters. 1914 (443ap; in US as Social Forces in England and
America). A9, 18, 20, 27 (217p).
§§1-3. The Coming of Bleriot; My First Plight; Off the Chain. A20, Of the
1909 channel crossing that demonstrated the practicability of heavier-than-air
flight; of Wells's own venture three years later; and of the inevitable effect
of the abolition of distance on commerce, politics, and social life.
§§4-5. Of the New Reign; Will the Empire Live? A20. Argues against imperial
tariffs, imperial military establishments, etc.; argues for a great effort to
make the Empire worthy of the loyalty of it's various peoples.
§6. The Labour Unrest; Social Panaceas; Syndicalism or Citizenship. 1912
pamphlet. Argues that modern conditions demand, not mere tinkering with wages
and hours, which seems to be the sole concern of the labor unions, but
fundamental changes in the social structure.
§7. The Great State. A18 (40p). Appeared in a book of the same title by
Wells and 13 others (1912) as "The Past and the Great State." An
epitome of Wells's social thought, with a remarkable diagram that makes Wells's
view of past and future immediately clear.
§8. The Common Sense of Warfare. A20. 1913 pamphlet. Argues against
conscription, for education.
§9. The Contemporary Novel. A9. The major statement of Wells's literary
theory. Cf #85§7:5; also #74§25-26, #102§0.
§ 10. The Philosopher's Public Library. A description of what a public
library should and very economically could be.
§11. About Chesterton and Belloc. A9. On the most persistent of his friendly
enemies, who fought at his side against the capitalist order, but parted from
him in advocating distributism rather than socialism and who are the objects of
friendly comment or gentle satire in many of his books (not always gentle in the
case of Belloc; see especially #70).
§12. About Sir Thomas More. Originally the introduction to an edition of Utopia
published in 1905, the year #21 appeared.
§13. Traffic and Rebuilding. Suggests that it might be more economical to
rebuild London on a new site.
§14. This So-Called Science of Sociology. 1907 pamphlet. Against Comte,
Spencer; for Plato and the utopian approach.
§15. Divorce. A18. Changing mores.
§16. The Schoolmaster and the Empire. Against regarding Polonius as the
§17. The Endowment of Motherhood. A18. The most convenient statement of an
idea also treated in 21, 27, 33.
§18. Doctors. For medicine as a "sanely organized public machine."
§19. An Age of Specialization? Argues that this is instead an age of the
decline of specialization.
§20. Is There a People? Argues that there is not.
§21. The Disease of Parliaments. Argues for proportional representation. Cf #52§9-11.
§22. The American Population. A9 (as "The American Outlook"). A
more pessimistic forecast than that of #24.
§23. The Possible Collapse of Civilization. A20. The great dangers are
financial panic and modern warfare.
§24. The Ideal Citizen. A9. He is, in sum, a student and philosopher,
understanding the society in which he lives.
§25. Some Possible Discoveries. The most sensational discoveries of the
century are likely to be in biology.
§26. The Human Adventure. A27. Surely the most eloquent statement of Wells's
vision of the future, this essay is an elaboration of the last pages of #20.
#39. The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind. 1914. A21 (247p). SF. An
experiment in narrative structure, this romance tells of the development of
atomic energy, of the use of atomic bombs in the most destructive of all wars,
and with the world thus freed of its past, of the establishment of the world
state and building of utopia. From this time on, despite the apparent optimism
of many of his books, Wells seems always to have believed that only after some
great cleansing, some catastrophe of worldwide scope, would the leaders of
mankind leave the road to destruction and set out upon the road to utopia.
#40. The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman. 1914. A16 (500p). Novel. The fourth of the
Prig novels (see #33): large-minded wife, small-minded husband; thus in direct
contrast with #35.
#41. The War That Will End War. 1914 (88ap). A pamphlet reprinting eleven
newspaper articles in which Wells views the war less as a great disaster than as
a great opportunity. With one exception ("The Liberal Fear of
Russia"), they deal with matters more fully covered in #46.
#42. The Peace of the World. 1915. A21 (33p). Discusses the forces that make
for war and calls for a world congress to replace the ambassadorial system.
#43. Boon, The Mind of the Race, The Wild Asses of the Devil, and The Last
Trump: Being a First Selection from the Literary Remains of George Boon,
Appropriate to the Times: Prepared for Publication by Reginald Bliss, with an
Ambiguous Introduction by H.G. Wells. 1915 (1 98ap). A13 (166p; omits §§ 0 and
6-7). Novel: despite the title, this book is not a collection of papers by
George Boon, the "remains" having turned out to be merely a few scraps
of paper, but instead a narrative by Reginald Bliss in which he talks about Boon
and his friends, reports their conversations, and reconstructs from memory
never-written papers that Boon has told hitn about, including the (in) famous
"Of Art, of Literature, of Mr. Henry James." Of the
"selections" only one is a complete literary work: "The Story of
the Last Trump," a fantasy in which the world continues on its merry way,
the last trump having been heard but not believed. §§6-7, a lively but rather
frivolous debate on metaphysics and religion, were perhaps omitted from A13 as
being inconsistent with the views set forth on these matters in A11; for which
#44. Bealby: A Holiday. 1915. A17 (278p). Novel: the last and most farcical
of the five comedies of lower middle-class life; see #6.
#45. The Research Magnificent. 1915. A19 (436p). The quintessential Prig
novel (see #33) in that it explores most fully the motivations and difficulties
of a man attempting to lead a completely noble life. Although gestures were made
in this direction in ## 33 and 35, Benham is the first of Wells's heroes to
develop religious ideas along the lines of those more fully propounded by Mr.
Britling in #47 and Wells himself in #50.
#46. What is Coming? A Forecast of Things After the War. 1916 (248ap). Looks
forward first to a long war (being here different from #41 and #47) and then to
the bankruptcy of the exhausted nations, which will force upon them a
considerable degree of socialism; to the liberation of women made inevitable by
their participation in the war effort; to a reformation of the universities,
made possible by their now being virtually deserted; to a Europe made less
quarrelsome by the rationalization of national boundaries; to the beginnings of
a world state in the Permanent Alliance made necessary by the fear of a
resurgent Germany; to the end of the various colonial empires, backward
countries being prepared for statehood by the members of the Permanent Alliance;
and to the eventual absorption of a chastened Germany into the new world order.
For the way in which this "very loose-lipped" book was viewed by Wells
18 years later, see #84§9:5.
#47. Mr. Britling Sees It Through. 1916. A22 (as Mr. Britling; 538p). Novel.
This story of life during wartime at the home of a famous author was Wells's
greatest popular success in fiction, ranking second among American best sellers
in 1916 and first in 1917: Many reviewers, and presumably large sections of the
general public, found reassurance in Mr. Britling's religious conversion; on the
other hand, many of Wells's most loyal followers felt themselves betrayed.
#48. The Elements of Reconstruction: A Series of Articles Contributed in July
and August 1916 to The Times: With an Introduction by Viscount Milner. [Articles
signed "D.P."]. 1916; 1917 (as by Wells). This pamphlet calls for
increasing the size of British industrial units so that they can compete with
those of Germany and the United States; for an imperial constitution and
parliament (not wholly consistent with #38§4-5); in general for adapting British institutions to the demands of the new age.
#49. War and the Future: Italy, France and Britain at War. 1917 (240ap;.in US
as Italy, France and Britain at War). A26 (106p).
§0. The Passing of the Effigy. A26 as §1. Discusses the absence of
"great and imposing leaders, Napoleons, Caesars."
§1. The War in Italy: August 1916. A26, abridged, as §§2-3.
§2. The Western War: September 1916. A26, abridged, as §§ 4-7. One chapter
tells of Wells as the grandparent of the tank, because of his 1903 story
"The Land Ironciads" (#70§1:4), of the old-line opposition to the
development of tanks, and of their potential as "the decisive weapon of the
§3. How People Think of the War. In comparison to #46, a more restrained but
still hopeful forecast of the world after the war.
#50. God the Invisible King. 1917. A11 (147p). An introduction to theology.
From first to last (or at least, from #15§9 to #113) Wells saw Man as
struggling to survive in a hostile universe, and saw religion as the dedication
of the individual to this larger purpose. The present book forms with ## 51 and
54 what may be called a Manichaean trilogy, for in them, as less centrally in ##
45 and 47, the Spirit of Man is seen as embodied in a finite personal god.
Although Wells repudiated this book from 1926 on (#69 §1:3, #85§9:4,
#109§10), he was defending it as late as 1925 against both orthodox Christians
on the right and the Rationalist Press Association on the left (A11§O), and it
remains an accurate statement, except in the concept of a personal god, of his
#51. The Soul of a Bishop: A Novel (with Just a Little Love in It) about
Conscience and Religion and the Real Troubles of Life. 1917. A25 (309p). Novel:
the second part of the Manichaean trilogy. Having unwittingly taken a
mind-expanding drug, the Bishop experiences the reality of the living God and
eventually comes to find that he can serve Him best by leaving the established
#52. In the Fourth Year: Anticipations of a World Peace. 1918. A21 (125p;
omits §O, 5ap).
§O. Preface. Of the various proposals made since 1914 for a league of
§§1-8. The League of Free Nations. Argues that the League can be successful
only if all the civilized peoples of the world are pledged to a common law and a
common world policy. Includes the 1917 pamphlet A Reasonable Man's Peace.
§9-11. "Democracy." Argues for proportional representation.
#53. Joan and Peter: the Story of an Education. 1918. A23-24 (819p). Novel.
The story of how Oswald Syndenham, bruised in body and spirit after serving the
Empire in Africa for 17 years, returns to England to become the guardian of Joan
and Peter, of how he undertook their education, and of what he and they learned
in the years before and during the Great War.
#54. The Undying Fire: A Contemporary Novel. 1919. A11 (170p). Fantasy. This
last part of the Manichaean trilogy (see #50) tells of a new wager in Heaven; of
how Job Huss, headmaster of a school similar to Oundle (see #65), suffered
through a series of blows to himself, his family, and his school; of how he kept
the faith; and of how all things were restored. Although repudiating its
theology, Wells continued to regard this dialogue on religion and education as
one of his finest artistic achievements (#84§7:5). Listed among Wells's works
sometimes as a novel, sometimes as a romance; cf #66.
#55. History is One. 1919. A27.(14p). Prolegomena to #56.
#56. The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind. 1920
(1950ap). Numerous editions in various formats; one of the best-selling books of
all time. As the first full-scale history of mankind, and as by far the most
widely read, this book was more important than any other in popularizing world
history as a field of study. The note that dominates Wells's work from this time
on is struck in the final chapter, "The Possible Unification of the World
into One Community of Knowledge and Will." Although Wells the erstwhile
school-teacher had labored extensively along conventional lines for the
improvement of schools, teaching methods, etc. (in numerous never-reprinted
articles in the educationist press and in #18), he had come to believe that such
efforts would be largely futile until there had been broad changes in the
attitudes of the members of the educated classes, especially with respect to
religion and patriotism. In devoting its first 14 chapters to scientific
concepts of the origin and prehistorical development of earth, life, man,
language, and in devoting many of its other chapters to religions, cultures, and
empires outside the Ancient-Medieval-Modern scheme that conventionally
culminated first in Christian Europe and then in modern England (or modern Anycountry) as the crown of civilization, the Outline was consciously
intended to reshape the outlook of its readers in very sensitive areas of belief
and opinion. That it would arouse intense opposition in many quarters was only
to be expected; see ## 60 and 70.
#57. Russia in the Shadows. 1920. A26 (75p; omits 6p Envoy). Tells of a visit
made in October 1920 to Petersburg and Moscow, including an interview with
Lenin, and argues that the Allies should seek not to overthrow but instead to
aid the Bolshevik government, it being the only conceivable government that can
save the country from complete collapse.
#58. A Memorandum on Peace Propaganda. In Campbell Stuart, Secrets of
Crewe House (1920). A21 (13p). Written in 1918 while Wells was officially
engaged in the propaganda campaign directed at the German people; published as
evidence of the failure of the government to keep its wartime promises; cf
#59. The Salvaging of Civilization. 1921 (186ap). §1, the second of the
Wellsian manifestoes (see #18), anticipates the Threefold Imperative of #108. by
declaring that "unless the ever more violent and disastrous incidence of
war can be averted, unless some common controls can be imposed on the headlong
waste of man's limited inheritance of coal, oil, and moral energy that is now
going on, the history of humanity must presently culminate in some sort of
disaster, repeating and exaggerating the disaster of the great war, producing
chaotic social conditions, and going on thereafter in a degenerative process
towards extinction" (§1:2) and then calls for "propagandist cults to
which men and women must give themselves and their energies regardless of the
consequences to themselves" (§1:4). §§2-3 distinguish between a true
world state and such organizations as the League of Nations. §§4-7 discuss a
possible Bible of Civilization and the schooling of the world. In sum, the
salvaging of civilization, to use the famous phrase from #56§41:4, is a race
between education and catastrophe.
#60. The New Teaching of History: With a Reply to Some Recent Criticisms of
"The Outline of History." 1921 (42ap). Defends the concept of world
history; expresses a willingness to accept corrections in matters of detail;
complains that many critics attack the work for errors that appeared only in
the serial version; etc.
#61. Washington and the Hope for Peace. 1922 (189ap; in US and in A26 as
Washington and the Riddle of Peace). A26 (155p; omits 7 chapters). 29 newspaper
articles on the Washington Disarmament Conference. The victorious Allies having
imposed a punitive peace, the League having emerged as a mere paper
organization, and this conference having actually achieved some success, Wells
turns from the idea of an immediate world parliament to the hope that from this
and similar conferences may come the establishment of world-wide limited-purpose
organizations that can gradually become numerous enough and strong enough to
create the conditions necessary for world peace, order, and development. Cf #77.
#62. The Secret Places of the Heart. 1922. A25 (250p). Novel. Like ## 13, 17,
33, this is a love-and-honor story, but in this case the lovers choose honor
rather than love, separating so that they can devote themselves more effectively
to the creation of the new world order.
#63. A Short History of the World. 1922. A27 (457p). Numerous editions,
including paperback editions and updated revisions.
#64. Men Like Gods. 1923. A28 (321p). SF. A group of Englishmen pass through
the F dimension to a utopian world such as Earth might become in a thousand
years if it manages to survive the present Age of Confusion.
#65. The Story of a Great Schoolmaster: Being a Plain Account of the Life and
Ideas of Sanderson of Oundle. 1924. A24 (130p). Wells's theory of what a school
should be was closely approximated by Oundle School, to which he sent his own
sons, and on which he modeled the school attended by Peter in #53 and the one
presided over by Job Huss in #54.
#66. The Dream: A Novel. 1924. A28 (318p). An inhabitant of the utopian world
of the 40th century dreams of life in the 20th century. The result is
essentially a realistic story of working-class life. Although it can hardly be
called science fiction, the story is given a distancing and coloring by the
narrative device that might justify calling it a romance. Students of SF as
popular literature might well be interested in the account of Thunderstone
House, an English equivalent of the American publisher of pulp magazines.
#67. A Year of Prophesying. 1924 (302ap). A26 (76p; 14 selections as Articles
written in 1923-1924). 55 newspaper articles on a wide variety of subjects. A
1924 pamphlet, The P.R. Parliament, appears here and in A26 as "The
Extinction of Party Government."
#68. Christina Alberta's Father. 1925 (466ap). Novel. Partly the story of the
growth to maturity of the heroine, and partly that of the belief of her putative
father that he is a reincarnation of Sargon, King of Kings, and has only to
proclaim his kingdom in order to bring it into being. This is the first of five
stories making extensive use of formal psychology and centering on a protagonist
who suffers from some form of psychosis. See ## 75, 82, 97, 102.
#69. The World of William Clissold: A Novel at a New Angle. 1926 (860ap; 3v
in UK; 2v in US). A survey of the world of 1926, and of its history, purportedly
written by a scientist of such vision and directive capability as to have been
important in the development of a world-wide industrial organization similar to
Brunner Mond and Co. Not more than a third of the book can be described as
narrative, and even this tends to be synoptic rather than detailed. §5 presents
the first extensive exposition of the Open Conspiracy for a world state, an idea
that Wells thought should be especially attractive to men engaged in commerce or
industry on a world-wide scale, hampered and restricted as they presumably are
by the division of the world into numerous small states. See #75.
#70. Mr. Belloc Objects to "The Outline of History." 1926 (76ap).
Wells's part in the no-holds-barred contest that Belloc began with a series of
articles in the Catholic press.
#71. The Short Stories of H. G. Wells. 1927 (later editions as The Complete
Short Stories of H. G. Wells). Contains 11 stories (191ap) not yet accounted for
in this survey.
§1. The Time Machine and Other Stories. §§ 1:2, 1:3, 1:5, 1:6, 1:8, were
first collected in a 1911 omnibus, The Country of the Blind and Other
§1:1. The Time Machine. See #1.
§1:2. The Empire of the Ants. (1905). A10. Biological SF. A new threat to
man's predominance; cf #7§7.
§1:3. A Vision of Judgment. (1899). A10. Fantasy. Sinner and saint at what
is not actually the last judgment.
§1:4. The Land Ironclads. (1903). A20. SF. Wells's chief claim to accuracy
in technological prediction; see #49§2.
§1:5. The Beautiful Suit. (1909). A10. Mundane fantasy. A parable of
innocence and experience.
§1:6. The Door in the Wall. (1906). A10. Unresolved fantasy. The classic
story of the secret garden.
§1:7. The Pearl of Love. Written 1925 for A10. Mundane fantasy. A parable of
the artistic process.
§1:8. The Country of the Blind. (1904). A10. Biological SF combining the
lost-race and superman themes.
§2. The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents. See #4.
§3. The Plattner Story and Others. See #7.
§4. The Reconciliation. (1895). First collected in an 1897 omnibus, Thirty
Strange Stories. Mundane melodrama.
§5. My First Aeroplane. (1910). A farcical SF parable: childish Man playing
with a new and dangerous toy.
§6. Little Mother up the Morderberg. (1910). Mundane farce: a sequel to the
§7. The Story of the Last Trump. A13. From #43, q.v.
§8. The Grisly Folk. (1921). SF. The clash of true man and Neanderthaler; a
fictionalization of #56§10:1.
§9. Tales of Space and Time. See #12.
§10. Twelve Stories and a Dream. See #19.
#72. Meanwhile: The Picture of a Lady. 1927 (325ap). Novel. Eventualiy the
constructive revolution; meanwhile, fascism in Italy and the general strike in
#73. The Works of H. G. Wells. Atlantic Edition. Vol. 27. 1927. Contains
three essays not previously collected (54p).
§3. What is Success? A Note on Lord Northcliffe. Of Wells's long
acquaintanceship with the great press lord, of their working together at Crewe
House (see #58), and of the difference between the official propaganda issuing
from Crewe House and the hate campaign waged against Germany in Northcliffe's
§4. The Gifts of the New Sciences. Like #38§25 in predicting that the great
advances will be in biology, psychology, education rather than in technology;
less than prescient on atomic energy and the speed of travel.
§5. The Ten Great Discoveries. First, the use of implements; second, the
beginning of moral law and social restraint in the form of tabu; tenth, the
realization that the world is one.
#74. The Way the World is Going: Guesses and Forecasts of the Years Ahead.
1928 (338ap). One address and 26 newspaper articles, of which the following are
perhaps of greatest interest.
§1. Man Becomes a Different Animal. Delusions about Human Fixity. Of the
"biological revolution now in progress."
§5. Democracy Under Revision: A Lecture Delivered at the Sorbonne. 1927
pamphlet. Of the contrast between the indifference of the ordinary
citizen-with-a-vote and the dedication of the members of such organizations as
the Communist Party, the Fascist Party, and the Kuomintang, and of the
similarities of these organizations to the New Republicans of #15 and #18 and
the Samurai of #21. (§§2-4 cover much the same ground.)
§11. The Present Uselessness and Danger of Aeroplanes. A Problem in
Organization. An instance of the failure of administrative units to adapt to the
change in scale; cf #18§12.
§13. Delusions about World Peace. The Price of Peace. 1927 pamphlet (as Playing
at Peace). The price is the world state.
§16. The Silliest Film: Will Machinery Make Robots of Men? A review of Metropolis,
the Fritz Lang film, noting its similarity to #11 and the failure of its
creators to learn anything from the developments of the last 30 years.
§25. The Man of Science and the Expressive Man. To Whom Does the Future
Belong? Some Thoughts about Ivan Pavlov and George Bernard Shaw. This discussion
of style and content is one of the major statements of Wells's artistic theory.
§26. The Future of the Novel. Difficulties of the Modern Novelist. Argues
that the novel adapts its form to changes in its environment.
#75. The Open Conspiracy: Blueprints for a World Revolution. 1928 (145ap).
1931 (rev as What Are We to Do with Our Lives?). The 1931 text, in which the
revisions are more rhetorical than substantive, presents the final form of the
third Wellsian manifesto (see ## 18, 59, 69). Abjuring anything so romantic as
conspiratorial conspiracy; calling not for heroic action but only for the
formation of study and propagandist groups, who would find their basic concepts
in such books as ## 56, 80, 81, the manifesto must have struck many readers as
less a call to world revolution than a device to sell books.
#76. Mr. Blettsworthy on Rampole Island. Being the Story of a Gentleman of
Culture and Refinement who suffered Shipwreck and saw no Human Beings other than
Cruel and Savage Cannibals for several years. How he became a Sacred Lunatic.
How he did at last escape in a Strange Manner from the Horror and Barbarities of
Rampole Island in time to fight in the Great War, and how afterwards he came
near to returning to that Island for ever. With much Amusing and Edifying Matter
concerning Manners, Customs, Beliefs, Warfare, Crime, and a Storm at Sea.
Concluding with some Reflections upon Life in General and upon these Present
Times in Particular. 1928 (328ap). Novel: the second of the psychosis stories
(see #68). Mundane comedy and satire in §§ 1, 2, 4, but delusional fantasy in
§3, which presents a reversal of the situation in #20, the megatheria
representing those swollen human institutions which have outlived their time but
which refuse to die and thus clear the way for man's progress.
#77. The King Who Was a King: The Book of a Film. 1929 (175ap). Ruritanian
romance; borderline SF. How a king outmaneuvers the foreign offices of the great
powers and brings about a World Control for Calcomite (an SF metal); cf #61.
(The film was never produced.)
#78. The Adventures of Tommy. 1929 (28ap). Cartoons with captions; a minor
classic in children's books.
#79. The Autocracy of Mr. Parham: His Remarkable Adventures in this Changing
World. 1930 (321ap). SF in a delusional-fantasy frame. How Mr. Parham,
philosopher of history and expert in geopolitics, is at a seance possessed by a
Visitant from Mars, the Master Spirit of Manhood and Dominion and Order, and
thereafter proceeds to do for England what Mussolini has done, or talked about
doing, for Italy.
#80. The Science of Life: A Summary of Contemporary Knowledge about Life and
Its Possibilities. With Julian S. Huxley and G. P. Wells. 1930 (2700ap). Has
been issued in 1v, 3v, 4v, and 9v editions. Planned and organized by Wells, with
about 70% of the writing by Huxley and about 25% by G.P. Wells. Like #56, the
first comprehensive treatment of its subject. "Its effects are still
manifest in the increased space allotted to biology in the educational
curriculum, and the greater interest of the general public in biological facts
and their consequences"--Julian Huxley, Memories (1970), §12, which
gives an account of the collaboration.
#81. The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. 1931 (2v). 1932. Rev ed: UK
1934 (1390ap); US 1936 (as The Outline of Man's Work and Wealth). In Wells's
social, political, and philosophical thought, the culmination of all that
precedes and the basic source of all that follows: most of his other
non-fictional works might well be regarded as mere addenda to this one book.
With ## 56 and 80 forms what is often called the educational trilogy.
#82. After Democracy: Addresses and Papers on the Present World Situation.
1932 (230ap). 16 essays on politics, economics, morality, and the future, of
which four had separate publication.
§3. The Common-Sense of World Peace. 1929 pamphlet. The common sense of
world peace demands a world state.
§5. Imperialism and the Open Conspiracy. 1929 pamphlet. Laments that the
concept of a self-sufficient Empire with protective tariffs should be advocated
by a director of Brunner Mond and Co. See #69.
§6. The World Change. One section of a 1930 pamphlet, The Way to World
Peace, the remainder omitted as repeating §3, as indeed it does, almost word
§16. What Should Be Done--Now. 1932 pamphlet. The economic crisis demands a
controlled inflation, the expansion of public employment, the lowering of
tariffs, and disarmament.
#83. The Bulpington of Blup: Adventures, Poses, Stresses, Conflicts, and
Disaster in a Contemporary Brain. 1932 (501ap). Novel. This third of the
psychosis stories (see #68) recounts the fantasy life and the real life of a
#84. The Shape of Things to Come: The Ultimate Revolution. 1933 (640ap). SF.
Purportedly a schoolbook written in 2106, this history begins with the financial
disasters of 1929 and moves through the depression years into a future
extrapolated on the assumption that the nations will not be able to halt the
steadily worsening economic and political disintegration. A decade of desultory
warfare (the devitalized nations being unable to mount a war on the scale of
1914-18) is followed by a decade of plagues that halve the population of the
world. With the world thus set free of its past, scientific and technical
workers find it possible first to establish an Air Dictatorship and then to
proceed to the building of utopia. For the film, see #87.
#85. Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusions of a Very
Ordinary Brain (since 1866). 1934 (1033ap). Covers the personal life through
about 1900 and the professional life through the first half of 1934 (during
which he interviewed both Roosevelt and Stalin). Notable for the frankness of
its strictly autobiographical parts and for the vividness of the numerous
portraits of men prominent in literature or public life.
#86. The New America, the New World. 1935 (60ap). On the ways in which the
friends and enemies of the New Deal are reacting to the world crisis.
#87. Things to Come: A Film Story Based on Material Contained in his History
of the Future "The Shape of Things to Come." 1935 (170ap). In its
first half, a drastically simplified version of #84§2:9-12; in the second half,
a story of conflict in the utopian world of 2054 in which the advocates of
luxurious idleness try to prevent the advocates of heroic endeavor from
attempting a voyage to the moon.
#88. The Croquet Player. 1936 (60ap). SF in the form of a rationalized ghost
story: the changed environment is releasing and intensifying man's inherent
aggression and cruelty.
#89. The Anatomy of Frustration: A Modern Synthesis. 1936 (166ap).
Purportedly a review of a multi-volume work of the same name by a recently
deceased author--a work modeled on Burton and dealing with the forces in human
nature and modern life that frustrate Man in his collective effort to create a
rational world order, and the individual in his effort to lead a worthwhile
life. Cf the Prig novels of 1911-1915.
#90. Man Who Could Work Miracles: A Film Story Based on Materials in His
Short Story.... 1936 (106ap). SF. An expanded version of #12§5, together with a
prologue and epilogue in heaven that make the misadventures of Mr. Fotheringay a
test case for the question whether Man can safely be trusted with such power as
science is even now putting into his hands.
#91. Star-Begotten: A Biological Fantasia. 1937 (151ap). SF. The discovery
among us of a new human species and the search for the cause of its origin. Cf
#92. Brynhild; or The Show of Things. 1937 (264ap). Novel. Satire on the
building of a literary reputation.
#93. The Camford Visitation. 1937 (52ap). Borderline SF. The reactions of
dons and students to an invisible but highly vocal visitor from outer space who
lectures them on the short-comings of mankind, especially as represented at
Camford and Oxbridge.
#94. The Brothers. 1938 (96ap). Ruritanian romance. In a civil war the
royalist and communist leaders discover not only that they are twin brothers but
also that they have, despite the contrast in their rhetoric, the same
#95. World Brain. 1938 (154ap). Ten addresses and articles on the
establishment of a world encyclopaedia center and on education in general.
Includes Wells's presidential address to the Education section of the British
Association for the Advancement of Science, 1937, "The Informative Content
of Education," and a 1936 pamphlet, The Idea of a World
#96. Apropos of Dolores. 1938 (344ap). Novel. The story of a battle royal
between man and wife; related to #91 by the presence of the biologist Foxfield
and the concept of two human species.
#97. The Holy Terror. 1939 (575ap). SF. The life story of Rud Whitlow, who is
paranoic as a child, heroic as the leader of the world revolution, and again
paranoic as the Master Director of the World State. With respect to depression
and war, the extrapolative assumptions here are the same as in #84, but in this
case there is a well-organized Open Conspiracy ready to take advantage of the
coming of war. This is the fourth of the psychosis stories (see #68); from
#102§4:1:4 it is clear that the protagonist, though he may at times suggest
Hitler or Wells himself, is modeled primarily on Stalin.
#98. The Fate of Homo Sapiens: An unemotional statement of the Things that
are happening to him now, and of the immediate Possibilities confronting him.
1939 (280ap; in US as The Fate of Man). 1942 (see note on #100). Begins with a
statement of the ecological crisis and then surveys the "existing
forces" that hold man on the road to destruction and prevent him from
taking the road to utopia: Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Nazism,
Totalitarianism, the British oligarchy, Shintoism, the New Life movement,
Imperialism, Communism, the American mentality. The conclusion is that Man will
almost certainly fail to adapt to his new environment and hence pass out of
#99. Travels of a Republican Radical in Search of Hot Water. 1939 (125ap).
Wells at his most cantankerous in eight articles and one address, and at his
noblest in a second address, "The Honour and Dignity of the Free
Mind," which was prepared for delivery to the 1939 meeting of the P.E.N.
Club, scheduled for Stockholm in September, but canceled.
#100. The New World Order: Whether It Is Attainable, How It Can Be Attained,
and What Sort of World a World at Peace Will Have to Be. 1940 (142ap). 1942 (see
NOTE). This handbook for the constructive world revolution was Wells's first
response to the coming of the second war; the same general ideas are developed
more fully and coherently in #108. NOTE. In The Outlook for Homo Sapiens: An
Amalgamation and Modernization of [#98 and #100] (1942), the Introduction
and 26 chapters of #98, with §§4-5 combined, appear as §§1-26, and the 12
chapters of #100 as §§27-38. The only modernizations are a transitional
paragraph in §27, the use in §36 of a later version of the Sankey Declaration
(see #101), and the addition of §39, "Russia, the West, and World
101. The Rights of Man; or What Are We Fighting For? 1940 (93ap). An account
of the origin of the Sankey Declaration, an exposition of its provisions, and an
argument for its immediate world-wide adoption. The version of the Declaration
given here also appears in #103; an earlier version appears in #100, a later
version in #105 and #107, and the final version in #108 and #111.
#102. Babes in the Darkling Wood. 1940 (520ap). Novel. This fifth of the
psychosis stories (see #68) is in large part an exposition of "the new and
entirely revolutionary philosophy of behaviourism" (§0). The story tells
of how the young hero and heroine clash with their old-fashioned parents, of
what the hero experiences in Poland during the first days of the war, of his
mental breakdown and the failure of psychoanalysis to effect a cure, and of the
success of psychosynthesis. The Introduction is a defense of the novel of ideas
as a literary form.
#103. The Common Sense of War and Peace: World Revolution or War Unending?
1940 (124ap). Material generally similar to that in #100.
#104. All Aboard for Ararat. 1940 (90ap). Fantasy. Having been so instructed
by God, Noah Lammock, the well-known author, builds an ark in order to survive
the flood of the ecological crisis.
#105. Guide to the New World: A Handbook of Constructive World Revolution.
1941 (180ap). Despite the title, this is simply a collection of 52 newspaper
#106. You Can't Be Too Careful: A Sample of Life. 1941 (386ap). Novel.
Wells's last book-length fiction is both a comedy of lower middleclass life that
caused some reviewers to applaud the old man for returning to his true forte,
and a drama of the world crisis. It is the life story of Edward Albert Tewler, a
representative specimen (even as you and I) of Homo tewler, which may survive
long enough to become Homo sapiens, but probably will not.
#107. Science and the World-Mind. 1942 (45ap). Poses the problem of the
education of two billion people for world unity.
#108. Phoenix: A Summary of the Inescapable Conditions of World Organization.
1942 (265ap). A comprehensive summation of Wells's thinking on the ecological
crisis and the constructive revolution. §1:2, "The Threefold
Imperative," expresses more cogently than ever before a set of concepts
that had occupied him since #59 in 1921. First, the abolition of distance, which
subjects every country to the danger of a sudden blitzkrieg, makes imperative a
world control of transport and communication, especially in the air. Second, the
"stupendous enhancement of the power of waste" makes imperative the
establishment of a world conservation authority. Third, the virtual
disappearance of illiteracy and the danger posed by masses of discontented young
men makes imperative the subordination of all states to a common fundamental law
--a Rights of Man that includes the right of every man to satisfactory
#109. The Conquest of Time: Written to Replace His "First and Last
Things." 1942 (88ap). A compact exposition of "the religion of the new
man," with an appendix on some theories of time. (Despite the intention
indicated in the sub-title and the Preface, the Rationalist Press Association
continued #29 as No. 1 in the Thinker's Library and made this book No. 92.)
#110. Crux Ansata: An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. 1943 (142ap).
Among other things, condemns the Church for its failure to condemn Nazism.
#111, '42 to '44: A Contemporary Memoir upon Human Behaviour During the
Crisis of the World Revolution. 1944 (360ap).
§0. Preface. States that since this book is "strong meat for
babes" and may thus prove repellent to many who follow his propaganda for
the new world order, it will be published only as an expensive library volume.
(It was published at 42s, about four times the ordinary price.)
§ 1. The Heritage of the Past. The Psychology of Cruelty. Considers, in 14
sections, the possibility that Man's addiction to cruelty may prove an insuperable barrier to the realization of a just world order and hence to his survival.
§2. How We Face the Future. 17 articles, mostly reprinted from periodicals,
on stupidity and scoundrelism in high places.
§3. A Thesis on the Quality of Illusion in the Continuity of the Individual
Life in the Higher Metazoo with Particular Reference to the Species Homo
sapiens. 1942 pamphlet. The thesis with which Wells, at 85, won a doctorate
from London University.
§4. A Memorandum on the Relation of Mathematics, Music, Moral and Aesthetic
Values, Chess and Similar Intellectual Elaborations to the Reality underlying
Phenomena. In Wells's neo-nominalism, mathematics cannot accurately reflect the
§5. A Memorandum on Survival. On the survival or failure to survive of
species in general and Man in particular. Incorporates material also used in the
1945 edition of #63 and in #113.
#112. The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life. 1945 (47ap); see #113.
Autobiographical fantasy: conversations with Jesus on disciples, a hymn of hate
against sycamores (cf the megatheria of #76), and a visit to Elysium.
#113. Mind at the End of Its Tether. 1945 (35ap); US 1946 (with 112); UK 1968
(with #112, edited with an introduction by G. P. Wells, as The Last Books of H.
G. Wells). §§1-3 announce that "the end of everything we call life is
close at hand and cannot be evaded"; §§5-8, not wholly consistent with
this announcement, are from the 1945 edition of #63 and also, in part, from
Back to Home