H. G. Wells is not only a prominent character in The Map of Time; he's also a famous novelist, sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction." Born on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, a small town southeast of London, Herbert George Wells grew up quite poor but, after an incident in 1874 in which he broke his leg and was forced to rest in bed, became an avid reader, which, later grew into a passion for writing. He attended a small local private school from the age of seven but, due to his family's financial troubles, he left at the age of 14 to become an apprentice draper (a dealer in fabrics and sewing materials).
Three years later he was fired from the job and shortly thereafter earned a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London, where he studied biology with T. H. Huxley (Aldus Huxley's grandfather) - a move that was to predict his lifelong interest in and exploration of scientific issues. He was one of the founders of The Science School Journal, a school publication that encouraged his literary inclinations.
H. G. Wells's novels - which include The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau - were quite well-known in his lifetime, and he became both a prolific and popular writer. Wells was also famous for his political views - he was a member of the socialist Fabian Society until he quarreled with George Bernard Shaw and left the group.
Throughout his lifetime, Wells remained engaged with the world of scientific ideas, many of which found their way into his fiction. Perhaps his most celebrated novel, The War of the Worlds was adapted into a radio play by Orson Welles. This tale of alien invasion, presented as a series of news reports, caused chaos among many listeners who were convinced the broadcast was real when it first aired in 1938. Wells, who was still alive at the time, was later interviewed by Orson Welles, whom he thanked for increasing sales of one of his "more obscure" works.
H. G. Wells died, just shy of his 80th birthday, on August 13, 1946 at his home in London. His works live on in numerous television and film adaptations - as well as in novels like Félix J. Palma's The Map of Time.
This article was originally published in August 2011, and has been updated for the
June 2012 paperback release.
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