Michael's Reviews > The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
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's review
May 26, 2010

bookshelves: science-fiction, audio-book, read-in-2009, obscure-references-book-group, read-in-2010
Read in February, 2009

Without "The Time Machine," we might not have science-fiction. Or at least not as we know it.

That's not to say that someone wouldn't or couldn't have come along and filled a gap had H.G. Wells not written this. But would it have been as popular and caught fire with the imagination of the reading public if had been something or someone else. Maybe not.

What I'm trying to say is that sci-fi fans owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Wells for this story. Not only was it hugly influential, but it's still entertaining and readable to this day. Following the convention of the period, Wells relates the story twice removed. It's a first-person narrator relating the story of another first-person narrator. Wells introduces us to the Traveller, who has invented a way to break the barrier to the fourth dimension. He plans to travel in time and does so, going into the far future and meeting the Eloi and the Morlocks.

If you've seen the movie, you're probably familiar with most of what unfolds. But if you've only seen the movie, you've really only experienced half of the story. Like many great episodes of sci-fi shows today, the success of "The Time Machine" comes from the abililty to use fantastic fiction to comment on current real-world issues. "The Time Machine" does that in such a subtle way, making readers think and carry that thought process long after the final page is turned.

That's not to say it's all philosophical discourse (I'm looking at your Robert A. Heinlein). The novel wouldn't endure if it was just that. It's got a good adventure story at its center and it hangs the philosophical argument on that. Wells shows a mastery of this type of storytelling that many other writers in this field (again, I point to Robert A. Heinlein) have tried but come up woefully short in achieving.

It's a classic, no question about it. If you've not read it in a while, it's worth a second, third or even fifteenth look. If you've not read it all, you should treat yourself to one of the truly innovated stories in world literature. It's not every day you can read a story that is the starting point for an entire genre.
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03/12 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-4 of 4) </span> <span class="smallText">(4 new)</span>

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Calen I agree with you mostly. But was Jules Verne not a precursor to Wells? Just a thought.

Larisa Yep, Calen, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Robert A Nice review. It is a good adventure. I really enjoyed his view on the end of it all...

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

And Mary Shelley was a precursor to them both, by a long way.

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