Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia

Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia

by H. G. Wells
     
 

In his 1898 War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells imagined aliens from Mars descending to Earth with violent intentions. In Star Begotten, first published in 1937, the suspicion arises that the Martians may have returned—this time using cosmic rays to alter human chromosomes. The protagonist Joseph Davis, an author of popular histories, grows fearfully obsessed with

Overview

In his 1898 War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells imagined aliens from Mars descending to Earth with violent intentions. In Star Begotten, first published in 1937, the suspicion arises that the Martians may have returned—this time using cosmic rays to alter human chromosomes. The protagonist Joseph Davis, an author of popular histories, grows fearfully obsessed with rumors of the Martian plan. He considers the possibility that mutation may have already occurred, and that his child, his wife, and even he may already be Martians. An ironic and often comic novel, Star Begotten portrays discoveries in evolutionary biology and contemplates the benefits as well as the horrors of mutation. This new annotated edition situates the novel in its literary and historical contexts, explains its place in Wells’s late development, and highlights its importance as a precursor to the dark comedies of delusion by writers like Robert Sheckley and Philip K. Dick.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Mr. Wells is the most persuasive of living writers… He knows that we sigh for a sane world of unlimited possibilities. He catches us on the full wave of our wish… Star Begotten is the most mature of his fantasies.” —V.S. Pritchett, The New Statesman and Nation
Publishers Weekly
edited by John Huntington and first published in 1937, the Martians of The War of the Worlds (1898) may have returned to Earth. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Wells revisits the Martian invasion scenario, this time (1937) not in metal war machines but with cosmic rays turning humans into Martians. Though the story is somewhat comical, Wells always has a serious point disguised in his sf format. Wesleyan offers a scholarly, annotated edition. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819567291
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
09/12/2006
Series:
Early Classics of Science Fiction
Pages:
172
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Patrick Parrinder
“A definitive scholarly edition of this notable novel. Huntington eloquently and subtly demonstrates its complexity and ambiguity. Star Begotten should receive a warm welcome.”

Meet the Author

H.G. WELLS (1866–1946) pioneered the “scientific romance” in such novels as The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man. JOHN HUNTINGTON is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the author of books including The Logic of Fantasy: H.G. Wells and Science Fiction.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 21, 1866
Date of Death:
August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:
Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Education:
Normal School of Science, London, England

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