Green cloth binding with gilt title on the spine and the front board.
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First edition, first issue of Wells’ prophetic novel predicting the arrival of atomic weaponry with the publisher listed as Macmillan and Co., Octavo, original cloth stamped in blind with gilt titles to the spine and front panel, top edge gilt. Wells and Shaw connected when Wells joined the gradualist Fabian society in 1903. Shaw had, since the mid 1880s, been a dedicated member and advocated its message of moderation in the face of a debate regarding the option to embrace anarchism. In the years following the 1906 election, Shaw felt that the Fabians needed fresh leadership and saw this in the form of Wells. Wells, however, held views at odds with the party’s “Old Gang” led by Shaw, particularly with proposals for closer cooperation with the Independent Labour Party, and soon resigned from the Society. Following Wells’ death in 1946, Shaw wrote his obituary for The New Statesman, stating, “To Fabian socialist doctrine he could add little; for he was born ten years too late to be in at its birth pangs. Finding himself only a fifth wheel in the Fabian coach he cleared out; but not before he had exposed very effectively the obsolescence and absurdity of our old parish and county divisions as boundaries of local government areas.” Shaw spoke highly of Wells and his genius, asserting that Wells “.foresaw the European war, the tank, the plane and the atomic bomb; and he may be said to have created the ideal home and been the father of the prefabricated house.” In near fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association. Based on Wells’ pre-WWII prediction of a more destructive and uncontrollable sort of weapon than the world had yet seen, The World Set Free first appeared in serialized form with the title A Prophetic Trilogy. A frequent theme of Wells’s work, as in his 1901 nonfiction book Anticipations, was the history of humans’ mastery of power and energy through technological advance, seen as a determinant of human progress. Wells’s knowledge of atomic physics came from reading William Ramsay, Ernest Rutherford, and Frederick Soddy; the last discovered the disintegration of uranium. Soddy’s book Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt praises The World Set Free. Wells’s novel may even have influenced the development of nuclear weapons, as the physicist LeÃ SzilÃ¡rd read the book in 1932, the same year the neutron was discovered. In 1933 SzilÃ¡rd conceived the idea of neutron chain reaction, and filed for patents on it in 1934.
Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer. Prolific in many genres, he wrote more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories. His nonfiction output includes works of social commentary, politics, history, popular science, satire, biography, and autobiography. Wells’ science fiction novels are so well regarded that he has been called the “father of science fiction”.
In addition to his fame as a writer, he was prominent in his lifetime as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. As a futurist, he wrote a number of utopian works and foresaw the advent of aircraft, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the World Wide Web. His science fiction imagined time travel, alien invasion, invisibility, and biological engineering before these subjects were common in the genre. Brian Aldiss referred to Wells as the “Shakespeare of science fiction”, while Charles Fort called him a “wild talent”.
Wells rendered his works convincing by instilling commonplace detail alongside a single extraordinary assumption per work – dubbed “Wells’s law” – leading Joseph Conrad to hail him in 1898 with “O Realist of the Fantastic!”. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), which was his first novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), the military science fiction The War in the Air (1907), and the dystopian When the Sleeper Wakes (1910). Novels of social realism such as Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr Polly (1910), which describe lower-middle-class English life, led to the suggestion that he was a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. Wells was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.
Wells’s earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a Darwinian context. He was also an outspoken socialist from a young age, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathizing with pacifist views. In his later years, he wrote less fiction and more works expounding his political and social views, sometimes giving his profession as that of journalist. Wells was a diabetic and co-founded the charity The Diabetic Association (Diabetes UK) in 1934.
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