Elementary My Dear Wells!

Lately I have been reading a lot of Wells and Doyle. Probably two of the best writers of the English language. I also admire Jules Verne but as we all know he was French.

 H. G. Wells is best known for his Science Fiction thrillers. Most notably The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.

 But he also wrote some more realistic novels as well the best of which, I think, is Wheels of Chance: A Bicycling Idyll  In this novel the main character Mr. Hoopdriver ( no, I’m not kidding) decides to take a bicycling tour of the English coast for his holiday. Naturally trouble follows him wherever he goes. But what really excites the geek in me are the six or so references to Sherlock Holmes, that well-known creation of Dr. Doyle’s.

 Mr. Wells also wrote a short story titled “The Stolen Body” in which a resident of Baker Street, experimenting with Astral projection, goes missing and his Housekeeper is said to be consulting with “That well known investigator.” That’s all we hear of him though because as I’m sure you can guess possession is 9/10th of the plot and he believes that “No ghosts need apply.”(The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire)

 Wells’s allusions to Sherlock Holmes are really a testament to how wildly popular Doyle’s creation had become in his own time. It’s exactly the same as a modern author referencing Harry Potter or Twilight.

 Or a simpler explanation is that these two Authors knew each other. In the biography Arthur Conan Doyle: A life in Letters  there is reprinted a letter written by H. G. Wells Congratulating Sir. Arthur on his recent Knighthood. It’s on page 503 for those who want to look it up.

 These two authors are really good and have a similar writing style. Very simple narratives with vivid descriptions and beautifully flowing dialog. I have tried to emulate the writing style and have found it a very trying exercise.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has a great body of work in addition to the 60 Holmes stories. I recommend checking out this site http://siracd.com to learn more about ACD. Especially find some his Non-Sherlock Short stories to read. ACD works amazing wonders with the short story format and I think that they’re probably better than most of his longer works. For example Holmes Adventures as compared to Holmes Novels.

 As far as Wells is concerned your local Library should have at least a few of his better known books. Though once again try to find a Short story collection if you can.