Alison's Reviews > The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
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's review
Oct 27, 2007

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bookshelves: rgbookclub
Recommended for: sci-fi junkies, socialists, Rory Gilmore Book Club!

"There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change."

Ugh! This is not my favorite type of book. However, I appreciated the opportunity to delve outside of my comfort zone and embrace a little "sci-fi." And H.G. Wells, the father of all sci-fi, was a fitting place to start.

The narrator of The Time Machine is "The Time Traveller." The book starts in his home, as he is recounting his adventures to a group of listeners. On the first visit, he shows them his fancy new time machine. On the second visit, as best I could tell, he has since travelled forward almost a million years in time, and he is relaying his adventures to his guests.

This work is a thinly-veiled social and political commentary. TTT gives us the details of the distant future. There are essentially two races of people left. The first group is the Eloi: dainty, pink-skinned, fruit-eaters, difficult to differentiate b/t male & female. They are the result of man's conquering all the sciences--medicine, agriculture, etc. Man has devolved into the Eloi because he no longer needs to think, be physical, or creative.

The other race is the Morlocks: white, apeish, with pink, giant eyes. They live underground and do all of the work in this society. They then prey on the Eloi for food.

I felt that the message of this book is that if we're not forced to think, defend ourselves, exercise creativity, we will waste away and devolve as a race. We will become like cattle grazing in the field--brainless, child-like, existing without meaning, only as a food source for other creatures. It's a cautionary tale for the upper classes, who become rich and have all their needs met automatically, without having to process any conflict. Apparently Wells felt we should all be subjected to the same amount of work and should reap the benefits equally (socialism). This also could be a rage against industry (almost said Rage Against the Machine), most recently computers and other technology that "dumbs us down" by by-passing thinking & the sharpening of our intelligence.

Also of note is that in the future, the Eloi live in fear of the Morlocks. Maybe this was meant to warn us of a time when the working class might become dangerous to the upper, soft-brained cushy in a uprising or revolt. Where does the power and the danger lie...with the ones who have the money, or with the ones who are sharpening their intellect and keeping up their physical strength?

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