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)

Individualized Clothing Manufacture - clothes just for you
A device that will produce suits of clothing based on measurement data gathered.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Invisibility - now you see it -
The idea that it is possible to make a person invisible using some sort of optical technology to alter the body.

The Invisible Man (1897)

Joystick Controls w/Remote Display
A fire-by-wire remote-controlled weapon system.

The Land Ironclads (1903)

Kinetiscope Appliance - like a PDA
A small object that could show a variety of artificially created or extrapolated images.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Monsters Manufactured - chimeras described
Dr. Moreau demonstrates the plasticity of the organic form.

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)

Moving Picture Player - like a video iPod
A machine that plays recorded pictures back for a single person - a combination DVD player and screen.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Moving Roadway - like a baggage conveyor
A roadway that is in motion, with seats and kiosks, that goes around curves.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Networked Telephone Answering Machine
A device that would accept verbal messages and store them for replay from any remote station.

Men Like Gods (1923)

Networked World
Very early description of our dependence on technology and communication.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Parallel Universe
An entirely separate realm or universe that exists along with our own; it may be wildly different or vary from ours by only a tiny degree.

Men Like Gods (1923)

Quasi-Muscles (Sham Musculature)
A means of giving motive power to robots or machines that is similar to animal musculature.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Radioactive Ruin - first reference
The aftermath of atomic war is generations of ruin.

The World Set Free (1914)

Red Weed (Terraforming Plant)
A plant brought by the Martians that grew on Earth.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Robot Biomimicry
Endowing robots with an organic-appearing fluidity, rather than mechanical motion.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Robot Spider (Handling Machine)
Multipurpose device used almost as an extension of the Martian's own bodies.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Steel Tentacle
Flexible robotic steel limbs that can both support a vehicle and grasp objects.

The War of the Worlds (1898)

Sustained Atomic Reaction
The idea that a sustained reaction could lead to an atomic explosion.

The World Set Free (1914)

Time Machine - the original
A device allowing the rider to move freely in the temporal dimension, just as we ordinarily do in the two physical dimensions normal to gravity.

The Time Machine (1895)

Town In One Building - like an arcology
This is the basic idea behind an arcology, or other single structure that is intended to provide living space and mall.

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)

Transparent Flat Panel Display - early flat panel
A fifty-inch flat panel display that is (or can be) transparent.

The Shape of Things To Come (1936)

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