by Brian Handwerk, smithsonian.com
Science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells conjured some futuristic visions that haven’t (yet) come true: a machine that travels back in time, a man who turns invisible, and a Martian invasion that destroys southern England.
But for a man born 150 years ago, many of Wells’s other predictions about the modern world have proven amazingly prescient.
Wells, born in 1866, was trained as a scientist, a rarity among his literary contemporaries, and was perhaps the most important figure in the genre that would become science fiction. Writers in this tradition have a history not just of imagining the future as is might be, but of inspiring others to make it a reality.
In 2012, Smithsonian.com published a top ten list of inventions inspired by sci-fi, ranging from Robert H. Goddard’s liquid-fuelled rocket to the cell phone. “Wells’s was an imagination in a hurry, he wanted to get…
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