While we are increasingly challenged to imagine a world without humans, we have also become increasingly attentive to the subject of empathy, in popular culture, the humanities, and the sciences. In The Time Machine (1895), and a number of essays on evolution or extinction, H. G. Wells articulated a speculative evolutionary theory, a vision of nature unencumbered by everyday anthropocentricism. His little-known 1936 novella, The Croquet Player, continues his evolutionary story of humanity by turning to the future’s entanglement with the past and culture’s entanglement with nature. Prescient, Wells’s novella speaks to the parallel phenomena entangled in the strange relation between extinction and empathy.

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