The Short Stories of
H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells wrote very prolifically over his lifetime, filling many volumes with his short stories, longer prose, papers on science, philosophy, and the like.  These are a few of my personal favorite short stories by Wells.  It is not intended to be, and will never be, a complete list of his writing.

AEpyornis Island


After a trip scavenging for prehistoric fossils, a man named Butcher finds himself shipwrecked with nothing to eat -- nothing but a few prehistoric eggs. Soon, one of these begins to hatch, revealing a giant AEpyornis (a prehistoric ostrich like creature). The man and bird peacefully co-exist until the giant feathered beast decides that Butcher looks like a good snack. A brief, but interesting, tale about mans greed. Wells portrays the profit seeking nature in man as the Butcher searches for fossils to sell to the highest bidder. Who is the true monster: the AEpyornis or Butcher?

The Empire of the Ants


It has been a while since I have read "The Empire of the Ants," but as I recall it involve a trip down a river in colonial territory.  The boat was to investigate strange happenings deep in the jungle, and this boat was equiped with a large cannon - the finest weapon mankind could construct.  When they reach their destination, they find the settlement completely overrun by intelligent ants, ants that not only work together, but also use armor and weaponry.  (I need to read this one again)

The Landand   Ironclads


A pre World War I story that rather accurately predicts the machine that would prove to be so valuable in the war's last days. Wells describes a machine not unlike the early tank. These "land ironclads" easily overtake their less armored opponents. After witnessing this battle, the narrator reflects on the value of machines against the poor foot soldier in modern warfare.

Under the Knife


Wells wrote this story in the midst of his science fiction years.  A rather bizarre and interesting tale of the human body and soul, questioning the existence of the personality or psyche separate from the physical body.  When he wrote "Under the Knife," Wells was in a deep depression.  Months of constant sickness (I believe pneumonia) made the then young writer question the nature of man.  Comparable to today's reports of near-death-experiences.

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