Political Writer H G Wells

H G WellsOn this day in 1866, the great writer H G Wells was born. He is best known for novels like The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. But I’m not very interested in them. I just don’t find science fiction all that interesting.

But apparently, he didn’t either. All those books were written in the late 1890s. After that, he spent much of his time writing about politics. He was a proponent of socialism. But during his lifetime events changed quite a lot and he eventually came to see the best kind of system as the social democracies we see today in Europe.

I find his position on Zionism very interesting because it so follows along with mine. Throughout most of his life, he was against Zionism because he considered it exclusionary. He felt that all the races should interbreed, so that we could all get on with the business of being human. I’m totally with him on that. Whenever I hear people talking about keeping races pure (which I do sometimes regarding Africans and Jews), it sounds like madness. If there is anything good to come of globalization, it must certainly be that we can get past this mythical idea of race.

The problem is that there are always people who will divide us. I still find it amazing that people hate Jews, when in terms of “race” they just seem like white people. Yet the Nazis based a whole nation-cult-genocide on it. After seeing what the Nazis had done to the Jews, Wells changed his position. I find myself again with him. But in my mind, Zionism ought to be a temporary thing as the people of the world get on with their interbreeding to make us all a bunch of beautiful brownish people. Unfortunately, I think that Zionism tends to perpetuate the “purity of the race” thinking. But that discussion is well above my pay grade.

What’s perhaps greatest about Wells is that he really was a thinker. And as a result, he managed to annoy and offend just about everyone. I’m not saying that that is a good in and of itself. But he was idiosyncratic. And he followed that. And I admire it.

Happy birthday H G Wells!

3 thoughts on “Political Writer H G Wells

  1. Thing about Wells is, some of his sci-fi had political metaphors in it. “War Of The Worlds” had an obvious parallel to the European invasion of indigenous land; the Earthlings greet the Martians peacefully, and the Martians start wiping them out with vastly superior technology. Note how the Martians are defeated; by Earth diseases they had no immunity to. (Wells couldn’t have ended the book with humankind being wiped out!)

    And “The Time Machine” depicts a future where inequality has separated humanity into two separate species; the happy, lazy, dumb species above ground, and a monstrous underground species who run the machinery keeping the surface species in comfort. So the carnivorous underground people can eat them. As a socialist, Wells probably believed the capitalists were dooming themselves.

    Of course people forgot his political metaphors and remembered his hooky plots. Such is posterity for ya.

    • True. I suppose I did give short shrift to that. But I tend to prefer my politics straight. Or at least as blunt as The Jungle and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

      • And I suspect Wells agreed. But he was making money with his allegorical tales, so why stop. Until he got bored with them.

        Sorry to hit the archives, I’m in a space where I prefer words on a screen to people!

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