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. 2016 saw the society organise an international conference in Woking, the fictional invasion site for the Martians in The War of the Worlds, to mark the 150th anniversary of H.G. Wells’ birth.
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: Brian Aldiss, O.B.E., Dr. Stephen Baxter, Dr. Sylvia Hardy, Professor David Lodge, Professor Bernard Loing, Christopher Priest, Dr. Michael Sherborne, Professor Dominic Wells.
Chairperson – Paul Allen
Secretary – Brian Jukes
Treasurer – Valerie Fitch
Publicity Officer – John Green
The Wellsian Editor – Dr. Maxim Shadurski
Newsletter Editor – Dr. Harry Wood
Publicity Officer – Dr. Emelyne Godfrey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Membership Officer – Eric Fitch (email@example.com)
Webmaster – Charles Keller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SOCIETY NEWS AND EVENTS
- Fellow Wellsian, Stephen Baxter, will be in conversation with Frank Skinner at Waterstones, Piccadilly (London) on Wednesday 18th January at 7pm. The occasion is the launch of his latest book, The Massacre of Mankind, which is a sequel to Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Tickets are £5, and the price is redeemable against a copy of the book at the event. Copies of a special Waterstones-only limited edition of 400 will be available.
- Three additional similar events are scheduled at Waterstones in Birmingham and Nottingham on 19th January, and Blackwell’s in Edinburgh on January 20th. Click the hyperlinks for details.
- On Thursday, 26th January, Tony Banfield, Jane Secker and Peter Martin, in their best Victorian attire, will tell the story of H.G. Wells’s early years with the aid of period photographs and ‘then and now’ comparisons. This indoor virtual tour will begin at 8:00pm at the Parish Rooms, Church Road, Bromley, BR2 0EG. Details and admission information can be found here.
- Now Available: Utopias and Dystopias in the Fiction of H. G. Wells and William Morris, edited by Emelyne Godfrey, with contributions by Michael Sherborne and Patrick Parrinder. Click the hyperlink for more information.
- Coming soon: The War of the Wheels: H.G. Wells and the Bicycle, by Jeremy Withers, published by Syracuse University Press. Notes from the publisher:
- Amid apocalyptic invasions and time travel, one common machine continually appears in H. G. Wells’s works: the bicycle. From his scientific romances and social comedies, to utopias, futurological speculations, and letters, Wells’s texts brim with bicycles. In The War of the Wheels, Withers examines this mode of transportation as both something that played a significant role in Wells’s personal life and as a literary device for creating elaborate characters and exploring complex themes. Withers traces Wells’s ambivalent relationship with the bicycle throughout his writing. Moving into the twenty-first century, Withers reflects on how the works of H. G. Wells can serve as a valuable locus for thinking through many of our current issues and problems related to transportation, mobility, and sustainability.
- Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Half a Sixpence transfers to the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre for a run through February 2017. This is a brand new stage adaptation of the popular musical, Half a Sixpence is based on H.G Wells’ semi-autobiographical novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul.
- The Folio Society has published a limited edition facsimile of The Door in the Wall, with photogravures by Alvin Langdon Coburn, along with essays by David Lodge and George Hendrick. Additional information here.
- Now available: Utopian Literature and Science: From the Scientific Revolution to Brave New World and Beyond by Patrick Parrinder (Palgrave Macmillan): “Scientific progress is usually seen as a precondition of modern utopias, but science and utopia are frequently at odds. Utopian Literature and Science traces the interactions of sciences such as astronomy, microscopy, genetics and anthropology with 19th- and 20th-century utopian and dystopian writing and modern science fiction. Ranging from Galileo’s observations with the telescope to current ideas of the post-human and the human-animal boundary, the author’s re-examination of key literary texts brings a fresh perspective to the paradoxes of utopian thinking since Plato. This book is essential reading for teachers and students of literature and science studies, utopian studies, and science fiction studies, as well as students of 19th and early 20th-century literature more generally.” Click here to order.
- Now available: Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells: The Fin de Siecle Literary Scene (Basingstoke: Palgrave), by Linda Dryden. This book traces the literary friendship between Conrad and Wells through their letters, non-fiction writing and through original analyses of selected novels of both authors.
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