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Thirty Strange Stories
Herbert George Wells
English fiction; Fantasy fiction, English; Science fiction, English
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Most people know H.G. Wells as one of the undisputed fathers of modern science fiction, but he also wrote many influential horror stories, both psychological and supernatural in content. "The Plattner Story," contained in this volume, demonstrates how Wells can move from a science-fiction premise (a venture into the Fourth Dimension) into a tale of awe and terror--in which the protagonist encounters the ghostly Watchers of the Living: "They were indeed limbless, and they had the appearance of human heads, beneath which a tadpole-like body swung.... And as he looked at the nearest of those approaching, he saw it was indeed a human head, albeit with singularly large eyes, and wearing such an expression of distress and anguish as he had never seen before upon a mortal countenance."
This volume collects the best known of Wells's horror tales, including three about unusual monsters ("The Strange Orchid," "In the Avu Observatory," and "The Sea Raiders"), grisly stories of the conte cruel variety ("The Cone" and "The Lord of the Dynamos"), a multilayered gem about fear and the quest for knowledge ("The Apple"), and an early example of the black-magic horror tale that can be interpreted as psychological ("Pollock and the Porroh Man").
As venerable horror critic Jack Sullivan writes, "Of all the many writers of the Victorian and Edwardian periods who attempted the fashionable exercise of reconciling science with mystical experience ... Wells accomplished the fusion with the most wit and restraint. For a man who spent so many years writing essays about scientific and metaphysical subjects, he was surprisingly good at keeping his story moving and keeping essaylike explanations to a minimum.... Readers who think of Wells's short stories as being exclusively science fiction are in for some chilling surprises." --Fiona WebsterAbout the Author:
Often called the father of science fiction, British author Herbert George (H. G.) Wells literary works are notable for being some of the first titles of the science fiction genre, and include such famed titles as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and The Invisible Man. Despite being fixedly associated with science fiction, Wells wrote extensively in other genres and on many subjects, including history, society and politics, and was heavily influenced by Darwinism. His first book, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought, offered predictions about what technology and society would look like in the year 2000, many of which have proven accurate. Wells went on to pen over fifty novels, numerous non-fiction books, and dozens of short stories. His legacy has had an overwhelming influence on science fiction, popular culture, and even on technological and scientific innovation. Wells died in 1946 at the age of 79.
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