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

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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
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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: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,869 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: Mass Market Paperback
It goes without saying that this book is a science fiction classic in every sense of the word and that H.G. Wells was a founding father of the genre. This book proves that science fiction does not necessarily need to be heavily technical but does need to deal with grand themes such as the nature of society; man's hopes, dreams, and fears; and the very humanity of man. Wells does not go to great lengths in describing the time machine nor how it works. He lays the foundation of the story in science and then proceeds with his somewhat moralistic and certainly socially conscious story. This makes his writing much more enjoyable than that of a Jules Verne, who liked to fill up pages with scientific and highly technical nomenclature. One of the more striking aspects of the novel is Wells' treatment of the actual experience of time travel--moving in time is not like opening and walking through a door. There are physical and emotional aspects of the time travel process--in fact, some of the most descriptive passages in the book are those describing what the Time Traveler experiences and sees during his time shifts.
Basically, Wells is posing the question of What will man be like in the distant future? His answer is quite unlike any kind of scenario that modern readers, schooled on Star Wars, Star Trek, and the like, would come up with. He gives birth to a simple and tragic society made up of the Eloi and the Morlocks. In contrasting these two groups, he offers a critique of sorts of men in his own time. Clearly, he is worried about the gap between the rich and the poor widening in his own world and is warning his readers of the dangers posed by such a growing rift. It is most interesting to see how the Time Traveler's views of the future change over the course of his stay there.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the little number that started it all. For the English-speaking world (some translations of Verne possibly aside), science fiction begins with the four brief, brilliant novels published by H G Wells in the 1890s. The War of the Worlds is a still-unsurpassed alien invasion story; The Invisible Man one of the first world-dominating mad scientist tales; and The Island of Dr Moreau a splendidly misanthropic story of artificial evolution and genetic modification. But The Time Machine came first, launching Wells' career in literature; and, after just over a century, there still isn't anything nearly like it. A Victorian inventor travels to the year 802701, where the class divisions of Wells' day have evolved two distinct human races: the helpless, childlike and luxurious Eloi and the monstrous, mechanically adept and subterranean Morlocks. Predictably, the film version turned them into the usual Good Guys and Bad Guys, though it's still worth seeing, particularly for its conception of the Time Machine itself - a splendid piece of Victorian gadgetry. The book, despite its sociological-satirical premise, is rather more complex in its treatment of the opposed races, and the Time Traveller's voyage ends, not with them, but still further in the future, with images of a dead sun and a dark earth populated only by scuttling, indefinite shadows. As in the other three novels, too, the premise of the story is carefully worked out and clearly explained - a discipline largely beyond science fiction today, in which time travel, invading aliens or whatever are simply taken for granted as convenient genre props and automatic thought-nullifiers. After more than a century, The Time Machine is still waiting for the rest of us to catch up.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Wells is a fine writer. However, as I read, curled up in my favorite armchair with a cup of tea and a slice of Eloi-pie, I cannot help but feel saddened at his stereotyped and ignorant portrayal of my noble race. The Morlocks are not, as Mr. Wells seems to be suggesting, a brutish and de-evolved form of humanity. We are a highly intelligent and technically adept species. Yes, we do systematically butcher the Eloi. We unfortunately have no other food-source, as our digestive systems cannot extract nutrients from the fruit that sustains our surface-dwelling cousins. But did Mr. Wells bother to mention the great care we take to make our food's death as painless as possible? Hmm? Or that we go to such trouble to make clothes and build shelters for them so that their lives on the surface world will be more pleasant before we consume their delicious flesh? It pains me to know that Wells' mistaken ideas about Morlocks are so widespread in human culture. The movie adaptation of his novel was even more disturbing, as it portrays my race as humans in bad costumes. No wonder so many young Morlocks suffer from low self-esteem; the media is so devoid of positive role-models.
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