The H.G. Wells Society was founded by Dr. John Hammond in 1960. It has an international membership, and aims to promote a widespread interest in the life, work and thought of Herbert George Wells. The society publishes a peer-reviewed annual journal, The Wellsian, and issues a biannual newsletter. It has published a comprehensive bibliography of Wells’s published works, and other publications, including a number of works by Wells which have been out of print for many years.
The Society organises a weekend conference each year where aspects of Wells’s life and work are discussed in a congenial atmosphere.
Topics discussed in recent years have included:
- The Short Stories of H.G. Wells
- Publishing and Publicising Wells
- Wells’s Literary Friendships
- The War of the Worlds (The proceedings of this conference appear in Foundation 77)
- Wells and his Critics
- Literature at War: H.G. Wells, Ford Madox Ford and Their Contemporaries
- When the Lights Went Out: H.G. Wells and His World on the Eve of the War
- Anticipations: H.G. Wells, Science Fiction and Radical Visions
In addition, the Society has organised two major international conferences. The first, under the title, H.G. Wells under Revision, was held in 1986 to mark the 40th anniversary of Wells’s death; the second, The Time Machine: Past, Present and Future was held in 1995 to mark the centenary of the publication of Wells’s first scientific romance.
Society Founder: Dr. John Hammond, President: Professor Patrick Parrinder, Vice-Presidents: Dr. Stephen Baxter, Dr. Sylvia Hardy, Professor David Lodge, Professor Bernard Loing, Christopher Priest, Dr. Michael Sherborne, Professor Dominic Wells, Professor Adam Roberts.
– The Constitution of the H.G. Wells Society –
Chairperson – Mark Egerton
Secretary – Brian Jukes
Treasurer – Eric Jukes
Editor of The Wellsian – Brenda Tyrrell
Editor of the Newsletter Editor – Eric Jukes
Membership, Publications, Distribution & Sales – Brian & Eric Jukes
Webmaster – Charles Keller
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The War of the Worlds 125th anniversary CFP
Science fiction scholar and critic James Gunn identifies The War of the Worlds (WotW) as not only the first alien-invasion novel, but also the first “imaginary war fiction,” where the enemy is from an alien world and the fate of the entire human, non-human, and microbial species are threatened. In the present moment, it seems that every possible angle of WotW has been explored. However, on this 125th anniversary of the serial version, there continue to be re-imaginings and adaptations of one of Wells’s (indeed, science fiction’s) most enduring works. WotW remains front and center in not only the literary and cultural realm, but also the STE(A)M disciplines – most notably with the ongoing efforts to “invade” not only Mars, but also the whole of space itself by privatized corporations like SpaceX and Blue Origin. What Wells could only imagine in 1898 has come to fruition in these programs. There is a cost, however, literally and socially; it seems, at this point, only the rich and privileged will be able to make this historic journey, leaving large populations of both human, non-humans, and microbes to adapt and survive climate change. Wells would surely be knee-deep in this issue if he were here and watching these plans unfold. This is just one topic from WotW that remains just as relevant today as it was when Wells wrote the novel.
The influence and impact of Wells’s story is so great that, as Peter Beck points out, even the Martians will eventually know of its existence. In 2008, Wells’s novel was included in The Planetary Society’s “Visions of Mars” digital time capsule sent off to Mars, along with other material by scientific and literary powerhouses like Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan, and Percival Lowell. An argument can be made that none of the items included in this Martian gift basket would be possible without Wells’s first consideration of Mars as an inhabited planet. On that same note, this special issue of The Wellsian asks interested contributors to be part of the constant and powerful influence that is Wells’s legacy, a legacy that includes WotW.
Potential topics/areas of focus:
- Historical accounts and considerations of the original (written) version as compared to the more contemporary adaptations (be it written, oral, aural, or visual).
- Wells’s biography through this moment of time (1898) and how it shaped Wells’s novel
- The impact of the novel in its own time and how it revived and considered contemporarily.
- Wells’s background in biology and the sciences and how it is reflected throughout the original version.
- Topics related to evolution (in Wells’s time and contemporarily).
- Related to the above, how the biology and sciences of the original version morph and expand as technological advances occur.
- Bacteriology and epidemiology studies as they relate to the death of the Martians and more contemporary viral invasions – i.e., COVID-19.
- Advances in astronomical technology and what we now know about Mars
- Ethics of space travel and colonizing other planets in the face of climate change.
- Issues of social justice movements: how we can study, interpret, and utilize Wells’s at times problematic views of race, ethnicity, eugenics, ability, and feminism.
- Wells & Warfare.
- Wells & Transportation and Mobility Studies.
- Wells’s powers of prophecy (specifically related to the two previous bullet points).
- Nonhuman world (animals, plants, etc.)
- WotW in the not-literature-only classroom. These classrooms might include medical humanities, the sciences featured in the novel, and others.
To encourage a diverse and representative issue, submissions that are not traditional scholarly essay are not only accepted, but they are also strongly encouraged. These submissions may include (but are not limited to):
- Teaching WotW (including lesson plans and curriculum)
- Artistic interpretations and representations of the novel
- Creative writing submissions
- Screenplay adaptations
- Video games
- Design plans and blueprints for the various machines of the novel (both human and Martian).
- Graphic novel or comic adaptations
For these types of submission, please include some form of written explanation of the project, its impetus, the creative process, and clear and direct connection to the novel.
Please send submission proposals to TheWellsian@gmail.com by May 1st, 2023. All submissions should include an abstract and a Works Cited page.
Review Process: After all submissions are received, they will be reviewed by an editorial team and notifications of acceptance will be distributed around July 1st, 2023. Final revisions are due no later than October 1st, 2023.