A civic-minded writer of science fiction H. Wells | Статья в журнале «Юный ученый»

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Рубрика: Русский язык

Опубликовано в Юный учёный №2 (5) март 2016 г.

Дата публикации: 02.02.2016

Статья просмотрена: < 10 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Сизов С. Д., Сизова Ю. С. A civic-minded writer of science fiction H. Wells // Юный ученый. — 2016. — №2. — С. 8-11. — URL https://moluch.ru/young/archive/5/263/ (дата обращения: 21.01.2020).


Данная статья посвящена футуристическому творчеству Г. Уэллса и его вкладу в развитие не только мировой литературы, но и науки. Авторы рассматривают не только фантастическую сторону его романов, но и социально-политическую.

Ключевые слова: научная фантастика, футуризм, фэнтези, социально-политические проблемы, промышленная революция, научный прогресс.


This paper is devoted to futuristic writing of H. Wells and his contribution not only into the world literature development, but science. The authors focus not only on the fantastic side of his novels, but also socio political.

Key words: science fiction, futurism, fantasy, socio political issues, industrial revolution, scientific progress.


September 21 is a great holiday for the fans of the English writer Herbert Jorge Wells, who is considered to be one of the founders of science fiction. Despite of his visionary ideas the writer was a representative of critical realism in literature.

The creation of H. Wells had a great impact on the world science fiction. H. Wells was able not only to depict reality, but predict and visualize possible events.

The historical period of the author’s life (late 19th and early 20th century) was marked by the development of capitalism and its ideals, industrialization and technological progress. Many historians believe, that the phenomenon of speeding up time has been observed since then. The following events took place at that time: the dynamite, reinforced concrete, generator were invented; periodic system of chemical elements was composed; the Suez Canal was built; K. Marks wrote the first volume of “Capital”; G. Shliman started Troy’s excavation; Ch. Darvin suggested his theory of human origin etc. Moreover, systematization of previously accumulated knowledge was taking place at that time.

This could not but affect the worldview of people, including writers, who emphasized the changes of people’s lives and customs. In general, the culture of that time is considered to be anti-bourgeois and is critical to the ruling classes of Western Europe.

The 20th century was marked by the crisis of Christianity in Europe. The phrase of Nietzsche: «God is dead, and the heavens are empty», became very popular among people. [5] Different theories and concepts replaced traditional Christianity, and literature of that time started staking a claim to perform a special religious function, namely the explanation of the world and its laws.

H. Wells became the author of socio political novels written in the genre of scientific fiction. Fantasy made it possible for the writer to talk about future of humanity, to trace the main trends in the development of modern society. H. Wells's novels are usually divided into: (a) science fiction, (b) novels of life and manners, (c) tractates, but in this paper we will focus on fiction novels.

And in this paper we will concentrate mainly on his science fiction novels and draw the parallel with social problems of that time.

The word «phantasy» is derived from the ancient Greek “φανταστική” — the art of imagination, fantasy describes unrealistic creations or events. [6] These events may be associated with assumed technologies, scientific discoveries, the course of history, contacts with aliens etc.

The emergence of science fiction is connected with the industrial revolution of the 19th century and the subsequent rapid technological progress. In addition to the Englishman Herbert Wells, a significant contribution to the development of the genre was made by the Frenchman Jules Verne (1828–1905), American Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) and Ray Bradbury (1920–2012), Russian writer Ivan Efremov (1908–1972), Alexander Belyaev (1884–1942), Strugatsky brothers, Kir Bulychev (1934–2003).

Science fiction genre gravitates to realism. Scientific discoveries and fantastic inventions are necessarily supported by convincing description of the use of scientific concepts and scientific facts known to everyone. This literary device helps the reader to believe in time travel, invisibility, use of unprecedented technological inventions, discovery of new laws of nature, etc. In science fiction the lack of these technologies and inventions at the moment is usually explained. For example, The Invisible Man of H. Wells, before death, destroys his notes on how to make the body invisible, and the Time Traveler disappears in the distant future with a time machine.

H. Wells, a biologist by qualification with two academic titles, did not immediately put pen to paper. He was a teacher and later became a journalist with socialist views, and in 1933 got onto a presidency of the PEN-Club — an international non-governmental organization that brings together professional writers, poets and journalists working in different genres of literature. He became famous with such novels as: the science fiction novel «The Time Machine: An Invention”(1985) and short stories, «The Stolen Bacillus and other incidents» (1895). H. Wells’s fame was strengthened after the publication of the novels “The Island of Dr. Moreau, A Possibility” (1896), «The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Story” (1897), and «The War of the Worlds” (1898). Since that time, he has finally committed himself to literature. [7]

H. Wells’s creative work was evaluated by his contemporaries quite.

Contemporaries evaluated the personality and work of Wells is quite ambiguously. For example, Arthur Conan Doyle criticized political ideas of the writer and considered his views to be too radical and destructive. However, at the funeral of the writer on August 13, 1946 a playwright, writer and producer John Boynton Priestley marked that H. Wells, was a man «whose word has brought light into many dark corners of life». [8]

As stated above, H. Wells’s debut in literature took place in 1895, with the novel «The Time Machine», which has put forward the idea of time travel and the hypothesis of the four-dimensional world. The ideas expressed in this novel anticipated the doctrine of relativity, proved the possibility of space compression and time travel into the future, the motion of a material object at the velocity of light.

The action in the novel takes place in 80270. This story is about how technological progress and uncompromising class struggle led to the humanity degradation — into the races of Eloys and Morlocks — two different races of people who represent the workers and the capitalists. In the society of the distant future, described by H. Wells, workers deprived of the benefits of culture degenerated into animal-like «Morlocks» and «upper classes» who only consumed the fruits of others’ labor, turned into cake-eaters «Eloys». [3] In their tern the Morlocks continue feeding useless Eloys, but only because they eat them. «The Time Machine» is a novel-warning. H. Wells is confident that the ruling classes are sentenced to historical retribution. Modern society is divided into workers and idlers, and this inevitably leads to its degeneration, warns H. Wells.

In 1897 H.Wells wrote his novel «The War of the Worlds» about the invasion of Martians on the Earth. The writer predicted the use of mass destruction weapons and aviation for military purposes that were used later during the First World War.

In this novel, alongside with predictions of further scientific discovery, H. Wells argues against empty rhetoric of the society about collectivism. According to H. Wells, the real ideological basis of capitalist society is not collectivism, but animal individualism. This idea is reflected in the novel in the character of an artilleryman, who speaks beautifully about the future of the mankind, but in fact is concerned only by keeping his own food supply.

The novel «The Invisible Man» (1897) is also undermined against individualist ideology. An English scientist, a genius physicist Griffin invents the way how to make himself invisible. On the one hand, Griffin has to be always naked in order to be invisible, has to suffer from cold and eat in secrecy from other people. On the other hand, he suddenly realizes that invisibility gives him an unlimited power over the world and he sees the ultimate goal of science in this power. The main question of the novel is the question of social role of science. The main hero uses his power not for the benefit of mankind. Becoming as it seems to him higher than the surrounding society, Griffin becomes a vivid expression of individualism, selfishness and cruelty. The ending of this novel is also remarkable. An innkeeper Thomas Marvel, who found Griffin’s papers after his death, is dreaming about of making himself invisible, though he can’t understand anything in this figures, crosses and hitches. Admiring the power and possibilities of science, H. Wells realizes that the progress of science is not necessarily linked with the progress of society. He sees the political issue in the fact of implementation of scientific achievements — if the mankind benefits from them or vice versa.

In the novel «The Sleeper Wakes» (1899) H. Wells expresses a very popular idea of those times — ​​the possibility of freezing the human body for subsequent resurrection. The main hero waking up after two hundred years of lethargic sleep, wonders technical breakthrough in London at end of the 19th century. But at the same time he is very disappointed by with the socio-political situation which has not improved but rather deteriorated. The main hero dies supporting people’s uprising against oppression. H. Wells makes his readers think about social contradiction of modern times by shifting them into the distant future.

In the novel «The First Men in the Moon» (1901 the idea of ​​anti-gravity was put forward for the first time.

Two astronauts are sent to the Moon in a spaceship made of a fantastic anti-gravity material "cavorite». [3] They discover life on this Earth's natural satellite — the civilization of «Selenites» who live the caves («sublunary» caves) and use radio for communication. [3] The society of selenites is rather complicated have selenites — a society with a complex society. H. Wells’s speculations on this topic makes his novel not only science fiction, but socio political as well.

In the novel «Men Like Gods» (1923) the idea of parallel universe existence is put forward. The scene is set in England, where the journalist, alongside with the group of other people, finds himself in another measurement, where the society is built on socialist principles. But the visit of strangers comes at a price for that world — in addition to the cultural perturbation of mind, the British bring in a nonsurvivable virus with them. But the journalist Barnstaple safely returns back home, where he starts thinking about the new society called Utopia.

In the novel «The Food of the Gods, and How It Came to Earth” (1904) the writer considers the possibility of building a happy society by the biological improvement of the human race. The similar idea is at the root of the novel «In the Days of the Comet» (1906), in which H. Wells «presented all the consequences of the sudden growth of the moral sense in humanity». [2] Some comet passing by the Earth left a green gas that morally transforms each individual and humanity in general. From this moment on malice, jealousy and misunderstanding leave the Earth. At the same time it puts an end to wars and social injustice.

A full-scale range observations on social phenomenon is presented in the novels «The War in the Air» (1908) and “The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind” (1914) in which the writer expresses hope that the impending war would destroy the old social order, where people would understand its viciousness. The author expects the old state machinery to become so cranky that it would be unable to resist the spontaneous formation of a new order. However the principles of this order are uncertain and vague, as if H. Wells is not sure about it.

Futuristic and innovative details in science fiction novels of H. Wells were oracular and ahead of scientific progress. Ten years before A. Einstein he stated that our existence is four-dimensional; in 1989 long before the invention of laser he mentioned it in his works; almost two decades before the discovery of the first properties of future nuclear weapons he wrote about the atomic bomb (1914); he predicted the voyage to the Moon and excessive power of automobile transport in the Second World War. The concept of parallel universe was introduced by H. Wells into literature and is widely used by other authors nowadays. It is an interesting fact that at the same time H. Wells did not see any prospects for air travel.

Today the name of H. Wells is well known readers, fans of science fiction and modern movie enthusiasts. His works, both fiction and journalistic are studied by political scientists and futurologists, and the contribution of Wales to the English and world literature is difficult to overestimate.

H. Wells has written 40 science fiction novels (screen versions for half of them have been made), several dozens of socio-philosophical and historical works and three books for children.

Science fiction writers are often judged by the number of future discoveries they were able to predict. H. Wells predicted a lot.

If the tank's designers relied not on their own train of thought but referred to the article “The Land Ironclads” (1903), it could be said that tanks were invented by H. Wells. Before the publication of this article unusual «land battleships» on wheels were spoken about, but H. Wells was the first to realize that they needed to be put it on track. His description of tanks was vivid enough. He did it thirteen years before the Battle of the Marne (1914) where tanks crept on the battlefield for the first time. [9] Anyone who has read «The War of the Worlds» remembers the «heat ray» of Martians, their strongest weapon. [2] Subsequently, this idea was supported by A. Tolstoy in the novel «The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin». Such a «heat ray» was considered the purest fantasy. Scientists of that time tried to prove the impossibility of such projects. They could not predict the invention of a focused light ray, but H. Wells could.

H. Wells had a remarkable foresight. His ideas seemed to be unrealistic for his contemporaries, perfect fairy tales. Even Jules Verne was of this opinion about the first novels H. Wells. And only now we can see how wrong they were! In the late 19th century he started writing novels about the possibilities of new physics, new biology. Nowadays we call it «the scientific revolution of the 20th century». [1]




  1.                Kagarlickij Y. I., Vglyadyvayas' v budushchee: Kniga o Gerberte Uehllse / Predisl. P. Parindera. Ris. A.Begaka. — M.: Kniga, 1989
  2.                Herbert J. Wells, Avtorskij sbornik, Bukinisticheskoe izdanie, Izdatel'stvo Pravda, Seriya: Biblioteka fantastiki v 24 t., 1988
  3.                Wells H., Klassiki i sovremenniki, Zarubezhnaya literatura. Kagarlickij YU. I. Vstupitel'naya stat'ya.- M.: Hudozh. lit., 19831.
  4.                Wells H., The War of the Worlds, Izdatel'stvo АСТ, Neoclassic, 1998
  5.                citaty.info/man/fridrih-vilgelm-nicshe
  6.                https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/ %D0 %A4 %D0 %B0 %D0 %BD %D1 %82 %D0 %B0 %D1 % 81 % D1 % 82 % D0 % B8 % D0 % BA % D0 % B0] Science fiction
  7.                [https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/ %D0 %9F %D0 %95 %D0 %9D- %D0 %BA %D0 %BB %D1 %83 %D0 %B1]
  8.                [http://wap.meloman.kz/news/42/113467/]
  9.                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_the_Marne

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