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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 6, 2010
I found this interesting because I've read Wells' most popular fiction novels and wanted to sample some of his social commentary, and because I've been collecting writings by famous futurists of the last century. Readers who are not similarly motivated may rate this book lower than I did. It's very different from his fiction, so if you liked "War of the Worlds" or "The Time Machine" or "The Shape of Things to Come" it doesn't necessarily follow that you will like this.
The author's attempt to predict the social and technological developments of the 20th century from the vantage point of 1901 can be entertaining for both its hits and misses. For example, in his chapter on armed conflict, he correctly envisions long-range, highly accurate sniper rifles wielded by expert marksmen, but incorrectly guesses that these marksmen will maneuver through battlefields on bicycles. Also, writing two years before the first Wright brothers flight, he estimates that the first practical airplane will be demonstrated around 1950. His description of an aerial dogfight between dirigibles and his disbelief in the viability of submarines seem quaint.
Wells was a product of 19th century England, so sometimes quaintness gives way to offensiveness from the perspective of the modern reader. Today, Wells would be considered racist and sexist. He also supported eugenics and euthanasia, including practices that have been widely discredited since the horrors of Nazism.
Wells was also a socialist who distrusted both monarchies and democracies, believing that the global society of 2000 should be a New Republic that constituted a world state (or close to it) dominated by three or four languages. It would be led by an elite cadre of scientists, engineers, and medical doctors - a technocracy, as we'd call it today.
Despite many inaccurate predictions, Wells did have some interesting insights on things like the growth of cities, the proliferation of labor-saving devices, the problems of the education system, and the evolution of journalism. For those who are comfortable with the writing style of the time (very long sentences and paragraphs; protracted sidebar discussions in lengthy footnotes), this is an intriguing historical sample of both social commentary and futurism.
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Around the turn of the century, 1901 a famous Sci-fi writer that is well known for predicting the future applies his trade. Instead of taking the word of experts on HG, we get his speculations first hand.

The book starts out innocuously describing how turning a "steam pump" on its side we now have a steam engine. He makes some good points against the wisdom of the time that ideas come together at just the right time to create just the right answer to a problem. From her he speculates on how mechanized transportation will change society. HG is just warming up as he now speculates on government, military and social conscience. He used a term "the new republic to describe his future world.

I may have to take his work on many of the subject but I can relate to his military references. It took the Vietnam War to shake the military up enough to make HG's speculation on an educated well-oiled military that we have today. It was the generals of the time the generals of the Vietnam era that realize that we needed just about everything HG predicted from technical advances to intelligent soldiers to the concept of "Land, Sea, Air" warfare.

Some of his speculations are a met strange or maybe just a tad different. It looks like he thinks that democracy will be exchange for the rule of technocrats. Moreover, he is not too sure of the future domination of the English language.

In any event, this book is well worth reading as it is the core of HG's views of humankind.

The Time Machine, Literary Touchstone Edition
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Around the turn of the century, 1901 a famous Sci-fi writer that is well known for predicting the future applies his trade. Instead of taking the word of experts on HG, we get his speculations first hand.

The book starts out innocuously describing how turning a "steam pump" on its side we now have a steam engine. He makes some good points against the wisdom of the time that ideas come together at just the right time to create just the right answer to a problem. From her he speculates on how mechanized transportation will change society. HG is just warming up as he now speculates on government, military and social conscience. He used a term "the new republic to describe his future world.

I may have to take his work on many of the subject but I can relate to his military references. It took the Vietnam War to shake the military up enough to make HG's speculation on an educated well-oiled military that we have today. It was the generals of the time the generals of the Vietnam era that realize that we needed just about everything HG predicted from technical advances to intelligent soldiers to the concept of "Land, Sea, Air" warfare.

Some of his speculations are a met strange or maybe just a tad different. It looks like he thinks that democracy will be exchange for the rule of technocrats. Moreover, he is not too sure of the future domination of the English language.

In any event, this book is well worth reading as it is the core of HG's views of humankind.

The Time Machine, Literary Touchstone Edition
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2001
This book offers an interesting, although distanced, look at the technological progress of the 20th century - from the perspective of 1901.

H.G. Wells reflects some of the less attractive characteristics of a world we have grown beyond, but has a keen insight into social dynamics and the progress it directs.

Much of the book is not worth reading, but there are snippets of truth that point to major changes that our world economy and cultures are still going through. If you are willing to wade through the rough, there are some diamonds to be found.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2014
Not what I was looking for.
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