English author and political philosopher, most famous for his science-fantasy novels with their prophetic depictions of the triumphs of technology as well as the horrors of 20th-century warfare.
Wells was born September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent, and educated at the Normal School of Science in London, to which he won a scholarship. He worked as a draper's apprentice, bookkeeper, tutor, and journalist until 1895, when he became a full-time writer. His novel The Time Machine (1895) mingled science, adventure, and political comment. Later works in this genre are The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), and The Shape of Things to Come (1933); each of these fantasies was made into a film.
Wells also wrote novels devoted to character delineation. Among these are Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr. Polly (1910), which depict members of the lower middle class and their aspirations. After World War I (1914-1918) Wells wrote an immensely popular historical work, The Outline of History (2 volumes, 1920).
Throughout his long life Wells was deeply concerned with and wrote voluminously about the survival of contemporary society. For a time he was a member of the Fabian Society. He envisioned a utopia in which the vast and frightening material forces available to modern men and women would be rationally controlled for progress and for the equal good of all.