H G Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’ (1895), A novel that introduced the concept of a time machine to literature and its audiences. Written in the Victorian era where transport was mainly operated by horse and carriage, it is incredible to think that this one man conjured a story based on advanced technology and the inconceivable idea of time travel in such an undeveloped era. Today I am going to give you my review and run down of the novel and I hope that you enjoy it.
The Time Traveller is a gentleman of the Victorian Era and is the inventor of a time machine. His peers, who are specialists in other sciences, discredit him and reject his claims of discovering the ability to travel in time (not surprising though, this is a claim we would laugh at now, let alone in the 19th century). However, he is not disheartened by their comments and begins his journey, there are a few dates of the future that he describes to have been but the main date in the novel is the year 802,000. Although this world is to be expected to advance our human world in intelligence, technology and human traits, it is nothing like the streets that the Victorians would have been accustomed to and especially not the polluted and bustling world of screens that us readers understand either. Instead tall grand buildings formed a part of the landscape, a settlement for the unrecognisable earthlings called the Eloi (a descendent of man.) Much of the landscape besides these tall buildings, was field, woods and remarkable patches of new undiscovered flowers. His initial observation of this futuristic world was one of peace, contentment and beauty where humans had evolved into beings that lived without hardship or injustice, sharing large fortresses for homes, taking a communist-like structure where there was no privatisation or state land, there was no singular home and all was shared. Like all stories though there is underlying corruption or evil, which becomes quite insidious within it, the evil being identified as ‘The Morlocks’.
The Time Machine is a very short read, my copy consisting of roughly 130 pages, 42 of which being authors notes, epilogues and other additives to the author and text. Due to it being a quick read, it is a perfect book to pick up and read while travelling or just if you aren’t a big reader and are looking for something short, although science fiction can often be an acquired taste, but I would argue that this is a very human and value based book rather than your typical Sci-Fi. Because it was first published in 1895 its writing style can occasionally be quite difficult and disrupting in its flow due to the end of Victorian era language, however it is mostly quite easy to read or interpret so I wouldn’t allow that to put you off because at times it can be rather beautiful.
Anyway, onto the actual content of the story, I found Wells’ portrayal of a futuristic Earth very interesting, to me it was a completely unexpected environment as authors and directors for many science fiction films and books, namely films like ‘Interstellar’ directed by Christopher Nolan and the novel ‘Ringworld’ by Larry Niven, often present the future to be of extremely advanced technology, the ability to inhabit other planets and achieving the ultimate perfect living. However, Wells writes a world that is the result of human pleasure and peace and does not show any signs of the typical futuristic image. I very much enjoyed the relationship between one of the Eloi called Meena and the Time Traveller as it is very innocent and platonic which I find quite lovely and different as the story did not have a single love interest like most others. I think my favourite part of the novel was that it was very effective in the way that it causes literal feelings of tension through the contrast of night and day, especially due to the dangers of the dark.
I can’t say much more without ruining the story, so I really hope that you read it because it won’t take long if you’re a fast reader like me, and even if you aren’t it still isn’t very labouring.
~ exams are almost over, I am almost free. So soon there will be more blog posts I swear~