HG Wells on the Future | BBC broadcasts from the father of science fiction

As I See It | HG Wells

A talk on the worldwide community of English speakers.

CHANNEL | Empire Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 21 December 1937

DURATION | 13 minutes 21 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1937

Synopsis

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.

Did you know?

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.

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Documents

Letter to HG Wells from the BBC.

Letter to HG Wells from the BBC

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

An invitation to HG Wells to go on air for the first time.

Letter to HG Wells thanking him for his promise to broadcast on the BBC.

Letter to HG Wells thanking him for his promise to broadcast

WRITTEN 1929
2 Pages

HG Wells agrees to speak about world peace.

A note by HG Wells on his 'World peace' broadcast of 1929.

HG Wells on his 'World peace' broadcast of 1929

WRITTEN 1929
2 Pages

Wells reassures the BBC that his broadcast will be objective.

Memo from Hilda Matheson to John Reith regarding HG Wells broadcast.

Memo from Hilda Matheson to John Reith regarding HG Wells broadcast

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

Will HG Wells's broadcast require 'toning down'?

Letter from Hilda Matheson to Dame Rachel Crowdy.

Letter from Hilda Matheson to Dame Rachel Crowdy

WRITTEN 1929
1 Page

Preparations for a broadcast by HG Wells.

Memo concerning HG Wells's Russian Talk.

Memo concerning HG Wells's Russian Talk

WRITTEN 1931
1 Page

Concerns that Wells has not submitted a manuscript go right to the top.

Memo about interview with HG Wells prior to Russian broadcast.

Record of Interview with HG Wells prior to Russian broadcast

WRITTEN 1931
1 Page

Wells makes a commitment to objectivity.

A letter from HG Wells to the BBC.

Letter from HG Wells to the BBC

WRITTEN 1942
1 Page

Wells responds to an invitation to speak about evolution.

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