"I have called it 'Tono-Bungay,' but I had far better have called it 'Waste.'"
Herbert George Wells will also be associated with science-fiction (or scientific romances as he called them), a genre that he may not have invented, but created the blueprint for in his four major novels: "The War of the Worlds," "The Invisible Man," The Island of Dr. Moreau," and "The Time Machine." Yet Wells was much more than just a writer of sci-fi; he flirted with socialism and free love, he was politically active, he was friends with Henry James, he had a long affair with Rebecca West, and he wrote prolifically, which may be why more high-brow critics ignore him. True, he wasn't much of a stylist, but he was committed to engaging the novel, even if it had a fantastic premise, with the issues of the time. "Tono-Bungay" is perhaps his finest non-sci-fi novel, a mix of bildungsroman and social satire. The title refers to a sham tonic (much like today's energy drinks) that the protagonist's uncle creates and then makes a ridiculous amount of money with. Wells was one of the first to recognize the pernicious effects of advertising, as well as the gullibility of the public, the lure of money, and the defects of capitalism. A novel that deserves a wider audience. Also see David Lodge's witty, insightful novel about Wells's personal life, "A Man of Parts."
"We are going to write about it all."-Wells
Finished another adventure through the world of H.G. Wells, and really enjoyed it.
His characters are just so 'alive', just humanity at all it's highs and lows.
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