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Julian Meynell's Books

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H.G. Wells: Selected SHort Stories

Selected Stories - H.G. Wells, Ursula K. Le Guin

This collection of H. G. Wells is edited by Ursula K. Le Gin and as one would expect it is a great collection and her introductions to the book and its selections are very insightful. The stories themselves are excellent. What surprised me was how many of the stories have vision as a motif. Well's is obsessed with the act of looking and in particular in looking in a new way that reveals the world as it really is. However, his stories thoroughly explore the good and bad points of this, until they climax in what is probably the best story of the collection: The Country of the Blind. It has two endings, the first which is good and a later very different and even better ending.

Many of the stories are actually quite predictive. Other stories in a few pages introduce ideas that have been explored over and over again. Yet other stories remind me of Lovecraft shorn of his cosmic horror. Perhaps that's because Wells writes over and over again from a quasi journalistic rational reasonable stance.

Overall, the collection is constantly fascinating and his genius is on continuous display. Well's is for me the greatest of all Science Fiction writers. Wells is vastly inventive, interested in problematic situations and ideas, able to write a good character and good dialogue. He is to me, the greatest of the science fiction authors and as a good as claim as anyone to inventing the genre. This collection just reconfirms that opinion.