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

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[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.
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"The Arrows of Time"
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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 (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Polymath on July 25, 2005
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guy P. Harrison on October 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Anyone unfamiliar with the work of H.G. Wells (1866-1946) should take a ride with his 1895 bestselling sensation, The Time Machine. This is the perfect introduction into the work of an amazing author. Relatively short and easy to follow, this story has the power to make a dead man dream. Who hasn't imagined what the future might be like? Well's shows us. Who hasn't worried that we may destroy civilization one day? Well's warns us. Have you ever wondered what the Earth will be like long after we are gone and the sun dies? Wells takes us there.

The Time Machine launched a remarkable career for Wells who went on to write several brilliant books, including: The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), and The First Men in the Moon (1901). His greatness as a writer is not found so much in the specific words he chose or the way he structured sentences as it is in the originality and power of his ideas. Many of his works, like The Time Machine, remain relevant and entertaining because the ideas are as provocative today as they were 100 years ago--if not more so thanks to advances in science. The Island of Dr. Moreau, for example, is an astonishing preview of the issues we now face with genetic engineering and cloning. The Time Machine is amplified today thanks to astonishing developments in theoretical physics.

There are many fine versions of The Time Machine available today. One of the best I've seen is the Signet Classic edition (2002). It's an inexpensive paperback and includes an excellent introduction by science-fiction author Greg Bear. Even more valuable, it includes an extended version of the chapter in which the time traveler visits Earth's extreme future. It's a thrilling mental trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Wayne Dworsky on May 23, 2009
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Rendino on May 3, 2009
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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