The Time Machine - by H.G. Wells
"influential in sci-fi genre, but slow-paced and dry in my opinion"
The Time Traveler is never given a name. Like his associates the Psychologist, the Medical Man, and the Provincial Mayor, he is simply referred to by his chosen career. These three are among the doubters he shows a model of a working time machine to, a clock-sized mechanism that he sends into the future in front of their disbelieving eyes. He explains his theory of time as a fourth dimension in straightforward terms, but none of his associates are quite sure they believe him.Then he appears abruptly at one of his own dinner parties, scruffy, pale and dirty, with a half-healed wound on his face, limping and raving about his need for meat. Once he gathers himself, he tells a bizarre story of his first experiences into the future, into the year 802,701 A.D., where humanity seems to have evolved into a peaceful, simple race called the Eloi.
The Eloi are childlike, delicate vegetarians who accept him without thought. They seem to have a vaguely communistic society, living together in central palace-like buildings, but the Time Traveler sees no sign that they produce anything themselves. He sees his surroundings as a Utopian society, with no violence, competition, or disease remaining; such a perfect world that its inhabitants have evolved past the need for fear, thought, or creation. When his time machine suddenly disappears, the Time Traveler is forced to reevaluate his theories. Exploring the future world more closely, he finds signs that the Eloi aren't alone, and that they are still well acquainted with fear. A second race, the Morlocks, live underground, preying on the Eloi. And the Morlocks clearly have control of the time machine.
As fiction, The Time Machine is a short, fairly dry novel that I thought was slow-paced and boring. The novel could have been shorter but it seemed to be filled with unnecessary information. Wells takes too much time to describe each character and each place. I would not recommend it as one of my favorite books, but I think that everyone needs to read it because of its importance as the first novel to address the idea of traveling in time. It was a singular work of genius creativity and remains one of the influential works of the entire science fiction genre. If you are looking for an exciting adventure, this book is probably not for you, however, if you enjoy a unique story that has many twists and turns, then this book is for you.
- Review by Sean H.
"a good and easy read, excellent imagery and a well planned plot"
The Time Machine is an interesting book for all ages. When the time traveler, who is never named, enters the future, it was stunning to find out that it was the opposite of what most people would expect. Instead of a lot of high–tech machines and intelligent creatures, the world goes back to a sort of prehistoric era whose inhabitants are amazed with light and fire. One thing that the author tries to show everyone is the gap that is getting bigger between the upper and lower class people. In the novel, the wealthy people have turned into a stupid and weak creature living on the surface (elois). The factory workers have turned into scary creatures that live underground (morlocks). The Morlocks are cannibals and feed on the innocent elois.
The majority of the novel was good, there was some of everything, but I didn’t like the fact that Weena just left the novel in a scene. This was during the forest fire, it said that the time traveler looked around for Weena, but she was gone. The other thing I didn’t like was that it just left you in the open without a clear ending. It seemed like it was written as if it could be a series.
In conclusion, the overall rating of this novel was good. It was a good and easy read. There wasn’t a single place where the book seemed boring. I also thought that the imagery in this novel was excellent. The author described the scenery and the creatures very well. The plot was well planned also, and it made sense.
- Review by Aron M.
"I do not agree with the underlying social message, but a good and easy read."
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, was first published in 1895. It remains a piece of classic literature because it is well written and because many feel that its message about society is still relevant today. H.G. Wells uses formal diction throughout the book, and much of his language is typical of English literature in the late 19th century. The Time Traveler develops a Time Machine which he uses to travel into the future, to the year 802,701 A.D. While there, the Time Traveler learns about the society of the future, and the reasons for the distinct separation of classes.
Immediately upon arriving in the future, the Time Traveler meets the Eloi, a beautiful, graceful, child-like race. The Time Traveler befriends one of the Eloi after saving her from drowning in the river. Her name is Weena, and the Time Traveler learns about the Eloi from her companionship. The Eloi are a peaceful people, but also weak and stupid. They live a very leisurely lifestyle, eating strictly fruits. There are no houses in the year 802,701 A.D., and there seems to be no private ownership. The Eloi live, eat, and play as a group. There does not appear to have any form of government, and the Eloi seem to live in a perfected socialist society.
The Time Traveler soon realizes, however, that the Eloi are not the sole inhabitants of the earth in the future. A separate and very different race, the Morlocks, live below the ground. The Time Traveler describes these subterranean creatures as pale white, clammy, and apelike. The Morlocks have become so accustomed to the darkness underground that they avoid all light. The Time Traveler presumes that it is the Morlocks who have stolen his time Machine and hidden it in the base of a great statue.
It is not until the Time Traveler ventures below ground to search for his Time Machine that he realizes that the Morlocks are cannibalistic, relying on the weaker Eloi for food. The Time Traveler then begins to understand society in the future. The Eloi were once the aristocrats, and the Morlocks the working class. The aristocracy continued to buy the land above ground until the industry was forced below ground. The workers moved below ground with the industry, and the aristocrats stayed above ground, pursuing pleasure and relying on the workers underground for their goods and labor. Gradually, the laborers underground grew to detest the sun and their skin became bleached white, while the aristocrats became so comfortable and so unaccustomed to necessity or hardship that their size, strength, and intelligence waned. Thus, the Morlocks met all of the Eloi's needs so that they would have food. In essence, the Morlocks fattened up the Eloi in much the same way that we fatten up pigs for the slaughter. This society is not at all socialistic, like the Time Traveler first believed, but rather, the deep separation of classes has been caused by capitalism.
I would not recommend The Time Machine to one of my peers, simply because I do not agree with the underlying social message of the book. I do not believe that capitalism would ever produce a separation of classes as great as the one described in The Time Machine. History has shown that when the ruling class abuses its power and harms the working class, the working class will rebel and overthrow the ruling class. I did enjoy the book's story, however, and it is an easy read.
- Review by Andrew S.
"It made me wonder about the future and question what it will be like."
The Time Machine was written by Herbert George Wells and was first published in 1895. It depicts British life and the distinction of social classes. The Time Traveler tells the reader that the “Upperworld man had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the Underworld to mere mechanical industry” (Wells 105). The main theme of The Time Machine is that the lower class can become stronger than the aristocracy and even overthrow them if they feel that change is needed. The Time Traveler is never given a name throughout the novel. He is an intelligent, but lonely man who keeps to himself. He invents the time machine to see if he can change what he calls the fourth dimension of space. This fourth dimension is time.
The Time Traveler’s adventure takes him to the year 802,701 A.D. He ends up in a ruinous area of England where he finds “a great heap of granite bound together by masses of aluminum" where he meets peaceful, but very small and weak creatures called Eloi. The Eloi are vegetarians and only eat fruit. These New World creatures have no ruler and live together in peace without war or any other problems of the past. The Eloi also travel in groups for protection. After a few days in the future, the Time Traveler realizes that they do not do anything to provide for themselves and believes that there must be something else that does or they would not survive.
One night the Time Traveler sees a huge ape-like creature, which he finds out lives underground. These creatures are called Morlocks and are bigger and stronger than the Upperworld Eloi. He reasons that the Morlocks are the creatures that do all the work for the Eloi and that the Eloi are dependent upon them. They are afraid of light and only come out at night. They are cannibals and eat the Upperworld inhabitants in order to live. For this reason, the Eloi are afraid of night. The Time Traveler believes that the Morlocks have become smarter than the Eloi and provide for them so their food source does not die off. The Time Traveler’s time machine is also stolen and he suspects the Morlock’s of taking it. He searches all over for the machine and finds that it has been taken to the pedestal of a great white sphinx statue. The statue is the entrance to the Underworld and the Eloi refuse to help him open it. The Time Traveler must ultimately protect the Eloi from the hungry Morlocks and find his time machine so that he is not stuck in the year 802,710.
The Time Machine is a very interesting book. It made me wonder about the future and question what it will really be like. The plot is also easy to follow and the book is easy to read. Anyone who wonders about the future should definitely read The Time Machine. I enjoyed reading The Time Machine, even though I am not a huge science-fiction fan, and would recommend it to anyone who asked me about it.