Born on September 21st in 1866, Herbert George Wells was a famous English author. He is most well-known in the science fiction genre. He wrote many works such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and so many more. And today we celebrate H.G. Wells’ birthday with some interesting facts about him.
1. H.G. Wells is often considered the father of Science Fiction
Now, this fact isn’t exactly unknown but it is always worth mentioning. Many refer to him as the father of Science Fiction because of how his popular novels imagine the future. They included some predictions that seem close to accurate. He also influenced other Science Fiction authors who used his same early depictions of scientific concepts in their own works. Concepts such as time machines, time travel, aliens, air and space travel, the vast impact of technology within science, and more are now a staple of the genre.
2. He predicted the invention of the first atomic bomb
Many believe he coined the term ‘atomic bomb’ based on his novel. The World Set Free envisioned a bomb that could explode indefinitely with the use of radioactivity. He imagined a uranium-type hand grenade that dropped from planes. He published the novel in 1914 then the invention of the atomic bomb happened about 30 years later. But it was more destructive than Wells depicted. His works went on to influence scientists to research more into atomic energy.
3. Wells co-founded UK’s leading diabetes charity
Diagnosed with diabetes in his late 60s, Wells and RD Lawrence, a well-known physician, founded the British Diabetic Association. It was later renamed Diabetes UK. In a letter to The Times, he announces the creation as well as states the purpose of the association. According to the official Diabetes UK website, he stated: “the newly created charity’s aim was to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation.” The organization continues to promote and study diabetes and its proper treatment.
4. His works inspired and influenced real-life scientific advancement
Wells not only shaped the Science Fiction genre in literature, but he also helped push ideas and innovations in science through his writing. For instance, he popularized the phrase as well as the idea of a time machine when he introduced it in The Time Machine.
Readers of his work often felt encouraged to turn his ideas into reality. Robert H. Goddard read The War of the Worlds which made a deep impression on him. He then dedicated his life to studying space and space travel. It led Goddard to build and launch the first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926. And soon the first moon landing was possible which Wells also wrote about in The First Men in the Moon. There were other futuristic concepts he predicted in his novels that were later invented such as aircraft, wireless communication, a world encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia, and more can be found here.
5. His novel possibly caused mass panic because of a radio broadcast
On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles broadcasted The War of the Worlds on the radio. The beginning of the broadcast stated that it was a production by Welles and his Mercury Theater Company. Unfortunately, listeners were listening to another station. This means they were not aware of that statement when they tuned in to Welles.
It started as usual radio news then interrupted by a report of an alien invasion happening in New Jersey. It all sounded realistic because actors portrayed scared announcers and other characters. Therefore, this lead to mass panic from listeners that were unaware of this performance occurring. To read more details about it, click here.
We hope these interesting facts inspire you to read some of H.G. Wells’s many novels or even read other Science Fiction novels shaped as well as influenced by him to celebrate his birthday!
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