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The War in the Air

Front cover image of The War in the Air (UNG Press, 2018). An airplane, consumed by fire and smoke, falls to the earth.


H. G. Wells


Aaron Worth, Ph.D.



Print Version



“An extraordinary concoction—as if H. G. had shaken up Kipps and The War of the Worlds and poured out a new story that would appeal both to those who liked his social comedies and those who had been impressed by his early fantasies of terror.” —Norman and Jeanne Mackenzie, H. G. Wells: A Biography

Nothing ever changes in Bun Hill, the simple country town where Bert Smallways lived. It’s enough that motor-bicycles crowd the road and the South of England Aero Club hosts a weekly ascent. But when Mr. Alfred Butteridge successfully flies his heavier-than-air machine from the Crystal Palace to Glasgow and back, Bert’s known-world disappears.

By chance or fate, Bert is trapped in Butteridge’s hot air balloon, then kidnapped by a German air fleet. Led by Prince Karl Albert, the German fleet crosses the Atlantic Ocean to launch the world’s first aerial attack against America. Forced into their service, Bert encounters the horror of war first-hand as human civilization collapses around him.

H. G. Wells’s foreboding futuristic novel was published in 1908. Much of his work discusses human nature in the face of warfare and includes many technological developments before they existed. This 100-year-anniversary reprint edition remembers a world before aircrafts ruled the skies. Edited by H. G. Wells-scholar Aaron Worth, this reprint includes an introduction as well as additional reading recommendations.

About the Author

H. G. Wells (1866–1946) was a British writer and historian, best remembered for his science fiction novels. He was a futurist, with many of his works describing futuristic dystopias and utopias. His novels predicted many technological developments, such as airplanes, space travel, and satellite television, as well as more sinister developments like nuclear weapons and tanks. Wells’ influence on the literary world is immeasurable, and he is considered one of the fathers of science fiction.

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