Book Review: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Posted December 3, 2016 by @Angelized_1st in Books, Entertainment, Reading Challenges, Reading England 2016 / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Time Machine by H.G. WellsThe Time Machine by Herbert George Wells
Published by Signet Classic on first published 1895
Genres: Fiction, Classics, Science Fiction, General
Pages: 123
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
ISBN: 9780451528551
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

“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.

I thought I read H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine years ago, but nothing seemed familiar to me when I read it over the Thanksgiving break. In my mind I kept picturing the 2002 film starring Guy Pierce. I even looked for one of my favorite book quotes ever: “We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories… And those that carry us forward, are dreams.” Except this is a quote from that film. It was never in the book. In fact, even though the film isn’t considered to be very great, I actually like it and the story more than the one in the novel.

The Time Machine tells the story of a man who travels 800,000 years in the future, and returns to his own time to recount the tale. During his trip, the man finds a future where man has gone too far in an attempt to advance civilization. So far, in fact, that man ends up destroying itself. What’s left behind is a ruling class of monsters under the earth, and lower class of simple people who live among nature. While the film tells the same story, what I found to be lacking in the novel was an interest in the characters.

In the novel, the Time Traveler tells his tale to a group of friends over dinner. While readers learn of his time with the Eloi and Morlocks, none of those characters are very well-developed. Even the romance the traveler has with one of the Eloi loses it’s importance in the story, because Weena never seems very fleshed out as a character. Then again, with only 118 pages, there’s only so much character development you’re going to get. As a story, The Time Machine isn’t all that great in my opinion. However, it’s a powerful critique on man’s desire to improve upon itself through technology and science, and how it will end up destroying us. Through the story of the Eloi and Morlocks, Wells wants to warn readers what could happen if we try to reach too far beyond what man should possess. The danger of moving away from nature and the natural world towards machinery and technology. The story may not be as interesting as I remembered, but the message is still as relevant today as it was during Wells’ lifetime.


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