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In the Days of the Comet
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In the Days of the Comet

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  771 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A comet rushes toward Earth, a deadly, glowing orb that soon fills the sky, promising doom. But humankind is too busy hating, stealing, scheming & killing to care. As luminous green trails of cosmic dust & vapor stream across the heavens, blood flows beneath: nations wage all-out war, bitter strikes erupt, jealous lovers plot revenge & murder. The earth slips p ...more
Mass Market Paperback, X1440, 223 pages
Published 1969 by Berkley Publishing (NYC) (first published 1906)
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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 man, is quite a slog; you can tell that this novel was not serialized, because most readers would've given up after several chapters about his career decisions and romantic disappointments, wondering when
Erik Graff
May 20, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
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 upon a realistic understanding of the facts performed by an agent aware of the complex of his or her motives. Upon further consideration, rational behavior would also entail an understanding of the motiv
Jeff Muise
The "Days of the Comet", published four years before the passing of Haley's comet (1910) and in the run-up to World War I (1914), is only mildly interesting as a story. But it is one of those books that gains more interest considered in light of the times and its author, H.G. Wells. In the story, the tail of the eponymous comet sweeps the earth with a green vapor that has the effect of pacifying people and giving the world a more vivid and beautiful aspect (hilariously, H.G. Wells' description m ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Joyce
H.G. Wells the Idealist in tip-top form. While he concentrates on one particular character unhappy with his poor station in life, Wells manages to expose the foibles of all classes - upper or lower. He makes his points and views known; no doubt about it. However, he's not nearly as heavy-handed as he was later apt to be.

2nd reading after who-knows-how-long...more powerful than I remembered.

Adam Hoffman
It started with a small speck in the the sky, but soon it has grown larger and larger. Then in the midst of a world war the tail of the comet grases the atmosphere initiating a wide spread loss of consciousness. And when the world wakes, all crime and hate in the world is quickly obliterated, utopia is formed, and the world undergoes what is described in the book as "the Great Change".
H.G. Wells’ In the Days of the Comet is in many ways a Utopian departure from his typically pessimistic view of humanity, although at least in one way it is not—he seems to think that the only way for people to create that Utopian society is to be radically altered by an unnamed magical chemical. Around two-thirds of the book is spent in describing the life of a not-well-off Industrial individual, detailing the daily unrelenting squalor and stress of his life. The story moves along as the indivi ...more
I won't mince words. I love this book with all my heart. But it is not for reasons that the average fan of science fiction will likely sympathize with. It's been said that this work lacks many of the classic SF elements that his earlier books showed, and this is certainly true. You could argue that it is not terribly effective as SF at all. But what it sets out to be, it succeeds in completely. It is, I think, Wells' personal manifesto. I've heard it called a "socialist screed" and being the pin ...more
Delilah Des
unexpectedly marvellous; I didn't think I liked utopian fiction but this was a neat trick at producing a historical document for future readers, contained a lot of ideas which are still considered "too modern" now, and has a strongly-drawn protagonist. not what I was expecting at all!
I loved this book when I read it at age 16. The girl I was madly in love with had just dumped me for my best friend, so you can see why I might identify with the whiny, self-involved, lovestruck narrator.

At the same time, I was very much taken with the romantic ideal of a change in human consciousness. This time is dealt with in very different ways in such novels as Colin Wilson's "The Mind Parasites" and John Brunner's "The Stone that Never Came Down", among others.

I'm surprised to see the fair
"In the Days of the Comet" has little to do about "the comet" and more to do about "the days". If you, like me, were expecting to find some excitement due to the impending strike or the destruction wrought by it, you will be disappointed. I had to wait 130 pages before the comet struck! 130 pages! That doesn't justify the $3 I paid for it. This is one of those books where you read with the hope and expectation that something interesting will happen but nothing does. And then you are finished wit ...more
Julian Meynell
I continue to think of Wells as an under-appreciated genius. This book is close to his most obscure and I read it primarily because I have a thing for comets. It concerns a comet that comes by and by changing the atmosphere, essentially makes people wiser, more moral and less selfish.

Wells was always torn between an official socialist-scientific optimism and an unconscious pessimistic view of human nature combined with a knowledge of the evil purposes that technology can be put to. It is that te
This edition has no real critical material or even printing history. Thus I had to look the title up to find out when the book was originally published (1906, to save duplicate efforts). This edition is a cheap edition, a 2nd printing of a Berkley Highland edition. It's dated 1969, and has, not an ISBN #, but an 'SBN' #, so it must be from before the establishment of ISBN #s.

I've gotten to page 76, and I'm getting to the point where I'm looking up and saying "Why doesn't that comet hurry UP, alr
This was the first book of Mr. Wells that I read that I just did not in any way like. It is not so much a novel or story but a social commentary by Mr. Wells. If you know anything about Mr. Wells, it was a well known fact that he was a socialist and promoted socialism as the form of government that he thought of so highly and wanted to see adopted throughout the world. I am not going to get into the goods and bads about socialism and I am definitely not going to get into the politics of it. That ...more
IN THE DAYS OF THE COMET. (1906). H. G. Wells. **.
Wells managed to combine several different genres into one work – or, I should say he tried to combine them. These included Romance, Politics, and Science Fiction. It all starts out as a basic love story: Willie, our chief character and narrator, falls in love with Nettie, a young woman from the next village, but talks himself into not loving her and writes her letters to that effect. One night, he talks himself back into loving her and decides
I found this an exceptionally modern for its day (1906). "Cheap paper planisphere? - key word: "cheap". The pros were overall informal and modern.

In this novel, Wells seemed to want to sell the wonderful new concept of Marxist socialism but unfortunately, after the comet that releases a nitrogen gas that chemically causes the human race, as well as all air breathing organisms on earth, to lean towards reason and docility, as well as a tendency towards socialist attitudes, his utopia becomes abso
Luke Meakin
For those of you who, like me, are quite avid Wells' readers/fans this is not your usual Sci-Fi classic.

H.G Wells appears to have been trying something new with this book as he attempts to intertwine science, socialism and a love triangle.

In the Days of the Comet is set in early 20th century England and covers Willie, a socialist who is angry and frustrated with everything to do with the world he lives in. The only thing Willie finds beautiful and tranquil is the love of his life, Nettie.

The s
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 a front row Wells, but it is a book crammed full of ideas. For the first half at least we have a protagonist who is unhinged with emotion; there are a number of great descriptions (for example; “Mrs Verr
Fascinating story. Wells imagines for us a utopian world in which greed, jealousy, violence, and all the rest of humanity's vices have been eradicated. A clarion call to buck the current system of grasping pettiness and start anew; a sort of 'Atlas Shrugged' for socialists (only based on selflessness rather than selfishness, and not nearly so long or tiresome, thank God!)
What can I say about this book?

First off, I am in the main a big H G Wells fan, but had I read this before any of his other works.... I doubt I'd have bothered with the rest.

That's not to say this is a bad book, just that it isn't as polished and smooth as many of his other works are.

It irritated me to a great extent how instead of getting on with the plot, the main character kept pausing to give vent to socio-political tracts. Who, honestly, thinks like that? Who writes like that? It just br
It's hard to read something like this and not judge it by the standards of our time.

This book is an essay, a sort of thought experiment on a number of different levels, and as such I enjoyed the view to a previous generation's perspective and imagination. If it were a book from today, I would perhaps only give it 2 or 3 stars, though I enjoyed it as an exercise in imagining utopia. Where it shone was in the anthropology, in demonstrating a particular culture of thought.

The protagonist wants to
I loved HG Wells when I was younger. This book, however, just drove me nuts. I got about 100 pages in, but I was so annoyed with the main character. He starts out lovesick for a woman who opts for another man and then stalks her. This might have been well and good back then, but now, it reads like a lead-up to a multiple murder-suicide (which, it almost does). Pages and pages are spent on his rather sad life and obsession. When the comet comes, it just got too weird for me and I had to abandon i ...more
Katie Corbin
I love H. G. Wells, but I really did not like this book. A little more than half is focused on the main character, who does nothing other than complain about his life and stalk his ex-girlfriend while plotting her, and her lover's murder. After the comet hits Earth, the book becomes a lot more interesting (and bearable) as everyone on the planet turns into hippies and love everything. But the theme of 'I can only ever love this girl' continues on, and in my opinion it is not loving or sweet, it ...more
I thought this was just terrible. Wells bores on endlessly about his political and philosophical viewpoints in the guise of narration, the mouthpiece of which is an entirely unsympathetic young man who deserves far worse than what comes to him. It was an absolute slog to read until the comet arrived, at which point (spoiler alert, which shouldn't bother you) everything changes with no real explanation and suddenly the earth is a utopia. I've rarely hated reading a book more than this.
This one is a little odd. It's another first-person narrative by Wells, and it draws its power from the author's own early life. There are serious references to class in this book. There are references to the desperation of the poor, and the rage which comes from being powerless. It's heavy stuff.

However, if you get past the main character's life and just look at the premise on its own... it seems a little silly. The Comet itself seems a bit fanciful to me.

However, it's still a good read. Just d
Till I reached the very end, I thought this would be a 5 star book. Wells writes beautifully and his dissection of the social conditions of the time is horribly real and painful. I loved the premise that the comet makes everyone rational, seeing their past mistakes yet able to move on without guilt, but the conclusion, wherein this Change leads to free love, has such little relevance today that it spoiled what otherwise was one of the best Utopias I have read. Still highly recommended, though if ...more
I love HG Wells, but this sucks. What's with the 1906 version of Elliot Rogers? Whhhhhhhhy?
This was quite clearly a product of Wells' political years. I found nothing really to like about this book except the occasional poetic tidbits about society; it seemed to be a rather strange, meandering commentary with a protagonist that wasn't particularly likable. But there were passages that spoke so poignantly--eloquent, yet irreverent--about the condition of world at the time, that it was very stirring. And I think that's what the novel set out to accomplish.
Dave Turner
Not one of the greatest H.G. Wells storys.

This book is essentially split in to two sections: a) the build-up & b) the aftermath and conclusion. The first half of the book gives us a quaint little story with characters who go from being almost likeable to maddeningly violent and unreasonable, where as the latter half is more or less simply analysis.

Don't expect a masterpiece, just expect a little interesting story and you will not be disappointed.
Barry Haworth
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In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol ...more
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