HG Wells on the Future | BBC broadcasts from the father of science fiction
CHANNEL | Empire Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 21 December 1937
DURATION | 13 minutes 21 seconds
In this talk for the Empire Broadcasting Service, HG Wells celebrates the power of the English language to bring together diverse communities and asks whether we are doing enough to capitalise on the possibilities it offers. Wells believes that such media as the printed word, the cinema and the radio have helped to draw the world towards speaking English as a common tongue. He calls for this 'reversal of Babel' to be followed by cheap and easy access to books for everyone. He also looks towards a time when people all over the English-speaking world might be able to search 'bibliographies' containing information about every book available in order to buy the volumes they want, and when constantly updated, freely accessible encyclopedias could put knowledge within easy reach of all.
The prediction by Wells of a method of sourcing books from anywhere in the world via 'bibliographies' eventually came to pass thanks to the rise of the internet. Amazon Books was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and began trading the following year. Having diversified into toys, DVDs and music, Amazon.com is now North America's largest online retailer, with subsidiaries in China, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.
HG Wells on the failings of Stalin's economic 'Five Year Plan'.
Our economic and political lives are 'out of gear'.
How the motor car serves as a warning to us all.
HG Wells challenges the idea of 'Britain for the British'.
A talk on the worldwide community of English speakers.
HG Wells welcomes the former president of Czechoslovakia.
How the printed word has reached the world's entire population.
HG Wells declares that it's time to 'face up to your inheritance'.
The newspaper is 'dead as mutton', says HG Wells.
An invitation to HG Wells to go on air for the first time.
HG Wells agrees to speak about world peace.
Wells reassures the BBC that his broadcast will be objective.
Will HG Wells's broadcast require 'toning down'?
Preparations for a broadcast by HG Wells.
Concerns that Wells has not submitted a manuscript go right to the top.
Wells makes a commitment to objectivity.
Wells responds to an invitation to speak about evolution.
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