150 years ago today, the prolific British writer and thinker HG Wells was born. An accident in his young life that left him bedridden with a broken leg was the spark that fanned Herbert George’s love of books and stimulated his desire to write. Sometimes called The Father of Science Fiction, he wrote The Time Machine, when he was 29 years old, and also authored The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. But Wells, a trained scientist, wrote in many genres, including novels, history, politics, social commentary, and textbooks, His frequent focus on class inequality made him a worthy successor to Charles Dickens. WATCH 5 Things You Didn’t Know About HG Wells… (1866)
Wells, whose religious views were neither monotheistic nor doctrinaire, was disdainful of America for not allowing African-Americans to vote and for the overall treatment they received from society. In his later years he apologized for earlier statements opposing the Jewish state and Zionist movement—partly because it was so antithetical to his vision of a collective socialist solidarity and “one world” political model.
A diabetic, Wells co-founded the charity Diabetes UK, before his death from the disease at age 79.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- The Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus letter was published in the New York Sun answering the question from 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon (1897)
- J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, There and Back Again was first published to wide critical acclaim as the prelude to the masterful trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1937)
- Independence Day in Malta, from Britain (1964); Belize, from Britain (1981); and Armenia, from the Soviet Union (1991)
- America: A Tribute to Heroes was broadcast by over 35 network and cable channels, raising over $200 million for victims of the September 11 attacks (2001)
- Today is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
Happy 66th birthday to the actor and comedian Bill Murray, who is slated to be honored this Fall with the Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.