"figures such as Lord Daniels, Professor Maynard Keynes, and Mr H. G. Wells"

Only two of the three are real figures: H. G. Wells and Professor Maynard Keynes.

John Maynard Keynes
Public DomainJohn Maynard Keynes - Credit: IMF

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) is remembered for his macroeconomic theories, published in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), which suggested that in times of widespread unemployment a government could stimulate an economy by increasing public spending and reducing taxes. Keynesian monetary theory was incorporated into governmental fiscal policy, albeit not strictly in the way that Keynes had advocated, and remained in force until the 1970s when it was replaced by monetarism.  However the recent recession has seen a resurgence of interest in Keynes's ideas.

Herbert George Wells in 1943
Public DomainHerbert George Wells in 1943 - Credit: Yousuf Karsh

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) was a prolific author of 20 fiction novels, over 40 short stories and 4 non fiction works. Much of his fiction was considered visionary, covering a broad range of science fiction and fantasy.

In 1933 his futuristic novel The Shape of Things to Come predicted the outbreak of war between Germany and Poland; recent months had seen the rise of the Nazis, violent attacks on Jews and enforced sterilisations in Germany. The Nazi party won the 1933 German elections with 17 million votes.

One of his science fiction novels gained great notoriety in 1938: a radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds caused widespread panic in the United States as over a million listeners, missing the first few minutes of the broadcast, believed that the fictional news reports of machines from outer space landing in New Jersey were true.

No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own ...