The Time Machine is a science fiction classic published by H.G Wells in 1895. It is a short story about a scientist, referred to as “the time traveler”, on his journey into the future.
About the author: H.G Wells was born in Kent, United Kingdom in 1866. He is often referred to as the father of science fiction. Some of his most famous novels include: “The Invisible Man” and “War of the Worlds”.
The story begins with the time traveler conversing with several high profile men in his living room. There he tells them about the wonders of time travel and how it will change the world. His acquaintances are skeptical, and think its either magic or talk. The time traveler demonstrates the concept using a small prototype device. The machine disappears into thin air.
Another evening, several more men, and a few of the previous guests, arrive for a dinner at the time travelers home. After much waiting, the men decide to begin eating. Suddenly the time traveler enters the room, looking fatigued and ruffed. The time travelers feet are bare and bleeding. He requests some alcohol and leaves the room. Several moments later he reenters looking refreshed.
The men probe him to explain the meaning of this. The time traveler begins to narrate a story of how he had traveled thousands of years into the future.
It goes something like this:
The travel enters his time machine and powers it up. The machine begins to pick up speed and suddenly the world starts moving faster. The scenes before his eyes change, quicker and quicker. Houses and redevelopment take place. Trees grow and die. Eventually all is gray and blurry.
800000 years into the future the time traveler stops. The land before him is stormy and dark, possibly due to the time machine entering this space.
Things begin to clear up and he finds himself softly landed on a grass patch. It is a peaceful, almost paradise of a land. There are wonderful birds and plants. The surrounds are mainly forests and thickets, with the exception of several tall temples.
Most notably, in front of him, there is a giant statue. It is made of metal and the eyes seem to watch him. This giant structure is in the shape of a sphinx.
The time traveler notices movement coming from his sides and soon several small people appear. They look like normal humans, with the same bodily features, except they are small. About a third of the size of a normal person. These people, called Eloi, speak a different language, and seem to be less intelligent.
They are playful and careless, and remind the traveler of children. They interact with the traveler but lose interest quickly. These small people spend their days eating fruit, playing around or bathing in the river.
On one such occasion, a lady Eloi whilst playing in the river begins to float off. She helplessly drifts down the river with the current. The other small people show no care or remorse as they watch her go. The traveler climbs into the river to rescue her out. She is beyond grateful and becomes attached to the traveler.
After some time they develop a good friendship, and the traveler feels less lonely. He learns a bit of her language and they explore the surrounding areas.
The traveler notices several well points, that contain no traces of water but rather a steam. He starts to realize that there is another race in the world. An underground anti-human form, of which prey on the Eloi during night.
It is these Morlocks which have built these underground tunnels and also taken is time machine. The traveler speculates that the human race has divided into two species. With the Morlocks ranchers who make the Eloi their livestock. With the Eloi lacking the intelligence or strength to realize the danger or events.
He takes the female Eloi of which he rescued, her name being Weena, on an expedition to some distant green structure. It turns out to be a museum, and there they find a fresh supply of matches and a weapon. There is hope and a restoration of energy in the traveler. He feels he has all he needs to overcome the Morlocks and take Weena with him back to his time.
After leaving the museum, they become weary and stop to rest in the forest. The Morlocks attack in the night and Weena is taken. The traveler pursues several Morlocks and becomes devastated by his loss.
The Morlocks open the Sphinx and use the time machine to try and lure him in. Not realizing what the machine can do, the traveler manages to escape into another time. He travels first far into the future. The scenes here are more melancholy. The earth is redder, dimmer and falling silently apart.
Disheartened, he travels back to his time, arriving at his laboratory just three hours after he originally left. The guests are told the story, of which they sit through in disbelief. The traveler pulls out strange flowers from the future, that Weena had put in his pocket.
The story ends with the narrator stating that the traveler was seen the next day planning for another adventure. And after promising to return in a short period of time, was never seen again.
The story is very predictable and simple. But that is solely because of my familiarity with other stories of time travel and adventure. H.G Wells actually coined the term “time machine” and it was a story far ahead of its time.
This work is an example of eschatology, which is the study around the end of the world and humanity. The author suggests that humans don’t see the far future, but rather divide and become two very different species. And after that the world becomes bare, and crumbles quietly.
I suppose again, this book is another dystopia. It suggests a world in where society becomes complacent and loses all drive and creativity.
Get the book here: The Time Machine