H.G. Wells:
Science Fiction Technology and Ideas
Wells's best known works are The Time Machine (1895), one of the first modern science fiction stories, The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). Wells wrote over a hundred of books, about fifty of them novels.

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent. His father was a shopkeeper and a professional cricketer until he broke his leg.

Wells obtained a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London and studied there biology under T.H. Huxley. However, his interest faltered and in 1887 he left without a degree. He taught in private schools for four years, not taking his B.S. degree until 1890. In 1893 Wells became a full-time writer.

Wells in 1920 met with Lenin. In 1934 he had discussions with both Stalin, who left him disillusioned, and Roosevelt, trying to recruit them without success to his world-saving schemes. Wells was convinced that Western socialists cannot compromise with Communism, and that the best hope for the future lay in Washington.

Wells died in London on August 13. 1946.

Invention/Technology Source Work (Publication Date)

A fluttering wing airplane for a few passengers.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Artificial Food
Food produced without soil, chemically.

The World Set Free (1914)

Atomic Bomb - very early reference
A weapon that uses an atomic chain reaction as an explosive force.

The World Set Free (1914)

Atomic Engine
A motor running on atomic fuel.

The World Set Free (1914)

Automated Surface Measurement - 100 years before cgi needed it
A mechanical method of accurately measuring a surface.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Automatic Door - like a roll top desk
A wall strip that rolls up automatically to let you through.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Autonomous Digging Machine
A mechanical device able to excavate on its own.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Babble Machine - you know
Not just television - this describes what we call 'the idiot box' (technology and media).

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Biological Warfare - first use of the concept in fiction
The use of microorganisms to defeat an enemy; this is the first reference in science fiction that I can find to this concept.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Black Smoke - run for your lives!
A smoke or vapor dispensed in canisters.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Cavorite - antigravity metal
An antigravity metal; when it cools, whatever it covers will be impervious to gravitational forces.

The First Men in the Moon (1901)

Dark Vapor Bubble
A kind of field that keeps an alien base provided with an atmosphere.

Man-Jewels for Xothar (1936)

Desktop Flat Panel Intercom
A small desktop screen intercom system.

The Shape of Things To Come (1936)

Describes a reality separate from our own.

The Plattner Story (1896)

DVD/VCR (Entertainment Player)
A device that accepts stored moving picture entertainment and makes it available for viewing.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Synthetic material that creates extremely smooth roads.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

General Intelligence Machine
News and information from one device.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Giant Flat Panel Display
Movie screen-sized flat panel display for live televised images.

The Shape of Things To Come (1936)

Glass Dome
Protective cover for cities.

A Modern Utopia (1905)

Heat Ray - concept of the laser
First use of what appears to be a laser weapon.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

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