Fractal Flame Universes or just plain science to me?
November 29, 2015
To all my friends out there,
No matter which way you slice it, in our three dimensions of height, depth and width...four, if you count time...fractals are apparently a series of equations that are interpreted in terms of RGB values (Red, Green and Blue) and displayed on computer screen monitors as various incredible designs, some hauntingly familiar...like snowflakes, and some so bizarre that they appear to be out of a nightmare (Mandelbulber fractals.)
I personally find the fractal flame to be the most interesting of the new fractals, in that it disperses light in a way that is both ethereal and angelic in many ways.
I've always envisioned angels as these beings made of pure light...not human forms....but vast and coherent energy forms that descend to our dense vibration, call it Earth, and help those in need and are willing to accept it, and even sometimes those who are not willing.
But in this case fractal flames are a come one, come all type of entity in that they are just plain out there, beautiful, bold and hypnotic in their appeal.
Anyway, here is a batch of fractal flames I created in a slide show for you to check out.
Check out my digital art book I published with a boatload of fractal flames at Amazon.
Fractal Flame Slideshow of purple and pink. Fun colors and patterns. And a few facts about fractals as well.
FractalFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Fractal (disambiguation).
Mandelbrot set: Self-similarity illustrated by image enlargements. This panel, no magnification.
The same fractal as above, magnified 6-fold. Same patterns reappear, making the exact scale being examined difficult to determine.
The same fractal as above, magnified a 100-fold.
The same fractal as above, magnified a 2000-fold, where the Mandelbrot set fine detail resembles the detail at low magnification.A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. It is also known as expanding symmetry or evolving symmetry. If the replication is exactly the same at every scale, it is called a self-similar pattern. An example of this is the Menger Sponge. Fractals can also be nearly the same at different levels. This latter pattern is illustrated in the magnifications of the Mandelbrot set. Fractals also include the idea of a detailed pattern that repeats itself.:166; 18
Fractals are different from other geometric figures because of the way in which they scale. Doubling the edge lengths of a polygon multiplies its area by four, which is two (the ratio of the new to the old side length) raised to the power of two (the dimension of the space the polygon resides in). Likewise, if the radius of a sphere is doubled, its volume scales by eight, which is two (the ratio of the new to the old radius) to the power of three (the dimension that the sphere resides in). But if a fractal's one-dimensional lengths are all doubled, the spatial content of the fractal scales by a power that is not necessarily an integer. This power is called the fractal dimension of the fractal, and it usually exceeds the fractal's topological dimension.
As mathematical equations, fractals are usually nowhere differentiable. An infinite fractal curve can be conceived of as winding through space differently from an ordinary line, still being a 1-dimensional line yet having a fractal dimension indicating it also resembles a surface.:15:48
Sierpinski carpet (to level 6), a two-dimensional fractalThe mathematical roots of the idea of fractals have been traced throughout the years as a formal path of published works, starting in the 17th century with notions of recursion, then moving through increasingly rigorous mathematical treatment of the concept to the study of continuous but not differentiable functions in the 19th century, and on to the coining of the word fractal in the 20th century with a subsequent burgeoning of interest in fractals and computer-based modelling in the 21st century. The term "fractal" was first used by mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975. Mandelbrot based it on the Latin frāctus meaning "broken" or "fractured", and used it to extend the concept of theoretical fractional dimensions to geometric patterns in nature.:405
There is some disagreement amongst authorities about how the concept of a fractal should be formally defined. Mandelbrot himself summarized it as "beautiful, damn hard, increasingly useful. That's fractals." The general consensus is that theoretical fractals are infinitely self-similar, iterated, and detailed mathematical constructs having fractal dimensions, of which many examples have been formulated and studied in great depth. Fractals are not limited to geometric patterns, but can also describe processes in time. Fractal patterns with various degrees of self-similarity have been rendered or studied in images, structures and sounds and found in nature, technology, art, and law.
IntroductionThe word "fractal" often has different connotations for laypeople than for mathematicians, where the layperson is more likely to be familiar with fractal art than a mathematical conception. The mathematical concept is difficult to define formally even for mathematicians, but key features can be understood with little mathematical background.
The feature of "self-similarity", for instance, is easily understood by analogy to zooming in with a lens or other device that zooms in on digital images to uncover finer, previously invisible, new structure. If this is done on fractals, however, no new detail appears; nothing changes and the same pattern repeats over and over, or for some fractals, nearly the same pattern reappears over and over. Self-similarity itself is not necessarily counter-intuitive (e.g., people have pondered self-similarity informally such as in the infinite regress in parallel mirrors or the homunculus, the little man inside the head of the little man inside the head...). The difference for fractals is that the pattern reproduced must be detailed.:166; 18
This idea of being detailed relates to another feature that can be understood without mathematical background: Having a fractional or fractal dimension greater than its topological dimension, for instance, refers to how a fractal scales compared to how geometric shapes are usually perceived. A regular line, for instance, is conventionally understood to be 1-dimensional; if such a curve is divided into pieces each 1/3 the length of the original, there are always 3 equal pieces. In contrast, consider the Koch snowflake. It is also 1-dimensional for the same reason as the ordinary line, but it has, in addition, a fractal dimension greater than 1 because of how its detail can be measured. The fractal curve divided into parts 1/3 the length of the original line becomes 4 pieces rearranged to repeat the original detail, and this unusual relationship is the basis of its fractal dimension.
This also leads to understanding a third feature, that fractals as mathematical equations are "nowhere differentiable". In a concrete sense, this means fractals cannot be measured in traditional ways. To elaborate, in trying to find the length of a wavy non-fractal curve, one could find straight segments of some measuring tool small enough to lay end to end over the waves, where the pieces could get small enough to be considered to conform to the curve in the normal manner of measuring with a tape measure. But in measuring a wavy fractal curve such as the Koch snowflake, one would never find a small enough straight segment to conform to the curve, because the wavy pattern would always re-appear, albeit at a smaller size, essentially pulling a little more of the tape measure into the total length measured each time one attempted to fit it tighter and tighter to the curve.
A Koch snowflake is a fractal that begins with an equilateral triangle and then replaces the middle third of every line segment with a pair of line segments that form an equilateral "bump"The history of fractals traces a path from chiefly theoretical studies to modern applications in computer graphics, with several notable people contributing canonical fractal forms along the way. According to Pickover, the mathematics behind fractals began to take shape in the 17th century when the mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz pondered recursive self-similarity (although he made the mistake of thinking that only the straight line was self-similar in this sense). In his writings, Leibniz used the term "fractional exponents", but lamented that "Geometry" did not yet know of them.:405 Indeed, according to various historical accounts, after that point few mathematicians tackled the issues and the work of those who did remained obscured largely because of resistance to such unfamiliar emerging concepts, which were sometimes referred to as mathematical "monsters". Thus, it was not until two centuries had passed that in 1872 Karl Weierstrass presented the first definition of a function with a graph that would today be considered fractal, having the non-intuitive property of being everywhere continuous but nowhere differentiable.:7 Not long after that, in 1883, Georg Cantor, who attended lectures by Weierstrass, published examples of subsets of the real line known as Cantor sets, which had unusual properties and are now recognized as fractals.:11–24 Also in the last part of that century, Felix Klein and Henri Poincaré introduced a category of fractal that has come to be called "self-inverse" fractals.:166
A Julia set, a fractal related to the Mandelbrot setOne of the next milestones came in 1904, when Helge von Koch, extending ideas of Poincaré and dissatisfied with Weierstrass's abstract and analytic definition, gave a more geometric definition including hand drawn images of a similar function, which is now called the Koch snowflake.:25 Another milestone came a decade later in 1915, when Wacław Sierpiński constructed his famous triangle then, one year later, his carpet. By 1918, two French mathematicians, Pierre Fatou and Gaston Julia, though working independently, arrived essentially simultaneously at results describing what are now seen as fractal behaviour associated with mapping complex numbers and iterative functions and leading to further ideas about attractors and repellors (i.e., points that attract or repel other points), which have become very important in the study of fractals. Very shortly after that work was submitted, by March 1918, Felix Hausdorff expanded the definition of "dimension", significantly for the evolution of the definition of fractals, to allow for sets to have noninteger dimensions. The idea of self-similar curves was taken further by Paul Lévy, who, in his 1938 paper Plane or Space Curves and Surfaces Consisting of Parts Similar to the Whole described a new fractal curve, the Lévy C curve.[notes 1]
A strange attractor that exhibits multifractal scaling
Uniform Mass Center Triangle FractalDifferent researchers have postulated that without the aid of modern computer graphics, early investigators were limited to what they could depict in manual drawings, so lacked the means to visualize the beauty and appreciate some of the implications of many of the patterns they had discovered (the Julia set, for instance, could only be visualized through a few iterations as very simple drawings]).:179 That changed, however, in the 1960s, when Benoît Mandelbrot started writing about self-similarity in papers such as How Long Is the Coast of Britain? Statistical Self-Similarity and Fractional Dimension, which built on earlier work by Lewis Fry Richardson. In 1975 Mandelbrot solidified hundreds of years of thought and mathematical development in coining the word "fractal" and illustrated his mathematical definition with striking computer-constructed visualizations. These images, such as of his canonical Mandelbrot set, captured the popular imagination; many of them were based on recursion, leading to the popular meaning of the term "fractal". Currently, fractal studies are essentially exclusively computer-based.
CharacteristicsOne often cited description that Mandelbrot published to describe geometric fractals is "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole"; this is generally helpful but limited. Authors disagree on the exact definition of fractal, but most usually elaborate on the basic ideas of self-similarity and an unusual relationship with the space a fractal is embedded in. One point agreed on is that fractal patterns are characterized by fractal dimensions, but whereas these numbers quantify complexity (i.e., changing detail with changing scale), they neither uniquely describe nor specify details of how to construct particular fractal patterns. In 1975 when Mandelbrot coined the word "fractal", he did so to denote an object whose Hausdorff–Besicovitch dimension is greater than its topological dimension. It has been noted that this dimensional requirement is not met by fractal space-filling curves such as the Hilbert curve.[notes 2]
According to Falconer, rather than being strictly defined, fractals should, in addition to being nowhere differentiable and able to have a fractal dimension, be generally characterized by a gestalt of the following features;
Brownian motionA path generated by a one dimensional Wiener process is a fractal curve of dimension 1.5, and Brownian motion is a finite version of this.
Common techniques for generating fractals
Self-similar branching pattern modeled in silico using L-systems principlesImages of fractals can be created by fractal generating programs.
A fractal generated by a finite subdivision rule for an alternating link
A fractal flameFractal patterns have been modeled extensively, albeit within a range of scales rather than infinitely, owing to the practical limits of physical time and space. Models may simulate theoretical fractals or natural phenomena with fractal features. The outputs of the modelling process may be highly artistic renderings, outputs for investigation, or benchmarks for fractal analysis. Some specific applications of fractals to technology are listed elsewhere. Images and other outputs of modelling are normally referred to as being "fractals" even if they do not have strictly fractal characteristics, such as when it is possible to zoom into a region of the fractal image that does not exhibit any fractal properties. Also, these may include calculation or display artifacts which are not characteristics of true fractals.
Modeled fractals may be sounds, digital images, electrochemical patterns, circadian rhythms, etc. Fractal patterns have been reconstructed in physical 3-dimensional space:10 and virtually, often called "in silico" modeling. Models of fractals are generally created using fractal-generating software that implements techniques such as those outlined above. As one illustration, trees, ferns, cells of the nervous system, blood and lung vasculature, and other branching patterns in nature can be modeled on a computer by using recursive algorithms and L-systems techniques. The recursive nature of some patterns is obvious in certain examples—a branch from a tree or a frond from a fern is a miniature replica of the whole: not identical, but similar in nature. Similarly, random fractals have been used to describe/create many highly irregular real-world objects. A limitation of modeling fractals is that resemblance of a fractal model to a natural phenomenon does not prove that the phenomenon being modeled is formed by a process similar to the modeling algorithms.
Natural phenomena with fractal featuresFurther information: Patterns in natureApproximate fractals found in nature display self-similarity over extended, but finite, scale ranges. The connection between fractals and leaves, for instance, is currently being used to determine how much carbon is contained in trees. Phenomena known to have fractal features include:
Frost crystals occurring naturally on cold glass form fractal patterns
Fractal basin boundary in a geometrical optical system
A fractal is formed when pulling apart two glue-covered acrylic sheets
High voltage breakdown within a 4 in (100 mm) block of acrylic creates a fractal Lichtenberg figure
Romanesco broccoli, showing self-similar form approximating a natural fractal
Fractal defrosting patterns, polar Mars. The patterns are formed by sublimation of frozen CO2. Width of image is about a kilometer. In creative worksFurther information: Fractal artThe paintings of American artist Jackson Pollock have a definite fractal dimension. While Pollock's paintings appear to be composed of chaotic dripping and splattering, computer analysis demonstrates a degree of self-similarity at different scales (levels of detail) in his work.
Decalcomania, a technique used by artists such as Max Ernst, can produce fractal-like patterns. It involves pressing paint between two surfaces and pulling them apart.
Cyberneticist Ron Eglash has suggested that fractal geometry and mathematics are prevalent in African art, games, divination, trade, and architecture. Circular houses appear in circles of circles, rectangular houses in rectangles of rectangles, and so on. Such scaling patterns can also be found in African textiles, sculpture, and even cornrow hairstyles.
In a 1996 interview with Michael Silverblatt, David Foster Wallace admitted that the structure of the first draft of Infinite Jest he gave to his editor Michael Pietsch was inspired by fractals, specifically the Sierpinski triangle (a.k.a. Sierpinski gasket) but that the edited novel is "more like a lopsided Sierpinsky Gasket".
A fractal that models the surface of a mountain (animation)
3d recursive image
recursive fractal image butterfly Applications in technologyMain article: Fractal analysis
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Fractals
Mathematics and art
H. G. WellsFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see H. G. Wells (disambiguation).
H. G. Wells
Photograph by George Charles Beresford, 1920
BornHerbert George Wells 21 September 1866
Bromley, Kent, England Died13 August 1946 (aged 79)
Regent's Park, London, England Resting place Cremated
OccupationNovelist, teacher, historian, journalist
Alma mater Royal College of Science (Imperial College London)
Genre Science fiction (notably social science fiction), social realism
SubjectWorld history, progress
SpouseIsabel Mary Wells
Amy Catherine Robbins (1895–1927, her death)
ChildrenGeorge Phillip "G. P." Wells (1901–1985)
Frank Richard Wells (1903–1982)
Anna-Jane Kennard (1909-2010)
Anthony West (1914–1987)Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946), known primarily as H. G. Wells, was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels, and Wells is called the father of science fiction, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback.[a] His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).
Wells's earliest specialized training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he wrote little science fiction, while he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Novels like Kipps and The History of Mr Polly, which describe lower-middle-class life, led to the suggestion, when they were published, that he was a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole.
LifeEarly lifeHerbert George Wells was born at Atlas House, 46 High Street, Bromley, in Kent, on 21 September 1866. Called "Bertie" in the family, he was the fourth and last child of Joseph Wells (a former domestic gardener, and at the time a shopkeeper and professional cricketer) and his wife, Sarah Neal (a former domestic servant). An inheritance had allowed the family to acquire a shop in which they sold china and sporting goods, although it failed to prosper: the stock was old and worn out, and the location was poor. Joseph Wells managed to earn a meagre income, but little of it came from the shop and he received an unsteady amount of money from playing professional cricket for the Kent county team. Payment for skilled bowlers and batsmen came from voluntary donations afterwards, or from small payments from the clubs where matches were played.
A defining incident of young Wells's life was an accident in 1874 that left him bedridden with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, brought to him by his father. He soon became devoted to the other worlds and lives to which books gave him access; they also stimulated his desire to write. Later that year he entered Thomas Morley's Commercial Academy, a private school founded in 1849 following the bankruptcy of Morley's earlier school. The teaching was erratic, the curriculum mostly focused, Wells later said, on producing copperplate handwriting and doing the sort of sums useful to tradesmen. Wells continued at Morley's Academy until 1880. In 1877, his father, Joseph Wells, fractured his thigh. The accident effectively put an end to Joseph's career as a cricketer, and his subsequent earnings as a shopkeeper were not enough to compensate for the loss of the primary source of family income.
No longer able to support themselves financially, the family instead sought to place their sons as apprentices in various occupations. From 1880 to 1883, Wells had an unhappy apprenticeship as a draper at the Southsea Drapery Emporium, Hyde's. His experiences at Hyde's, where he worked a thirteen-hour day and slept in a dormitory with other apprentices, later inspired his novels The Wheels of Chance and Kipps, which portray the life of a draper's apprentice as well as providing a critique of society's distribution of wealth.
Wells's parents had a turbulent marriage, owing primarily to his mother being a Protestant and his father a freethinker. When his mother returned to work as a lady's maid (at Uppark, a country house in Sussex), one of the conditions of work was that she would not be permitted to have living space for her husband and children. Thereafter, she and Joseph lived separate lives, though they never divorced and remained faithful to each other. As a consequence, Herbert's personal troubles increased as he subsequently failed as a draper and also, later, as a chemist's assistant. Fortunately for Herbert, Uppark had a magnificent library in which he immersed himself, reading many classic works, including Plato's Republic, and More's Utopia. This would be the beginning of Herbert George Wells's venture into literature.
H. G. Wells studying in London, taken circa 1890In October 1879 Wells's mother arranged through a distant relative, Arthur Williams, for him to join the National School at Wookey in Somerset as a pupil–teacher, a senior pupil who acted as a teacher of younger children. In December that year, however, Williams was dismissed for irregularities in his qualifications and Wells was returned to Uppark. After a short apprenticeship at a chemist in nearby Midhurst, and an even shorter stay as a boarder at Midhurst Grammar School, he signed his apprenticeship papers at Hyde's. In 1883 Wells persuaded his parents to release him from the apprenticeship, taking an opportunity offered by Midhurst Grammar School again to become a pupil–teacher; his proficiency in Latin and science during his previous, short stay had been remembered.
The years he spent in Southsea had been the most miserable of his life to that point, but his good fortune at securing a position at Midhurst Grammar School meant that Wells could continue his self-education in earnest. The following year, Wells won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science (later the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, now part of Imperial College London) in London, studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley. As an alumnus, he later helped to set up the Royal College of Science Association, of which he became the first president in 1909. Wells studied in his new school until 1887 with a weekly allowance of 21 shillings (a guinea) thanks to his scholarship. This ought to have been a comfortable sum of money (at the time many working class families had "round about a pound a week" as their entire household income) yet in his Experiment in Autobiography, Wells speaks of constantly being hungry, and indeed, photographs of him at the time show a youth very thin and malnourished.
H. G. Wells in 1907 at the door of his house at SandgateHe soon entered the Debating Society of the school. These years mark the beginning of his interest in a possible reformation of society. At first approaching the subject through Plato's Republic, he soon turned to contemporary ideas of socialism as expressed by the recently formed Fabian Society and free lectures delivered at Kelmscott House, the home of William Morris. He was also among the founders of The Science School Journal, a school magazine that allowed him to express his views on literature and society, as well as trying his hand at fiction; a precursor to his novel The Time Machine was published in the journal under the title The Chronic Argonauts. The school year 1886–87 was the last year of his studies.
During 1888 Wells stayed in Stoke-on-Trent, living in Basford, and also at the Leopard Hotel in Burslem. The unique environment of The Potteries was certainly an inspiration. He wrote in a letter to a friend from the area that "the district made an immense impression on me." The inspiration for some of his descriptions in The War of the Worlds is thought to have come from his short time spent here, seeing the iron foundry furnaces burn over the city, shooting huge red light into the skies. His stay in The Potteries also resulted in the macabre short story "The Cone" (1895, contemporaneous with his famous The Time Machine), set in the north of the city.
After teaching for some time, Wells found it necessary to supplement his knowledge relating to educational principles and methodology and entered the College of Preceptors (College of Teachers). He later received his Licentiate and Fellowship FCP diplomas from the College. It was not until 1890 that Wells earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of London External Programme. In 1889–90 he managed to find a post as a teacher at Henley House School, where he taught A. A. Milne. His first published work was a Text-book of Biology in two volumes - 1893.
Upon leaving the Normal School of Science, Wells was left without a source of income. His aunt Mary—his father's sister-in-law—invited him to stay with her for a while, which solved his immediate problem of accommodation. During his stay at his aunt's residence, he grew increasingly interested in her daughter, Isabel. He would later go on to court her.
In the mid-1890s Wells lived at 143 Maybury Road, Woking.In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells; the couple agreed to separate in 1894 when he fell in love with one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins (later known as Jane), whom he married in 1895. Poor health took him to Sandgate, near Folkestone, where in 1901 he constructed a large family home: Spade House. He had two sons with Jane: George Philip (known as "Gip") in 1901 (died 1985) and Frank Richard in 1903 (died 1982).
With his wife Jane's consent, Wells had affairs with a number of women, including the American birth control activist Margaret Sanger, adventurer and writer Odette Keun, Ukrainian spy Moura Budberg and novelist Elizabeth von Arnim. In 1909 he had a daughter, Anna-Jane, with the writer Amber Reeves, whose parents, William and Maud Pember Reeves, he had met through the Fabian Society; and in 1914 a son, Anthony West (1914–1987), by the novelist and feminist Rebecca West, 26 years his junior. In Experiment in Autobiography (1934), Wells wrote: "I was never a great amorist, though I have loved several people very deeply". David Lodge's novel A Man of Parts (2011) - a 'narrative based on factual sources' (author's note) - gives a convincing and generally sympathetic account of Wells's relations with the women mentioned above, and others.
ArtistOne of the ways that Wells expressed himself was through his drawings and sketches. One common location for these was the endpapers and title pages of his own diaries, and they covered a wide variety of topics, from political commentary to his feelings toward his literary contemporaries and his current romantic interests. During his marriage to Amy Catherine, whom he nicknamed Jane, he drew a considerable number of pictures, many of them being overt comments on their marriage. During this period, he called these pictures "picshuas". These picshuas have been the topic of study by Wells scholars for many years, and in 2006 a book was published on the subject.
Statue of a The War of the Worlds tripod, erected as a tribute to H. G. Wells in the centre of the town of Woking, EnglandSome of his early novels, called "scientific romances", invented several themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. He also wrote realistic novels that received critical acclaim, including Kipps and a satire on Edwardian advertising, Tono-Bungay. Wells also wrote dozens of short stories and novellas, the best known of which is "The Country of the Blind" (1904).
Though Tono-Bungay is not a science-fiction novel, radioactive decay plays a small but consequential role in it. Radioactive decay plays a much larger role in The World Set Free (1914). This book contains what is surely his biggest prophetic "hit". Scientists of the day were well aware that the natural decay of radium releases energy at a slow rate over thousands of years. The rate of release is too slow to have practical utility, but the total amount released is huge. Wells's novel revolves around an (unspecified) invention that accelerates the process of radioactive decay, producing bombs that explode with no more than the force of ordinary high explosives—but which "continue to explode" for days on end. "Nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the earlier twentieth century", he wrote, "than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible ... [but] they did not see it until the atomic bombs burst in their fumbling hands". In 1932, the physicist and conceiver of nuclear chain reaction Leó Szilárd read The World Set Free, a book which he said made a great impression on him.
Wells also wrote nonfiction. Wells's first nonfiction bestseller was Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901). When originally serialized in a magazine it was subtitled, "An Experiment in Prophecy", and is considered his most explicitly futuristic work. It offered the immediate political message of the privileged sections of society continuing to bar capable men from other classes from advancement until war would force a need to employ those most able, rather than the traditional upper classes, as leaders. Anticipating what the world would be like in the year 2000, the book is interesting both for its hits (trains and cars resulting in the dispersion of populations from cities to suburbs; moral restrictions declining as men and women seek greater sexual freedom; the defeat of German militarism, and the existence of a European Union) and its misses (he did not expect successful aircraft before 1950, and averred that "my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocate its crew and founder at sea").
His bestselling two-volume work, The Outline of History (1920), began a new era of popularised world history. It received a mixed critical response from professional historians. However, it was very popular amongst the general population and made Wells a rich man. Many other authors followed with "Outlines" of their own in other subjects. Wells reprised his Outline in 1922 with a much shorter popular work, A Short History of the World, and two long efforts, The Science of Life (1930) and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1931). The "Outlines" became sufficiently common for James Thurber to parody the trend in his humorous essay, "An Outline of Scientists"—indeed, Wells's Outline of History remains in print with a new 2005 edition, while A Short History of the World has been re-edited (2006).
From quite early in his career, he sought a better way to organize society, and wrote a number of Utopian novels. The first of these was A Modern Utopia (1905), which shows a worldwide utopia with "no imports but meteorites, and no exports at all"; two travellers from our world fall into its alternate history. The others usually begin with the world rushing to catastrophe, until people realize a better way of living: whether by mysterious gases from a comet causing people to behave rationally and abandoning a European war (In the Days of the Comet (1906)), or a world council of scientists taking over, as in The Shape of Things to Come (1933, which he later adapted for the 1936 Alexander Korda film, Things to Come). This depicted, all too accurately, the impending World War, with cities being destroyed by aerial bombs. He also portrayed the rise of fascist dictators in The Autocracy of Mr Parham (1930) and The Holy Terror (1939). Men Like Gods (1923) is also a utopian novel. Wells in this period was regarded as an enormously influential figure; the critic Malcolm Cowley stated "by the time he was forty, his influence was wider than any other living English writer".
H. G. Wells circa 1918Wells contemplates the ideas of nature and nurture and questions humanity in books such as The Island of Doctor Moreau. Not all his scientific romances ended in a Utopia, and Wells also wrote a dystopian novel, When the Sleeper Wakes (1899, rewritten as The Sleeper Awakes, 1910), which pictures a future society where the classes have become more and more separated, leading to a revolt of the masses against the rulers. The Island of Doctor Moreau is even darker. The narrator, having been trapped on an island of animals vivisected (unsuccessfully) into human beings, eventually returns to England; like Gulliver on his return from the Houyhnhnms, he finds himself unable to shake off the perceptions of his fellow humans as barely civilised beasts, slowly reverting to their animal natures.
Wells also wrote the preface for the first edition of W. N. P. Barbellion's diaries, The Journal of a Disappointed Man, published in 1919. Since "Barbellion" was the real author's pen name, many reviewers believed Wells to have been the true author of the Journal; Wells always denied this, despite being full of praise for the diaries, but the rumours persisted until Barbellion's death later that year.
In 1927 a Canadian citizen, Florence Deeks (1864–1959), unsuccessfully sued Wells for infringement of copyright and breach of trust, claiming that much of The Outline of History had been plagiarized from her unpublished manuscript, The Web of the World's Romance, which had spent nearly nine months in the hands of Wells's Canadian publisher, Macmillan Canada.
In 2000, A. B. McKillop, a professor of history at Carleton University and a leading Canadian historian, produced a book on the Deeks versus Wells case, called The Spinster & The Prophet: Florence Deeks, H. G. Wells, and the Mystery of the Purloined Past. McKillop had been researching another Canadian historical figure when he came across information relating to this, and intrigued, followed through with this book. According to McKillop, the lawsuit was unsuccessful due to the prejudice against a woman suing a well-known and famous male author; McKillop paints a detailed story based on the circumstantial evidence of the case, and suggests that in a more modern court, she would have been successful.
Deeks's manuscript was apparently sent to MacMillan and Company, UK, to check that references to other works did not violate copyright. It appeared to go through the hands of one of the editors in the UK who passed it onto Wells, as he knew Wells was thinking of a similar project. The net result was that Deeks's eventually rejected work came back and when it was eventually opened, it was found "soiled, thumbed, worn and torn, with over a dozen pages turned down at the corners, and many others creased as if having been bent back in use". When she compared her work to The Outline of History in the winter of 1920–21 she found remarkable similarities, exact text similarities, and the same errors and omissions that marred her work, also in Wells's.
In 2004, Denis N. Magnusson, Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, had published in Queen's Law Journal an article on Deeks v. Wells. This re-examines the case in relation to McKillop's book (described as "a novel" in the editorial introduction). While having some sympathy for Deeks, he "challenges the outpouring of public support" for her. He argues that she had a weak case that was not well presented, and though she may have met with sexism from her lawyers, she did receive a fair trial. He goes on to say that the law applied is essentially the same law that would be applied to a similar case today (i.e., 2004)
In 1933 Wells predicted in The Shape of Things to Come that the world war he feared would begin in January 1940, a prediction which ultimately came true four months early, when the Second World War broke out in September 1939.
In 1936, before the Royal Institution, Wells called for the compilation of a constantly growing and changing World Encyclopaedia, to be reviewed by outstanding authorities and made accessible to every human being. In 1938, he published a collection of essays on the future organisation of knowledge and education, World Brain, including the essay, "The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia".
Prior to 1933, Wells's books were widely read in Germany and Austria, and most of his science fiction works had been translated shortly after publication. By 1933 he had attracted the attention of German officials because of his criticism of the political situation in Germany, and on 10 May 1933, Wells's books were burned by the Nazi youth in Berlin's Opernplatz, and his works were banned from libraries and bookstores. Wells, as president of PEN International (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), angered the Nazis by overseeing the expulsion of the German PEN club from the international body in 1934 following the German PEN's refusal to admit non-Aryan writers to its membership. At a PEN conference in Ragusa, Wells refused to yield to Nazi sympathisers who demanded that the exiled author Ernst Toller be prevented from speaking. Near the end of the Second World War, Allied forces discovered that the SS had compiled lists of people slated for immediate arrest during the invasion of Britain in the abandoned Operation Sea Lion, with Wells included in the alphabetical list of "The Black Book".
Seeking a more structured way to play war games, Wells also wrote Floor Games (1911) followed by Little Wars (1913). Little Wars is recognised today as the first recreational war game and Wells is regarded by gamers and hobbyists as "the Father of Miniature War Gaming".
H. G. Wells in 1943Wells's literary reputation declined as he spent his later years promoting causes that were rejected by most of his contemporaries as well as by younger authors whom he had previously influenced, and in this connection George Orwell described him as "too sane to understand the modern world". G. K. Chesterton quipped: "Mr. Wells is a born storyteller who has sold his birthright for a pot of message".
Wells had diabetes, and was a co-founder in 1934 of The Diabetic Association (what is now Diabetes UK, the leading charity for people with diabetes in the UK).
On 28 October 1940, on radio station KTSA in San Antonio, Texas, Wells took part in a radio interview with Orson Welles, who two years previously had performed a famous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds. During the interview, by Charles C Shaw, a KTSA radio host, Wells admitted his surprise at the widespread panic that resulted from the broadcast, but acknowledged his debt to Welles for increasing sales of one of his "more obscure" titles.
Wells died of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946 at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London, aged 79. Some reports also say he died of a heart attack at the flat of a friend in London. In his preface to the 1941 edition of The War in the Air, Wells had stated that his epitaph should be: "I told you so. You damned fools". He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946, his ashes scattered at sea near Old Harry Rocks. A commemorative blue plaque in his honour was installed at his home in Regent's Park.
Political viewsThe Fabian SocietyWells called his political views socialist. He was for a time a member of the socialist Fabian Society, but broke with them as his creative political imagination, matching the originality shown in his fiction, outran theirs. He later grew staunchly critical of them as having a poor understanding of economics and educational reform. He ran as a Labour Party candidate for London University in the 1922 and 1923 general elections after the death of his friend W. H. R. Rivers, but at that point his faith in the party was weak or uncertain.
ClassSocial class was a theme in Wells's The Time Machine in which the Time Traveller speaks of the future world, with its two races, as having evolved from
the gradual widening of the present (19th century) merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer. ... Even now, does not an East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth? Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people ... is already leading to the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface of the land. About London, for instance, perhaps half the prettier country is shut in against intrusion.
Wells has this very same Time Traveller, reflecting his own socialist leanings, refer in a tongue-in-cheek manner to an imagined world of stark class division as "perfect" and with no social problem unsolved. His Time Traveller thus highlights how strict class division leads to the eventual downfall of the human race:
Once, life and property must have reached almost absolute safety. The rich had been assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler assured of his life and work. No doubt in that perfect world there had been no unemployed problem, no social question left unsolved.
In his book The Way the World is Going, Wells called for a non-Marxist form of socialism to be set up, that would avoid both class war and conflict between nations.
World governmentHis most consistent political ideal was the World State. He stated in his autobiography that from 1900 onward he considered a World State inevitable. He envisioned the state to be a planned society that would advance science, end nationalism, and allow people to progress by merit rather than birth.
In Anticipations (1900) Wells envisaged that "the great urban region between Chicago and the Atlantic” will unify the English-speaking states, and this larger English-speaking unit, “a New Republic dominating the world,” will by the year 2000 become the means “by which the final peace of the world may be assured forever." It will be “a new social Hercules that will strangle the serpents of war and national animosity in his cradle.” Such a synthesis "of the peoples now using the English tongue, I regard not only as possible, but as a probable, thing.” The New Republic “will already be consciously and pretty freely controlling the general affairs of humanity before this century closes…” Its principles and opinions “must necessarily shape and determine that still ampler future of which the coming hundred years is but the opening phase.” The New Republic must ultimately become a "World-State."
Wells's 1928 book The Open Conspiracy argued that groups of campaigners should begin advocating for a "world commonwealth", governed by a scientific elite, that would work to eliminate problems such as poverty and warfare. In 1932, he told Young Liberals at the University of Oxford that progressive leaders must become liberal fascists who would "compete in their enthusiasm and self-sacrifice" against the advocates of dictatorship. In 1940, Wells published a book called The New World Order that outlined his plan as to how a World Government would be set up. In The New World Order, Wells admitted that the establishment of such a government could take a long time, and be created in a piecemeal fashion.
EugenicsSome of Wells's early science fiction works reflect his thoughts about the degeneration of humanity. Wells doubted whether human knowledge had advanced sufficiently for eugenics to be successful. In 1904 he discussed a survey paper by Francis Galton, co-founder of eugenics, saying, "I believe that now and always the conscious selection of the best for reproduction will be impossible; that to propose it is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what individuality implies ... It is in the sterilisation of failure, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies". In his 1940 book The Rights of Man: Or What Are We Fighting For? Wells included among the human rights he believed should be available to all people, "a prohibition on mutilation, sterilization, torture, and any bodily punishment".
RaceWells's 1906 book The Future in America, contains a chapter, "The Tragedy of Colour", which discusses the problems facing black Americans. While writing the book, Wells met with Booker T. Washington, who provided him with much of his information for the book. Wells praised the "heroic" resolve of black Americans, stating he doubted if the US could:
show any thing finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast effort hundreds of black and coloured men are making to-day to live blamelessly, honourably, and patiently, getting for themselves what scraps of refinement, learning, and beauty they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.
In his 1916 book What Is Coming? Wells states, "I hate and despise a shrewish suspicion of foreigners and foreign ways; a man who can look me in the face, laugh with me, speak truth and deal fairly, is my brother, though his skin is as black as ink or as yellow as an evening primrose".
In The Outline of History, Wells argued against the idea of "racial purity", stating: "Mankind from the point of view of a biologist is an animal species in a state of arrested differentiation and possible admixture. ... [A]ll races are more or less mixed".
In 1931 Wells was one of several signatories to a letter in Britain (along with 33 British MPs) protesting against the death sentence passed upon the African-American Scottsboro Boys.
In 1943 Wells wrote an article for the Evening Standard, "What a Zulu Thinks of the English", prompted by receiving a letter from a Zulu soldier, Lance Coporal Aaron Hlope. Wells' article was a strong attack on anti-black discrimination in South Africa. Wells claimed he had "the utmost contempt and indignation for the unfairness of the handicaps put upon men of colour". Wells also denounced the South African government as a "petty white tyranny".
ZionismWells had given some moderate, unenthusiastic support for Territorialism before the First World War, but later became a bitter opponent of the Zionist movement in general. He saw Zionism as an exclusive and separatist movement which challenged the collective solidarity he advocated in his vision of a world state. No supporter of Jewish identity in general, Wells had in his utopian writings predicted the ultimate assimilation of the Jewish people. In notes to accompany his biographical novel A Man of Parts David Lodge describes how Wells came to regret his attitudes to the Jews as he became more aware of the extent of the Nazi atrocities. This included a letter of apology written to Chaim Weizmann for earlier statements he had made.
First World WarHe supported Britain in the First World War in his 1914 article, "Why Britain Went To War", despite his many criticisms of British policy, and opposed, in 1916, moves for an early peace. In an essay published that year he acknowledged that he could not understand those British pacifists who were reconciled to "handing over great blocks of the black and coloured races to the [German Empire] to exploit and experiment upon" and that the extent of his own pacifism depended in the first instance upon an armed peace, with "England keep[ing] to England and Germany to Germany". State boundaries would be established according to natural ethnic affinities, rather than by planners in distant imperial capitals, and overseen by his envisaged world alliance of states.
Soviet UnionThe leadership of Joseph Stalin led to a change in his view of the Soviet Union even though his initial impression of Stalin himself was mixed. He disliked what he saw as a narrow orthodoxy and intransigence in Stalin. He did give him some praise saying in an article in the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, "I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest" and making it clear that he felt the "sinister" image of Stalin was unfair or false. Nevertheless, he judged Stalin's rule to be far too rigid, restrictive of independent thought, and blinkered to lead toward the Cosmopolis he hoped for. In the course of his visit to the Soviet Union in 1934, he debated the merits of reformist socialism over Marxism-Leninism with Stalin.
In 1939 Wells denounced the ideological takeover by fascism and communism;
In Communist circles you may hear the most terrible balderdash about proletarian chemistry or proletarian mathematics. In Germany also it is alleged that some remarkable iniquity attaches to Jewish physics and Einstein is denounced and banned.
Other endeavoursWells brought his interest in art and design, and politics together when he and other notables signed a memorandum to the Permanent Secretaries of the Board of Trade, among others. The November 1914 memorandum expressed the signatories concerns about British industrial design in the face of foreign competition. The suggestions were accepted, leading to the foundation of the Design and Industries Association. In the 1920s he was an enthusiastic supporter of rejuvenation attempts by Eugen Steinach and others. He was a patient of Dr Norman Haire (perhaps a rejuvenated one) and in response to Haire's 1924 book Rejuvenation: the Work of Steinach, Voronoff, and Others, Wells prophesied a more mature, graver society with "active and hopeful children" and adults "full of years" where none will be "aged".
In his later political writing, Wells incorporated into his discussions of the World State a notion of universal human rights that would protect and guarantee the freedom of the individual. His 1940 publication The Rights of Man laid the groundwork for the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
SummaryIn the end Wells's contemporary political impact was limited, excluding his fiction's positivist stance on the leaps that could be made by physics towards world peace. His efforts regarding the League of Nations became a disappointment as the organization turned out to be a weak one unable to prevent the Second World War, which itself occurred towards the very end of his life and only increased the pessimistic side of his nature. In his last book Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945) he considered the idea that humanity being replaced by another species might not be a bad idea. He also came to refer to the Second World War era as "The Age of Frustration".
Religious viewsWells wrote in his book God the Invisible King (1917) that his idea of God did not draw upon the traditional religions of the world:
"This book sets out as forcibly and exactly as possible the religious belief of the writer. [Which] is a profound belief in a personal and intimate God. ... Putting the leading idea of this book very roughly, these two antagonistic typical conceptions of God may be best contrasted by speaking of one of them as God-as-Nature or the Creator, and of the other as God-as-Christ or the Redeemer. One is the great Outward God; the other is the Inmost God. The first idea was perhaps developed most highly and completely in the God of Spinoza. It is a conception of God tending to pantheism, to an idea of a comprehensive God as ruling with justice rather than affection, to a conception of aloofness and awestriking worshipfulness. The second idea, which is opposed to this idea of an absolute God, is the God of the human heart. The writer would suggest that the great outline of the theological struggles of that phase of civilisation and world unity which produced Christianity, was a persistent but unsuccessful attempt to get these two different ideas of God into one focus."
Later in the work he aligns himself with a "renascent or modern religion ... neither atheist nor Buddhist nor Mohammedan nor Christian ... [that] he has found growing up in himself".
Of Christianity he has this to say: "it is not now true for me. ... Every believing Christian is, I am sure, my spiritual brother ... but if systemically I called myself a Christian I feel that to most men I should imply too much and so tell a lie". Of other world religions he writes: "All these religions are true for me as Canterbury Cathedral is a true thing and as a Swiss chalet is a true thing. There they are, and they have served a purpose, they have worked. Only they are not true for me to live in them. ... They do not work for me".
H. G. Wells as depicted in Gernsback's Science Wonder Stories in 1929The science fiction historian John Clute describes Wells as "the most important writer the genre has yet seen", and notes his work has been central to both British and American science fiction. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1921, 1932, 1935, and 1946.
In Britain, Wells's work was a key model for the British "Scientific Romance", and other writers in that mode, such as Olaf Stapledon, J. D. Beresford, S. Fowler Wright, and Naomi Mitchison, all drew on Wells's example. Wells was also an important influence on British science fiction of the period after the Second World War, with Arthur C. Clarke and Brian Aldiss expressing strong admiration for Wells's work.
In the United States, Hugo Gernsback reprinted most of Wells's work in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, regarding Wells's work as "texts of central importance to the self-conscious new genre". Later American writers such as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and Ursula K. Le Guin all recalled being influenced by Wells's work.
Wells also inspired writers of European speculative fiction such as Karel Čapek and Yevgeny Zamyatin.
BibliographyMain article: H.G. Wells bibliographyNotes
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John GalsworthyInternational President of PEN International
Works by H. G. Wells
The London School of Economics and Political Science
H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds (1897)
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine (1895)
H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man
H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896)
H. G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon (1901)
H. G. Wells's Kipps (1905)
Clark Ashton SmithFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Clark S. Smith.
Clark Ashton Smith
Smith in 1912
BornJanuary 13, 1893
Long Valley, California
DiedAugust 14, 1961 (aged 68)
Pacific Grove, California
OccupationShort-story writer, poet
GenreHorror, fantasy, science fictionClark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy,horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn".
Smith was one of "the big three of Weird Tales, along with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft", where some readers objected to his morbidness and violation of pulp traditions. It has been said of him that "nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse." He was a member of the Lovecraft circle, and Smith's literary friendship with Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937. His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.
BiographyEarly life and educationSmith was born January 13, 1893, in Long Valley, California, of English and New England parentage. He spent most of his life in the small town of Auburn, California, living in a small cabin built by his parents, Fanny and Timeus Smith. His formal education was limited: he suffered from psychological disorders including a fear of crowds, and although admitted to high school after attending eight years of grammar school (Long Valley School, whence dates the earliest known photo of him), he never went to high school. His parents decided it was better for him to be educated at home.
However, he was an insatiable reader, and continued to teach himself after he left school. His education began with the reading of Robinson Crusoe (unabridged), Gulliver's Travels, the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Madame d'Aulnoy, the Arabian Nights and (at the age of 13) the poems of Edgar Allan Poe. He read an unabridged dictionary (the 13th edition of Webster's) through, word for word, studying not only the definitions of the words but also their derivations from ancient languages. Having an extraordinary eidetic memory, he seems to have retained most or all of it.
The other main course in Smith's self-education was to read the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica through at least twice. Smith later taught himself French and Spanish in order to translate verse out of those languages. Smith professed to hate the provinciality of the small town of Auburn but rarely left it until he married late in life.
Early writingHis first literary efforts, at the age of 11, took the form of fairy tales and imitations of the Arabian Nights. Later, he wrote long adventure novels dealing with Oriental life. By 14 he had already written a short adventure novel called The Black Diamonds which was lost for years until published in 2002. Another juvenile novel was written in his teenaged years--The Sword of Zagan (unpublished until 2004). Like The Black Diamonds, it uses a medieval, Arabian Nights-like setting, and the Arabian Nights, like the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, are known to have strongly influenced Smith's early writing, as did William Beckford's Vathek.
At age 17, he sold several tales to The Black Cat, a magazine which specialized in unusual tales. He also published some tales in the Overland Monthly in this brief foray into fiction which preceded his poetic career.
However, it was primarily poetry that motivated the young Smith and he confined his efforts to poetry for more than a decade. In his later youth, Smith made the acquaintance of the San Francisco poet George Sterling through a member of the local Auburn Monday Night Club, where he read several of his poems with considerable success. On a month-long visit to Sterling in Carmel, California, Smith was introduced by Sterling to the poetry of Baudelaire.
He became Sterling's protégé and Sterling helped him to publish his first volume of poems, The Star-Treader and Other Poems, at the age of 19. Smith received international acclaim for the collection The Star-Treader was received very favorably by American critics, one of whom named Smith "the Keats of the Pacific". Smith briefly moved among the circle that includedAmbrose Bierce and Jack London, but his early fame soon faded away.
Health breakdown periodA little later, Smith's health broke down and for eight years his literary production was intermittent, though he produced his best poetry during this period. A small volume, Odes and Sonnets, was brought out in 1918. Smith came into contact with literary figures who would later form part of H.P. Lovecraft's circle of correspondents; Smith knew them far earlier than Lovecraft. These figures include poet Samuel Loveman and bookman George Kirk. It was Smith who in fact later introduced Donald Wandrei to Lovecraft. For this reason, it has been suggested that Lovecraft might as well be referred to as a member of a "Smith" circle as Smith was a member of a Lovecraft one.
In 1920 Smith composed a celebrated long poem in blank verse, The Hashish Eater, or The Apocalypse of Evil which was published in Ebony and Crystal (1922). This was followed by a fan letter from H. P. Lovecraft, which was the beginning of 15 years of friendship and correspondence. With studied playfulness, Smith and Lovecraft borrowed each other's coinages of place names and the names of strange gods for their stories, though so different is Smith's treatment of the Lovecraft theme that it has been dubbed the "Clark Ashton Smythos."
In 1925 Smith published Sandalwood. He wrote little fiction in this period with the exception of some imaginative vignettes or prose poems. Smith was poor for most of his life and often did hard manual jobs such as fruit picking and woodcutting in order to support himself and his parents. He was an able cook and made many kinds of wine. He also did well digging, typing and journalism, as well as contributing a column to The Auburn Journal and sometimes worked as its night editor.
One of Smith's artistic patrons and frequent correspondents was San Francisco businessman Albert M. Bender.
Prolific fiction-writing period
Smith's novelette "Marooned in Andromeda", the first entry in his "Captain Volmar" sequence, was the cover story in the October 1930 issue ofWonder Stories. illustrated byFrank R. Paul
Another "Captain Volmar" story, "The Amazing Planet", took the cover of the Summer 1931 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly
Smith's "The City of Singing Flame" was the cover story in the July 1931 issue of Wonder Stories
Smith's "The Invisible City" was the cover story in the June 1932 issue of Wonder StoriesAt the beginning of the Depression in 1929, with his aged parents' health weakening, Smith resumed fiction writing and turned out more than a hundred short stories between 1929 and 1934, nearly all of which can be classed as weird horror or science fiction. Like Lovecraft, he drew upon the nightmares that had plagued him during youthful spells of sickness. Brian Stableford has written that the stories written during this brief phase of hectic productivity "constitute one of the most remarkable oeuvres in imaginative literature".
He published at his own expense a volume containing six of his best stories, The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies, in an edition of 1000 copies printed by the Auburn Journal. The theme of much of his work is egotism and its supernatural punishment; his weird fiction is generally macabre in subject matter, gloatingly preoccupied with images of death, decay and abnormality.
Most of Smith's weird fiction falls into four series set variously in Hyperborea, Poseidonis, Averoigne and Zothique. Hyperborea, which is a lost continent of the Miocene period, and Poseidonis, which is a remnant of Atlantis, are much the same, with a magical culture characterized by bizarreness, cruelty, death and postmortem horrors. Averoigne is Smith's version of pre-modern France, comparable to James Branch Cabell's Poictesme. Zothique exists millions of years in the future. It is "the last continent of earth, when the sun is dim and tarnished". These tales have been compared to the Dying Earthsequence of Jack Vance.
In 1933 Smith began corresponding with Robert E. Howard, the Texan creator of Conan the Barbarian. From 1933 to 1936, Smith, Howard and Lovecraft were the leaders of the Weird Tales school of fiction and corresponded frequently, although they never met. The writer of oriental fantasies E. Hoffmann Price is the only man known to have met all three in the flesh.
Critic Steve Behrends has suggested that the frequent theme of 'loss' in Smith's fiction (many of his characters attempt to recapture a long-vanished youth, early love, or picturesque past) may reflect Smith's own feeling that his career had suffered a "fall from grace":
Smith's late teens and early twenties had certainly been a heady period: he'd been taken under the wing of a personal, idol, the poet George Sterling, and his first book of poetry had brought him comparisons to Keats and Shelley. This notoriety must surely have raised his standing in his small hometown. And yet the depression found Smith without a job or viable occupation, unable to eke out a living as a poet, with girlfriends berating him for his lack of ambition. And while his turn to writing fiction did put bread on the table, he found it a very distasteful business at times—he had once said to Sterling that writing prose was "a hateful task, for a poet, and [one which] wouldn't be necessary in any true civilisation." In short, it may be that Smith experienced that variety of "let-down" or loss peculiar to the child prodigies.
Mid-late career: return to poetry and sculptureIn Sept 1935, Smith's mother Fanny died. Smith spent the next two months nursing his father through his last illness. Timeus died in December 1937. Aged 44, Smith now virtually ceased writing fiction. He had been severely affected by several tragedies occurring in a short period of time: Robert E. Howard's death by suicide (1936), Lovecraft's death from cancer (1937) and the deaths of his parents, which left him exhausted. As a result, he withdrew from the scene, marking the end of Weird Tales' Golden Age. He began sculpting and resumed the writing of poetry. However, Smith was visited by many writers at his cabin, including Fritz Leiber, Rah Hoffman, Francis T. Laney and others.
In 1942, three years after August Derleth founded Arkham House for the purpose of preserving the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Derleth published the first of several major collections of Smith's fiction, Out of Space and Time (1942). This was followed by Lost Worlds (1944). The books sold slowly, went out of print and became costly rarities. Derleth published five more volumes of Smith's prose and two of his verse, and at his death in 1971 had a large volume of Smith's poems in press.
Later life, marriage and deathIn 1953 Smith suffered a coronary attack. Aged 61, he married Carol(yn) Jones Dorman on November 10, 1954. Dorman had much experience in Hollywood and radio public relations. After honeymooning at the Smith cabin, they moved to Pacific Grove, California, where he set up a household with their children. (Carol had been married before and had three children). For several years he alternated between the house on Indian Ridge and his wife's house in Pacific Grove. Having sold most of his father's tract, in 1957 the old house burned—the Smiths believed by arson, others said by accident.
Smith now reluctantly did gardening for other residents at Pacific Grove, and grew a goatee. He spent much time shopping and walking near the seafront but despite Derleth's badgering, resisted the writing of more fiction. In 1961 he suffered strokes. In August 1961 he quietly died in his sleep, aged 68. After Smith's death Carol remarried (becoming Carolyn Wakefield) and subsequently died of cancer.
The poet's ashes were buried beside, or beneath, a boulder to the immediate west of where his childhood home (destroyed by fire in 1957) stood; some were also scattered in a stand of blue oaks near the boulder. There was no marker. In more recent times a plaque to his memory has been erected at the Auburn, California Placer County Library.
Bookseller Roy A. Squires was appointed Smith's "west coast executor", with Jack L. Chalker as his "east coast executor". Squires published many letterpress editions of individual Smith poems.
Smith's literary estate is represented by his stepson, Prof William Dorman, director of CASiana Literary Enterprises. Arkham House owns the copyright to many Smith stories, though some are now in the public domain.
For 'posthumous collaborations' of Smith (stories completed by Lin Carter), see the entry on Lin Carter.
Artistic periodsWhile Smith was always an artist who worked in several very different media, it is possible to identify three distinct periods in which one form of art had precedence over the others.
Poetry: until 1925Smith published most of his volumes of poetry in this period, including the aforementioned The Star-Treader and Other Poems, as well as Odes and Sonnets (1918), Ebony and Crystal (1922) and Sandalwood (1925). His long poem The Hashish-Eater; Or, the Apocalypse of Evil was written in 1920.
Weird fiction: 1926–1935
"The Hunters from Beyond", one of Clark Ashton Smith's best-known stories, was first published in the October 1932 issue of Strange Tales.Smith wrote most of his weird fiction and Cthulhu Mythos stories, partially inspired by H. P. Lovecraft. Creatures of his invention include Aforgomon, Rlim-Shaikorth, Mordiggian, Tsathoggua, the wizard Eibon, and various others. In an homage to his friend, Lovecraft referred in some of his stories to a great dark wizard, "Klarkash-Ton."
Smith's weird stories form several cycles, called after the lands in which they are set: Averoigne, Hyperborea, Mars, Poseidonis, Zothique. To some extent Smith was influenced in his vision of such lost worlds by the teachings of Theosophy and the writings of Helena Blavatsky. Stories set in Zothique belong to the Dying Earth subgenre. Amongst Smith's science fiction tales are stories set on Mars and the invented planet of Xiccarph.
His short stories originally appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Strange Tales, Astounding Stories, Stirring Science Stories and Wonder Stories.
Clark Ashton Smith was the third member of the great triumvirate of Weird Tales, with Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.
Many of Smith's stories were published in six hardcover volumes by August Derleth under his Arkham House imprint. For a full bibliography to 1978, see Sidney-Fryer, Emperor of Dreams (cited below). S.T. Joshi is working with other scholars to produce an updated bibliography of Smith's work.
A selection of Smith's best-known tales includes:
BibliographyBooks published in Smith's lifetime
Panther (reprinted from Arkham House)
Slideshow. The Lost World. Great images from the books, comics, movies and tv shows spawned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel.
Facts. Professor Challenger, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation and remarkable scientist is a progenitor for many modern dinosaur movies.
In keeping with the theme of the Baker Street Universe and the characters I have enabled there, I am posting this to help you get a deeper picture of Professor Challenger and his roots.
While Challenger may not be the most famous character that Sir Arthur ever wrote, he is certainly one of his most memorable because of his willingness to go places most smarter men would avoid at any cost.
Even the Director Steven Spielberg has dug into the roots of Sir Arthur with his Lost World series based on the famous author Michael Crichton's famous series of novels, which I'm sure had some influence from Sir Arthur's marvelous series of writing.
After all, the present is but a foundation for the future, even as the past is for our present.
And below is Wikipedia's take on the whole thing.
The Lost World (Conan Doyle novel)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World" redirects here. For the 1999 TV series, see The Lost World (TV series).
The Lost World
Cover of the first edition of The Lost World.
AuthorSir Arthur Conan Doyle
PublisherHodder & Stoughton
Followed byThe Poison BeltThe Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine and illustrated by New-Zealand-born artist Harry Rountree during the months of April–November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between indigenous people and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures.
The group encountering IguanodonEdward Malone, a reporter for the Daily Gazette, goes to his news editor, McArdle, to procure a dangerous and adventurous mission in order to impress the woman he loves, Gladys Hungerton. He is sent to interview Professor George Edward Challenger, to determine the truth of his claims about his trip to South America. After a fight with Malone, Challenger reveals his discovery of living dinosaurs in South America, and invites Malone, along with Professor Summerlee and Lord John Roxton, an adventurer who knows the Amazon, on a trip to prove his story. They reach the plateau with the aid of native guides; but one of these, called Gomez, is the brother of a man that Roxton killed, and isolates the explorers on the dinosaurs' plateau, and their servant Zambo is unable to prevent the rest of the guides from escape.
On the plateau, the explorers encounter five iguanodons and are later attacked by pterodactyls, and Roxton finds some blue clay in which he takes a great interest. After numerous encounters with dinosaurs, Challenger, Summerlee, and Roxton are captured by a race of 'ape-men'. While in the ape-men's village, they discover a tribe of anatomically-modern humans (calling themselves Accala) inhabiting the other side of the plateau, with whom the ape-men (called Doda by the Accala) are at war. With the help of the expedition's firepower, the Accala conquer the ape-men; and insist that the expedition remain on the plateau. With the help from the young prince of the Accala, whom they had saved from the ape-men, the expedition discover a tunnel to the outside world, where they join a large rescue party. Upon return to England, they present their report, which include pictures and a newspaper report by Malone; but they are disbelieved by the public, until Challenger shows a live pterodactyl as proof, which then escapes into the Atlantic Ocean. At dinner, Roxton reveals that the blue clay contains diamonds, about £200,000 worth, to be split between them. Challenger plans to open a private museum, Summerlee plans to retire and categorize fossils, and Roxton plans to return to the lost world. Malone returns to his love, Gladys, only to find that she had married a clerk while he was away, and therefore volunteers to join Roxton's voyage.
Characters in The Lost World
Encounter with StegosaurusOther extinct reptilesOther prehistoric animals includedMammalsBirdsCreatures outside the PlateauReferences in other worksIn 1915, the Russian scientist Vladimir Obruchev produced his own version of the "lost world" theme in the novel Plutonia, which places the dinosaurs and other Jurassic species in a fictional space inside the hollow Earth connected to the surface via an opening in the Russian Far North.
In 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs published The Land That Time Forgot, his version of The Lost World where lost submariners from a German U-Boat discovered their own lost world of dinosaurs and ape-men in Antarctica. Two other books in the series followed.
Author Greg Bear set his 1998 novel Dinosaur Summer in Conan Doyle's Lost World.
A 1994 release for the Forgotten Futures role-playing game was based on and includes the full text of the Professor Challenger novels and stories.
Conan Doyle's title was reused by Michael Crichton in his 1995 novel The Lost World, a sequel to Jurassic Park. (Its film adaptation, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, followed suit.) Both the book and its movie adaptation share a somewhat similar setting with the Conan Doyle story, involving a journey to an isolated area filled with living dinosaurs. At least two similarly named TV shows, Land of the Lost and Lost, nod to this source material, although the latter draws more from Doyle's short story "The Lost Special". At least two of the characters in Michael Crichton's novel The Lost World mention a palaeontologist called John Roxton. However, Crichton's Roxton, who is never seen, is something of an idiot, wrongly identifying one dinosaur and publishing a report stating that the braincase of Tyrannosaurus rex is the same as that of a frog and thus possesses a visual system attuned strictly to movement.
One of the Neopets plots, "Journey to The Lost Isle" is based on this book, with Roxton A. Colchester III, Hugo & Lillian Fairweather, and Werther as the adventurers, with Captain Rourke and Scrap as the guides.
The idea of prehistoric animals surviving into the present day was not new, but had already been introduced by Jules Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth. In that book, published in 1864, the creatures live under the earth in and around a subterranean sea.
The book was adapted in Czech comics by Vlastislav Toman/Jiří Veškrna (1970, 24 pages), followed by a sequel The Second Expedition (Vlastislav Toman/František Koblík, 26 pages) (reprinted together in Velká kniha Komiksů, ISBN 80-7257-658-5).
The 2002 animated adventure Dinosaur Island is an attempt to blend the original story with the popular reality series format, and was written by John Loy, writer of similar productions such as The Land Before Time.
References to actual history, geography and current science
Map of Maple-White LandThe characters of Ed Malone and Lord John Roxton were modeled, respectively, on the journalist E. D. Morel and the diplomat Roger Casement, leaders of the Congo Free State reform campaign (the Congo Reform Association), which Conan Doyle supported.
The setting for The Lost World is believed to have been inspired by reports of Doyle's good friend Percy Harrison Fawcett's expedition to Huanchaca Plateau in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia. Fawcett organized several expeditions to delimit the border between Bolivia and Brazil - an area of potential conflict between both countries. Doyle took part in the lecture of Fawcett in Royal Geographic Society on 13 February 1911 and was impressed by the tale about the remote "province of Caupolican" (present day Huanchaca Plateau) in Bolivia - a dangerous area with impenetrable forests, where Fawcett saw "monstrous tracks of unknown origin".
Fawcett wrote in his posthumously published memoirs: "monsters from the dawn of man's existence might still roam these heights unchallenged, imprisoned and protected by unscalable cliffs. So thought Conan Doyle when later in London I spoke of these hills and showed photographs of them. He mentioned an idea for a novel on Central South America and asked for information, which I told him I should be glad to supply. The fruit of it was his Lost world in 1912, appearing as a serial in the Strand Magazine [sic], and subsequently in the form of a book that achieved widespread popularity." Additionally, a 1996 Science Fiction Studies review of an annotated edition of the novel suggested that another inspiration for the story may have been the 1890s contested political history of the Pacaraima Mountains plateaus, and Mount Roraima in particular.
The Allosaurus that attacks the camp is described as being as large as a horse, whereas in life Allosaurus was much bigger. However the book also allowed the possibility that the dinosaur that attacks the camp was a Megalosaurus or a juvenile Allosaurus, which would be a much closer size comparison. Both Summerlee and Challenger are undecided if the attacking beast was a Megalosaurus or Allosaurus but they imply it is a Megalosaur as "Any one of the larger carnivorous dinosaurs would meet the case." Inaccurate size measurements are also given to the Iguanodon and Phorusrhacos.
Following the stereotypes of the time in which the book was written, the dinosaurs are described often as extremely stupid; For example, at some point an Iguanodon pulls down the tree in which it is feeding, being injured and frightened in the process. This idea is generally omitted in the modern film versions.
Film, television and radio adaptations
The Lost World
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Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World
he Adventure of the Blanched SoldierFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2015)
"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier"
1926 illustration by Howard k. Elcock
AuthorArthur Conan Doyle
SeriesThe Case Book of Sherlock Holmes
Publication date1926"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" (1926) is one of 12 Sherlock Holmes short stories (56 total) by Arthur Conan Doyle in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes first published Strand Magazine October 1921 - April 1927. This story is one of only two narrated by Holmes rather than Doctor Watson - the other one being "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane".
ContentsPlotIn January 1903, at Baker Street, James M. Dodd sees Holmes about a missing friend, Godfrey Emsworth. Dodd and Emsworth served together in the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa during the Second Boer War, which has only just ended. Emsworth was wounded. Dodd has not seen him since the report of his injury, and "not a word for six months and more". Since Emsworth has always been such a good friend, Dodd believes something is amiss.
Dodd tried writing to Colonel Emsworth, Godfrey's father. He had to write twice before he got an answer, and then was told in a terse letter that Godfrey was not at home; he had gone on a voyage around the world. Dodd was not satisfied with this explanation — he was sure that Godfrey would not simply go off around the world without telling his old army friend.
Next, Dodd went to the Emsworth family home, Tuxbury Old Park, near Bedford. There were four people there — the Colonel and his wife; and an old butler and his wife. The Colonel was something less than a gracious host. He repeated the story about his son's world voyage, implied that Dodd was lying about even knowing Godfrey, and seemed irritated at Dodd's suggestion that he provide information that would allow him to send Godfrey a letter. This the Colonel would not do.
Dodd was still determined to ascertain Godfrey's fate. That evening, in the ground-floor bedroom, Dodd talked to the butler, Ralph, when he came to deliver some coal. When Ralph mentioned Godfrey in the past tense, Dodd began to suspect that his friend was dead. Ralph indicated that no, he wasn't, but that it might be better that way.
If the butler's words had deepened the mystery, Godfrey's appearance at the bedroom window made it utterly bottomless. There he was, with his nose pressed against the glass, but looking ghastly pale. He ran off when he saw that Dodd was looking straight at him. Dodd opened the window and climbed out, thinking to go after him and put an end to this mystery. In the pathways of the park, he could not see where Godfrey had gone, but heard a door slam somewhere ahead of him, not back at the house.
Dodd contrived to stay another day at Tuxbury Old Park, and went looking about the property. He saw a well-dressed man leaving an outbuilding, whose suspicion was aroused somewhat, as Dodd was aware that he was watching him. The outbuilding seemed empty enough, but he was sure that it was where Godfrey had gone the previous evening.
After nightfall, he crept out of the bedroom window again and stole down to the outbuilding. Finding a crack in the shutters, he looked in, saw the man he had seen earlier in the day, and another figure who he was sure was Godfrey, although he could not see him clearly.
At this point came the tap on his shoulder. It was Colonel Emsworth, beside himself with rage, and he made it plain to Dodd that he was to leave on the first available train.
Dodd comes straight to Holmes to relate the story, and Holmes, as is often the case, finds the matter quite elementary. There are, after all, only a few reasons why a family would shut one of its members in an outbuilding. Holmes needs only to ask about the publication that the man with Godfrey was reading, and although Dodd cannot be absolutely sure of it, Holmes seems satisfied with the answer. Only one piece of evidence is missing.
Holmes has his missing clue that same day when he and Dodd visit Tuxbury Old Park, much to the Colonel's fury. The clue comes in the form of a tarry smell from the leather gloves that Ralph has just removed. The Colonel threatens to summon the police if Dodd and Holmes do not leave, but Holmes points out that involving the police would bring about the very catastrophe that the Colonel wishes to avoid.
Holmes makes it known that he has deduced that the mystery can be summed up in one word: leprosy. Upon visiting the outbuilding, Holmes and Dodd hear Godfrey's story right from his own lips. The night he was wounded in South Africa, he found his way to a house and slept in a bed there. When he woke up in the morning, he found himself surrounded by lepers. The doctor there told him that he was in a leper hospital, and would likely contract the disease after sleeping in a leper's bed. The doctor helped heal his wounds, and once Godfrey got back to England, the dreaded symptoms began to appear. His family's fear of their son's seclusion in an institution, and possibly the stigma attached to leprosy, have forced them to keep his presence secret.
The story ends happily, however. Holmes has brought with him Sir James Saunders, a famous dermatologist from London. Sir James determines that Godfrey in fact has pseudo-leprosy, or ichthyosis, something quite treatable.
Related storiesHolmes's investigation of the mystery is delayed because he is engaged in clearing up "the case which my friend Watson has described as that of the Abbey School, in which the Duke of Greyminster was so deeply involved". The Duke of Holdernesse was the principal client in the case of the Priory School.
ReferencesExternal linksWikilivres has original media or text related to this article:
The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier
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The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Facts. When Private Investigator Cross steps outside his apartment on a case, what can and does he actually do in the real world?
Exactly what are a few of the things that Private Investigator Cross can actually do if he is a bonafide private investigator?
I thought it would be interesting to find a few facts about the P.I. role in society, and other than what you see in movies and books, here are the words of an actual investigator.
Below is a list!
Diligentia Group — Professional Private Investigator | New YorkProfessional Private Investigator | New York01 Things a Private Investigator Can DoNovember 29, 2011 by
Below, we have put together a short list of things a private investigator can do.
The fact of the matter is that each case we get is different and needs to be approached differently, so it’s difficult to describe what a private investigator can do in a short sentence.
Ultimately, what we find is “information” or “facts” but that’s not nearly as entertaining as #101 on our list; “We will tell you what those bastards are up to!”
￼101 Things a Private Investigator Can Do
Filed Under: Legal Investigation
About Brian WillinghamPrivate Investigator, sports junkie, lover of all things food, husband and father to two amazing kids.
I thought it would be a nice send off to my Invisible Man, if we also posted an article about his filmic version, which, to my mind, is far more credible and interesting than the original writing now. H.G. Wells came up with a lot of great concepts, but his writing is somewhat stilted in today's modern times.
Part of the reason I chose the Invisible Man for a main character in my Baker Street Universe was that he was an educated man, and a scientist...sort of modern day explorers...but was because I feel that his genius might have been tarnished by his use of drugs...hence my desire to show what choices a man might make by not giving into the influence of drugs and instead taking the higher road...my Invisible Man, Professor Langdon, who uses chemicals, but not as a way to look down upon humanity...but rather to serve it.
The Invisible Man (film) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Invisible Man Theatrical poster
Directed by James Whale Produced by Carl Laemmle Jr. Screenplay by R. C. Sherriff
Preston Sturges Based on The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells Starring Claude Rains
Gloria Stuart Music by Heinz Roemheld Cinematography Arthur Edeson Edited by Ted J. Kent Distributed by Universal Pictures Release dates
71 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $328,033 The Invisible Man is an American 1933 Pre-Code science fiction horror film based on H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The Invisible Man, published in 1897, as adapted by R.C. Sherriff, Philip Wylie and Preston Sturges, whose work was considered unsatisfactory and who was taken off the project. Produced by Universal Studios, the film was directed by James Whale and stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. It spawned a number of sequels, plus many spinoffs using the idea of an "invisible man" that were largely unrelated to Wells' original story.
Rains portrayed the Invisible Man (Dr. Jack Griffin) mostly only as a disembodied voice. Rains is only shown clearly for a brief time at the end of the film, spending most of his on-screen time covered by bandages. In 2008 The Invisible Man was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Plot On a snowy night, a mysterious stranger, his face swathed in bandages and his eyes obscured by dark goggles, takes a room at The Lion's Head Inn in the English village of Iping in Sussex. The man demands that he be left alone. Later, the innkeeper, Mr. Hall (Forrester Harvey) is sent by his wife (Una O'Connor) to evict the stranger after he makes a huge mess in his room while doing research and falls behind on his rent. Angered, the stranger throws Mr. Hall down the stairs. Confronted by a policeman and some local villagers, he removes his bandages and goggles, revealing that he is invisible. Laughing maniacally, he takes off his clothes, making himself completely undetectable, and drives off his tormenters before fleeing into the countryside.
The stranger is Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains), a chemist who has discovered the secret of invisibility while conducting a series of tests involving an obscure drug called monocane. Flora Cranley (Gloria Stuart), Griffin's fiancee and the daughter of Griffin's employer, Dr. Cranley (Henry Travers), becomes distraught over Griffin's long absence. Cranley and his other assistant, Dr. Kemp (William Harrigan), search Griffin's empty laboratory, finding only a single note in a cupboard. Cranley becomes concerned when he reads it. On a list of chemicals is monocane, which Cranley knows is extremely dangerous; an injection of it drove a dog mad.
On the evening of his escape from the inn, Griffin turns up at Kemp's home. He forces Kemp to become his visible partner in a plot to dominate the world through a reign of terror, commencing with "a few murders here and there". They drive back to the inn to retrieve his notebooks on the invisibility process. Sneaking inside, Griffin finds a police inquiry underway, conducted by an official who believes it is all a hoax. After securing his books, he attacks and kills the officer.
Back home, Kemp calls first Cranley, asking for help, and then the police. Flora persuades her father to let her come along. In her presence, Griffin becomes more placid and calls her "darling." When he realizes Kemp has betrayed him, his first reaction is to get Flora away from danger. After promising Kemp that at 10 o'clock the next night he will murder him, Griffin escapes and goes on a killing spree. He causes the derailment of a train, resulting in a hundred deaths, and throws two volunteer searchers off a cliff. The police offer a reward for anyone who can think of a way to catch the Invisible Man.
The chief detective (Dudley Digges) in charge of the search uses Kemp as bait, feeling Griffin will try to fulfill his promise, and devises various clever traps. At Kemp's insistence, the police disguise him in a police uniform and let him drive his car away from his house. Griffin, however, is hiding in the back seat of the car. He overpowers Kemp and ties him up in the front seat. Griffin then sends the car down a steep hill and over a cliff, where it explodes on impact.
Griffin seeks shelter from a snowstorm in a barn. A farmer hears snoring and sees the hay, in which Griffin is sleeping, moving. The man notifies the police. The police surround the building and set fire to the barn. When Griffin comes out, the chief detective sees his footprints in the snow and opens fire, mortally wounding him. Griffin is taken to the hospital where, on his deathbed, he admits to Flora that he had tampered with something that was meant to be left alone. After he dies, his body gradually becomes visible again.
Production Claude Rains was not the studio's first choice to play the lead role in The Invisible Man. Boris Karloff was originally supposed to play the part but withdrew after producer Carl Laemmle Jr. tried too many times to cut Karloff's contractual salary. To replace Karloff, Chester Morris, Paul Lukas and Colin Clive were considered for the part. It was James Whale, who was assigned to direct the film to replace Cyril Gardner, who wanted Claude Rains to play Griffin – Rains was his first choice. Problems in developing the script held up the project for some time; in June 1932 the film was called off temporarily.
The Invisible Man was in production from June to August 1933 at Universal Studios. Filming was interrupted near the end by a fire, started by a smudge pot kicked into some hay, which damaged an exterior set.
The film was released on November 13, 1933 and was marketed with the taglines "Catch me if you can!" and "H.G. Wells' Fantastic Sensation".
Differences from novel Although the basic framework of the story and the characters' names are largely the same as in the novel, there are several great differences. The novel takes place in the 1890s, when it was first published, thus making its scientific aspects even more remarkable. The film takes place in 1933, the year of its release. In the novel, Griffin (the Invisible Man) remains almost a totally mysterious person, with no fiancee or friends; in the film he is engaged to a beautiful woman and has the support of her father and his associate. In the novel, Griffin is already mad before he makes himself invisible, with his insanity being completely unmotivated other than being a lust for power. In the film, Griffin is driven mad by the drug that makes him invisible. Dr. Kemp survives in the novel; his life is saved by those who ultimately kill Griffin. In the film, Dr. Kemp is terrified throughout, and pays for betraying Griffin with his life.
Special effects The film is known for its clever and groundbreaking visual effects by John P. Fulton, John J. Mescall and Frank D. Williams, whose work is often credited for the success of the film. When the Invisible Man had no clothes on, the effect was achieved through the use of wires, but when he had some of his clothes on or was taking his clothes off, the effect was achieved by shooting Claude Rains in a completely black velvet suit against a black velvet background and then combining this shot with another shot of the location the scene took place in using a matte process. Claude Rains was claustrophobic and it was hard to breathe through the suit. Consequently, the work was especially difficult for him, and a double, who was somewhat shorter than Rains, was sometimes used.
The effect of Rains seeming to disappear was created by making a head and body cast of the actor, from which a mask was made. The mask was then photographed against a specially prepared background, and the film was treated in the laboratory to complete the effect.
Reaction, awards and honors The movie was popular at the box office, Universal's most successful horror film since Frankenstein.
Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote, "The story makes such superb cinematic material that one wonders that Hollywood did not film it sooner. Now that it has been done, it is a remarkable achievement." The film also appeared on the New York Times' year-end list as one of the Ten Best Films of 1933. Variety called the film "something new and refreshing in film frighteners" that "will more than satisfy audiences," but suggested that some of the laughs in the picture might not have been intentional. Film Daily wrote, "It will satisfy all those who like the bizarre and the outlandish in their film entertainment." John Mosher of The New Yorker called the film a "bright little oddity" that "never was properly appreciated."
Despite the critical acclaim, H. G. Wells, the author of the book the film was based on, said at a dinner in its honor that "while he liked the picture he had one grave fault to find with it. It had taken his brilliant scientist and changed him into a lunatic, a liberty he could not condone." James Whale replied that the film was addressed to the "rationally minded motion picture audience," because "in the minds of rational people only a lunatic would want to make himself invisible anyway." (In the original novel, the scientist was amoral from the start and did not hesitate to rob his own father [who consequently commits suicide] to get the money to buy certain drugs, etc., for the invisibility process. In the movie, an essential color-removing drug in the process had the unavoidable side-effect of unbalancing his mind.) Despite his misgivings, Wells did praise the performance of Una O'Connor as the shrieking Mrs. Hall.
Whale, who had previously directed Frankenstein as well as the first version of Waterloo Bridge, received a Special Recommendation from the 1934 Venice Film Festival in recognition of his work on The Invisible Man. Rains' film career took off after The Invisible Man, which was his first American film appearance. The film was nominated for the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills and AFI's 10 Top 10 (science fiction film), while the character was nominated as a villain for the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains list.
Home media The Invisible Man was released on VHS as part of the Universal Studios' Classic Monster Collection in 1992. In 2004 Universal released six legacy collections that included some of their best horror films. The Invisible Man was uncut and longer than previously televised versions. The complete "Invisible Man" collection comprised The Invisible Man (1933), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), Invisible Agent (1942) and The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), as well as bonus features, including Now You See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed, a detailed look at the making of the classic horror film and its sequels by film historian Rudy Behlmer.
H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man
Films directed by James Whale
Works by R. C. Sherriff
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