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Disappointing biograpy of one of the Gods of Sci-fi Literature.
on 7 February 2013
H.G. Wells is one of the most prolific writers in the canon of Literature. And in science fiction, he is a God. Michael Sherborne's biography does give us a lot of gossip and other pieces of information about his life. However, none of this is groundbreaking in Wells scholarship. What I found deeply frustrating is the biographer's unforgivable shyness in exploring H.G. Wells's extraordinary output. One needs to know the mindset of an author who can produce a high number of novels, short stories, and essays. Sherborne should have discussed Wells's writing routines, habits, and methods. In this 350 page biography, guess how many pages are devoted to this vital topic? A mere paragraph of about 75 words. That's it. That's the equivalent of someone writing a biography of Roger Federer and giving just a paragraph to that great tennis genius's practice habits, routines, and methods. With 17 Grand Slam wins, one needs the biographer to explore a champion's mindset.
A great English writer such as H.G Wells needed a great biographer such as a Clare Tomalin or a Peter Ackroyd. Maybe one day we will get a 21st century biography of Wells that he deserves. In the mean time, this effort from Michael Sherborne at least revives one's interest in the creator of 'The Time Machine' and 'The Island of Doctor Moreau'.
Having said that, this biography does have a good index. So, if you don't want to waste time like I regretfully had, you could go straight to the back pages to find what you are looking for.