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In the Days of the Comet

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

William ("Willie") is a student living in the British town of Clayton. As a Socialist, he tries to move power from the upper class to the working class. Interestingly, in a fictitious confrontation Britain declares war on Germany. Willie falls in love with Nettie, but when she elopes with an upper-class man, Willie resolves to kill them both. Throughout the novel there is present in the sky a large comet which gives off a green glow. As Willie prepares to shoot the lovers, two battleships appear and begin shelling the coast, causing Willie to nearly lose his targets. As the comet enters the atmosphere, it gives off a green gas which envelopes everyone including Willie, who falls asleep. Willie wakes up a changed man. He is able to reason so clearly that he realizes the foolishness of his plan for revenge. Other people have changed too. Our hero marvels at how humankind has risen to new levels of vision and understanding. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .hat she thought our talk might end.

But I did not mean it to end like that.

"For good?" said I. "No! . . Nettie! Nettie! You don't mean that!"

"I do," she said deliberately, still looking at me, and with all her pose conveying her finality. She seemed to brace herself for the outbreak that must follow.

Of course I became wordy. But I did not submerge her. She stood entrenched, firing her contradictions like guns into my scattered discursive attack. I remember that our talk took the absurd form of disputing whether I could be in love with her or not. And there was I, present in evidence, in a deepening and widening distress of soul because she could stand there, defensive, brighter and prettier than ever, and in some inexplicable way cut off from me and inaccessible.

You know, we had never been together before without little enterprises of endearment, without a fa. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Let me preface this review with the comment that I enjoy HG Wells' novels such as War of the Worlds. However this novel had to be the longest 200 page book I have ever read. Two of Elmore Leonard's rules for writing were Don’t go into great detail describing places and things and Try to leave out...more

In a time of war and financial chaos, a comet moves through the Earth’s atmosphere and releases a green smoke. It renders every living being unconscious, but when man awakes he finds that he has lost the capacity for rage, fury and the darker passions. A utopia is then built.

This is nowhere near...more

Wells was a Fabian socialist and pacifist who devoted much of his work both in his fictions and non-fictions towards educating people. In the Days of the Comet he presents a thought-experiment: What if everyone became rational?

By "rational" I mean, upon first consideration, any action predicated...more

This book begins with the first stanza of Percy Shelley’s poem, Hellas: A Chorus. I don’t believe I’d ever read it before, so I Googled it and read the entire poem, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I started this book. This was my fifth H. G. Wells novel and I believe this is the only book I’ve e...more

At first, I was amazed why Herbert Wells wrote something like this: simple, non-evolutionary and pretty boring. This work is so different from his other books that I can't even shape my feedback. It is kind of feeling that the author of "Time Machine", "The War of the Words" and "The Invisible Ma...more

La storia ruota attorno a William Leadford, uno studente disoccupato che vive nella città industriale di Clayton in Gran Bretagna. Convinto socialista, egli lotta per un cambiamento di potere a partire dalle classi più elevate, per via dalle squallide condizioni di vita causate dallo sviluppo ind...more

Oh, boy, In the Days of the Comet was a doozy. I liked H.G. Wells insights into the society of that time. This is primarily because the thought that kept occurring to me was how easily you could attribute almost all of his statement to today’s society. (Though as a friend put it: You could make t...more

In literary terms Utopia has never quite been much cop.

That's not to say that it's not a good place, a better place, wonderful, full of Shiny Happy People - positively utopian in fact. It can be. But it's also invariably boring. What was that line from the Talking Heads song - 'Heaven is a place...more

For this year's reading journey, from all of H.G. Wells’ works, I picked one that I was completely and totally unfamiliar with, and I deliberately picked one in the heart of the time frame I most associate with his writing, the early 1900s, even though I’m well aware that he continued writing fic...more

What an odd little book. I was surprised to see that Wells wrote this later than all his other famous, hyper-influential SF novels, because it reads more like an early failed experiment, but it sure is interesting.

The first section, a realistic portrait of a not very interesting Victorian young m...more

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