Researcher: Churchill borrowed from Wells

Nov. 27, 2006 at 5:51 PM

CAMBRIDGE, England, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A researcher at Britain's Cambridge University has claimed Winston Churchill borrowed lines for one of his speeches from science fiction writer H.G. Wells.

History professor Richard Toye said the former prime minister was a closet science fiction fan who borrowed the phrase "the gathering storm," which he used to describe the rise of Naziism in pre-World War II Germany, from Wells' novel "The War of the Worlds," The Independent reported Monday. Toye said numerous similarities were also apparent between a speech made by the British leader and Wells's book, "A Modern Utopia."

"Churchill was definitely a closet science-fiction fan," Toye said. "In fact, one of his criticisms of 'A Modern Utopia' was that there was too much thought-provoking stuff and not enough action."

Toye said Churchill had written to Wells two days before delivering a famous Oct. 9, 1906, speech in which Toye says he borrowed from "A Modern Utopia."

"I owe you a great debt," Churchill wrote.

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