Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

(Mis)representing Wells

Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

(Mis)representing Wells

Article excerpt

Wells, H. G. The Time Machine: An Invention: A Critical Text of the 1895 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 1, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 270pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468690. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. The Island of Doctor Moreau: A Critical Text of the 1896 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 2, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012, 301pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468706. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance: A Critical Text of the 1897 New York First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 3, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 251pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468713. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. The War of the Worlds: A Critical Text of the 1898 London First Edition, with an Introduction, Illustrations and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 4, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 333pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468720. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. When the Sleeper Wakes: A Critical Text of the 1899 New York and London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 5, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 477pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468737. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. The First Men in the Moon: A Critical Text of the 1901 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 6, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 333pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468744. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. The Sea Lady: A Tissue of Moonshine: A Critical Text of the 1902 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 7, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 182pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468751. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. Man Who Could Work Miracles: A Critical Text of the 1936 New York First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 8, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012, 152pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468768. $25.00.

Wells, H. G. Things to Come: A Critical Text of the 1935 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices. The Annotated H.G. Wells 9, edited by Leon Stover. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 271pp. Paper. ISBN 9780786468775. $25.00.

In his introduction to The First Men in the Moon (1901), Leon Stover, editor of McFarland's nine volume series of Wells critical texts, writes about a 1972 meeting with the French critic Jean-Pierre Vernier at which he was persuaded to change his mind about H. G. Wells. He does not specify what he believed before this meeting or what argument brought about the transformation, but as a result he agrees with Vernier that, "the sociological fables were continuous in thought with the later nonfiction" (Moon 2). What he means by this is that Wells's utopian notions were fully formed before he ever set pen to paper--"Wells had prophesied a coming age of social engineers ... even before he began writing" (Invisible 4)--and everything from The Time Machine (1895) to Man Who Could Work Miracles (1936) was apparently written on exactly the same political model.

Stover's approach to Wells is entirely political. There is next to nothing in these books about the role Wells played in the history and development of science fiction, nothing about the writers who were influenced by Wells, and, other than the occasional passing reference, nothing about the writers who might have influenced him. There is nothing about his interest in social issues, in peace movements, in women's issues, nor indeed anything about his complex private life. There is no attempt to associate his scientific romances with his mainstream fiction, though the two were written in tandem and there must have been some measure of cross-fertilization. Even within the political focus of this work, there is repeated reference to his meetings with Lenin and Stalin, but no consideration of his response to colonialism or his work on the League of Nations. …

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