H.G. Wells, pioneer of science fiction, is born on this day in Bromley, England.
Wells was born near London and received a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London. After school, he worked as a draper’s apprentice and bookkeeper before becoming a freelance writer. His lively treatment of scientific topics quickly brought him success as a writer.
In 1895, he published his classic novel The Time Machine, about a man who journeys to the future. The book was a success, as were his subsequent books The Invisible Man (1897) and The War of the Worlds (1898).
Passionately concerned about the fate of humanity, Wells joined the socialist Fabian Society but quit after a quarrel with George Bernard Shaw, another prominent member. He was involved romantically for several years with Dorothy Richardson, pioneer of stream-of-consciousness writing. In 1912, the 19-year-old writer Rebecca West reviewed his book Marriage, calling him “The Old Maid among novelists.” He asked to meet her, and the two soon embarked on an affair that lasted 10 years and produced one son, Anthony. Wells died in 1946.