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The Time Machine (Penguin Classics) Paperback – May 31, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“[Wells] contrives to give over humanity into the clutches of the Impossible and yet manages to keep it down (or up) to its humanity, to its flesh, blood, sorrow, folly.” —Joseph Conrad

About the Author

H.G. Wells was a professional writer and journalist, who published more than a hundred books, including novels, histories, essays and programmes for world regeneration. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. His controversial views on sexual equality and the shape of a truly developed nation remain directly relevant to our world today. He was, in Bertrand Russell's words, 'an important liberator of thought and action'.

Marina Warner is a famed writer and critic. Patrick Parrinder has written on H.G. Wells, science fiction, James Joyce and the history of the English novel. Since 1986 he has been Professor of English at the University of Reading.

Steven McLean is Secretary of the H.G. Wells Society. He recently completed his PhD on H.G. Wells at the University of Sheffield.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439976
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I tried reading this book as a child many, many years ago, some of the "big" words and allusions made it hard going, and I never completed it then. Finally, about fifteen years ago I did read it through, but still was missing something. Then, a few weeks ago, I got this edition, after having enjoyed the Penguin edition of "The War of the Worlds" with its annotations and map. Well, the annotations in this edition (about four pages worth as endnotes) of "The Time Machine" cleared away whatever fuzz remained, and I was completely overcome by the greatness of the book, great from whatever way I looked at it: plot, speculation, characters, "sense of wonder", even throw away humor were all topnotch. I couldn't believe what I'd been missing. A few days later, I read another editon of the book that didn't have notes, and had no trouble following that version. I plan to reread the book again shortly. So if you've had difficulty reading "The Time Machine" for some of the reasons mentioned above, get this version pronto and find out what a true classic is.
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Format: Paperback
From the beginning of time the human race has always had a special concern for the future. What lay in store and what will become of life here on Earth? What will happen to the Earth after it endures horrific natural disasters? Thousands of years later we as a civilization still worry about the future and how we will get through it. In The Time Machine by H.G. Wells we read about the fascinating journey of a single man hundreds of thousands of years into the future using a machine that he spend countless times working to perfect. It is when he travels 800,000 years into the future that he truly is shown what will happen to the human race.

After having read War of the Worlds, I am convinced H.G. Wells is a brilliant author, and in his book The Time Machine he expresses his thoughts and his opinions on what will happen to the Earth after an apparent "Doomsday." He avoids any possible time paradoxes that may occur from interfering with time. The only problem that I had with the book was how he went so far into the future of the Earth (800,000 years) and humans still existed, which can be questionable if a species can survive for that amount of time. Wells then uses his amazing logical thinking skills to write a novel based solely on this single concept.

The Time Machine is an excellent book, that, as a child, I did not fully understand. When I was younger, I truly did believe that the concept of time travel was possible and that I was just too young to know about it. I very much desired to travel into the future to see what I would be doing at an older age and how I would look.
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Format: Paperback
Wells departs from the traditional fiction role to pursue something truly unique and untested in attempts at the science fiction genre of his time. He diverts from the magic of Jules Verne, embarking on a new realm, on his own journey. Where Verne's interests lie in maritime stories of a more mundane nature, as fantastic as these were, we see Wells far more interested in what becomes of a people, of civilization, of earth. We see a writer who looks deeply into the human psyche, wondering how we perceive the passage of time.

Ok, so the book starts out straight enough, with four blokes discussing how such a machine could work. He convinces us that a unique perspective will reshape the cutting edge. They are blown away when the ostensible time traveler returns in only moments, having indicated that he spent days in this futuristic world of the haves and have-nots, of the Morlocks and the Eloi. When one of these delicate creatures dies, he learned, the others let it go as part of their every day events. Of course, when the traveler is battle-scarred, made weary of his adventures and tired of the vegetarian diet the Eloi provided him, his colleagues are not convinced but confused. Then, during the events of the new moon, when all is bleak outside, do these Morlocks attack the Eloi. He faces a terrifying sequence. Then he discovers his time machine had vanished from where he left it when he arrived. Let's not give the plot away now. Find out how he gets it back, and how he relates these things to his friends who await his return. It turns out that the Morlocks are highly developed individuals, having abandoned their mechanized world long ago, choosing to "harvest" the Eloi like cattle, allowing them to graze on the vegetation.
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Format: Paperback
With a Kindle in one's hands, downloading and reading many older books that are no longer in copyright is both free and simple. Having thus come into possession of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine the other day by way of experimenting with the Kindle, I found myself reading it at once, and so, almost without meaning to begin it, I've finished. In the book, first published in 1895, an unidentified narrator relates what he and others were told by the so-called Time Traveller, at whose house they were accustomed to congregate on successive Thursdays. The Time Traveller had built a time machine which he showed to the assembled one week. The following week, arriving at his own house for dinner late, sockless, and apparently injured, he told them of the experiences he'd had in the future since their last meeting. The Time Traveller had in fact gone very far into the future, looking to discover the ultimate fate of the earth, but he spent most of his time in the year 802,701. There he was greeted by strange descendants of humanity, the Eloi--small, childlike, sexless, pasty people, all of them having "the same girlish rotundity of limb." They spoke an uncomplicated, mellifluous language and all dressed similarly. (Here is the antecedent for that Star Trek trope, noted by Jerry Seinfeld, wherein everyone in the future always wears the same outfit.) The Eloi were strangely uninquisitive, apparently fearless, and they seemed to live in a sort of paradise, where man had thoroughly subjugated nature to his needs and, having nothing further to fear or for which to strive, had become soft. So, at least, the Time Traveller thought at first. But his first impressions turned out to be horribly mistaken, and the novel, in the end, is deeply pessimistic about the ultimate progress of mankind, Wells having taken the development of the relationship between the haves and the have-nots to its distressing extreme.

-- Debra Hamel
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