H. G. Wells Module: Essays

Science Fiction Studies MA

H. G. Wells Module: Essays
* Assigned by Mr Andy Sawyer

These are suggestions only. Please feel free to adapt.

1. "Wells deals with individuals as types like specimens under the microscope. His subject is the species, not the 'well-rounded individual' of literary fiction. Is this true of Wells in particular, and science fiction in general?

2. Science fiction since 1900 is a series of dialogues with H. G. Wells. Discuss with references to at least two other works of science fiction.
My own essay:

3. "Wells was a prophet, not merely in the popular sense of having predicted space travel ... but in the wider sense of being able to think in a completely new way about the future." (Roslynn D. Hayles) Discuss with reference to at least two of Wells's novels.

4. Examine time and/or evolution in the work of Wells and one other writer.

5. "A calculated attempt to 'correct' its mythology." (Brian Stableford) How far does this comment about Out of the Silent Planet reflect its relationship to The First Men in the Moon?

6. "The one irreplacable figure in the history of science fiction." (Robert Crossley) How far is this an accurate description of Wells?

7. "My little woman, as I believe it was." (The Time Machine) Discuss Wells's use -- or lack of -- female characters in at least two of his scientific romances.

8. Examine the ways in which Wells and at least one other sf writer provide imaginative explorations of colonialism or the role of the State or biological modification.

9. In adapting a science fiction story to the cinema the generic conventions of both -- especially their strengths -- get in the way. Discuss with references to any cinematic adaptation of a novel by Wells.

10. Examine one or more sequels or homages to a novel by Wells and consider whether they merely reflect the original or add to its themes and settings.

11. "Wells enables us to see and feel things which no human beings has so far seen or felt." If this is true, how far has this become the task of science fiction?

12. "They do not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good gripping dream." How far is Wells's own assessment of his scientific romances [in the preface to the 1933 Collected edition] to be trusted?

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