Time Travel discussion

The Time Machine
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Book Club Discussions > THE TIME MACHINE: General Discussion

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message 1: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 17, 2013 10:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Our book club selection for March 15-April 15 is the classic time-travel novel by H.G. Wells.

About the book
This was the first novel by H.G. Wells, published in book form in 1895. This novel is considered one of the earliest works of science fiction and the progenitor of the "time travel" subgenre. Wells advanced his social and political ideas in this narrative of a nameless time traveler who is hurtled into the year 802,701 by his elaborate ivory, crystal, and brass contraption. The world he finds is peopled by two races: the decadent Eloi, fluttery and useless, are dependent for food, clothing, and shelter on the simian subterranean Morlocks, who prey on them. The two races--whose names are borrowed from the Biblical Eli and Moloch--symbolize Wells's vision of the eventual result of unchecked capitalism: a neurasthenic upper class that would eventually be devoured by a proletariat driven to the depths.

Wells had considered the notion of time travel before, in an earlier work titled "The Chronic Argonauts." This short story was published in his college's newspaper and was the foundation for "The Time Machine." Wells frequently stated that he had thought of using some of this material in a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette, until the publisher asked him if he could instead write a serial novel on the same theme; Wells readily agreed, and was paid £100 (equal to about £9,000 today) on its publication by Heinemann in 1895. The story was first published in serial form in the January to May numbers of William Ernest Henley's new venture New Review.

The story reflects Wells' own socialist political views, his view on life and abundance, and the contemporary angst about industrial relations. It is also influenced by Ray Lankester's theories about social degeneration, and share many elements with Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel Vril. Other science fiction works of the period, including Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and the later Metropolis, dealt with similar themes.

About the author
description
Herbert George "H. G." Wells (September 21, 1866 – August 13, 1946) was an English writer, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". His most notable science fiction works include "The War of the Worlds," "The Time Machine," "The Invisible Man" and "The Island of Doctor Moreau."

Wells's earliest specialized training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathizing with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of "Journalist." Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr. Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. Wells also wrote abundantly about the "New Woman" and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

Where to buy
Amazon - Paperback $5.95, Kindle $0.99
Barnes & Noble - Paperback $5.99, Nook $1.99

If you read the book "Map of Time" by Felix J. Palma back in Jan/Feb of 2012, the original H.G. Wells book was included as an appendix (at least on the kindle version).


message 2: by E.B. (new)

E.B. Brown (ebbrown) | 320 comments Awesome! I've already read this, but that was, uhm, let's just say MANY years ago. Looking forward to checking it out again.


message 3: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 17, 2013 10:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Question #1
Before we start reading this month's selection, I have a question for the group that is not directly related to the book. Since this book is so short, would anyone be interested in immediately following it up with the sequel The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter?


message 4: by E.B. (new)

E.B. Brown (ebbrown) | 320 comments John wrote: "Question #1
Before we start reading this month's selection, I have a question for the group that is not directly related to the book. Since this book is so short, would anyone be interested in imm..."


I am interested, but that sequel looks like a long one. It would take me a bit to be able to contribute to that discussion, I'm kinda backlogged on stuff I want to read. ;)


message 5: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments I agree with E.B.

I've been busy reading other group members' books that aren't on the monthly list & would rather stick to the regular schedule in order to try to keep current with the discussion.

Just my view.


Paul | 341 comments I agree with E.B. and Howard. I'm currently half way through "Beyond the Elastic Limit" and taking a break for two books might really screw me up!


message 7: by Omar (last edited Mar 17, 2013 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Omar Riaz | 22 comments I like the idea alot. Infact i may skip the next month's selection reading if i have to in order to do this. Good thinking John :). In a way reading "The Time Ships" would be a huge closure to the 1st book.


Vickie | 63 comments I hesitate to admit this, because I'm probably the only fan of time travel-related fiction on the planet who hated The Time Machine. I tried to read it again last year and didn't like it any better than I did the first time I read it back when I was in high school.


message 9: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
I watched the movie first, so I found the original book a little disappointing. I felt that the movie had definitely improved upon it. I wish I would have written a review to go back to. But I remember the book feeling a little stiff. It seemed a little lacking in ... something.


message 10: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 17, 2013 06:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
I have never actually read "The Time Machine." I only know the story from the movies, so I am looking forward to reading it. By today's standards I imagine this book would seem a bit lacking, so I'm going into this one without a lot of high expectations. After all, it was written in almost 120 years ago.

It sounds like there are some people who would like to read the sequel. However, I think we will make it more of a suggestion. So if you would like to read the optional Stephen Baxter novel as a followup to "The Time Machine," we will make this thread available for discussion. Just make sure you note which book you are commenting on, and be sure to use the spoiler tag to avoid giving away any important plot points.


message 11: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
I agree with E.B., Howard and Paul

plus more importantly we will miss Jonsnow if he is planning to miss next months group read to read it! ;)


message 12: by Tej (last edited Mar 17, 2013 06:36PM) (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Vickie wrote: "I hesitate to admit this, because I'm probably the only fan of time travel-related fiction on the planet who hated The Time Machine. I tried to read it again last year and didn't like it any better..."

Dont feel alone, Amy just joined you and I am pretty sure there are many more possibly including me but I havent read the book. However, I am not too happy with the storyline going by the two movies that were made. Second half in particular. But I still voted for it because I feel I need to read it being a time travel fan! Doesnt mean we have to like it :)


Vickie | 63 comments LOL, Tej. The feeling that it was a book that I, as a fan of the time travel novel, ought to embrace was the reason I tried to read it again last year. I thought maybe as an adult I would appreciate it more. But no.


message 14: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 225 comments Whenever you read a work of this age, it is important to keep its historical context in mind. This was the FIRST time travel novel, ever! That's why some of the things seem kind of trite, or why you feel that it could've been done better. (Remember the lady who came out of a performance of HAMLET, complaining about how it was all quotations? This is also one of the reasons why the movie JOHN CARTER OF MARS tanked at the box office.)
The other thing is that Wells was not really writing an SF novel as we would think of it. There was no such thing, then. He was writing a sociological "if this goes on" kind of thing. If you, industrialists of Edwardian Britain, continue to starve and brutalize your workers, this is what'll happen!


message 15: by Tej (last edited Mar 18, 2013 07:05AM) (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Thanks for that excellent advice on how to approach the book. It was after all written not even the century but the century before that ;) However for some, its still sometimes hard to attune to very old styles of storytelling as has been evident with some past groupreads. I love some oldies such as dickens and Conan Doyle but get me to read shakespeare and ill be jumping out of the window.

Some would argue that its not the first time travel book, mark twain's Ysnkee in King Aurthers Court came before that. But The Time Machine certainly looked like the first to take the concept to much more depth in social and scientific levels.

Actually i was one of the few that quite enjoyed John Carter of Mars at the cinama. As a movie goer, i thought it was fun but incredibly cliched. But then I got thinking, hold on, its the other movies that are cliched and stole the ideas from the book of this film which at the time would have been a radical piece of science fiction/fantasy for its time.


message 16: by Randy (new) - added it

Randy Harmelink | 1057 comments I would even argue that A Christmas Carol was even earlier...


Vickie | 63 comments I don't know. I don't think it is the age of The Time Machine that is my problem with it. There are many other works of similar or earlier eras that I still find quite enjoyable. I love Shakespeare. A Tale of Two Cities is one of my all-time favorite books. The first Tarzan book was published only 17 years after The Time Machine and I loved the Tarzan books.

With The Time Machine, I just couldn't muster up even one shred of "I care what happens in this book," which makes it really difficult to keep reading.


message 18: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Randy wrote: "I would even argue that A Christmas Carol was even earlier..."

Yes, and there actually other lesser known work that has time travel in it. But I reckon The Time Machine, as this wiki article suggests, was the most instrumental in driving the whole genre. Also, some could argue that The Time Machine was the first to involve science...although I cant vouch for that myself until I read the book. This wiki entry is a decent start to investigating the origins of time travel in fiction. I like to see a better article though if anyone can find it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_tra...


message 19: by Tej (last edited Mar 18, 2013 09:15AM) (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Vickie wrote: "I don't know. I don't think it is the age of The Time Machine that is my problem with it. There are many other works of similar or earlier eras that I still find quite enjoyable. I love Shakespeare..."

I totally agree its down to the writer's style. But I think what Brenda is driving at is to factor in HG Wells's radical vision of the times which I can appreciate already just from watching the movies. As for his narrative style and prose, I think its perfectly fine to criticise as much we want :) You have done that and I look forward to doing the same whether its positive or negative...I hope to enjoy it though and have lowered my expectations due to not favouring the second half of the movies!


message 20: by John, Moderator in Memory (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
I have been reading some more background on this book to help me understand some of the intricacies of the story, and I found an interesting tidbit that I thought I would share. Apparently, the main protagonist is never actually named in this book and is simply referred to as "The Time Traveler" throughout. It is only in later books and movies that people have given the character from this story a name.


message 21: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
John wrote: "I have been reading some more background on this book to help me understand some of the intricacies of the story, and I found an interesting tidbit that I thought I would share. Apparently, the ma..."

That makes sense because in the movies, the time traveller is HG Wells himself, a translation I very much like about the movies. Quite a few films actually has HG Wells time travelling.


message 22: by Brenda (last edited Mar 18, 2013 11:13AM) (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 225 comments One of the things I think we are complaining about is that the protagonist of the work, The Time Traveler, is just an observer. He really has no stake in what he sees, he's just a tourist, passing through. This does not make for emotional engagement on the reader's part. I haven't seeen the movies, but I would bet any sum that Hollywood fixed that, supplying girlfriends with plunging necklines, cute dogs, or moppet-haired kids, anything to up the emotional ante. That's the movie makers' stock in trade.


message 23: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments Tej wrote: "That makes sense because in the movies, the time traveller is HG Wells himself, a translation I very much like about the movies. Quite a few films actually has HG Wells time travelling. "

And at least one has the bad guy stealing HG's machine, compelling HG to go retrieve it. With Mary Steenbergen at his side, of course, in "Time After Time."

Brenda's mention of HG's sociological intent reminds me of another book written across the pond in Massachusetts -- "Looking Backward" by Edward Bellamy in the late 1880's. It has the traveler falling into a deep sleep in 1887 and waking up in the utopian socialist world of 2000, where one of the great technological advances was music in your home without actual musicians present! No iPod in Bellamy's 19th century imagination, as it was provided by live orchestras playing 24/7, piped in by telephone line. Don't know if this made it to the big (or small) screen.

Last time I read Time Machine, I confess, was in a "Classics Comic Book," so long ago HG may have had a copy himself. So I'm definitely reading the book now, if only to maintain TT Group creds.


message 24: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 18, 2013 12:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Well, I'm already five chapters into the book, and at this stage I have to say that I am loving it. This is turning out to be a much easier read than I thought it would be. I expected it to be very similar to Poe's fiction, but Wells is much easier to read and understand... so far.

At this point, I would say I most like the parts where the traveler simply recalls his experience and direct observations of his trip to the future. I also like the discussions about time travel early on. Where it starts to bog down for me is when he tries to analyze and explain the societal changes that he observes.


message 25: by H.M (new) - rated it 2 stars

H.M | 1 comments I agree whole heartedly with John. I am about 25% of the way through, and had also surmised that there may be similarities to Poe, but find it much more readable.

I look forward to reading more tomorrow and contributing more thoroughly!


message 26: by E.B. (last edited Mar 19, 2013 08:59AM) (new)

E.B. Brown (ebbrown) | 320 comments You guys are all super-fast readers! I'm only keeping up because this is a second read for me. ;)


message 27: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 19, 2013 08:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
Well, I finished the book in one day. That is probably nothing to brag about since the book is so short, but I still think it speaks well to how interesting and engaging this story was for me.

As I stated above, I expected this book to be a little antiquated and stodgy. But I really liked it... except for the parts that got a little too philosophic and analytic. (view spoiler)


message 28: by John, Moderator in Memory (last edited Mar 19, 2013 08:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

John | 834 comments Mod
There are plenty of discussion questions for this book available online. I have adapted of few of the better ones for our discussion. Feel free to add some of your own.

Question #2 The ending of The Time Machine is somewhat ambiguous, with the narrator suggesting where (or when) the Time Traveler goes. Why do you think Wells wrote such an ambiguous ending? Why does the narrator get the last word? And how do you react to the optimism of his final words?

Question #3 With the exception of Filby and perhaps Hillyer, the majority of the characters in this book are unnamed and are instead identified by their occupation (the Medical Man) or qualities (the Silent Man). What do you think about Wells' choice of not naming the characters in the book (including the protagonist)?

Question #4 The Time Traveler's friends are all men, except for Weena. Does that change the effect of the story? How does Wells imagine the questions of gender difference in the future?


message 29: by Tej (new)

Tej (theycallmemrglass) | 1725 comments Mod
Man, I'm still reading the last group read...why have I been gifted with the super power of slow reading :(


message 30: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments Tej wrote: "Man, I'm still reading the last group read...why have I been gifted with the super power of slow reading :("

Maybe because you've been gifted with a discerning intellect an an artist's soul that elevates you to a greater appreciation of a good story and the written word? :-)

OK, I made that up in case anyone notices I'm kind of slow myself. I enjoy it.


message 31: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 225 comments The ending of time travel novels is always problematic, and I would guess that is why Wells ended his book in an ambiguous way. If the Time Traveler could change future, should he? Is it not more likely that he could do that by going to the present and changing current events?

I'm afraid Weena strikes me as terribly infantilized (even her name!). Hard to say whether that was Wells, or his Edwardian age. At that time women did not have the vote, could not own property, and had very truncated legal rights when compared to men -- definnitely second class citizens.


message 32: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
I have to agree with Vickie that there are many older books that I enjoyed more than this one. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because it lacked a certain something. I think I'll have to go back and re-read it to put my finger on it. But I think it has to do with the formality of the 1st person narration in the part where the Time Traveler is telling his story. It's not so much that language was more formal for the time but that there's a certain level of observational distance that the Time Traveler seems to keep from the story that he's in. He plays the part of thinker and observer foremost rather than the part of a true explorer. He seems to approach everything like a scientist looking at life under a microscope. And maybe that's intentional since the Time Traveler is a scientist observing a time that's not his own -- a time that he hopes to escape from. Everything in this future world for him is a shade of unreal. The people are subhuman to him. Perhaps the problem ... the something that I couldn't put my finger on about why this book isn't a better book ... is that I don't much care for the Time Traveler himself.

Has anyone else read Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward that has been mentioned here a couple of times? The Time Machine is so much better than that one. Looking Backward seems to be a futuristic economic manifesto for a government-run utopia more than a work of fiction with much of a storyline. Although, it does correctly predict artificial lighting, smokeless heating, credit cards, internet music, doctors practicing only if they've passed medical school, the radio alarm clock, women in the work place, and internet churches. Unfortunately, we can't all retire at age 45 as it assumes. Oh well.


message 33: by Rysa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rysa Walker (rysawalker) | 86 comments Amy wrote: "I have to agree with Vickie that there are many older books that I enjoyed more than this one. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because it lacked a certain something. I think I'll have to go back and re-..."

I've read Looking Backward several times, Amy. It's not bad as a book of political theory, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the things I look for in a novel. I definitely agree on your point about the retirement age -- if he'd nailed that one, I could have forgiven his boring dialogue and shallow characters :)


message 34: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 862 comments I really enjoyed this, when I read it months ago. The sexism, the near-pedophilia, did bother me, but I do believe there were contextual justifications.

(I'll address the discussion questions later...)


message 35: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments I'm still reading and enjoying, but can't help wondering what sane person (even fictional) would set out blindly to the year "802 thousand odd" and expect to survive? But then, perhaps someone among our own group of travelers has already been? Please, a full report!

Cheers to HG. He's still traveling; speaking to us across the years with the language and imperfections of his time. What a trip.


message 36: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Mar 20, 2013 12:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "I'm still reading and enjoying, but can't help wondering what sane person (even fictional) would set out blindly to the year "802 thousand odd" and expect to survive? But then, perhaps someone amon..."

At least he set it in the thousands rather than millions or billions of years. That could have been truly catastrophic. But, I have to admit that, if I had the ability to time travel the future and if I was at death's door, I'd set the machine to keep going into the future to see the end of the earth ... or the death of the sun (whichever came first).

If you go backward in earth's history that far, you don't even find anatomically modern homo sapiens yet (they didn't appear until 200 thousand years ago). So it's a good bet that going that far forward in history would yield a different species of humans or a further evolved version of homo sapiens. Our history seems to reveal a forward evolution of species, so why would the future yield a human-esque species that had gone backward rather than forward? How different this book would have been if the Time Traveler had appeared as a man from 800 thousand years ago would to us (consider the homo antecessor and the or the homo heidelbergensis). But, it seems to me that the idea that the future would be populated with a species that is beneath us is in keeping with the spirit of exploration of the time in which this book was written... when "modern civilized man" was still going off into the jungles and finding "less civilized" populations that they felt needed to be "modernized and civilized".


message 37: by Amy, Queen of Time (last edited Mar 20, 2013 01:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Here are various articles theorizing how man will evolve in the future:
*"And This is What Humans Will Look Like in the Future"
*"What Will We Look Like in a Million Years?"
*"Man--500,000 Years From Now"
*"Human Species 'May Split in Two'"
*"Fugly: What Humans Will Look Like in 50-Million Years" (includes insane picture!)

Summary of Speculations About Future Man:
*Skin color: light brown
*Men's Bodies: More chiseled with more symmetrical facial features, more athletic-loking, squarer jaws, larger reproductive organs
*Women's Bodies: Hourglass-shaped bodies & more feminine, smaller features; lighter, smoother, and more hairless skin; even features; glossy hair; firmer chests
*Mouths: smaller
*Vocal cords: smaller
*Eyes: larger and possibly able to sense ultraviolet light (increasing survival in a polluted world)
*Sense of smell: heightened
*Hair: none
*Fat: less
*Arms & fingers: longer
*Intestines: shorter
*Brain: larger
*Skull Shape: larger and rounder
*Brow Line:Men with a smoother and more vertical brow line like that of today's women, women with more infantile and slightly bulbous brow line
*Teeth: fewer and smaller with decay still a problem
*Jaw: smaller with a more pronounced recession and straigher line from bottom of nose to chin
*Height: taller (possibly between 6 and 7 ft tall)
*Feet: Loss of the fifth toe
*Split species: genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, and intelligent in contrast with the underclass humans wh have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures (in keeping with H.G. Wells' theory)
*Life Span: 120 years
*Intelligence:Could come to resemble domesticated animals as a result of dependence on technology, lost social skills, less ability to care about others , less ability to work in teams
*Immune systems: weakened as a result of reliance on medicine

Visualizing The Next 100,000 Years of Evolution
*Artwork
*Documentary

But there's another theory as well. We might not change much at all since nature isn't controlling our evolution anymore as much as we are. "Natural selection has been replaced by artificial selection." (enter the future of gene-tailoring seen in Rysa's novel, Time's Twisted Arrow, that we read last month).


Vickie | 63 comments When I was a kid I used to wonder why all the Star Trek aliens looked so much alike (e.g., all Vulcans look fundamentally the same) and Earthlings had all the different races. I wondered if at some point, all Earthlings would start to look alike, too.


message 39: by Scott (last edited Mar 20, 2013 07:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Scott (artrobot) Well, as lame as it seems to some fans, Star Trek TNG explained in an episode that all humanoid life in the galaxy share the same ancestral DNA of a master humanoid race that explored the far corners of the galaxy and found they were alone.

On evolution,
I tend to agree with the idea that humans are no longer naturally evolving as we have so drastically changed our environment to suit a more sedentary life and medicine has eliminated survival of the fittest. A future where we've devolved does not seem so far fetched to me, ESPECIALLY in modern times. I don't see genetically modifying future generations gaining mass appeal either. Present company excluded, most of humanity doesn't seem very forward looking especially politicians. However, I'm sure we'll have some like the Dr. from Deep Space Nine who were modified on the black market and must keep the secret to remain accepted by society.


message 40: by Rysa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rysa Walker (rysawalker) | 86 comments Brenda wrote: "The ending of time travel novels is always problematic, and I would guess that is why Wells ended his book in an ambiguous way. If the Time Traveler could change future, should he? Is it not more ..."

I agree, Brenda. Weena is a very weak character, and that's particularly striking since she's really the only female character here. I've always wondered how different The Time Machine might have been if Wells had written it later in life. The book is written shortly after he left his first wife to marry one of his students, who was apparently more tolerant of the fact that Wells wasn't inclined toward monogamy. In the early 1900s, Wells had affairs with a number of feminist writers, including Margaret Sanger, and wrote eloquently on the equality of women and the need to ensure that they had the same rights as men. Maybe Weena would have been less infantile if it had been written during this later period??


message 41: by Amy, Queen of Time (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 2210 comments Mod
Rysa wrote: The book is written shortly after he left his first wife to marry one of his students.

Hmm ... I didn't know that. Now it all makes sense. Perhaps he was in some way justifying his attraction to someone with a head full of fluff? It's possible that she was quite intelligent, but I'd wager that she was more like Weena than the feminist writers he later had affairs with.


message 42: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments I wasn't prepared to like "The Time Machine" as much as I did. I was expecting a cumbersome read, but not so. I found HG's writing style easy and conversational, at least for a 19th century all-guys gathering with no football on the telly. The Traveler's observations were lengthy, but I enjoyed those, too, as long as I slowed down enough to consider them. I suppose that analysis was HG's reason for writing TTM in the first place. Considering his birth not long after the Industrial Revolution in Britain and immediately following a bloody Civil War in the States, who can blame him for his concerns?

I liked the Time Traveler character, and suspect he was anonymous to set the mood and because HG wasn't ready for this to sound like a memoir. Interesting character, though -- scientist, engineer, mechanic, machinist, and philosopher, but clueless in selecting a travel destination, packing for the journey, or choosing overnight accommodations. You wouldn't want him planning your family vacation.

As for Weena -- very odd. My guess is her fluff-headedness had less to do with HG’s perception of ninteenth century women and more to do with the only two choices available for creatures of the year 802,000 A.D.— airhead or simian. Still, a strange relationship, but hopefully not as weird as what one might read into it in the 21st century.

On to questions 2-4 another time.


message 43: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Paul, bravo, but what of the use of human evolution, again from HG's times?

Just wondering.


message 44: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments Hi, Howard. In what respect? Likelihood? Pessimism vs. Optimism? Chances of wiping ourselves out even before evolving or reaching that Elastic Limit? Let's hope it's not as stark as HG saw it.


message 45: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Paul wrotw: ' In what respect?'

Well just that the Theory was new, slowly clawing past reluctance via Huxley & others & HG's example was so blatant & diverse.

That kind of thing.


message 46: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Clough (brendaclough) | 225 comments It is important to remember that Wells wrote this before WW2. In other words, before the Nazis made eugenics and the Aryan race stuff so repugnant. In Wells' time, it was okay to advocate the Fit marrying the Fit so that good genes would be propagated and Less Folk not. And he wrote it before WW1, before the industry and government could be revealed as warmongering profiteers that would send common people off to the trenches to die for no particular reason. We, with our post 9-11, post Vietnam mindsets, find this hard to get our heads around.


message 47: by Paul (last edited Mar 23, 2013 03:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments Howard wrote: "Well just that the Theory was new, slowly clawing past reluctance via Huxley & others & HG's example was so blatant & diverse."

Ahh, good point, a relatively new theory at the time. And a wide open topic, but we're limited to 12,000 characters here.

But two thoughts: 1) Brilliant use of evolution theory by H.G. Wells at the time since it probably stirred up book sales and notice of his primary point, the inequities of capitalism. 2) A time-traveling HG might be amused that some still question evolution today, the science notwithstanding. Probably wouldn't mind, though.

Your thoughts? Evolution has been on your mind in your own writing.


message 48: by Howard (new)

Howard Loring (howardloringgoodreadscom) | 1174 comments Paul wrote: 'Your thoughts?'

Well, Paul, nothing earth-shattering, just that the effect was rather riveting, eye-opening in that before the process was rather ephemeral, a wild although well thought out continuing progression.

Yet here, in stark reality, the process is a real one, staring you, as it were, in the face & given the controversy, that was pretty bold.


message 49: by Paul (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paul | 341 comments Brenda wrote: "It is important to remember that Wells wrote this before WW2. In other words, before the Nazis made eugenics and the Aryan race stuff so repugnant. In Wells' time, it was okay to advocate the Fit..."

Once again, I appreciate the historical perspective, Brenda. Lest we forget.


Lance Greenfield (lancegreenfieldmitchell) | 155 comments Quote from The Time Machine:

“It's against reason," said Filby.
"What reason?" said the Time Traveller.”


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