92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2005
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2009
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. Now that I am old enough to genuinely understand the book I still hold on to those same desires, although they have been slightly altered as I now recognize time travel to not be quite as easy as I thought. I am also surprised by how many of the people commenting on the book saw the movie first. Also, in response to Akachei's comment, I think that Wells did a fine job of comparing the two classes, because in the present time this scenario may not seem practical, but 800,000 years into the future, this could be life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2009
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.
Wells is brilliant the way he orchestrates this tale, pitting one aspect of society against the other, making you wonder about how things could end up that way even from our modern perspective. Wells is, no doubt, years and years ahead of his time. Although it's easy enough for a high school student to read, the depth will make you return to his intense literary style again and again. I did.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2005
The first of HG Wells classic sceince fiction novels, The Time Machine begins with the return of the time traveler from the future who tells his tale of the humanity's ultimate fate. Having built his machine the scientist adventures into the beyond and finds what has become of man; a divided race living amongst the ruins of (presumably) the capitalists empire. Enslaved for a time in the year 802,701 the traveler sees the nature of the utopian society and the neandrethal creatures not burdened with progress but perfection. Ultimately, the traveler escapes his imprisonment and ventures into the dark abyss where the world has aged beyond recognition. He returns to find an unconvinced audience and decidely ventures again into the unbelievable future, never to return.
One of HG Wells most enduring novels it has the characteristics which would combine to define science fiction. Origenal and thought provoking it is perhaps the shortest novel that nevertheless retains the substance and power of most 300 paged novels. However, like all of his novels the revolutionary ideas and not the litary magnifisence of the text makes this one of the premere science fiction tales of all time. I recommend reading this piece of literature if you are in high school or above so as to truly apreciate and understand the brillance of the Time Machine.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2007
H. G. Wells in one of the great originators of sf. HIs novels have inspired writers from Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke, to , most recently, Ronald Write.
Wells is meticulous about the sentific background and this, together with his pithy, understated narration, makes his fantastic tales entirely convincing. Well's meachanis may have dated since he wrote "The Time Machine," but the issue of time travel remains a central one for sf writer. And Wells's social analysis has been at least as influential as his scientific concepts.
In the Time Machine his future world is divided into two classes, the subterranean workers, called morlocks, and the decadent Eloi. Here, as elsewhere, his critique of sexual relationships is also highly provocative.
on October 24, 2015
H.G. Wells was no doubt one of the pioneers of modern Science Fiction, dealing with subjects such as alien invasions and time travel. He often puts in the main theme in his novels, admitting, in between the lines, that they are a satire of the social issues of his time, and ours. The Time Machine in one of his novels that does just that, and remains a sci-fi classic to this day.
The story is where the hero, only known as the time traveler, conversed with his guests in Victorian London, about the concept of time and space as four dimensions, and then tells them about a time machine he’s invented.
The next day, he uses his machine and travels to the year 802,701 in what once was England. The traveller arrives in front of a winged sphinx, greeted by race of people whose problems were all solved, food was plentiful, sickness and war were gone, and these people simply bask in leisure all day, swimming, eating, and playing. The time traveler then meets a woman and the both fall in love.
At first, he thinks he is in the ultimate Utopia, where all problems were solved, but it is not all that it seems.
After a day or two, his time machine is stolen, and he discovers another race of humans living underground, who come up at night and take these other humans. The human race, he has found, split in two. The dark ones are the Morlocks, and the light, playful ones are the Eloi.
It turns out that the Eloi are raised by Morlocks as cattle, and are taken, one by one, to be eaten for survival. While the Eloi live in luxury, the Morlocks live in underground darkness, surrounded by machines. The time traveler tries to fight these Morlocks.
This may seem to be a horror story with the “good humans” terrorized by the “monsters” but it goes much deeper, and the author admits this in this novella. The Eloi are descended from the wealthy, the ruling class of today, presently living in luxury, while the Morlocks were once the working class, forever doomed to work in the factories and toil at menial labor. As time went on, the working class were literally driven underground to labor in mines and factories, while the wealthy basked in luxury in the mansions and parks, a paradised created only for them while everyone else exists to serve.
Does this sound familiar? With the problem of the vanishing middle class, and working wages not being enough in which to survive, the working class, the unskilled are more and more unable to make ends meet. Although this book was written in 1895 during the Industrial Revolution and the height of the British Empire, conditions really haven’t changed. In fact, they’ve gotten worse.
In this story, even though all problems, natural and man-made have disappeared, for the Eloi, so has knowledge and strength. This Eloi have the minds of children, spoiled, care free, and unaware, except for the fear that they retain. They live in marble hallways and will not venture out at night.
The sins of their ancestors have been brought back upon them. Humans have driven their fellow humans into the ground to work in misery and serve their “masters” or “oppressors,” and as they evolved, the roles have somewhat reversed. In a period of 800,000 years, with the extinction of dogs, sheep, cows, and all other food animals, the Eloi themselves have become the food, and their minds cannot deal with this situation, so they submit in fear to the very people their ancestors once dominated.
Another moral in which the author admits is that struggle breeds strength, but an easy life only leads to weakness, and that is what led to where they were when the time traveler arrived.
This book is short, but it is worth reading, for it deals with the social issues we had and still have, and shows no signs of ending.
on September 14, 2010
In any discussion of the history of Science Fiction, H. G. (Herbert George) Wells is sure to be mentioned, and "The Time Machine" is the first of his novels/novellas. Wells may not have invented the genre, but his impact on it would be difficult to overstate. Unlike Verne, Wells was able to go beyond just what could be accomplished by science currently, and the invention of a Time Machine is central to the story Wells is telling. That is not to say that he has nothing to say on current sciences as well, just that he allows stories to take readers far beyond that which Verne would allow.
The history of "The Time Machine" is an unusual one. Wells had used the subject of time travel repeatedly starting in 1888 with his incomplete serial "The Chronic Argonauts". It next took form in a series of articles published in "The National Observer" in 1894, and then finally as a serial novel in "The New Review" in early 1895 when editor W. E. Henley moved from one publication to the other at the end of 1894 and convinced Wells to write it as a serial for his new publication.
The story itself is quite unusual as well. Wells refrains from naming the Time Traveler at all, and the narrator also remains nameless except one reference to a person named Hillyer in the final chapter before the Epilogue, which apparently refers to him. The only major character whose name is repeatedly used is Weena, the childlike woman whom the Time Traveler meets in the year 802,701 A.D. Though Verne would have considered the Time Machine a cheat, i.e. non-scientific, Wells does include other bits and pieces of science in the telling of this tale and there is a point he is making about science as well. He touches on evolution, astrophysics, and sociology in looking at what could happen to a society if life is too much of a utopia, as well as looking at the social divisions in the society of his time and where they may lead.
The story is a quick read, at around 90 pages, and just 12 chapters and the epilogue the reader can easily get through this in a single sitting if they desire. It also, despite its flaws, captures the reader's attention and so one is willing to forgive the flaws in the story-telling.
The Penguin Classics edition of "The Time Machine" also contains an Introduction by Marina Warner, notes on the text by the editor Patrick Parrinder, and textual notes by Steven Mclean. Lastly, though certainly not least, it contains Wells preface to the 1931 edition of "The Time Machine" in which Wells discusses the circumstances in his life when he wrote it, as well as his view that the work will outlive him. Flawed though the story may be, it is a significant work, very readable, and the Penguin Classics edition adds to the experience with the added material.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2008
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. Seeing what becomes of our civilization several thousand years from now is one thing. Glimpsing a future so far ahead that humans are extinct and the sun is dead takes it to an entirely new level. Why the two films based on the book (1960 and 2002) chose to omit this portion of the story is a mystery to me. I believe it would have been a highpoint of the films. Imagine Europe, Africa, North America or the Cayman Islands a few billion years from now. Imagine all buildings, roads, and every other human creation erased by time.
A final point about The Time Machine is that this idea of time travel may turn out to be far more relevant than most readers imagine. In my lifetime I have seen the idea of time travel move from purely science fiction to respectable science. Believe it or not, time travel is no longer far-fetched nonsense in the minds of real scientists. Very serious thought is now given to the possibility that something--or someone--might be sent on a trip through time. A few years ago, for example, I interviewed Dr. Ronald Mallet, a University of Connecticut physics professor who hopes to send a sub-atomic particle back in time. If he pulls that off, launching a human on a similar voyage will likely be nothing more than a matter of time.
--Guy P. Harrison, author of
Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
I first read "The Time Machine" when I was in high school and that was some time ago. Since then, I've read it two or three more times. After an absence, I always seem to find it refreshing.
Set at the end of end of the nineteenth century, the time traveller has indeed found the answer to travelling in the fourth dimension. He attempts to explain this to some of his friends but with mixed fortune. Some are quizzical, others just think him to be a polite fraud. How wrong they are! The time traveller has truly mastered time. He travels some eight hundred thousand years into the future where the world is inhabited by two races of beings. The Eloi who are near human but very small and weak; and the Morlocks who are a conniving subterranean people. The Eloi are a frivolous people. They have no industry, no desire to learn. They seem only interested in light hearted play. By way of contrast, the Morlocks are strong and dangerous. They are nocturnal and spend their days below the earth's surface. Their obvious challenge to the Eloi is that they are predators. The Eloi live in fear of the night.
The time traveller does his best to help the Eloi and upon his return to Victorian England, he regales his dinner guests with a long narrative about the future. Failing to gain their credulous support, the time traveller goes away once more. On this occasion, however, he never returns. One is left speculating as to what becomes of him.
In many respects, H.G. Wells is presenting a vision of a dystopia. He does this beautifully. The reader should be entranced by the story. It is truly a modern classic.