When H. G. Wells left school in 1880 at 13 he seemed destined for obscurity--yet he defied expectations, becoming one of the most famous writers in the world. He wrote classic science-fiction tales such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds; reinvented the Dickensian novel in Kipps and The History of Mr Polly; pioneered postmodernism in experimental fiction; and harangued his contemporaries in polemics which included two bestselling histories of the world. He brought equal energy to his outrageously promiscuous love life--a series of affairs embraced distinguished authors such as Dorothy Richardson and Rebecca West, the gun-toting travel writer Odette Keun, and Russian spy Moura Budberg. Until his death in 1946 Wells had artistic and ideological confrontations with everyone from Henry James to George Orwell, from Churchill to Stalin. He remains a controversial figure, attacked by some as a philistine, sexist, and racist, praised by others as a great writer, a prophet of globalization, and a pioneer of human rights. Setting the record straight, this authoritative biography is the first full-scale account to include material from the long-suppressed skeleton correspondence with his mistresses and illegitimate daughter.
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