A Year: Day to Day Men: 21st of September

Green Drawstring Shorts

September 21, 1866 was the birthdate of English author Herbert George Wells.

In 1890 Herbert George Wells earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of London External Program and began teaching science.. Wells’ first published work was a “Text-Book of Biology” in two volumes in 1893. After leaving his teaching position,  H. G. Wells began to write short humorous articles for journals such as  “The Pall Mall Gazette”, which he later collected and published in two volumes, “Selected Conversations with an Uncle” in 1895 and “Certain Personal Matters” in 1897. His success with these shorter pieces encouraged him to write book-length work, leading to his first novel, “The Time Machine” in 1895.

H.G. Wells married Amy Robbins, one of his former students, and moved to a rented house in Woking, Surrey where they stayed for a short time. It was during this eighteen month period of time in 1895 to 1896 that he was perhaps the most productive and creative in his writing career. While staying there, Wells wrote “The War of the Worlds”, completed “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, wrote and published “The Wonderful Visit” and “The Wheels of Chance”. He also began writing two other books, “When the Sleeper Wakes” and “Love and Mr. Lewisham”.

Wells’ approach to science fiction, with his personal rules of writing,  was one of the major contributions to the genre. In his opinion, the author should always strive to make the story as credible as possible, even if the reader and the writer knew certain elements were impossible, thus causing a suspension of disbelief. Wells also thought there should be a sense of realism to the concepts and the story should contain only a single extraordinary assumption. Detail was imperative and adherence to the hypothesis of the story should be rigorous.

Prior to 1933, Wells’s books were widely read in Germany and Austria, and most of his science fiction works had been translated shortly after its publication. By 1933, he had attracted the attention of German officials because of his criticism of the political situation in Germany. On May 10th of 1933, Wells’s books were burned by the Nazi Youth in Berlin’s public square, and his works were banned from libraries and book stores.

Wells, as president of Poets, Essayists and Novelists International, angered the Nazis by overseeing the expulsion of the German PEN club from the international body following the German PEN’s refusal to admit non-Aryan writers to its membership. At a PEN conference in Ragusa, Croatia, Wells refused to yield to Nazi sympathizers who demanded that the exiled Ernest Toller, a German left-wing Expressionist playwright, be prevented from speaking.

Near the end of the World War II, Allied forces discovered that the Schutzstaffel (SS) had compiled lists of people slated for immediate arrest during the invasion of Britain in the abandoned Operation Sea Hunt, with Wells included in the alphabetical list of “The Black Book” to be placed into the custody of the Gestapo.

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