H.G. Wells’ 1930s Radio Broadcasts

H.G. Wells (1866–1946) gave us The Time Machine, The Invis­i­ble Man, and The War of the Worlds and prac­ti­cal­ly invent­ed sci­ence fic­tion as we know it. (Find his clas­sic texts in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks col­lec­tions.) Now, thanks to the BBC, you can trav­el back in time and get a glimpse into Wells’ cre­ative mind. Dur­ing the 1930s and 1940s, Wells made reg­u­lar radio broad­casts for the BBC, where he had the free­dom to range wide­ly, to talk about “world pol­i­tics, the his­to­ry of the print­ing press, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of tech­nol­o­gy and the shape of things to come…” Nine record­ings now appear online. You can start lis­ten­ing here, or dip into an archive of Wells’ per­son­al let­ters.

Final­ly, don’t miss one of my per­son­al favorites. Orson Welles read­ing a dra­ma­tized ver­sion of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds in 1938. It’s per­haps the most famous radio broad­cast in Amer­i­can his­to­ry and it drove Amer­i­ca into a bout of mass hys­te­ria, at least for a night …

H/T to @fionaatzler for flag­ging these BBC audio record­ings.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.