(1932-2004) US academic (professor of history since 1971 at the State University of New York at Binghamton, which has since 1991 been Binghamton University) and author. He has published sf – his first story being "Heart's Desire" for Asimov's in July 1984 – but his involvement in the field comes primarily through his many years of work on H G Wells in books like H.G. Wells and the World State (1961), H.G. Wells: Journalism and Prophecy, 1893-1946: An Anthology (anth 1964) and H G Wells: Traversing Time (2004). In these Wagar concentrates upon a side of Wells not generally thought very congenial: the insistent, peremptory, secretly authoritarian proselytizer for a world Utopia. The image of Wells as a simple propagandist does not survive Wagar's analysis. Later books are more various: Terminal Visions: The Literature of Last Things (1982), an important work of sf scholarship, is a social history of apocalyptic thought in literature, covering (but not confined to) Genre SF; A Short History of the Future (1989; rev 1992; further rev 1999) is a lightly fictionalized Future History, told as from 200 years hence, updating Wells's The Shape of Things to Come (1933) through a narrative line that moves through World War Three towards a moderately socialist world state. A bad 1989 guess about the survival of the Soviet Union is corrected in later editions. [JC]
see also: Critical and Historical Works About SF.
Walter Warren Wagar
born Baltimore, Maryland: 5 June 1932
died Vestal, New York: 16 November 2004
works as editor
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