Annual Conference 2019

H.G. Wells Society Annual Conference 2019

 Men in the Moon: The Ideas and Correspondence of H.G. Wells and Sir Winston Churchill

21 September 2019

Churchill War Rooms
Clive Steps
King Charles Street

– Download the Registration Form Here –

Keynote Speakers: Richard Jones, Professor Michael Smith, and Professor Richard Toye, University of Exeter.

The year 2019 marks the anniversary of the first draft of Churchill’s essay, Are We Alone in Space? (1939), which was closely preceded by Orson Welles’s broadcast of The War of the Worlds. ‘I read everything you write,’ Churchill told Wells with whom he shared a passion for science fiction, scientific discovery and a concern over the impact of technological advances on warfare and the future of mankind. This conference is set against a backdrop of ever-changing London, the city with which Wells and Churchill are closely linked, a place of visions, nightmares and dreams.

Richard Jones is a broadcaster, prolific author, charismatic speaker and a critically acclaimed expert on the history of London and her people. A Blue Badge Guide, he has been running ghost walks in London since 1982. His website is

Among the many books he has written are Memorable Walks in London (1993), Walking Dickensian London (2004), Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London (2007) and History and Mystery Walks London (2008) and Haunted Britain (2010). He will be sharing with us his perspective on Wells’s relationship with London.

In his three books Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (2010), The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill’s World War II Speeches (2013) and Winston Churchill Politics, Strategy and Statecraft (2017) Professor Richard Toye investigated the mechanics behind Churchill’s speeches as well as their public reception. Additionally, he has written about rhetoric and has contributed scholarly articles on Wells, Sir Stafford Cripps, UNESCO, the Welfare State, economic history, the Labour Party and women’s suffrage in the post-war era. Richard’s talk considers both his previous work and his new research on Churchill’s concept of civilization.

Professor Michael Smith is Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the University of Kent. He is a Fellow Of the Royal Astronomical Society, a reviewer for UNESCO and appears regularly in the media. His publications include Astrophysical Jets and Beams (2012) and The Origin of Stars (2004). He will explore the connection between space and time and alien civilisations, setting Wells’s and Churchill’s work within the historical context of space studies. His talk will also consider the exciting scientific developments of recent years, including the Return to the Moon programme.

Programme of Events

08.00 An early opportunity to view the Churchill War Rooms

09.00 Registration and Porridge

9.45 Richard Jones, 17 Church Row

10.15 Brenda Tyrrell, Spade House and Chartwell: Houses of Healing and Influence

10.35 Wars of Worlds and Words

Richard Toye: ‘Two of the World’s Greatest Mooters’: H.G. Wells and Winston Churchill as Thinkers and Publicists

10.55 Emilo Grandío Seoane, Churchill and British Intelligence in Spain during the Second World War

11.15 Tiziano de Marino, Imperial Destinies: Wells, Fascist Italy and the ‘Churchill-Bullace’ Tradition

BREAK 11.45

12.15 Many Years Hence: Science, Humanity and the Future

Heather Alberro, The Human-Animal-Nature Relationship in H.G. Wells’s Men Like Gods and A Modern Utopia

12.35 Iren Boyarkina, The Concept of the World State by H.G. Wells and its Evolution in the Science Fiction Narratives by Olaf Stapledon and Ivan Yefremov.

12.55 Gareth Davies-Morris, H.G. Wells’s When the Sleeper Wakes: Ur-Text of the Dystopian Novel

LUNCH 13.30

14.40 Stardust

Live communication with America: Tim Riley, Director and Chief Curator of the National Churchill Museum, Fulton, Missouri and astrophysicist and author Mario Livio discuss the discovery of Churchill’s manuscript, Are We Alone in the Universe?

15.00 Michael Smith, Our Place in the Universe


15.50 The End(s) of History

Maxim Shadurski, The Wellsian Utopia and Rupert Catskill’s Anti-Utopianism

16.10: Genie Babb: H.G. Wells in the North Country: Teaching the 20th Century to 21st Century

PANEL DISCUSSION: 16:30 to 16.50


17.00-18.00 A further opportunity to view the Churchill War Rooms

£85. The unwaged/concessions discount of £75 applies throughout.
The next four attendees to pay full price conference tickets will each receive a copy on the day of Graham Farmelo’s new book, hot off the press, The Universe Speaks in Numbers. Courtesy of Faber & Faber.

The conference ticket includes:
A light porridge pot on arrival, accompanied by tea and coffee.
Refreshments throughout, patisserie treats and hot chocolate.
A hot lunch, followed by a choice of puddings.
Entry to the museum throughout the conference, normally worth £18-£21.

Contact Details:
For paper proposals and queries: Dr Emelyne Godfrey (Chairman, H.G. Wells Society)
For tickets: Brian Jukes (Secretary, H.G. Wells Society)