Star Begotten: A Biological Fantasia

Front Cover
Wesleyan University Press, Sep 12, 2006 - Fiction - 156 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified
H.G. Wells's second Martian invasion comes from within.

In his 1898 War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells imagined aliens from Mars descending to Earth with violent intentions. In Star Begotten, first published in 1937, the suspicion arises that the Martians may have returned—this time using cosmic rays to alter human chromosomes. The protagonist Joseph Davis, an author of popular histories, grows fearfully obsessed with rumors of the Martian plan. He considers the possibility that mutation may have already occurred, and that his child, his wife, and even he may already be Martians. An ironic and often comic novel, Star Begotten portrays discoveries in evolutionary biology and contemplates the benefits as well as the horrors of mutation. This new annotated edition situates the novel in its literary and historical contexts, explains its place in Wells's late development, and highlights its importance as a precursor to the dark comedies of delusion by writers like Robert Sheckley and Philip K. Dick.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

Star begotten: a biological fantasia

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Wells revisits the Martian invasion scenario, this time (1937) not in metal war machines but with cosmic rays turning humans into Martians. Though the story is somewhat comical, Wells always has a serious point disguised in his sf format. Wesleyan offers a scholarly, annotated edition. Read full review

Selected pages


Note on the Text
Star Begotten
The Mind of Mr Joseph Davis is Greatly Troubled
Mr Joseph Davis Learns about Cosmic Rays
Mr Joseph Davis Wrestles with an Incredible Idea
Dr Holdman Stedding is Infected with the Idea
Professor Ernest Keppel takes up the Idea in His Own Peculiar Fashion
Opening Phases of the Great Eugenic Research
The World Begins to Hear about the Martians
How these Star Begotten People may Presently Get Together
Professor Keppel is Inspired to Foretell the End of Humanity
Mr Joseph Davis tears up a Manuscript
Notes to the Introduction
Notes to the Text

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

H.G. WELLS (1866–1946) pioneered the "scientific romance" in such novels as The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man. JOHN HUNTINGTON is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the author of books including The Logic of Fantasy: H.G. Wells and Science Fiction.

Bibliographic information