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The Time Machine: H. G. Wells Paperback – April 22, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-H.G. Welles' classic begins at an English dinner party where a group of gentlemen are discussing the device that one of them is making so he can explore the fourth dimension. No one is identified by name but when the men gather the following week, the device's inventor, referred to as Time Traveler, is strangely absent. When he arrives later, he recounts his amazing sojourn into the future. Most of this 1895 novella deals with Time Traveler's stay in a world where dark forces lurk behind an idyllic exterior. After narrowly escaping from a forest fire and hostile creatures, Time Traveler uses his invention to investigate other time periods before returning to share his story with his friends. Despite the fact that he has returned with never-before-seen flowers, most of his companions do not believe him. When one of the dinner guests stops by Time Traveler's home a few days later, he is the last one to see the inventor before he and his Time Machine disappear. Ralph Cosham narrates this science fiction standard bearer with a controlled intensity that gives the story the feel of a modern drama. Add to that Welles' ability to predict some contemporary scenarios, and this recording will interest 21st century listeners. With a sturdy case and continual tracking every three minutes, this production will be a useful addition to school and public libraries that want to add classics to their science fiction holdings.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“[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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Moreau, Wells explores the nature of man, his place in the scheme of things, as well as man's supposed moral nature set against the amorality of science. Clearly an example of Einstein's famous fear that "our technology has surpassed our humanity." Equally disturbing is the idea that the concept and identity of God clearly is a function of your own personal point of reference and a position ready to be filled by whomever has the power to take it.
In The Time Machine, Wells tackles society, economic realities, and evolution and presents a plausible and terrifying scenario. On one level we have a great sci-fi adventure about the evil and monstrous Moorlocks and the sheep-like but sympathetic Eloi. That is what I read as a kid. However on my re-read I was fascinated when I learned who these races represent and I really can't argue with his theories. I don't want to give anything away, because I HATE spoilers, but I will say that this novel is a social commentary on a level with anything written by Dickens and although I always enjoyed Wells as a masterful and creative story-teller, I now recognize Wells as a great thinker as well. I bought the Delphi edition of his complete works because I want to read everything the man wrote and spend some time with his work.
Then, as a sort of ad-on set piece at the end, Wells' scientist sets his time machine's dial to the distant future to observe, first hand, the end of the world. So logical that a scientist would do this, it fits perfectly into the story and shows how great a storyteller Wells was. However, this scene goes way beyond mere story-telling. I read this section several times. We have read this type of scene before but I will argue that it has never been done anywhere nearly as well as this. Chilling, creepy, unnerving, dark beyond description----absolutely brilliant. This set of scenes put this book onto my all time favorite shelf.
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, is a thrilling science fiction novel revolving around the story of a man only known as the "Time Traveler.” Throughout the story the narrator does not reveal his name, nor do any of the other characters in the book. Neither does he reveal the name of the time traveler and many other guests that appear in the background. Everyone has a certain title for which they are known for. The story starts off with the “Time Traveler” inviting a couple intelligent people to a small gathering or party. He shows them a mock of what he believes to be a time machine. No larger than a cubic foot it was described as. He explained how everything was to work. How the universe was is a four dimensional realm with time being the fourth dimension and a plane that could be traveled across. After a short demonstration of how the miniature model worked, he stunned the audience leaving them with nothing but questions. After a short dinner and questions asked by the group, he invited them all back in a couple of weeks to another dinner.
Most of the previous group returned along with a few new people. The dinner started without the time traveler present. He was nowhere to be found at the moment. All of a sudden the door is slammed open with the time traveler walking through the door appearing to be extremely tired and somewhat injured. He says very little walks upstairs saying that he will redress and invites everyone down to the smoke room. After seating everyone and silencing any questions, he says that he has a story to tell. If anyone shall interrupt his story with a question, they should leave now for he will not tell it. Everyone is quiet and settled so he begins.
He starts off by saying how he finished his machine and how proud he was. He boards his machine to test it and experience what the future holds. He flips his switches and everything turns into a mist or dust. His chest was under immense pressure as he saw everything speed across his vision. Faster and faster things went and moved. Soon day and night went by so fast that it looked like a still picture. His dials for hundreds and thousands of years were moving quite quickly until eventually he felt that he could endure no more and turned it off. He stopped on the near end of the year 800,000. He walked out of a couple shrubs to be greeted by what looked like a large marble statue of a phoenix. He was rather amazed that there were no tall and momentous skyscrapers to be anywhere in site. He was dumbfounded at the small and decorative buildings that scattered across the hillside thought to be made by humans. He encounters a small and soft race of creatures that he believes to be an evolved human race. The gentle race greets him and shows him their common area and food source. As night approaches he decides to sleep in the new world. He sleeps outside away from the gentle creatures and wakes to his time machine having disappeared. He sees the drag marks on the ground from the large thing and deducts that it was dragged into the bronze plates on the base of the phoenix.
Frustrated he finds things to busy himself with. Days pass and he even saves a little creature from the current of the river. He thinks her name is weena and explores the landscape with her. They find wells dotting the landscape with air rushing in or out of them. He finds small plate like handles going down them and decides to leave weena for a moment and explore further. In the well it is pitch black with virtually no light to be seen. He lights a match to find these hideous pale white and fuzzy creatures. They have large eyes and scatter from the light leading the time traveler believe that they are nocturnal. When the light goes out the touch him and try to grab him, but the time traveler was faster and stronger. Able to fend off the creatures he hurriedly makes his way back up the well. He finds that the little creatures are also afraid of the darkness and the wells.
He makes his way with Weena to what looks like a green porcelain palace. Through further investigation he finds out that it is an ancient museum with many relics in airtight containers. He salvages what he could including more matches for he had used all of his. He finds a club like bar for a weapon and a tool to open the phoenix. As he makes his way out night falls upon them and tries to make his way to what he thinks might be safe area. The Creatures of the night befall upon them and it is a fight for him. Throwing explosive material and setting fires, he runs with weena.
Through the confusion he loses her but makes his way to the bronze phoenix with its doors open. As he suspected just after walking in, the doors close leaving him trapped. Fighting the creatures back he makes his way into the time machine’s harness and sets sail forward in time once again. Now the sun doesn't move and a moon is not in sight. Large cretaceous creatures are everywhere and try to kill the traveler. Forward in time more and more little changes until on his last trip forward the air is toxic making it very difficult for him to move. The only thing left in sight was the grass, the ocean, and the sun. He hurriedly makes his return lever activate and zooms back in time.
This is the end of the Time traveler's story and so he bids his guests goodnight. The narrator is left intrigued and asks a question or two after everyone leaves about how it was, and the response was a smile. The narrator goes to visit the traveler once more but he gone. Puzzled and wondering when, if ever he will return. The narrator then mentions that as he tells us this story it has been a couple years since the travelers disappearance.
I personally loved this book and implore anyone and everyone to read it. It was suspenseful and exciting. An extremely complex vocabulary with a couple great quotes to be mentioned, this short read was one of my favorites. I quite enjoyed how the author told this story from a unique point of view and left me wondering. This was a short story but as I have tried, it cannot be summarized into something small. This book captured my mind and made me excited about what cheery thing was going to happen next or what travesty was to befall upon weena and the traveler. I give this book and easy 4-5 star rating.
I read this book as a teenager, many years ago, and it still is able to hold my interest.
There have been two films made directly from the book, and it has inspired other speculative Science Fiction approaches. In 1979 "Time after Time" the Time traveler was none other than H.G. Welles (Malcolm McDowell) who followed a man he thought was his friend but was in fact Jack the Ripper (David Warner) into modern day San Francisco.
People are still fascinated by the idea of time travel. We can thank Mr. Welles for much of that.