Writer, born in Bromley, Kent. He was apprenticed to a draper, tried teaching, studied biology in London, then made his mark in journalism and literature. He played a vital part in disseminating the progressive ideas which characterized the first part of the 20th-c. He achieved fame with scientific fantasies such as The Time Machine (1895) and War of the Worlds (1898), and wrote a range of comic social novels which proved highly popular, notably Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr Polly (1910). Both kinds of novel made successful (sometimes classic) early films. A member of the Fabian Society, he was often engaged in public controversy, and wrote several socio-political works dealing with the role of science and the need for world peace, such as The Outline of History (1920) and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind.