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The Time Machine

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“I’ve had a most amazing time....”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.


118 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1895

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About the author

H.G. Wells

4,387 books9,656 followers
Herbert George Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London. After marrying his cousin, Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced his cousin to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to "indiscriminate") love. He continued to openly have extra-marital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a ten-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children. A one-time member of the Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included many novels, as well as nonfiction, such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a "divine will" in his book, God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration. Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best-remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism.

He was also an outspoken socialist. Wells and Jules Verne are each sometimes referred to as "The Fathers of Science Fiction". D. 1946.

More: http://philosopedia.org/index.php/H._...





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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,335 reviews
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
March 17, 2020

Returning to a novel you liked years ago is often a risky business, particularly so when the genre of that novel is science fiction. Nothing can age so rapidly as the past’s conception of the future, and what once seemed cutting edge may, after fifty years or more, appear simply ludicrous.

Because of this, I was delighted to find H.G. Wells' brief novel at least as charming and exciting as I remembered it, the Time Traveler’s scientific lecture still intriguing, the journey he describes still convincing, and the sociological history he reveals to us—of the evolution of the two races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, still as persuasive as it it was in 1895. (Okay, I admit, not quite as persuasive as evolutionary biology, but—given the rising gap between the rich and the poor—still compelling as a parable and cautionary tale.)

Although I remembered vividly both the origin and appearance of the Eloi and the Morlochs, I had forgotten much of the rest, and what I forgot made the book even better: 1) the delightful clarity of the Time Traveler's exposition to his audience of dinner guests about the nature of time as a dimension and the possibility of traveling through it, 2) the vivid description of the time-trip itself, a flickering cinematic-style vision, 3) the brutal destruction of the future of the English countryside, brought about by the Traveler’s reintroduction of fire, and 4) the end of his journey in a dying world of the far future, and the almost religious tone of his musings.

What was most clear to me, however, is how artfully H.G. Wells here combines scientific speculation, sociological parable, compelling adventure, and philosophical meditation. He both informs and delights, while never wearying his reader, in this book that is less than half the length of most of the first volumes of our current speculative fiction trilogies.

Still a classic, and one that our contemporary writers would do well to emulate.
Profile Image for Beth F.
354 reviews340 followers
October 22, 2008
One of the most difficult courses I took in college was a class called Sociological Theory. The professor was either brilliant or a total nut, I’m still not sure, and one of the questions for our final exam was actually:

Why? (Use diagrams to support your response).

Ugh, ugh, ugh!!! I walked out of that class with a B and I kid you not, I have never worked so hard for a B in my life! I pity the one guy in my class who walked away with an A and don’t even want to think about what his social life was like during that semester because I know mine was down the tubes.

At one point, the kooky prof mentioned The Time Machine as some interesting (but not required) reading to pick up on the side. But since he already had us reading upwards of 1,000 pages a week and we were required to hand in a 7-10 page paper every Monday (just for the one class!!!!), I was like, “screw you! H.G. Wells can kiss my ass!”

And that’s the funny thing about regret. Because now I’m wishing I’d have made time in my busy schedule to read it. Maybe I should have blown off another class for a couple hours so I could have read The Time Machine. And then I could have thought about it in a state of mind that was open and receptive to what was being said and layering it with some weird, academic extrapolations and connections (the kind professors slurp up) and it would become something ultra-meaningful and profound. Or something.

But no, I read it now. At age 29. Because I was dragging my feet and didn’t feel like finishing the book I’m supposed to be reading about Al Qaeda. And so the entire time I was reading it, I was like, “hm, interesting. If I was a younger person and still remembered the specific details about theories I studied in my past life as a student, the ideas in this book would have given me a nerd brain orgasm. And hot diggity damn! This book would have made a fantastic paper for my Soc. Theory class! By referencing several schools of sociological thought and combining those with discussions of evolution, social deconstruction and combining all that with the social norms of Victorian peoples—that would have knocked that prof’s socks off!"

So anyway. I liked this book okay. I’m really not a huge science fiction fan and that aspect probably kept me from getting into it as much as I could have given its potential for creating nerd brain o’s. Plus, it was only 90 pages long. It’s hard to really get into something that’s that short. Parts of the story felt like they weren’t fleshed out enough and Wells seemed to have skimmed over several scenes that shouldn’t have been skimped on. But then I found out that his original intent for this story was to turn it into a full-fledged novel but that just never happened due to some financial burdens and it sort of made sense.

The basic plot revolves around a Victorian gentleman and his theories about time travel. To prove them, he builds a machine and travels 800,000 years into the future where he befriends a group of people, the Eloi, who are descended from modern human beings. They are much shorter, childlike people who only eat fruit and spend most of their day playing games. They have no concept of work, they have no critical thinking skills and are incapable of logical reaction to problems. They are also terrified of the dark.

After spending a few days with them, the Time Traveler discovers another distinct species, also descended from modern man but of a much more sinister nature. This second group lives underground, only comes out at night, is a bit more cunning than the gentle people who live aboveground and this group is also extremely predatory in that they cannibalize the Eloi. These are the Morlocks.

The Time Traveler has several adventures during his time spent amongst the Eloi and the Morlocks and towards the end of the story, Wells makes some fairly blatant comparisons between the Eloi and the ultra-rich of our own society. If they spend their entire days being attended to by others, they will lose the ability to care for themselves and if they’re not careful, over the course of time and evolution of the species, they could turn into the Eloi, a group of wimpy wimpsters upon whom a life of privilege has backfired.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book936 followers
February 28, 2021
The Time Machine is not primarily a novel about time travel, time travel paradoxes and so forth. It is chiefly a speculation on the far future of humanity and, closer to home, about class conflict and the evolution of the industrial civilisation.

It starts as an almost casual chat by the fireside about the possibility of travelling through the fourth dimension and the invention of the machine — oddly described as an ordinary bicycle that can go through time. The “Time Traveller” (he is never named) then pays a visit to the human race of the year 802,701 and discovers what, at first, looks like a utopia: the descendants of the human race seem to live, in perfect harmony, comfortable lives in a garden full of flowers. But as the night comes, a disturbing reality soon replaces this vision... The end of the story is an unsettling flight to Earth’s most remote and crepuscular future. Finally, the Time Traveller disappears, leaving but a few flowers on his desk.

This novella (some 60 pages) is a seminal work of the science-fiction genre. It remains to this day a landmark that has influenced almost all the utopian or dystopian writers, from Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men, to Huxley’s Brave New World, to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, to Michel Faber’s Under the Skin, to Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day.

Edit: Watched the 2002 film remake, directed by Simon Wells (one of the author's descendants, apparently). This is a somewhat faithful adaptation of the book, yet a quite average movie overall. Most scenes are imitations of Indiana Jones’s tropes: an awkward academic / action hero, an ancient library, some exotic places, a couple of attractive ladies, a gloomy cavern, a heap of skeletons, a melting face. The Morlock are quite ridiculous — around the same time, Peter Jackson included Orcs into his Fellowship of the Ring that were way more convincing. The machine itself, designed like a lighthouse lamp, and the time-lapse sequences are the only unexpected and exciting elements of this film.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews927 followers
September 12, 2019
Surely an oversight that I hadn't read H.G. Wells' The Time Machine before now. By all accounts, this is the original time travel story. Still, social class and how technical innovations change humanity are more central to the story than whether the narrator was actually able to travel to 802,701 AD. Ever since, time travel stories have been about exploring the possibilities of the present rather than some far-flung future (or past). This novella was sometimes clunky (but it was written in 1895), but I found it a quick and fun read which continues to be thought provoking. And it has a solid ending!
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews5,627 followers
December 20, 2022
عن غروب البشرية نتحدث
عن البشر عندما صار طولهم 140سم
وجوههم ناعمة..لافرق بين النساءوالرجال
أصبح الجميع أقرب الأطفال شكلا و موضوعا
كسالي غارقون في الراحةو لا يخافون سوى الظلام

اندثرت البيوت و انتهى نظام الاسرة
الجميع يعيشون في مباني ضخمة
لا يوجد تعليم
او تجارة
او منافسة
او حروب
اذن فهي الجنة

..لا بل هي أقرب لحظيرة الأبقار و أغنام..او عشة دواجن
فهناك المورلووك.. الشاحبين يعيشون تحت الارض..يعملون بلا كلل ليعيش هؤلاء المدللين..و يقتنصون منهم ليلا..لياكلوهم كالاغنام
و في إشارة واضحة بلا ترميز..يشير ويلز لتفوق جنس العمال في اواخر القرن 19

آله الزمن هي ذروة عبقرية هربرت ويلز..وضع فيها كل آراءه الإصلاحية و الفلسفية في إطار من الخيال الفائق
و لا ننسى أنه قد أشار للبعد الرابع قبل نظرية النسبية لاينشتاين بعشر سنوات

اعتبرها انا روايتيين: الأولى عن العالم رحالة الزمن الذي يخترع الآلة لانه يريد إعادة الزمن و يشرح لهم ان هناك بعد رابع لكل شيء..و يحاول إقناع مجتمعه بها و يخبرهم برحيله لمدة اسبوع..و يطول انتظارهم له لسنوات

و الثانية عن العالم المستقبلي لعام 80الف الذي انتقل إليه بالفعل
رغم أسلوب ويلز التقريري
الا انها من الكلاسيكيات الفارقة..
تؤكد ان الشقاء والخطر و المعاناة..قد تبدو لنا شرا
و لكنها تحافظ على ذكاء البشر و استمرارهم ..حقا
رؤية اجتماعية تصدمك..و لكن لا يبطلها الزمن
فالفوارق ابدا لن تزول
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
October 7, 2021
(Book 797 from 1001 books) - The Time Machine, H.G. Wells

The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and written as a frame narrative.

The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposely and selectively forwards or backwards in time.

The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز شانزدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 2009میلادی

عنوان: ماشین زمان؛ نویسنده: هربرت جورج ولز؛ مترجم: فرید جواهر کلام؛ تهران، سازمان کتابهای جیبی؛ 1346؛ در 176ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1384؛ در 176ص؛ شابک 9644456149؛ چاپ دیگر 1394، در سیزده و 203ص؛ شابک 9786001215919؛ موضوع داستانهای علمی و خیال انگیز از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 19م

مترجم: علی امید؛ تهران، سپیده، 1371؛ در 130ص؛ شابک 9645773237؛

مترجم: شهلا طهماسبی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، کتبهای مریم، 1377؛ در 98ص؛ شابک 9643053652؛ چاپ دوم 1379؛

مترجم: محمد دانش؛ تهران، شهر کتاب، هرمس، 1383؛ در 124ص؛ شابک 9643632520؛

مترجم: علی فاطمیان؛ تهران، چشم انداز، 1379؛ در 236ص؛ شابک 9644222318؛

مترجم: علی الستی؛ تهران، بهجت، 1383؛ در 174ص؛ شابک 97896466771577

مترجم: عبدالحسین شریفیان؛ تهران، چشمه، چاپ اول 1387، چاپ دوم 1388؛ در 133ص؛ شابک 9789643623722؛

مترجم: امین دادور؛ تهران، آریا نگار، 1391؛ در 64ص؛ شابک 9786006251110؛

مترجم: سوده کریمی؛ تهران، ذکر، قاصدک، 1395؛ در 32ص؛ مصور، شابک 9789643077754؛

قهرمان داستان، با یک وسیله ی مکانیکی، به آینده ی نامعلومی، سفر می‌کند؛ و در آنجا میفهمد، که بشریت، به دو دسته تقسیم شده است

دسته ی اول «الوئیها»، که اشراف بیمایه و ترسویی هستند، که در باغ‌های خود زندگی می‌کنند، و از میوه‌ های درختان تغذیه می‌کنند؛

دسته ی دوم «مورلاکها»، که کارگرانی هستند که در زیرزمین زندگی می‌کنند؛ زحمتکشانی که، گرچه کور شده‌ اند، اما به مدد نیروی گذشته، به کار خود، بر روی وسیله ی مکانیکی پیچیده، و زنگزده‌ ای، که هیچ چیز تولید نمی‌کند، ادامه میدهند؛

استوانه‌ هایی با پلکان پیچاپیچ، این دو دنیا را به هم وصل می‌کنند؛ در شبهای بی مهتاب، «مورلاک»‌ها که از مغاک‌های خود، بیرون میآیند، و از «الوئی»‌ها، تغذیه می‌کنند؛ قهرمان بینام، به تشویق «مورلاک»‌ها، از آینده میگریزد، و به زمان حال بازمیگردد؛ او از این سفر، تنها یک یادگاری به ارمغان می‌آورد، که آنهم گلی ناشناخته است، که چون آن را در زمین بکارند، تا هزاران سال نگذرد، شکوفه نخواهد داد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 14/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
March 16, 2018
I like science fiction that makes me imagine. Ray Bradbury’s writing is a fantastic example. His fiction is imaginative; yet, it remains speculative. Nothing feels forced or impossible. The Time Machine, on the other hand, feels synthetic and false.

I just could not buy into the story here. It is so very underwhelming. It’s one of those pieces of writing in which the idea behind it causes the work to be celebrated but the actual thing itself, the language, the plot and the characters, are as dull as dishwater. It is mechanical, clunky and overly descriptive. There are long drawn out sections on scientific theory and mathematical formula. All in all, it’s just not very engaging.

As such I found it near impossible to invest in the story. I did not care about the characters and, for me, this is one of the most important things I look for in fiction. I need to be able to sympathise and relate to what the characters are going through otherwise the work feels cold and passionless. I may as well read a plot summary in such cases because the work creates nothing for me: it feels cold. In the case of the The Time Machine I simply did not care how it ended or even how it began: I just wanted it to be finished.

For me, this is a classic case of a great idea done badly.
Profile Image for Ahmad  Ebaid.
283 reviews2,035 followers
February 27, 2018
هربرت جورج ويلز قدم بحث عن وجود بعد رابع وهو بعد الزمان منفصل عن الأبعاد الزمانية التانية واترفض بحثه لأنهم اعتبروه مبهم
وبعدها بأكتر من عشر سنين قدم أينشتين نفس الفكرة وأصبح أعظم شخصية في تاريخ العلم بعد نيوتن-طبعا بغض النظر عن الإثبات الرياضي المحكم اللي أزال الإبهام عكس البحث الأول, والتعنت اللي قابل أينشتاين في البداية-

لحد هنا القصة دي تعتبر بتتكرر كتير
واحد بيقدم حاجة وتترفض منه
وبعدها بفترة واحد تاني يقدم نفس الحاجة تقريبا وبيعتبروها حاجة عظيمة

بس المختلف في القصة دي إن ويلز مقعدش يلطم ويسمع أغاني حزينة و "إن الدنيا ماشية بضهرها وحطت عليا" , او "بس الدنيا مش سايبانا في حالنا"
بعدما لم يجد لها مكاناً في العلم
صنع لها طريقاً أخر في أدب الخيال العلمي

ويلز مضيعش وقت
بعد الرفض على طول
بنى رواية كاملة على البحث المرفوض
رواية "آلة الزمن" واللي بتتحدث عن تطبيقات النسبية بعد ما جعلت الزمن بعد رابع!

الرواية بيقدم فيها نظرته للجنس البشري
توقعات ويلز الاشتراكي أصبحت خطأ حاليا نتيجة نظرته المتشائمة لاستمرار نظام الإقطاع, واللي ع العكس إتلغى -في معظم الدول-

الرواية مسلية إلى حد ما, وفيه فيلم إنتاج 2002 عن الرواية ممكن تتفرجوا عليه بعدها
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews985 followers
September 4, 2022
The Wellsian classic - a man recounts his adventures in his Time Machine. in which he travelled many years into different points in the future to a cynical audience. The reason I feel that Well's sci-fi ages so poorly is because he tied it into a Victorian perspective, although in his defence, he still showed immense foresight compared to his peers, but with the technological developments made since, now is very dated. 4 out of 12.

2009 read
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
575 reviews762 followers
April 13, 2017
The Time Traveler invites over his friends and tells them of his theories about time traveling. The next day when his friend returns he stumbles in late and then tells them a tale about his journey through time. I really admired the writing though it may be dry or dense for some, I think I've been reading long enough that it wasn't too much of an effort to read through this one. The premise was interesting and I was anxious for the Time Traveler when he was recounting his journey to get back to the present so the story did draw me in. Some of the social commentary felt quite questionable and pessimistic though. I enjoyed reading it though, it's not very long and it was interesting. Towards the end of the Time Traveler's journey I got a little bored but the ending was really good, I appreciate an open ended ending that lets you keep imagining what happened.

Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
May 19, 2018
An EXCELLENT adventure!


Ok, so I'm sort of ashamed of myself because I thought this was a graphic novel of The Time Machine, and I was planning on using it to cut corners. As in, I want to read the story, but...not really. And I didn't flip through this before snagging it at the library.
Well, this is the graphic version in the same way that Dr. Seuss is a graphic version of a story. Basically, this is a picture book for the 6 and up crowd who are just learning to read and need the story dumbed waaaaaay down for them.
So yeah. It was pretty much right on my level.


Regardless, this would be a good way to introduce kids (and/or lazy fuckers like myself) to classics.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
July 15, 2016
A Victorian-era scientist calls together a group of men and tells them of his recent adventure, a trip through time...

I had intended to participate in a reading of this with the Distinguished Society of Pantless Readers but once I had a taste, I wolfed the whole tale down in one sitting.

The Time Machine is probably the first time travel story and definitely a spiritual ancestor of every time travel story since. The nameless time traveler whips up a time machine and travels through time. What could be simpler?

The Traveler goes to the year 802,000 and encounters the descendants of man, the Eloi and the Morlocks. Wells uses the Eloi and the Morlocks to illustrate the class differences in his own time but the Traveler's speculation on the haves and have-nots sounded very familiar, a nice bit of timeless social satire. After some misadventures, he returns home and no one believes him. To show those assholes, he goes on another jaunt and was never head from again. At least at the time of the Time Machine's publication.

The Time Machine broke a lot of new ground. It was probably the first time travel story and it could be argued that it was both the first dystopian sf story and the first Dying Earth tale. It's also not much of a stretch to call it an ancestor of the planetary romance genre as well. There's not a lot separating The Traveler from John Carter of Mars, if you think about it.

While there's a lot of fun timey-wimey stuff going on, Wells' prose isn't easy to digest. Part of it is the writing style of the time and another part is that science fiction was still in diapers at the time this was written.

Wells' depiction of future Earth was a very memorable one, one that influenced countless authors that came after. Adjusting for the time period, The Time Machine is a fun yet somewhat difficult read. Four out of five Sonic Screwdrivers.
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,378 reviews12k followers
March 4, 2019

The Time Machine is a true classic. Originally published in 1895, H. G. Wells’ short novel of time travel is one of the most beloved works in all of science fiction. Back when I was a twelve-year-old, I vividly recall watching the 1960 film with Mom and Dad at the local movie house. Traveling through time with the turn of the century scientist as he encounters first the Eloi and then the Morlocks proved to be among my most powerful childhood experiences.

As I’m sure was the case with thousands of viewers, after reading the short novel, I discovered the book was actually better than the movie. I just did do a reread and my judgement is confirmed – the book is truly outstanding, worth a read or reread by both those new to science fiction as well as avid fans of the genre. SF Masterworks wisely published the novel as a stand-alone and also combined with the author’s The War of the Worlds.

The tale is told as a frame story, that is, the narrator is one of five guests in the home of a British gentleman referred to as the Time Traveller. One evening the Time Traveller shares his ideas about time and space and then displays a model of a device the size of a small clock he claims can move through time. After the Time Traveller places the finely crafted model on his desk next to his lamp and flips a switch, all the guests are astonished when the little time machine vanishes.

At their next meeting, the guests are taken aback when the Time Traveller enters the room pale, scrapped and his clothes dusty and dirty. He then proceeds to recount his extraordinary experience in the last eight days, an experience mostly focusing on his encounters in the far distant future, in the year 802,701 A.D.

Firstly, next to a large white sphinx, he is surrounded by a band of small, frail, beautiful, graceful people all with curly hair and wearing tunics and sandals. He soon learns they live communally in one buildings and are strict vegetarians eating only a curious futuristic fruit.

Such a future race prompts the Time Traveller (and indirectly the author) to pose a number of philosophic questions: Is this close resemblance of men and women a consequence of there being no need for physical force or to protect themselves from beasts or enemies? Why the sameness in all these people he comes to know as the Eloi (children simply miniatures of adults)? Is individuality a thing of the past? What are the reasons for their lack of curiosity and absence of any written language? What accounts for the apparent dearth of struggle and suffering? Is all what he's seeing the inevitable result of the elimination of class and rank? However, as he acknowledges, his general assumptions about the circumstances of their lives proves to be inaccurate.

But then it happens: he discovers his Time Machine is gone. Who moved it? Where is it now? This is but the first in a series of additional shocks: the Time Traveller recognizes, although they spend their days eating and chatting together, dancing and playing and having casual sex, the Eloi lack any deep feelings for one another. This stark fact is brought home when he watches a helpless woman carried down the river and not one of the Eloi comes to her rescue. Undaunted, the Time Traveller pulls her out of the water. Her name is Weena, and she and the Time Traveller subsequently form an emotional bond.

The most shocking revelation: there is a second race inhabiting this future world, a larger, more ferocious race with white fur and blazing eyes, a race living with their machines under the earth: the Morlocks. Thus the plot quickly thickens. The more the Time Traveller grasps the dynamics of this future world, the more sinister and disturbing. Is all this, he muses, the inevitable outcome of the division of class, the idle aristocrats on one side and the laboring commoners on the other?

His philosophic assumptions about a future society have been shattered. After all, he didn’t bring any provisions with him on his time travel since he assumed future peoples would maintain and expand science and technology thereby furnishing him with any needs he might have for things like medicine or clothing. And to think, he also took it for granted there would be one and only one future race of humans. Who would have guessed the human race would split in two?

With the appearance of the Morlocks, Wells’ tale kicks into one of high adventure. Along the way, the Time Traveller battles the Morlocks with an iron club and that most decisive part of human development: fire. Weena places two white flowers in his trouser pocket, flowers he eventually shows his five guests upon his return to Victorian England, flowers that serve as material evidence his time travel is fact not fiction.

Also worth noting: the Time Traveller reports even more distant future times. One particular account of a race of kangaroo-like brutes that have evolved from future humans was deemed too disturbing and cut by the author’s editors. Yet even without this specific inclusion, what the Time Traveler sees is truly remarkable.

A classic work of science fiction not to be missed.

British author H. G. Wells, 1866 - 1946

“So, as I see it, the Upperworld man had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the Underworld to mere mechanical industry. But that perfect state had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection—absolute permanency. Apparently as time went on, the feeding of an Underworld, however it was effected, had become disjointed. Mother Necessity, who had been staved off for a few thousand years, came back again, and she began below. The Underworld being in contact with machinery, which, however perfect, still needs some little thought outside habit, had probably retained perforce rather more initiative, if less of every other human character, than the Upper. And when other meat failed them, they turned to what old habit had hitherto forbidden." - H. G. Wells, The Time Machine
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
May 29, 2022
Back to the Future!


Considering H.G. Well's The Time Machine has the honor of being the book that popularized the idea that humans could use a machine to travel through time, I think he did a good job with the title, no?
Since it was one of the forerunners of this genre, the whole schtick is that time travel happens. The rest of the plot? Eh. There were a few holes.


It was funny to me that Well's thought one probable outcome of curing disease, poverty, hunger, etc., would be that you'd end up with a bunch of pussies who couldn't fend for themselves.
And, of course, the cannibals who ate them.
{insert your own inappropriate joke here}


Ok. But as I'm listening to this, I'm thinking that perhaps there might be some sort of middle ground, you know? I mean, I do think that struggle shapes us as individuals and as a species. But maybe striving to make life better for everyone won't end in one race of willowy dingbats who nap and giggle all day and one race of gross mutants who live underground. <--and yet still make shit for everyone?
Which is just fucking weird in and of itself. What's the idea? This surly race of Dahmer-like factory workers spend all day sewing clothes & crafting beautiful things for the Eloi, and then every now and again they emerge to cull the herd? Why? Why are they still working? Are they getting paid in some way by the people they're chewing on? Their work ethic can't just be functioning on autopilot, because NOBODY would continue to work just to work. Well's must not have understood the working class if he thought it was just somehow bred into our DNA to chug along like idiots for the sake of serving our betters. We're lazy and need motivation - hence the paycheck.
And food!
Where is the Eloi's food source coming from? Because the Morlocks sure as fuck aren't farming anything in those caverns other than nightmares, and the Eloi didn't seem capable of wiping their own asses much less doing a bit of light gardening. And, from what I could tell, the Morlocks weren't eating enough Eloi for all of them to survive on.
Where were those big bastards getting the rest of their protein? Beans?


You know what? It doesn't matter.
And it's also quite possible that all of these questions were addressed and answered and I just didn't pay close enough attention. <--this has been known to happen a lot, especially if the book isn't action-packed and/or doesn't have pictures.
The point is that this professor guy got into his little machine, whooshed forward a bunch of centuries, crash-landed in the future, lost his ride, met an Eloi named Weena & had a rather creepy "friendship" with her, almost got himself eaten by the anti-vegan Morlocks, found his machine (I forgot how), hopped back in & cranked it up, went back to jolly old England, and arrived in time to have tea with a bunch of his sorta-friends.


Oh! Also, he finds out that our sun has a limited warranty.
I knew we should have gone ahead and bought the extra protection from the manufacturer.
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!


In all honesty, this was a decent yarn that explored the idea that humans need something to strive towards. And that unless you treat your lower classes well, the end result of utopia will most definitely be the sweaty, unwashed masses in picnic mode - roasting your flimsy, yet delicious, ass over a fire.


Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Edition: Unabridged
Bernard Mayes - Narrator
Profile Image for Luís.
1,945 reviews610 followers
August 2, 2022
There you go. This minor SF classic read !!! I am learning more and more to tame this genre, and I tell myself that knowing the basics is quite good. Hence my interest in this book that I found in a flea market. What a journey! A book that reads well and on its own. And what I especially liked was Wells' clever writing. He doesn't take his readers down and makes concepts very accessible, which could put them off. I take as an example the introduction when it includes the idea of the 4th dimension. Even if I found the trip a bit long towards the end, I still appreciated this detour in time. A text to read, I think, for all amateurs. And those who want to dive into the world of SF.
Profile Image for Justin.
284 reviews2,301 followers
February 26, 2017
The Time Machine is like going to Jimmy John's to get a sandwich because the bread is just amazing. It's so much better than any other sandwich chain out there, and I'm convinced they are using some form of illegal addictive substance in the baking process that keeps me coming back for more. The Time Machine is like that, but you only get turkey on your sandwich. No cheese or mayo or lettuce or tomato. Just turkey.

The bread is still amazing though. Just like the beginning and the ending of The Time Machine. I loved how the books starts with the time traveler guy just hanging out with a bunch of dudes smoking away on cigars and drinking brandy. No one has a real name. They're just all hanging out, and the guy is telling them this crazy story about how he travelled in this machine way out into the future. It all seems so ridiculous and everyone is all skeptical.

But the guy keeps going. And his story isn't really all that exciting after all. It's like that one friend you have that tells you a story they think is the best story in the history of stories, and they give you every little detail of the story so you're all bored to death listening to this stupid thing until your friend finally gets to the end of the story which is actually really good, but, hot diggity, you didn't need to hear every mundane detail leading up to the good stuff.

That's how this book was for me which was kind of a bummer because it was about time travel. It started and ended strong, but I just felt kinda bored in the middle when the guy is just wandering around with the future creature things. I can appreciate all this did for the science fiction genre and time travel and whatnot, but I was a little underwhelmed. Three stars for the delicious bread, but I needed more condiments on my sandwich to give it a little more flavor.

Jimmy John's FTW.
I'm now gonna time travel into the future by sleeping. No machine needed. See you tomorrow.

Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,723 followers
October 4, 2017
H.G. Wells's The Time Machine was required reading in high school for most when I was in 9th grade (about 25 years ago), and one of my teachers chose this book as 1 of 10 books we read that year in an English literature comparative analysis course. Each month, we'd read a book and watch two film adaptations, then have discussions and write a paper. At the time, I thought, this book is a little cheesy... I mean, not that I was a huge Star Trek fan (although I did love me some Voyager), but even I know time machines were a lot cooler than what I saw in the movie and read about in the book.

THEN, I realized HG Wells published this book in 1895... an entire century before I started watching TV shows about time travel. And that's when you realize what a priceless book this was. It was the advent of a new genre's blossoming into fandom. And I became fascinated with these types of stories. But there was so much more to it than time travel.

It's a commentary on society and values. Are you ostracized when you think differently? What if you look different... like as in your skin looks blue. Do you know what a Morlock is? Check it out (thanks the original GIF source in link!)


What I loved about this story was the thoughts and ideas of an 1890s man writing about the potential for traveling to the past and the future, suggesting what happens to humankind over time. In the era of Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species, or perhaps a few decades later, this book covers those ideas and helps activate a reader's imagination outside their own limited world. It was the 1890s... no TV, no phones, car engines being built for the first time, indoor plumbing had just become common in regular homes... life was every different.

That said, it's the words and imagery that catch you in this book. You have to forego current life and pretend you were still back in time.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews658 followers
April 10, 2023
Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.

The Time Machine is one of my favorite books. It’s a great story, and very well-written. It has the first use of time travel as plot device, used to tell a thought-provoking critique of modern society. It is one of the foundational stories of science fiction, but completely readable today. A must-read if you never have.

P.S. I don’t normally comment on when whether I read a book or listened to the unabridged audiobook. But this time I listened to an audiobook recorded by Sir Derek Jacobi. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
April 21, 2020
Una reunión entre varias personas de distintas ocupaciones. Un médico, un psicólogo, un señor llamado Filby, un hombre joven, un alcalde y... un Viajero a través del Tiempo. En la reunión se comienza a disertar sobre la matemática, la cuarta Dimensión, diversas teorías del Espacio y del Tiempo hasta que el Viajero a través del Tiempo les anuncia a los demás que ha construido una máquina para viajar al futuro.
A partir de ese punto, todo cambia, la conversación se concentra en lo que este enigmático científico tiene para contar y culminar en una demostración de que la máquina en el tiempo ha sido construida por él y como prueba de ello, los convoca a una nueva reunión.
Sorprendentemente, descubren que tarda en llegar y lo ven aparecer con su ropa hecha jirones, sin calzado, lastimado y hambriento. Es momento de descubrir qué tiene para contar. Lo que les confiesa, es que ha activado su máquina y ha viajado al año... ¡802.701!
Con la vuelta del Viajero a través del Tiempo al presente, todos los comensales están a punto de escuchar una historia asombrosa, imposible, sorprendente y... ¿real? Bueno, para saberlo, tendremos que leer esta pequeña y genial novela de no más de ciento cincuenta páginas escrita por un escritor brillante y visionario llamado Herbert George Wells.
Quién no ha soñado alguna vez con viajar en el tiempo... Cuántas películas y series se han hecho al respecto y cómo sigue apasionando este tema a mucha gente.
Muchos lo ven como irrealizable. Otros, dentro del campo científico siguen pensando que es posible en un futuro muy lejano y una gran parte de los escépticos lo ven como una fantasía que solo vive en la mente de los soñadores.
Este libro supone un gran salto en el tiempo, pero cuando el Viajero a través del Tiempo arriba al año 802.701 se encontrará con un futuro aterrador. En donde antes había seres humanos, ahora existen dos especies: los Eloi, que son casi etéreos, frágiles y sumamente dóciles y los Morlocks, extraños habitantes que viven en cavernas, con enormes ojos blancos como los peces de las profundidades del océano y de piel fría y viscosa.
Cuando el Viajero a través del Tiempo comienza a narrar lo que le sucede, instantáneamente me acordé de otro personaje perdido en un mundo completamente distinto. Me refiero a Gulliver, del libro de Jonathan Swift, ya que a Gulliver le sucede algo muy parecido con la experiencia del Viajero a través del Tiempo: desconcierto, azoramiento, desorientación y una inquietud acerca de cómo podrá salir de las situaciones en las que está involucrado. Gulliver no sabe cómo proceder en el reino de Brobdingnag, pues al ser de tamaño diminuto, siente que está en riesgo.
Mientras que en su tercer viaje cuando conoce los dominios de Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdi y Luggnagg, se encuentra con esa raza de laputienses que son prácticamente como las de verdaderos extraterrestres. Lo mismo experimenta el Viajero a través del Tiempo, porque continuamente se siente amenazado cada vez que se cruza con los Morlocks.
La diferencia entre la naturaleza de los Eloi y los Morlocks también se condice con lo que sucede en el cuarto viaje de Gulliver a las tierras de los houyhnhnms, que son una raza de caballos con inteligencia que dominan a otros seres inferiores, en estado bruto llamados yahoos, que son muy inferiores aunque parecidos a los humanos, esclavizados por una raza de monos dotados de una inteligencia avanzada, con la salvedad de que ni Eloi ni Morlocks se dominan, pero son completamente distintos.
Puedo afirmar que encubierta en esa diferencia Eloi/Morlocks, Wells hace un alegato en contra de las grandes diferencias sociales que existían en Inglaterra en el siglo XIX. Hasta lo establece a modo de reflexión filosófica cuando los compara con capitalistas y clase obrera:
"Me parecía claro como la luz del día que la extensión gradual de las actuales diferencias meramente temporales y sociales entre el capitalista y el trabajador era la clave de la situación entera. Sin duda les parecerá a ustedes un tanto extraño... y, sin embargo, aún existen hoy circunstancias que señalan ese camino."
Wells disfraza esas similitudes y diferencias utilizando un recurso narrativo ambientado en futuro muy lejano, pero que no deja de ser una crítica social muy fuerte y un claro mensaje de advertencia sobre los avances de la ciencia y el dilema de la ética:
"Los Eloi, como los reyes carolingios, habián llegado a ser tan solo unas lindas inutilidades. Poseían toda la Tierra por consentimiento tácito, desde que los Morlocks, subterráneos hacía innumerables generaciones, habían llegado a encontrar intolerable la superficie iluminada por el sol."
Este autor ve de manera muy pesimista el futuro si realmente no se hacen bien las cosas. La ciencia puede avanzar a pasos exponenciales, pero el ser humano en su esencia no cambia y puede torcer su destino hacia el mal en vez del bien.
Considero que esta novela es en cierta forma una distopía. Tal vez, no al extremo de "1984" o "Fahrenheit 451", pero encierra la idea del futuro no deseado.
Seguramente encontraremos afinidades con la naturaleza de esta novela con el significado el término "Distopía": "Término opuesto a utopía. Como tal, designa un tipo de mundo imaginario, recreado en la literatura o el cine, que se considera indeseable. La palabra distopía se forma con las raíces griegas δυσ (dys), que significa ‘malo’, y τόπος (tópos), que puede traducirse como ‘lugar’."
El debate acerca de lo distópico en "La máquina del tiempo" queda abierto.
Profile Image for Pakinam Mahmoud.
813 reviews3,492 followers
May 28, 2023
آلة الزمن هي أول رواية كتبها الكاتب هربرت جورج ويلز وطبعاً كما هو واضح من العنوان هي تصنف تحت أدب الخيال العلمي وتحولت لفيلم أمريكي صدر عام ٢٠٠٢ تحت نفس الإسم..

تتحدث الرواية عن عالم أخترع آلة و إستطاع من خلالها أن ينتقل عبر الزمن إلي المستقبل في عام ٨٠٢٠٧١..
الفكرة طبعاً معروفة دلوقتي و مش جديدة و لكن يجب أن نضع في الإعتبار إن الكتاب نشر عام ١٨٩٥ يعني منذ أكثر من مائة عام ودة طبعاً دليل علي إننا قدام كاتب غير عادي..

أجمل ما في الرواية هو تصور الكاتب لشكل المستقبل و ازدياد الصدام و الفروق الطبقية بين البشر مما يؤكد فكرة إنه حقيقي كان كاتب سابق عصره..

رواية متوسطة..تصلح كفاصل قصير بين الكتب الكبيرة و قراءتها مهمة للتعرف علي كاتب مثل ويلز الذي يعتبر من مؤسسي أدب الخيال العلمي..
Profile Image for Alok Mishra.
Author 9 books1,194 followers
May 26, 2019
One will have to admit that Mr Wells was well ahead of his time. He could conceive some of the ideas that are still fresh and new and ever-widening. I enjoyed reading this when I was young and I found many new aspects when I read this recently. Science fiction's initial attempt that opened a new dimension for the authors to explore.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews864 followers
January 2, 2013
If there was one single reason to read this it would be that H.G Wells was a favoured author and an inspiration to the Legendary writer Ray Bradbury. Pictured below in a time machine movie prop.
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2333 December 19th
Alas this is a fine work from a writer of bygone times and if he could only discover his vision and writings of Time Travel were in fact prophecies and became true. As I have indeed traveled to 802,701AD and meet the lovely Weena a female Eloi and the dreadful Morlocks. The Time Machine he speaks of was made in the year 2222 but something even greater is in my possession much smaller and highly efficient the 'iFuture' watch is now the tool of Time travel it will revolutionize the whole time travel experience I have just finished the prototype and tested it. Infact I only wish Wells could tell of the year of 2666 the year of the undead, Zombies tread upon the earth society in mayhem and only few survivors to walk upon the land. I had indeed a purpose there and brought in time with me the virus to end the undead pandemic. Time Travel is indeed mans greatest invention and in the wrong hands mans worst nightmare and in the right hands a shining light of glory from darkness.
This story is a grand work written in wonderful prose that has a deep thought provoking effectiveness on the reader. The vision of the future is indeed frightening especially his account of the end of life on earth. H G Wells is a writer of high intelligence, a grand thinker.

Time Travel is an entertaining genre to write about, the success of the 11.22.63 by Stephen King and movies like Back to the Future, The Time Machine and Planet of The Apes prove that.
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Review also here and Movie adaptation trailer
Profile Image for Fabian {Councillor}.
232 reviews488 followers
July 23, 2016
How will the Earth look like 800,000 years in the future? That's a question everyone can only attempt to find an answer to, while H.G. Wells was one of the first writers who tackled the topic of time-travelling and painted a rather convincing picture of the future.

Published in 1895, the book introduces a scientist who uses a Time Machine to be transferred into the age of a slowly dying earth. Humans have been separated by time, genetics, wars and change of their habitats into two different races, the Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks. At only about 100 pages, Wells manages to delve into a lot of different topics, among which can be found the ambiguity of human natures, the mutual effects of humans on our planet and our planet on humans, as well as a profound look into what defines humanity itself.

As a dystopian story, this tale has probably been rather ground-breaking back when it was published, and some might even consider it to be the father of all time-travel romance stories. Unlike more recent publications, however, Wells doesn't lose the point of his story in describing romantic affairs and dramatic love stories, but rather delivers a fast-paced narration coated with a prose not unlike most other writing styles from the Victorian era. Since the author builds up his story from some scientific background (the inclusion of which I highly appreciated because Wells didn't leave things unexplained), it is not easy to get into it, but once the narrative gains speed, you will digest this book in the course of a few hours.

For me, the engaging writing and the adventurous atmosphere contributed a huge part to my enjoyment of the novella. His descriptions of the dying earth were fascinating and very memorable, as was the ending which surprised and depressed me simultaneously. Much has already been said about Wells' book and its contents, so I will conclude my review by saying that readers who are not afraid to read important dystopian classics should give this one a try.
Profile Image for Adrian.
570 reviews210 followers
April 4, 2019
Over the last few weeks I have been going through the books that I read in my early days of joining GR and where I didn't write a (proper) review I am trying to remedy that situation.
I think I first read this book some time around the early to mid 70s, in fact it was probably not long after I first saw the film. Similar to WotW it was one of the 1950s (1960 actually) B movies that fuelled my desire for science fiction. Well that and the "Supermarionation" series on TV written and produced by Gerry Anderson.
Anyway having got off of the subject quite considerably lets return to this book. For a book written in the late Victorian era (1895) this book is amazingly modern. It deals primarily with a genius inventor who theorises on the subject of time travel with the ultimate intention of building a machine that will allow him to move through time looking at mankind's future. He discovers 800 thousand years in the future that due to a major world war, mankind has separated into 2 distinct races. The waif like Eloi that live above ground in a paradise type world and the neanderthal ugly Morlocks who live below ground with their evil sinister ways.
I think the thing that gets me most about this book is just how much imagination HG Wells must have had to write it. As i said it was written over 120 years ago, so not as technically biased as some of today's sf but still truly awe inspiring and bearing that in mind, certainly worth a read.
Profile Image for Olive Fellows (abookolive).
613 reviews5,001 followers
May 22, 2022
Given I'm not a science fiction reader normally, I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this. I was also surprised to realize there are a lot of similarities between this book and Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. That's probably why I enjoyed this one so much, actually! (I loved The Sparrow.)

Click here to hear more of my thoughts on this book and its Wishbone adaptation over on my Booktube channel, abookolive!

Profile Image for Jeff .
912 reviews708 followers
June 9, 2016
What’s in store for the future?

Well, maybe some spoilerish content if you haven’t read this book yet.

If you go by H. G. Wells novella, society (at least in merry future England circa 802,000 AD) will have been split between the Eloi and Morlocks in a bizarre twist on the haves and have nots.

What we predict for the distant future is predicated on what’s happening in the present. Wells future is filtered from the political science theories of his day. Capitalism-Communism, Workers-Idle rich, Industrial Age Woohah, but when it boils down to the story itself, Wells presents a fairly compelling glimpse for what’s down the road in a gazillion years or so.

What gave me goosebumps was when the Time Traveler left Morlockville and ended up in the waning days of Earth, as the planet hurtled into the abyss. I can’t imagine sitting there and getting a glimpse as everything comes to an end. It would be mind-blowing. This is far scarier than ducking a bunch of cannibalistic white monkeys. Just laser-tag those Magoo bitches.

Unless I was a gambling man, my choice, because I’ve always been a history buff, would be to hop on the souped-up time machine/lawn mower and journey into the past and wreak havoc there.

This is the second buddy read of a Wells classic by the Goodreads Legion of Non-Crunchy Pantsless Classics Readers Guild, the first being The Invisible Man awhile ago. It’s easy to see how Wells has had a profound influence on popular culture; his concepts are still being harvested and expanded on to this day – he’s the Stan Lee of the turn of the century minus the self-promotion and “foggy” memory of course.

In the future, they’ll build Meth labs on the Moon.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,466 reviews3,627 followers
August 7, 2018
Some authors can see further into the future than the others… H.G. Wells could see even further than those that could see far…
As a result his gloomily satirical The Time Machine is a work of a prophet.
Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have a huge variety of needs and dangers.

The future is now…
Morlocks produce commodities… Eloi produce pop culture… Morlocks consume pop culture… Eloi consume commodities…
Politicians consume both Morlocks and Eloi…
Profile Image for Paul Haspel.
563 reviews83 followers
March 12, 2023
Time machines are such a familiar concept nowadays that it’s easy to forget how new the idea of a time machine was in 1895, when the then 29-year-old H.G. Wells wrote a short novel titled The Time Machine. And 125 years later, this concise little masterpiece of science fiction has lost none of its power; if anything, it seems more and more prophetic as we all continue forward through the 4th dimension.

The Time Machine is, at its heart, a framed tale. It begins with a conversation among a group of well-educated gentlemen of Victorian England, at the elegant Richmond home of a scientist and inventor who is known simply as “the Time Traveller.” Most of his friends, in a somewhat clumsy characterological development, are likewise referred to in terms of their occupations – “the Editor,” “the Journalist,” “the Medical Man,” “the Provincial Mayor,” “the Psychologist.” At one otherwise ordinary Thursday gathering, the Time Traveller (hereafter T.T.) announces that he has invented a machine that can travel through time; and the following Thursday, a noticeably disheveled and much-the-worse-for-wear T.T. shares with the assembled company, through an extended flashback, the story of his journey through time.

T.T. makes his journeys not back to ancient Egypt or Greece or Rome, or forward to some comprehensible future year like 1984 or 2001, but rather all the way forward to the year 802,701 A.D.! This daring move gives Wells total creative freedom to set forth the far future exactly as he likes; after all, none of us will be around to point fingers and complain that Wells got this or that detail wrong regarding life 800,000 years from now.

And given all that fictive room for free play, Wells makes the most of the opportunity to exercise his extraordinary imagination. Wells may be poking good-natured fun at his own affinity for socialism - or at the average 19th-century Englishman's impressions of socialism - when he records T.T.’s initial response to the world at which he has arrived: “Here and there among the greenery were palace-like buildings, but the house and the cottage, which form such characteristic features of our own English landscape, had disappeared. ‘Communism,’ I said to myself” (p. 29). Well – no, T.T. What’s happening in the year 802,701 A.D., in what was once England, is not communism; it’s something different, and much worse.

At first, T.T. feels as if he has emerged into an earthly paradise. The beings he meets are recognizably human, albeit of smaller size, and they seem to live a life of ease in which they eat delicious fruits, play together all the day long, and never have to work or worry. The Eloi – for T.T. learns that that is their name – are singularly lacking in curiosity, but they are just as singularly benign, and T.T. soon comes to believe that this is the stage to which humanity has evolved in 800,000 years. When T.T. rescues a drowning Eloi girl named Weena, and she thanks him, child-like, with a garland of flowers, he begins to feel a sort of fatherly affection toward her.

But the Eloi are not the only people in town. T.T. finds that his Time Machine has been removed from where he left it! And in a darkened gallery of a long-ruined building, T.T. encounters a creature that is “dull white, and had strange large greyish-red eyes”, along with “flaxen hair on its head and down its back” (p. 45). This moment represents T.T.’s first encounter with the Morlocks, the other of the two species into which humankind has divided itself over the eons.

The Morlocks live underground, and work great machines in their network of caverns beneath the surface of the earth. At first, T.T. thinks that the Morlocks work for the Eloi; after all, the industrial labourers of his own time do their work hidden from the sun, in settings like factories and coal mines, producing wealth that goes to an aristocracy up on the surface. Yet it turns out that the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks is actually quite different.

Situational irony of a particularly grim kind abounds; T.T., reconnoitering the Morlocks’ underground lair, notices “a faint halitus of freshly shed blood” and a “red joint” of meat on a table laid for dinner. The reader senses the significance of these clues long before T.T. does – and a potent metaphor emerges for a 19th-century British society that Wells sees devouring itself through its class divisions.

Wells’s pessimism regarding the prospects for human progress comes through clearly in the passages shortly before T.T.’s return to 1895 – when, as T.T. sits in a golden chair atop a high hill, he engages in bitter recollections: “I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide” (p. 78). It is against the backdrop of such somber reflections that T.T. makes one last descent into the Morlock abyss in search of his time machine – and then hurtles even further forward into time! You think that traveling to 802,701 A.D. sounds extreme? Try traveling to 30,000,000 A.D., and see where that takes you!

This edition of The Time Machine benefits from the inclusion of Wells’s 1931 preface to a reprint of the novel. While tending to be rather dismissive of The Time Machine as a juvenile effort on the part of a very young writer, Wells nonetheless sounds like a thoroughly contemporary theoretical physicist when he sets forth “the idea that Time is a fourth dimension and that the normal present is a three-dimensional section of a four-dimensional universe” (p. 94).

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, time-travel narratives have become a familiar thing in our, well, time. We are all used to how Terminator movies, Back to the Future movies – even Santa Clause movies – explore the potential paradoxes of time travel. But no one engaged the possibilities of time travel earlier, or better, than H.G. Wells. The Time Machine travels through time by surviving the test of time.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,384 reviews1,650 followers
September 4, 2015
So... I don't think there's any disputing that H.G. Wells was a genius and that his work was brilliant back in the day. But I just don't think that it ages all that well. Or maybe society has begun its long and inevitable evolution into the indolent beings Wells' time traveler claims that we become in roughly 800,000 years, and we don't want to think too hard about a narrative that takes some time to get to the point.

Probably at some point between the Victorian era when this was written and the year eight hundred thousand whatever, we will have started beaming storypictures directly into our brains and thus have no need for narrative any longer. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Wells was determined to use as many of them as possible.

And so it is with maybe a tiny twinge of regret that I have to give this only 2 stars, because the narrative is where this book lost me. It was sooooooooooooooooo long and drawn out, with so many descriptions and so many needless details that my advanced future brain just wandered off in search of shiny things.

I think the premise here is pretty cool, but the actual story didn't do much for me... Usually, at least in my experience, time travelers usually go BACK in time. Either to change something, or learn something, or just accidentally. This one went forward in time. Why? Because he could, I guess. He wanted to see where humanity ends up? I don't know.

So, we find that in the year eight hundred thousand whatever that humanity has evolved along two different lines. An upper class set of Eloi, who are so advanced that they... do nothing? And the Morlocks, who have moved underground and adapted to a mole-like lifestyle. Until they ran out of food, anyway.

But, I have a coupla problems with this book. For one, I don't think that that kind of evolution would happen in less than a million years, considering how long it's taken for humans to develop from pre-human primates to where we are now.

Second... The time machine only moved through time. It stayed in the exact place it started, geographically, until it was moved by someone else. But, Earth is moving through space. Our solar system is moving through space. Our galaxy is moving through space. Everything is moving through space. If you were to jump in the air and skip a minute of time, where you land will not be where you started. It might not be far off, because it's only a minute, but it will be off. And if you were to travel eight hundred thousand whatever years in the future, the earth is no longer going to be in the same location in space. So... you probably land in the vacuum of space and die.

When Mr. Time Traveler came back, as he had to do to tell his tale, and his time machine was moved several feet or yards or whatever away, I thought to myself, "OK so we're ignoring the moving through space thing... but how lucky for him that his machine was still located within the confines of his lab. What a shame it would have been to arrive back home and end up trapped in the wall because the machine was moved one foot too far to the left. Oopsie!"

It must be a big lab.

Third, I just don't see the Morlocks as scary or disgusting or, well, anything but pitiable. They evolved along a different line, or so Mr. Time Traveler theorizes, and that made them less pretty, and thus lower class citizens relegated to the sewers and given the upper class's scraps - which only further helped along their evolutionary distancing, if we go along with dude's theory. They become less human, and more primitive, and do what they need to do to survive, as ALL life does.

But with attitudes like Mr. Time Traveler's, is it any wonder they became what they did? It's like Frankenstein's monster all over again. We create things we don't understand and then throw them away when they aren't pleasant.

I bet this was scary shit when it was written, but now? I just feel sorry for the Morlocks and think that the Eloi and Mr. Time Traveler are a bunch of dicks. Boring ones, at that.
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