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H. G. Wells: The Literary Traveller in His Fantastic Short Story Machine


Halszka Leleń

The book offers a thorough study of the literary tensions and two-world structure of the fantastic short stories by H. G. Wells (1866–1946). It exposes trickster games in the storytelling and pinpoints Wells’s staple methods of artistic composition – the mounting of various literary tensions built upon the body of traditional, dexterously combined genre elements and innovative topoi.
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Introduction: A Theoretical Perspective on the (Fantastic) Short Story and Literary Tension


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Introduction:  A Theoretical Perspective on the (Fantastic) Short Story and Literary Tension

Doubled Chronotope and Supragenological Types of Fiction

A word of explanation is necessary about the principles underlying the theoretical grounds for selection of the texts singled out for analysis in the present study. This book is conceived as an attempt at investigating the theoretical literary and cultural semiotic roots and premises behind the making of Wells’s short fiction of the fantastic type, which, according to many critics, constitutes the most important group. It is commonly recognized that many of Wells’s fantastic texts triggered new literary conventions. Bernard Bergonzi notices that Wells’s idea of a “kink” in space, used in “The Time Machine” (1895), “The Remarkable Case of Davidson’s Eyes” (1895) and others, has become a convention in science fiction (Early H. G. Wells 65; see also: Sargent 2; Aldiss, Billion Year Spree 117; Haynes, Discoverer of the Future 251; Moskowitz 136). Brian Ash points out how “A Story of the Days to Come” (1899) sets forth some major conventions of dystopian fiction (Faces of the Future 107–108). Darko Suvin sees “The Star” (1897) as “the epitome of the colliding worlds theme” (Victorian Science Fiction 78; compare Zgorzelski, Fantastyka. Utopia 118). Patrick Parrinder recognizes Wells as “the pivotal figure in the evolution of the scientific romance into modern science fiction” thanks to his application of what was to become the standard themes of science fiction, such as time-travel, alien invasion,...

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