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What If…? HG Wells, Arnold Bennett and your alternative future
It is early January in a new century and a group of technicolored-Victorian gentlemen are awaiting the return of their friend from the future. I've always loved the 1960 film of HG Wells' The Time Machine. Drawing inspiration from the two headed Roman God Janus, that gives this month its name, the film, like the book, looks backwards and forwards with a game of subjunctive history. Asking What if… questions about alternative futures. What if there were an atomic war in 1966 as the film, made at the height of the Cold War, imagined? Applied to your own life what might you find if you explored in fantasy the path you didn't take? My inspiration for this year is one of HG Wells' best friends, Arnold Bennett - just as much a man who looked to the future. He'd been born a pawnbroker's son with a terrible stammer in the Staffordshire pottery town of Hanley at its grim sooty Victorian economic best and humanitarian worst. He started out as a rent collector and clerk, but escaped to Belle