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From acclaimed literary biographer Claire Tomalin, a complex and fascinating exploration of the early life of the influential writer and public figure H. G. Wells How did the first forty years of H. G. Wells's life shape the father of science fiction? From his impoverished childhood in a working-class English family and determination to educate himself at any cost to his complicated marriages, love affair with socialism, and the serious ill health that dominated his twenties and thirties, H. G. Wells's extraordinary early life would set him on a path to become one of the world's most influential writers. The sudden success of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds transformed his life and catapulted him to international fame; he became the writer who most inspired Orwell and countless others and predicted men walking on the moon seventy years before it happened. In this remarkable, empathetic biography, Claire Tomalin paints a fascinating portrait of a man like no other, driven by curiosity and desiring reform, a socialist and a futurist whose new and imaginative worlds continue to inspire today.