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Star Begotten
A Biological Fantasia
H.G. Wells; John Huntington, ed.

Early Classics of Science Fiction

2006 • 172 pp. 4 illus. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Science Fiction

$22.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-6729-1

“Mr. Wells is the most persuasive of living writers… He knows that we sigh for a sane world of unlimited possibilities. He catches us on the full wave of our wish… Star Begotten is the most mature of his fantasies.” —V.S. Pritchett, The New Statesman and Nation

H.G. Wells’s second Martian invasion comes from within.

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

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Reviews / Endorsements

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

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

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:52:31 -0500