can only imagine what being H.G. Well’s kid must have been like. Sure, his dad was a bit out there, with Free Love and his divorce and such. Who knows what that would have been like, at the tale end of the oh-so-proper Victorian Age.
But then again, it must have been fun, too. I mean, wow, your dad was writing about Martians striding about in fighting machines, blasting crowds of people. He wasn’t, say, a chemist. He was an early pioneer of writing. Imagine the bedtime stories.
Or the play sessions.
This one came out in 1911 (and predated his more detailed work, Little Wars (which it mentions) by two years. It is not much of a read – I did it over a couple of work breaks. But it shows the sort of imagination he had, the sort he’d pass onto his children.
In this book, he talks about the games they would play. There were ones where boards on the floor represented islands. Another held twin cities, constructed of blocks and various left-over toys. In both, he describes (through a child’s eyes (and the eyes of the great imagineer)) the world they’d constructed. He takes us around on a tour, telling the names of the citizens and the creatures encountered in the most charming fashion. It was just enjoyable to lose myself in this strange little world of wind-up trains, of soldiers missing legs, and of toys lost from their original use and repurposed into more imaginative pursuits.
Like I said, it reminded me of my own childhood, of our playroom above the garage in Southern California, of bent Hot Wheel cars, of army men, of card houses, and of play in a world that needed no rules and had no end. And also of my sister and I making our muddy “zoo” on the side yard, with every toy animal we could collect (how heartbroken I was when the plaster squirrel lost most of his coat in the rain).
Really, that’s all this book is, an idle recording by Wells of the game he and his children played, one that will bring back memories, not only his, but your own. You can get it free HERE, and it’s worth the quarter hour or so you’ll put into reading it. A delight!
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