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Book Review: Time Machine by H.G Wells

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 traveller”, on his journey into the future.

About the author: H.G Wells was born in Kent, the 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 Plot

The story begins with the time traveller 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 sceptical, and think its either magic or talk. The time traveller 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 travellers home. After much waiting, the men decide to begin eating. Suddenly the time traveller enters the room, looking fatigued and ruffed. The time travellers feet are bare and bleeding. He requests some alcohol and leaves the room. Several moments later he reenters looking refreshed.

The Traveller Holding the Time Machine-min

The Traveller Holding the Time Machine-min

The men probe him to explain the meaning of this. The time traveller begins to narrate a story of how he had travelled 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 grey and blurry.

800000 years into the future the time traveller 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 traveller 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 traveller of children. They interact with the traveller 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 traveller climbs into the river to rescue her out. She is beyond grateful and becomes attached to the traveller.

 

 

Morlock Holding the Girl

Morlock Holding the Girl

 

After some time they develop a good friendship, and the traveller feels less lonely. He learns a bit of her language and they explore the surrounding areas.

The traveller notices several good 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 the night.

It is these Morlocks which have built these underground tunnels and also taken the time machine. The traveller 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 for the traveller. 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 traveller 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 traveller 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 traveller pulls out strange flowers from the future, that Weena had put in his pocket.

The story ends with the narrator stating that the traveller was seen the next day planning for another adventure. And after promising to return in a short period of time, was never seen again.

My thoughts:

The story is very predictable and simple. But that is 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

By Scout Within Me, February 6, 2017 For boy scouts, gentlemen, and wanderers. All are welcome.

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