A Modern Utopia
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A Modern Utopia (1905) is a work of fiction by H. G. Wells.
- H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that increasingly occupied him throughout the remainder of his life. One of his earliest and most ambitious attempts at portraying a world state was A Modern Utopia (1905) (McLean).
- Like most utopians, he indicated a series of modifications which in his opinion would increase the aggregate of human happiness. Basically, Wells' idea of a perfect world would be if everyone were able to live a happy life.
- This book is written with an intimate knowledge of former ideal commonwealths and is a conscious attempt to describe a utopia that is not utopian.
- June Deery refers to A Modern Utopia as a work in progress for two obvious reasons:
- It is about social and technological advance, and
- Wells stresses that he is describing a dynamic utopia. This means that this modern society requires and allows further improvement.
A Modern Utopia was intended as a hybrid between fiction and 'philosophical discussion'.
Wells began by stating that the people of this utopia have to plan "a flexible common compromise, in which a perpetually novel succession of individualities may converge most effectually upon a comprehensive onward development." That is the first, most generalised difference between a Utopia based upon modern conceptions and all the other Utopian stories that were written previously (Wells, Ch. 1).
An important fact about this modern Utopia is that the people's purpose is to be Utopian. Also, the modern Utopia must have people inherently the same as those in the rest of the world.
Notable aspects 
A few notable aspects of this utopia are:
Modern Utopian People: Chapter 1 (Section 6) The main character meets the first Utopian man and describes what he would look like: not Swiss- but might be on planet Earth. He has maybe just a few differences from a human on Earth: same face but different expressions, and same physique but better developed. He has different habits, knowledge, traditions, clothing, ideas, and different appliances. Besides all that, he would be the same man (Wells, Ch.1).
Economy: Chapter 3 (Section 1): This utopia needs money to function. The money in this society is gold, a fair-round size. On one side of the coin there is an inscription that declares it one Lion (American influence-one declares). On the other side of the coin there is "a universal goddess of the Utopian coinage -- Peace, as a beautiful woman, reading with a child out of a great book, and behind them are stars, and an hour-glass, halfway run (Wells- ch. 3)." This economy also needs a duodecimal system of counting.
Gender Roles: Chapter 6 (Section 3): This chapter is titled, "Women in a Modern Utopia." Section 3 makes it clear that women are to be as free as men in this utopia. "It is a fact that almost every point in which a woman differs from a man is an economic disadvantage to her, her incapacity for great stresses of exertion, her frequent liability to slight illnesses, her weaker initiative, her inferior invention and resourcefulness, her relative incapacity for organization and combination, and the possibilities of emotional complications whenever she is in economic dependence on men (Wells, Ch. 6)." A woman who is already a mother or pregnant, is as much entitled to wages above the minimum wage, to support, to respect and to freedom. If her children show promise, she would be entitled to a bonus - like any skilled worker who shows above-average results in his or her work. In this utopia, a career of wholesome motherhood would be the normal calling for a woman. However, a mother is not allowed to work outside the home unless she provides a suitable person to take care of her children.
Animal Rights: Chapter 9 (Section 5):"In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be. But now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And, in a population that is all educated, and at about the same level of physical refinement, it is practically impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig ... I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse." That event happened within the memory of a person about forty-five years old in what corresponds to 1903 - long after the World State was established.
Marie-Louise Berneri was critical of A Modern Utopia, stating "Wells’s conception of freedom turns out to be a very narrow one".  W. Warren Wagar praised A Modern Utopia, describing it and Wells' other Utopian novels (Men Like Gods and The Shape of Things to Come) as "landmarks in that extraordinarily difficult genre". 
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2009)|
- Deery, June. "H.G. Wells's A Modern Utopia as a Work in Progress." Extrapolation (Kent State University Press). 34.3 (1993): 216-229. EBSCO Host. Salem State College Library Databases. Salem, MA. 18 Apr. 2008. 
- "H.G. Wells." The Literature Network. 1 2000-2008. 18 Apr. 2008. 
- McLean, Steven. ""The Fertilising Conflict of Individualities": H. G. Wells's A Modern Utopia, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, and the..." Papers on Language and Literature. 2 2007. 166. eLibrary. Proquest CSA. Salem State College Library Databases. Salem, MA. 18 Apr 2008. 
- Review: [untitled], by A. W. S. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Nov., 1905), pp. 430-431. Published by: The University of Chicago Press. JSTOR. Salem State College Library Databases. Salem, MA. 18 Apr. 2008. 
- Review: [untitled], by C. M. H. The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 14, No. 9 (Nov., 1906), pp. 581-582. Published by: The University of Chicago Press. JSTOR. Salem State College Library Databases. Salem, MA. 18 Apr. 2008. 
- Wells, H.G. A Modern Utopia. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2005.
- Berneri, Marie-Louise, Journey through Utopia, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950. (p. 295)
- Wager, W. Warren. "Wells, H(erbert) G(eorge)", in Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers by Curtis C. Smith. St. James Press, 1986, ISBN 0-912289-27-9 (p.779-83).