New Mexico Museum of Space History
International Space Hall of Fame

Herbert George Wells

Inducted in 2014

English writer and politician who is often seen as one of the three "Fathers of Science Fiction."

Herbert George "H.G." Wells was born on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, England He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of London in 1890, but he was , to a great degree, self-educated. After working as a teacher, he began publishing an unprecedented body of work. Some of these novels and novellas are The Time Machine in 1895, The Island of Dr. Moreau the next year, the The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds in 1897, and The First Men in the Moon in 1901.

Wells next wrote several novels that prophesized some of the dangers posed to the very existence of humanity through its embrace of new technology. The plot of The World Set Free, published in 1914, centered on the used of nuclear weapons in a war that leaves Europe pocked with radioactive battlefields. In The Shape of Things to Come (1933), he predicted that what would be known as World War II would break out due to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in 1940. This was only five months later than what actually happened.

But it is his early writings that he is most noted for. The Time Machine was the first widely read discussion of that subject. It has spawned an entire subgenre of literature of time travelling and alternate histories. In The First Men in the Moon, the protagonists use an anti-gravity device to reach the Moon, where they encounter a more advanced race. War of the Worlds is perhaps the most influential of all early science fiction stories, with its unprecedented (at the time) plot of highly-advanced, malevolent aliens invading Earth and sweeping all before them. As with all of his works of science fiction, Wells drew parallels to human history and society. War of the Worlds he wrote, was inspired by the genocide of the inhabitants of Tasmania by the first British settlers there.

H.G. Wells also wrote important works of fiction and history. His works discussed topics of social issues and politics as well. He was an active member of socialist political causes for much of his life. He died on August 13, 1946 at his home in London. He said that his epitaph should be "I told you so. You damned fools." His influence on scientists and writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is undeniable. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback are usually recognized as the "Fathers of Science Fiction." Of the three, Wells is probably the most well-known and his visions of the future have influenced almost all science fiction writers that followed him.