Science Fiction Studies

#19 = Vol. 6, No. 3 = November 1979

David Y. Hughes

Criticism in English of H.G. Wells's Science Fiction: A Select Annotated Bibliography*

[* This work was compiled as part of research project instigated by Professors M. Angenot and D. Suvin and funded by a Québec FCAC grant.]

This bibliography represents a sifting of hundreds of articles on Wells's SF and of all books in English containing one or more chapters on Wells. The end date is 1977, with a few items for 1978, and the beginning in theory dates back to the 1890s. In practice, the early reviews have been extensively catalogued in nos. 29 and 72 and representative samplings reprinted in no. 7. Furthermore, critical interest in Wells lapsed after 1915 with few exceptions for 45 years, until Anthony West, Bernard Bergonzi, and Warren Wagar revived it. Accordingly, the bibliography lists only 18 items from before 1960, only 3 of which have not been reprinted in or after 1960. So much of the best about Wells's SF and utopias has been produced so recently.                

Other criteria governing selection: excluded are standard background texts like Brian Aldiss's Billion Year Spree, J.0. Bailey's Pilgrims through Space and Time, Leo J. Henkin's Darwinism in the English Novel, Lewis Mumford's The Story of Utopias, and Marjorie Nicolson's Voyages to the Moon (to name representative titles), though I.F. Clarke's Voices Prophesying War is included because the strong influence of the "imaginary war" upon Wells is a relatively recent re-discovery. Most biographies are excluded unless based on primary sources, as are memoirs and familiar essays like C. P. Snow's in Variety of Men or Peter Quennell's in The Singular Preference. Excluded, too, are extra-literary bibliographies on Wells, e.g., in radio, television, film, and stage, though items such as nos. 24, 36, 37, 44, 46, 48, 53, and 55 testify to the extent and vitality of Wells's non-literary and pop-cult connections. Another excluded category: items dealing solely with Wells's literary influence upon others (but not those dealing with others' influence upon him, nor those discussing facets of Wells's opus that permitted transmission of his influence on a sufficiently new or broad scale). Finally, many recent items are excluded as insignificant, derivative, or in some cases superseded by still later work.               

None of Wells's self-assessments are listed (this being a secondary bibliography). Yet one could not do better than begin a critical investigation by reading the relevant prefaces. Accordingly, the following are recommended: Wells's prefaces to A Modern Utopia, 1905 (London: Chapman & Hall, and NY: Scribner), The Country of the Blind, 1911 (London: Nelson), the volumes of the Atlantic Edition, 1924-1927 (London: Unwin, and NY: Scribner), The Time Machine, 1931 (NY: Random), and The Scientific Romances of H.G. Wells, 1933 (London: Gollancz), as well as self-evaluations in the opening chapter of The Future in America, 1906 (London & NY: Harper) and in various (well-indexed) passages of Experiment in Autobiography 1933 (London: Gollancz, and, 1934, NY: Macmillan).               

The following abbreviations are used: FMM — The First Men in the Moon; IDM — The Island of Dr. Moreau; IM — The Invisible Man; MU — A Modern Utopia; TM — The Time Machine; WSW — When the Sleeper Wakes; WW — The War of the Worlds.

1-4 Bibliographies
                1. Hammond, John R. Herbert George Wells: An Annotated Bibliography of his Works. 1977 (NY & London: Garland; 257 p.). — Within each of the following groupings the listing is chronological: novels; romances; short stories; essays; non-fiction books; pamphlets; collected editions; other editions; posthumously published works; printed collections of letters; prefaces to books by others; contributions to books by others; published "picshuas" by Wells. Appendices include a chronological checklist, a brief secondary bibliography, and a skeleton outline of the Bromley and University of Illinois Wells holdings. A title index to Wells follows. These groupings are arbitrary and confusing, and unreprinted writings are not listed at all. But this is the most up to date and (for the years since publication of no. 4) the most complete bibliography.
                2. Hughes, David Y., and Robert M. Philmus. "The Early Science Journalism of H.G. Wells." 1973 (SFS, 1:98-114). 1975 (enlarged, minus prefatory essay, as "A Selective Bibliography [with abstracts] of H.G. Wells's Science Journalism, 1887-1901," pp. 229-44 of no. 67). 1977 (same as no. 67 but with prefatory essay restored, pp. 191-222 of no. 8). —  The prefatory essay classifies the entries under education and popularization, wonders and mysteries of science, and unorthodox speculations. A high proportion of the entries relates directly to Wells's SF, and about 30 of the total 95 are fresh attributions.
                3. Mullen, Richard D. "The Books and Principal Pamphlets of H.G. Wells: A Chronological Survey"' 1973 (SFS, 1:114-35). 1977 (rev. as "An Annotated Survey of Books and Pamphlets by H.G. Wells," pp. 223-68 of no. 8). — Provides an excellent schematic key to Wells's SF novels and short stories (plus the rest of his opus) through classification, with cross-referencing, into such categories as biological SF, psychic SF, SF in a delusional fantasy frame, "eucatastrophe" (the Wellsian beneficent catastrophe), and the like; listings are chronological, with correlations.
                4. Wells, Geoffrey H. The Works of H.G. Wells: 1887-1925: A Bibliography, Dictionary, and Subject-Index. 1926 (London: Routledge; 274p.). — Largely superseded by no. 1, but still invaluable for the synoptic dictionary of characters and works (even quite trifling unreprinted items) all cross-referenced to the subject index.

5-8. Collections of Critical Essays
                5. Bergonzi, Bernard, ed. H.G. Wells. 1976 (Twentieth Century Views, 127; Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Spectrum/Prentice-Hall; 182p.).—Has "Introduction" and bibliography; 7 essays comprising or contained in nos. 20, 22, 26, 32, 62, 70, 82; and 3 essays of insufficient relevance to Wells's SF: David Lodge, "Tono-Bungay and the Condition of England"; Lucille Hubert, ''Tono-Bungay: Tradition and Experiment"; Gloria G. Fromm, "Through the Novelist's Looking Glass."
                6. McConnell, Frank D., ed. H.G. Wells: "The Time Machine"; "The War of the Worlds": A Critical Edition. 1977 (NY: Oxford, 455p.). — Based on bad copy-texts (bowdlerized text of WW: see David Y. Hughes, "McConnell's 'Critical Edition' of TM and WW," SFS, 4:194-95); also has Wells's 1891 essay, "The Rediscovery of the Unique" (also in no. 67). Contains "Introduction," textual apparatus; 7 essays comprising or contained in nos. 12, 20, 22, 29, 35, 39, 83; an essay, "The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds:  Parable and Possibility in H.G. Wells" (pp. 345-66) by McConnell and Samuel L. Hynes, about ecology as metaphor in TM and WW; three early reviews of TM and WW (also in no. 7); Wells on TM, from Experiment in Autobiography, 1934 (NY: Macmillan; pp. 436-37); and Jean-Pierre Vernier on TM, from H.G. Wells et son temps (excerpt trans. McConnell), 1971 (Rouen: U. de Rouen/Didier; pp. 119-25).
                7. Parrinder, Patrick, ed. H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage. 1972 (The Critical Heritage Series: London & Boston: Routledge; 351 p.). — Contains nos. 9, 11, 38, 54, 64, 85; about 30 other signed and unsigned reviews of the SF up through In the Days of the Comet; other Wells criticism; bibliographies, indexes. Indispensable for the critical backgrounds.
                8. Suvin, Darko, with Robert M. Philmus, eds. H.G. Wells and Modern Science Fiction. 1977 (Lewisberg: Bucknell, and London: Associated U. Presses; 279 p.). — Contains index; brief bibliography; nos. 2, 3, 37, 49, 59, 63, 76, 78, 79; and 3 other essays: Howard Fink, "Coming up for Air: Orwell's Ambiguous Satire on the Wellsian Utopia"; Sakyo Komatsu, "H.G. Wells and Japanese Science Fiction"; Robert M. Philmus, "Wells and Borges and the Labyrinths of Time."

9-24. Overviews (after 1930) of the SF/Utopian Opus
                9. Borges, Jorge Luis. "The First Wells." 1946 ("El Primer Wells," Los Añales de Buenos Aires, Sept., 1:20-22). 1964 (pp. 86-88 of Other Inquisitions: 1937-1952, trans. Ruth L.C. Simms; Austin: U. Texas Press; rpt 1972 as pp. 330-32 of no.7). — The "first" Wells, narrator of some "atrocious miracles" (TM, IDM, IM, FMM), wrote stories "symbolic of processes that are inherent in all human destinies" while his art was such as to "appear to be ignorant of all symbolism." But the later Wells would "propagate doctrines."
                10. Caudwell, Christopher [Christopher St. John Sprigg]. "H.G. Wells: A Study in Utopianism." 1938 (pp. 73-95 of his Studies in a Dying Culture, London: Lane; rpt 1971, NY: Monthly Review Press). — Petit bourgeois Wells from a functionless class outside the action of historical change is doomed to imagine change by mental fiat (as in MU) divorced from the proletariat, "the dreadful Morlocks whom one must kill blindly." See no. 17.
                11. Eliot, T. S. "Wells as journalist." 1940 (New English Weekly, Feb. 8, 16: 237-38; rpt 1972 as pp. 319-22 of no. 7). — Beginning at the exact historical moment, Wells put to use his "advantages of education" in science and became a popular entertainer, still (1940) reaching readers of all classes like no younger writer; and with science he fused "an imagination of a very high order" (Eliot cites "Country of the Blind" and the description of the lunar sunrise). See nos. 55, 64.
                12. Hillegas, Mark R. The Future as Nightmare: H.G. Wells and the Anti-Utopians. 1967 (NY: Oxford; 200p.). — The major modem antiutopians are twice-descended from Wells: both from his early pessimistic SF as conscious or unconscious inspiration and from his utopias as target for satire. Forster, Zamyatin, Huxley, Orwell, Lewis, Vonnegut are shown by means of scores of quotations and summaries all to be descended from Wells and often to have influenced each other. This important study is strictly content-oriented.
                13. Hughes, David Y. "Bergonzi and after in the Criticism of Wells's SF." 1976 (SFS, 3: 165-74). — Traces and analyzes the literary criticism of Wells's early SF in nos. 5, 12, 16, 29, 62, 68.
                14. Kagarlitski, Julius. The Life and Thought of H.G. Wells. Trans. Moura Budberg, 1966 (London: Sidgwick & Jackson; 21Op.). — This "biography of Wells the writer" by his Russian editor gives much space to all SF through The World Set Free (1914), a survey limited by provincial and doctrinaire concerns yet close to Wells's thought and art. No index or bibliography.
                15. Lemire, Eugene D. "H.G. Wells and the World of Science Fiction." 1967 (University of Windsor Review, H.G. Wells Centennial Issue, 2: 59-66). — The threefold impulse of the early SF was "to entertain simply, to teach ironically, to describe objectively, " but as Wells shifted towards "the complete dominance of the teacher" (no longer ironic) his imaginative power was "unabated": The Food of the Gods proves this on grounds of both character and "myth." A spirited counterblast to no. 29.
                16. MacKenzie, Norman and Jeanne. H.G. Wells: A Biography. 1973 (NY: Simon & Schuster, and London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson [as The Time Traveller: The Life of H.G. Wells]; 487.). — The indispensable biography based on "unrestricted access to the Wells Archive" at the University of Illinois. Wells's life and art — here treated interchangeably — are read as a straightforward extension of his mother's fudamentalist religion via T.H. Huxley into visions of Darwinian apocalypse. Contains bibliographies.
                17. Morton, Arthur L. "Cellophane Utopia." 1952 (pp. 183-94 of his The English Utopia, London: Lawrence & Wishart). — Marxist analysis of "this jungle of empiricism" i.e., all of Wells's utopias. To Wells, mass man is "radically irredeemable," Samurai, Open Conspirators, Airmen, and other Saviors notwithstanding. See no. 10.
                18. Orwell, George. "Wells, Hitler and the World State." 1941 (Horizon, Aug. 44:133-39; rpt 1968 as pp. 139-45, Vol. 2 of The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell, ed. Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, London: Secker & Warburg, NY: Harcourt). — Wells is too much a sane 19th-century man to see that although "the antithesis between science and reaction was not false" in his youth, it is now. Nazi Germany, though governed by "creatures out of the Dark Ages," nonetheless resembles a Wellsian utopia in many physical ways — "the steel, the concrete, the aeroplanes. "
                19. Philmus, Robert M. "Revisions of his Past: Wells's Anatomy of Frustration." 1978 (Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 20:249-66). — Links form and theme throughout Wells's opus; looks backward from The Anatomy of Frustration (1936) — which provides the conceptual scheme — and argues the correlative unity of the "two" Wellses (disinterested artist versus journalist and world organizer), so often discerned by critics. Emphasizes the periods 1895-1910 and 1930-1940, in particular the early science journalism and SF, the early novels, and the late novels.
                20. Pritchett, V.S. "The Scientific Romances." 1946 (pp. 122-29 of his The Living Novel, London: Chatto & Windus; rpt 1976 as pp. 32-38 of no. 5). — In TM, IDM, WW, "the destructive, ruthless" Wells of fires and fist fights far outshines the later Wells of "a dream world of plans." Behind both Wellses was the magic of science, but in the end he ignored the "rooted, inner life of men and women," through which they survived the disorders he foresaw.
                21. Wagar, W. Warren. H.G. Wells and the World State. 1961 (New Haven: Yale U. Press; 301 p.). — An exposition in terms of intellectual history of the Wellsian blueprint for attaining to the world state. Also a detailed discussion and criticism of the ideas on which Wells's social thought was based (pp. 60-118), including his debt to 19th-century science; this latter exposition is one of the best introductions to Wells's thought (see also nos. 22, 25, 35,45).
                22. West, Anthony. "H.G. Wells." 1957 (Encounter, Feb., 8:52-59; rev. as "The Dark World of H.G. Wells," Harper's Magazine, May 1957, 21:468-73; rev. further as pp. 3-25 of his Principles and Persuasions [1958], London: Eyre & Spottiswoode [not in the NY: Harcourt edn.]; this last rpt 1976 as pp. 8-24 of no. 5). — The "progressive" Wells of middle life evaded the question, "what can be done with human nature as it is," by imagining that men may be giants or gods because human nature is "infinitely" plastic. But the early and late Wells — the real Wells — answered bluntly, "nothing," and he specially distrusted that progressivist implement, the liberated intellect (as shown, e.g., in the Martians, Selenites, Invisible Man, Ostrog in WSW, and Prendick in IDM). This influential essay countered the Leavis-Orwell view, "crass Wellsianism," and was soon affirmed by Bergonzi.
                23. West, Geoffrey [Geoffrey H. Wells]. H.G. Wells. A Sketch for a Portrait. 1930 (London: Gerald Howe: 316p.). — Still a lively account, more biographical than literary, but carefully researched from talks with Wells, use of his private files, and intimate familiarity with his writings (see no. 4).
                24. Wykes, Alan. H.G. Wells in the Cinema. 1977 (London: Jupiter Books; 176p.). — Much-illustrated popular account of film adaptations, with a chronological appendix of the films discussed (1909-1977).

25-85. Particular Studies on One Work or a Group of Works
                25. Anonymous. "The Ideas of Mr. H.G. Wells." 1908 (Quarterly Review, Apr., 208:472-90). — Comprehensive review article, valuable as a Christian-conservative view of Wells's opus to 1908 and especially of TM, including its sources.
                26. Bellamy, William. The Novels of Wells, Bennett and Galsworthy: 1890-1910. 1971 (NY: Barnes & Noble; 257p.). See especially pp. 1-70 and 114-43 (the latter, as "Wells as Edwardian" rpt no. 5). — Incisive "Rieffian" analysis (i.e., neo-Freudian). Before 1900 Wells elaborated metaphors of post-Darwinian "cultural crisis": time travel, bestiality, invisibility. After 1900 he shifts from "deterministic-conformative" to "therapeutic-transformative." The vegetative uprising of FMM signals the new mode. By 1906, In the Days of the Comet very deliberately moves from "pressurized fin de siècle time", to "post-1900 redeemed time" after the apocalyptic comet alters human psychology. Also treats the non-SF to 1910.
                27. Bennett, Arnold. "The Invisible Man." 1897 (Woman, Sept. 29, No. 405: 9). 1960 (pp. 258-59 of Arnold Bennett and H.G. Wells: A Record of a Personal and a Literary Friendship, ed. Harris Wilson, Urbana: U. Illinois Press). — The author of IM is a student of science and a student of character who has fused the two and achieved "poetry."
                28. Bennett, Arnold. "Herbert George Wells and his Work." 1902 (Cosmopolitan Magazine, Aug., 33:465-71). 1960 (pp. 260-76 of Arnold Bennett and H.G. Wells; see no. 27). — Derides "the English Jules Verne" thesis and finds Wells's gift to be either prophecy or "in the nature of prophecy."
                29. Bergonzi, Bernard. The Early H.G. Wells: A Study of the Scientific Romances. 1961 (Manchester: Manchester U. Press, and Toronto: U. Toronto Press; 226p.). See no. 32. — The first study exclusively of Wells's SF (through 1901). Contains bibliographies and the texts of "The Chronic Argonauts" (1888) and "A Tale of the Twentieth Century" (1887). Combines historical view with close readings of TM, The Wonderful Visit, IDM, IM, WW, and representative short stories. Readings of WSW and FMM are scanty. The utopias and later SF are ignored. The early Wells is the "real" Wells (see A. West, no. 22). This is still the basic survey of the early SF despite tendentiousness and blindness to the centrality of science in Wells.
                30. Bergonzi, Bernard. "Introduction." 1967 (pp. xiii-xviii of The [sic: blank space] Man, NY: Limited Editions Club). — IM blends myth/science, alchemy/positivism, tragedy/farce, and underground(super)man/law-and-order. Reworks ideas in no. 29.
                31. Bergonzi, Bernard . "The Publication of The Time Machine, 1894-5." 1960 (Review of English Studies, 11:42-51). 1971 (rpt in SF: The Other Side of Realism, ed. Thomas D. Clareson, Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green U. Popular Press). — Traces the complex history of TM's versions and shows Wells's "artistic scrupulosity." See also nos. 67, 69.
                32. Bergonzi, Bernard. "The Time Machine: An Ironic Myth." 1960 (Critical Quarterly, 2: 293-305). 1961 (rev. as pp. 16-18 and 42-61 of no. 29). 1976 (1960 version rpt in no. 5). — TM's structural principle is union of polarities: 1) exotic narrative/"clubman" audience; 2) paradisal upper world/demonic lower world (with images of pastoralism/ technology, capitalism/labor, contemplation/action, beauty/ugliness, light/darkness; 3) Victorian Londoner/802, 701; 4) 802, 701/the year thirty million. Bergonzi cumulates the ironies by following the story-line and by linking the polarities at each step historically to the 1890s.
                33. Bergonzi, Bernard. "Wells, Fiction, and Politics." 1973 (pp. 99-113 of his The Turn of a Century: Essays on Victorian and Modern English Literature, London: Macmillan, and NY: Harper & Row). — Compares Wells as sociological analyst and as novelist, using as examples MU and The New Machiavelli.
                34. Bowen, Roger. "Science, Myth, and Fiction in H.G.Wells's Island of Dr. Moreau. " 1976 (Studies in the Novel, 8: 318-35). - Mythic and alchemical models e.g., Circe's Isle, Frankenstein's laboratory, the hell of Spenser and Milton as "house of endless [or 'dismal'] pain" — such models coalesce in IDM with scientific models like Darwin's Galapagos Islands, "laboratory" and "archive" of evolution.
                35. Brooks, Van Wyck. The World of H.G. Wells. 1915 (NY: Kennerley, and London: Unwin; rpt 1970, St. Clair Shores, MI: Scholarly Press; 185p.; pp. 19-39 rpt in no. 7; pp. 153-59 and 166-73 rpt in no. 6). — First major attempt to survey Wells's career and opus. Socialism is the cognitive and affective center of his art, an art of ideas; the SF is included but little discussed save MU and The Food of the Gods.
                36. Cantril, Hadley. The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic. With the Complete Script of the Famous Orson Welles Broadcast. 1940 (Princeton: Princeton U. Press; rpt 1966 with new preface, pp. vi-viii, by Cantril, NY: Torchbook/ Harper; 224p.). — The starting point for media studies, e.g., nos. 44, 53.
                37. Chernysheva, Taryana. "The Folktale, Wells, and Modern Science Fiction."  1977 (pp. 35-47 of no. 8). — Argues that Wells's SF mediates between the naive material transformationalism of folktale and willed material transformationalism of modern SF. Draws examples from Russian and Western European fiction.
                38. Chesterton, G.K. "Mr. H.G. Wells and the Giants." 1905 (pp. 68-91 of his Heretics, London: Lane; rpt 1950, NY: Devin-Adair; substantially rpt as pp. 103-09 of no. 7). — Claims Wells is all measurement in lieu of value: a gigantic giant is a good giant; nobody in utopia asks more than his share and the question is "whether his share will be delivered by motor car or balloon."
                39. Clarke, Igantius F. Voices Prophesying War: 1763-1984. 1966 (London, NY, Toronto: Oxford; 254p.). — Places Wells in the tradition of the "imaginary war," popularized first by Chesney's Battle of Dorking (1871): WW's imaginary war is "the perfect nineteenth century myth" of the type. Includes exhaustive bibliographies of the genre.
                40. Collins, Christopher. "Zamyatin, Wells and the Utopian Literary Tradition. " 1966 (Slavonic and East European Review, 44:351-60). — Knowing the corpus of Wells's predictive writings and also most of Wells's precursors from Plato on, Zamyatin assimilates all into the upward dialectic of We. See no. 63 and contrast nos. 12, 47.
                41. Eisenstein, Alex. "The Time Machine and the End of Man." 1976 (SFS, 3:161-65). — The end of human evolution in the early Wells's view is all brain or all stomach.
                42. Eisenstein, Alex. "Very Early Wells: Origins of Some Major Physical Motifs in  The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds." 1972 (Extrapolation, 13:119-26). The "origins" lie in Wells's childhood reading and living arrangements.
                43. Eisenstein, Alex; Darko Suvin; et al. "Wells, Verne, and Science." 1974, 1975 (SFS, 1:305-07; 2:195-96). — An exchange largely on the scientific "credibility" of Cavorite (FMM).
                44. Gilbert, James B. "Wars of the Worlds." 1976 (Journal of Popular Culture, 10:326-36). — Compares WW as novel, radio broadcast, and movie. See nos. 24, 36, 53.
                45. Hillegas, Mark R. "Cosmic Pessimism in H.G. Wells's Scientific Romances." 1961 (Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, 46:655-63). — Traces the outlook of TM, IDM, IM, WW, and FMM to the "pessimism of T.H. Huxley about the outcome of the cosmic or evolutionary process" in nature and human nature.
                46. Hillegas, Mark R. "Martians and Mythmakers: 1877-1938." 1970 (pp. 150-77 of Challenges in American Culture, ed. Ray B. Browne, et al, Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green U. Popular Press). — Traces the career of Mars in fiction (following Schiaparelli's discovery of the "canali" in 1877) through Lasswitz, Wells, Burroughs, and Lewis to its disappearance c. 1938.
                47. Hillegas, Mark R. "Introduction." 1967 (pp. v-xxiv of his ed. of MU, Lincoln: U. Nebraska Press). — Wells "sums up and clarifies the utopias of the past" in an imaginative pre-vision of the modern welfare state. See no. 40.
                48. Hillegas, Mark R. "Victorian 'Extraterrestrials.'" 1975 (pp. 391-414 of The Worlds of Victorian Fiction, Harvard English Studies 6, ed. Jerome H. Buckley, Cambridge: Harvard U. Press). — Surveys "the journey to another world in space" in the 19th century as keyed to the idea of progress-through-science-and-technology, with important sections on Verne and on the paradoxical culmination of the idea in the imperialist investment of earth by Martians and in FMM's intelligent lunar ant-heap.
                49. Hughes, David Y. "The Garden in Wells's Early Science Fiction." 1977 (pp. 48-9 of no. 8). — In the early SF the presiding metaphor is biological: a garden: the self-ordering garden of nature. This proposition is traced in TM, IDM, WW, and FMM through specific imagery in them and in Darwin and Huxley.
                50. Hughes, David Y. "H.G. Wells and the Charge of Plagiarism." 1966 (Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 21:85-90). — Unpublished correspondence shows The Wonderful Visit was not "plagiarized" (as no. 14 claims) and anyway "inventions" are cheap in SF and their uses matter more.
                51. Hughes, David Y. "H.G. Wells: Ironic Romancer." 1965 (Extrapolation, 6:32-38). — Traces ironic use of progressivist science sources in some early short stories.
                52. Hughes, David Y. "The Mood of A Modern Utopia." 1977 (Extrapolation, 19:59-67). — Wells's "therapeutic" use of the subjunctive and of the framing narratives. See no. 26.
                53. Hughes, David Y. "The War of the Worlds in the Yellow Press." 1966 (Journalism Quarterly, 43:639-46). — Anatomizes unauthorized versions of WW (before book publication) in the New York and Boston press, which set the story in local environs and deleted the non-action passages, yet printed the artilleryman's grandiose schemes for the first time (added by Wells too late for inclusion in the authorized serial versions); with illustrations.
                54. Lawrence, T.E. Unsigned review of The Short Stories of H.G. Wells,1927, London: Benn. 1927 (Spectator, 140:268-69; rpt 1972 as pp. 310-14 of no. 7). — Of 63 tales, 32 are "of mankind, familiar" (non-SF) and 31 are "of the stars" (SF), whether futurities, inventions, aberrations of nature, or aberrations of personality. Wells is a "general practitioner" in diseases who is sure of the "sane core."
                55. Locke, George. "Wells in Three Volumes? A Sketch of British Publishing in the Nineteenth Century." 1976 (SFS, 3:282-86). — Traces the demise of the three-decker novel with the rise of the "shilling shocker" and the mass circulation magazines, and infers
that, without that publishing revolution, so congenial to SF's "fiction of idea," Wells would
probably have moved rather quickly into novels of the scope of Kipps and cut short his SF
                56. Lodge, David. "Utopia and Criticism: the Radical Longing for Paradise." 1971 (pp. 221-36 of his The Novelist at the Crossroads and Other Essays on Fiction and Criticism, Ithaca, NY: Cornell U. Press). — Describes the "literary symptoms" of the change from pessimism to optimism begun with FMM and completed in MU; then limns the "adequate" critic of utopias and SF: one versed in literary forms and their history. See no. 80.
                57. Morton, Peter R. "Biological Degeneration: A Motif in H. B. [sic] Wells and Other Late Victorian Utopianists." 1976 (Southern Review [Australia], 9:93-112). — Ranges broadly in Victorian backgrounds (Ruskin, Hardy, Huxley, Darwin, Hudson, Morris). Argues the prime force of biological metaphor in Wells's art, especially in TM, and claims at the same time that that art "assimilates and transcends all earlier Victorian utopias." Useful synthesis.
                58. Mullen, Richard D. "H.G. Wells and Victor Rousseau Emanuel: When the Sleeper Wakes and The Messiah of the Cylinder." 1967 (Extrapolation, 8:31-63). — This essay first sets forth the three strands of WSW ("a satire on laissez-faire capitalism," "a romance," "a Darwinist criticism of the Marxist view of the future"), then traces these elements variously from Bellamy through Wells and Emanuel to 1984; also defends WSW as art (contrast no. 29).
                59. Mullen, Richard D. "'I Told You So': Wells's Last Decade, 1936-1945." 1977 (pp. 116-25 of no. 8). — Labels Wells's continuing formal experiments in his last years as "scientific fiction": part fantasy, part realism. What binds the works together is 1) his lifelong theme, the destiny of man, and 2) his special theme in his old age, frustration: whether rooted in sex, love of aggression, class hatreds, or the world's incomprehensibility. (Aside from the aberration of Mind at the End of its Tether, the war enters this scheme as a local hopeful agency of change rather than doom.) See no. 19.

                60. Orwell, George. Chapter 12, pp. 218-48 of his The Road to Wigan Pier. 1937 (London: Gollancz; rpt 1962, NY: Harcourt). — Surveys The Dream, Men Like Gods, WSW, and "A Story of the Days to Come" to show the inconsistency of the idea that mechanical progress, which tends to make the environment "soft and safe" and people presumably "fat-bellied" and morally indolent, could ever nurture men like gods.
                61. Ower, John. "Theme and Technique in H.G. Wells's 'The Star.'" 1977 (Extrapolation, 18:167-75). — This close reading (teaching tool) analyzes Wells's binocular vision of Newtonian science/mythopoeic awe following the advent of a new star in the heavens.
                62. Parrinder, Patrick. H.G.Wells. 1970 (Writers and Critics Series; Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 120 p.; rpt 1977, with updated bibliographies, NY: Capricorn/Putnam; 118 p.). — An integrated study of Wells through 1912. Employs biographical, historical, thematic, and structural approaches, as need be, for a versatile literary-critical analysis in brief compass (but scants MU). Goes beyond Bergonzi (no. 29) by recognizing the importance of science to Wells's early SF and by regarding his work after 1900 seriously, so that the "early Wells" can be looked back at.
                63. Parrinder, Patrick. "Imagining the Future: Wells and Zamyatin." 1973 (SFS, 1: 17-26; rpt as pp. 126-43 of no. 8). — A study in contrastive SF models. Wells confronts the future and reports like a journalist, and that is so even if the narrator (like Graham of WSW) actively shares the fate of the alien world. Zamyatin, more politically committed, attempts to write We "through the medium of the future consciousness, and even the future language."
                64. Parrinder, Patrick. "Introduction." 1972 (pp. 1-31 of his H.G. Wells: The Critical Heritage; see no. 7). — Gives useful historical and critical linkages underlying the early critiques and reviews of Wells. Connects his rise to the rise of mass communication and mass entertainment via the press and the publishing trade. See nos. 11, 55.
                65. Parrinder, Patrick. "News from Nowhere, The Time Machine, and the Breakup of Classical Realism." 1976 (SFS, 3:265-74). — The aetiology of TM runs back to Morris's "Nowhere" (on which TM is a "visionary satire") and thence to the scavenger/dust-heap world of Our Mutual Friend (upon which "Nowhere" is an Arcadian retort). This raises questions about the ingredients of literary "realism" and their recombinations.
                66. Philmus, Robert M. "H.G. Wells as Literary Critic for the Saturday Review."1977 (SFS, 4:166-93). — If the 92 reviews abstracted here rarely bear directly on the SF, they do declare a "reiterated and hierarchical preference for the novel over the romance" at the very time Wells was writing his SF, because he thought the novel a superior vehicle of social criticism.
                67. Philmus, Robert M., and David Y. Hughes, eds., H.G. Wells: Early Writings in Science and Science Fiction. 1975 (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: U. California Press; 249 p.). With bibliography of unreprinted science journalism; see no. 2. — Anthologizes 26 early unreprinted science essays and the National Observer and parts of the New Review versions of TM. Apparatus includes textual and explanatory notes, a general introduction, and a special introduction to each of five subsequent divisions.
                68. Philmus, Robert M. Into the Unknown: The Evolution of Science Fiction from Francis Godwin to H.G. Wells. 1970 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U. California Press; 174 p.). — Inquires into SF's rhetorical strategies, with many examples. As to Wells, his SF is "public," i.e., it "interpret[s] sectors of historical actuality through mythic displacement." Thus, WW elevates piracy (empire, aggression) into a cosmic principle and then renders the pirates pirated by microbes. IM is a myth about the uses of power by individuals (Griffin) and society (Dr. Kemp). IDM is a myth that "deflects" Darwin so as to explain not man's origins but his present nature. FMM is a "prophetic myth of the formicary." (For TM, see no. 70).
                69. Philmus, Robert M. "Revisions of the Future: The Time Machine." 1976 (Journal of General Education, 28:23-30; expanded from "Revisions of the Future," pp. 47-56 of no. 67). — Demonstrates the complementarity of themes in the different early drafts of TM and how Wells wove them together in the final (Heinemann) version. See no. 31.
                70. Philmus, Robert M. "The Time Machine: or, the Fourth Dimension as Prophecy." 1969 (PMLA, 84:530-35; rev. as pp. 69-78 of no. 68; further rev. as "The Logic of 'Prophecy' in The Time Machine," pp. 56-68 of no. 5). — The credibility of the "clubmen" to whom the time traveler tells his vision carries over to the vision itself. First, the reader and the traveler come to view the world of 802,701 as ironically attached to the present (as the result to cause) by precisely the attitudes displayed by this audience. Then the traveler disappears forever into the time-dimension which, therefore, is as "real" as the traveler himself or as the audience that doubted it.
                71. Platzner, Robert L. "H.G. Wells's 'Jungle Book': The Influence of Kipling on The Island of Dr. Moreau." 1969 (Victorian Newsletter, 36:19-22). — "Kipling's sequestered world of beast and man affirms natural intimacies but never questions identities," but Wells's island world of beast/man is a "reconciliation" that threatens mere bestiality. Fear of "eruption of animal instinct" continued strong in Wells and escaping it was later the burden of his utopias.
                72. Raknem, Ingvald. H.G. Wells and his Critics. 1962 (Oslo & London: Allen &Unwin; 475p.). — Still valuable for generous listings of early reviews and other fugitive pieces about Wells. The "plagiarism" charge is not one to take seriously (see no. 50).
                73. Scheick, William J. "The Fourth Dimension in Wells's Novels of the 1920's."  1978 (Criticism, 20:167-90). — After 1920 (in, e.g., The Dream, Men Like Gods, Mr. Blettsworthy on Rampole Island), Wells's "search for form" led him into fragmenting, polarizing, parodying the formal conventions of fiction in a deliberate attempt by these means to forge a dialectic of "emergent" (rather than timeless) perceptions, which would be generated within the process of reading the work and would point the reader constantly outside it.
                74. Strauss, Sylvia. "Women in 'Utopia.'" 1976 (South Atlantic Quarterly, 75: 115-31).  — Wells, Bellamy, and Morris declined to admit either women or the proletariat to full equality in their bourgeois utopias; Wells's own Ann Veronica of 1909 would be intolerable in 1905 in MU.
                75. Sussman. Herbert L. "The Machine and the Future: H.G. Wells." 1968 (pp. 162-93 of his Victorians and the Machine: The Literary Response to Technology, Cambridge: Harvard U. Press). — Beginning with "the mechanized society humanized" (MU), this study works backward into SF novels and short stories (e.g. "The Lord of the Dynamos") where "the machine serves as both cause and symbol" of social exploitation as well as of the scientific amorality of the intellect. Within this frame is a largely expository discussion of TM, WSW, FMM.
                76. Suvin, Darko. "A Grammar of Form and a Criticism of Fact: The Time Machine as a Structural Model of Science Fiction." 1973 (Comparative Literature Studies, 10:334-52; rpt as pp. 90-115 of no. 8). — TM is a basic model for all later Anglophone SF structuring. In SF, power is the arbiter of fate. The paradigm of power in TM is the Social-Darwinist "anthropological vision" of "all life" as "predator and prey" — only the terms are inverted so that upper class Victorian man, represented by the time traveller, falls prey to "Homo morlockius" and then to crabs and sea-things and extinction (non-entity). Aesthetically speaking, TM's pacing, tempo, and use of folk motifs of horror are on a high level of art. Ideologically speaking, TM reduces right to might to entropy by devolution. Historically, too, the visions of More's Utopia, Swift's Houynhnhnmland, and TM are a reductive series; and it is TM's horizons that modern SF has adopted.
                77. Suvin, Darko. "H.G. Wells and Earlier SF." 1974 (SFS, 1:221-22). — Puts forward some earlier parallels (possibly sources) for TM, WW, FMM and suggests that Wells was better acquainted than hitherto supposed with "subliterary" SF. See no. 55.
                78. Suvin, Darko. "Introduction." 1977 (pp. 9-32 of no. 8; expanded from "Wells as the Turning Point of the SF Tradition," 1975; Minnesota Review, 4:106-15). — Summarizes the aims and arguments of the essays in no. 8 and goes on to evaluate and survey Wells's early SF, especially TM and FMM, the latter of which openly summarizes and recapitulates Wells's earlier works, including TM.
                79. Vernier, Jean-Pierre. "Evolution as Literary Theme in H.G. Wells's Science Fiction." 1977 (pp. 70-89 of no. 8). — To the early Wells, evolution was a "revelation that appealed directly to his imagination," rather than to intellect or ethical sense. His SF pressurizes time and space, giving rein both to evolution by mutations — radical subversions — of the mundane world, and to complex clashings between the norm (Victorian mankind) and the mutant. But simply by imagining a future, however precarious, Wells perhaps exorcizes it and at any rate defines the present. Modem SF has followed his lead.
                80. Vernier, Jean-Pierre. H.G. Wells at the Turn of the Century: From Science Fiction to Anticipation. 1973 (H.G. Wells Society Occasional Papers, No. 1, London: H.G. Wells Society; 10p.). — From his juvenilia on, Wells engaged in two different forms of intellectual activity, "ideas and fiction, the latter being a means of imagining the consequences of the former." The separation of these strands ca. 1900, one into novels, the other into anticipations, happened because of more or less fortuitous personal and social factors. See no. 56.
                81. Wagar, W. Warren. "H.G. Wells and the Radicalism of Despair." 1973 (Studies in the Literary Imagination, 6:1-10). This manifesto declares Wells an "unsubtle fabler" who, in his fictions, told the truth, namely, that the "dinosaurian tenacity" of the modem nation-state will never give way to "liberal-pacifist action" but only to revolutionists who "exploit world catastrophe" (as in The World Set Free, The Shape of Things to Come, The Holy Terror); for, when the nation state goes, "it will go Wells's way, not Gandhi's.
"                82. Weeks, Robert P. "Disentanglement as a Theme in H.G. Wells's Fiction." 1954 (Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, 39:439-44; rpt as pp. 25-31  of no. 5). — The exhilaration of the time traveller on his machine gives way to disillusionment and fear of death; and that journey is paradigmatic of Wells's fictions: a paroxysm of escape from limitations succeeds and then is frustrated. Is the key to Wells "scientific"? social? psychological? Perhaps; but understanding begins with this "special world" itself.
                83. Williamson, Jack. H.G. Wells: Critic of Progress. 1973 (Voyager Series, 107; Baltimore: Mirage Press; 162p.). — The art and ideas of Wells seen through the eyes of a fellow practitioner who encountered Wells first in his teens in Gernsback's then-new Amazing Stories. Treats Wells's early SF.
                84. Zamyatin, Evgeny. "The Genealogical Tree of H.G. Wells." Same publishing history as no. 85; trans. Mirra Ginsburg frorn 1924 version rpt in Litsa (see no. 85). — This essay states the ideas of no. 85 somewhat less successfully; but, notably, Zamyatin finds the newly published Men Like Gods disappointing. The "sugary pinkish colors" of utopia put it into utmost contrast with Wells's earlier fictions.
                85. Zamyatin, Evgeny, Herbert Wells. Pamphlet of 1922 (Petrograd: Epoka; rev. 1924 as introduction to Wells's collected works [Leningrad: Mysl']; 1924 version rpt 1955 in the collection Litsa [NY: Chekhov Publishing House]; 1924 version trans. 1970 by Mirra Ginsburg as pp. 259-90 of her A Soviet Heretic: Essays of Yevgeny Zamyatin, Chicago and London: U. Chicago Press; 1922 version trans. 1972, slightly abridged, by Lesley Milne, as pp. 258-74 of no. 7). — Overview of SF/utopias through The World Set Free (1914) as well as of other works through 1921. Wells is a creator of myths and a socialist artist. His "urban fairy tales" flourish in the "mechanical country" of 20th-century London, and just as the airplane — flying steel — "seemingly paradoxical, is logical throughout," so too "the scientific-fantastic, socio-fantastic novel" of Wells is "coupled to a logical train" on "rails of fantasy." When that fantasy (e.g., War in the Air, World Set Free) logically reduces "the whole syllogism of the old civilization" to world war, then the synthesis out of the ruins is socialist (as in the works above or In the Days of the Comet). See Hillegas (no. 12), who "discovered" this essay, so long ignored in the West.

Back to Home