In ‘The Time Machine’, an inventor travels to the remote future where he finds both love and terror. The protagonist of ‘The Invisible Man’ struggles to come to terms with his condition in a narrative which is by turns comic and tragic. ‘The War of the Worlds’ imagines planetary conflict from an individual point of view. If these themes reveal the originality of Wells as a thinker, each story displays his skill as a novelist by the ways in which he anchors astonishing events in vivid everyday details of character and place. All three have spawned countless adaptations and imitations but Wells remains the greatest poet of science we have, an inexhaustible source for speculation about the nature of the future and the meaning of the present.