The World Set Free

wells-we-001-folio-w-3_rv_fantasias_300H. G. Wells. The World Set Free [holograph manuscript, ca. 1913]. Wells WE-001, folio W-3

While his science fiction repeatedly threatened the destruction of the world, Wells’s political and utopian books imagined the world as organized more fairly and efficiently. The World Set Free (1912) predicts the atomic bomb; rather than risk its further use in warfare, the nations of the world disband in favor of a utopian world government.

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H. G. Wells to Frederick Wells, ‘Oct. 27th 45’

H. G. Wells to Frederick Wells, ‘Oct. 27th 45’ [Holograph letter]. Post-1650 MS 0667, folder 75

In this postcard to his brother Fred (b. 1862), Wells reminds the world that he had foreseen the invention of the atomic bomb.

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Oct 27th 45

Dearest old Fezzer,

I’m alright & everything misses me. I explained the inevitableness of the atomic bomb half a century ago & it is rather infuriating to have all these journalistic halfwits explaining that here’s something Mr. Wells did not foresee. It’s a strange frightful phase this poor little planet is passing through. I have always been a stoic but I would be glad to see the run of mankind behaving more like stoics & less like Smart Alecs than they seem to be doing. Blessings on your fraternal // Fizz Fuzz.

Your ever fraternally & affectionately
H. G. Wells
The one & only

H. G. Wells’ Things to Come

wells-09-t-01_7-3rv_fantasias_300Things to Come [movie stills]. Produced by Alexander Korda, directed by William Cameron Menzies. United Artists, 1936.
Wells 09 T-01 and T-16

In an effort to carry his message more widely, Wells collaborated with film producer Alexander Korda on the 1936 film Things to Come, based on Wells’s 1933 future history The Shape of Things to Come. The film foresees a highly mechanized world war destroying civilization, before the virtuous airmen Wings over the World establish world peace and a technological utopia.

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(Pictured below from left to right: Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Sir Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott)