Tag: HGWells

The Time Machine

This story had many similarities to the movie The Time Machine (2002). After I looked into it, the movie was based off of the book. The Time Traveler written from H.G. Wells did not build the machine to go back in time to save his fiancé, but to go forward and see how civilization has changed. When he arrives in the future, he realizes that society has not advanced, but returned to a very primitive state. He finds two species of the human race, one above which are smaller, vegetarians, and simple. The other lives unground and have adapted so they can no longer live above ground, see in the dark and are cannibals. He notes that although the underground race were probably the poorer part of society forced to work down there for the benefit of the wealthier (above ground people), they have become the stronger of the two races. Although he faces struggles in his journey, when he returns home, he is unsatisfied, and returns to the unknown in his time machine.

In the End

HG Wells’ The Time Machine, has many different narrative threads going on with regards to messages he wants to convey through time travel. Probably the least referenced of which is the one which is the subject of this class. The Environmental angle may be the least touched upon overarching message of the book in general, but they are still important with regards to the other messages the book is meant to convey, particularly our desire to automate every aspect of our lives, and how this will evolve to be weaker. Wells illustrates this through the Eloi and Morlocks in the year 802,701 AD. However, it is not through automation as the Time Traveler assumes that creates the frailty in society, it’s through subjugation. In this way Wells is able to illustrate the inherent problems of race relations as well. The Time Machine posits that if we do not live peacefully in a mutually beneficial society, things will fall apart. It was a very interesting read that asked much more interesting question than I expected, especially considering it was written in 1895. It takes us to the end of the world and back and shows that in the end, by nature of the time machine itself, suggests that human endeavor will endure even though the world will not.

Where are we going?

In H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, a time travelling scientist travels to a seemingly idyllic future. As he discovers more about this new world, he comes across the terrifying truth of how humanity has evolved over the years.

The story begins as the Time Traveler recounts his story to his dinner companions. He travels to a future in which everything seems perfect. The people do not work, and have evolved so that they are frail and pretty. The Time Traveler remarks that, while these people seem perfectly comfortable and have advanced beyond the necessity for labor, he is upset that the convenience that progress has lent humanity has left them dumb and lazy. Soon, he realizes that these childlike creatures, called “Eloi,” are not the only beings that populate the earth. They are the descendants of the leisurely wealthy of humanity. The poor have been driven underground and have evolved to become terrifying creatures called Morlocks, who eat the Eloi. The Time Traveler must battle these creatures in order to return home.

I quite enjoyed the questions this novel raised about the nature of progress, and the commentary it made on social class. The social class situation in the novel, represented by the tension between the Eloi and the Morlocks, is parallel to the social class situation occurring around the time the novel was written. In both cases, the rich lead leisurely, lazy lives while the poor work. In the novel, the Morlocks have power over the Eloi, which is an important commentary for Wells to make on his own time. The novel also makes an interesting suggestion about progress, claiming that no matter what we do, the future will collapse. Too much leisure leads to the Eloi, while too much work leads to the Morlocks. Progress in either direction will end in ruin, while stagnation is also deplorable. Wells suggests that we must live in the moment, as if our inevitable future will not come to pass.

Overall, this novel raised interesting suggestions about the ethics of class structure, and the nature of progress. It was an enjoyable read that gives the reader a window into the far future, and how we might live our lives that far forward.

The Human Condition

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells is an incredible examination of the human condition and nature in general. Besides his time machine, Wells spends less time focusing on futuristic technology and more on the relationship between beings in what he perceives as the future. This relationship between beings, whether they are human or not, is a significant part of the story between Wells, the Eloi and the Morlocks. As we have different races in today’s world, Wells examines and experiences a world with different races/beings as well. This is obviously seen with the Eloi and Morlocks. One of the most important facts about nature especially with animals, is that there will always be a hunter and the hunted. In Wells’ world set in 802, 701 A.D., the hunter is obviously the strange Morlocks and the hunted is the peaceful Eloi. Besides the notion of a hunter and the hunted, Wells also examines the basic notions of building a new relationship with a different race or person at its’ most basic level. This is an obvious fact when one examines how Wells befriends and becomes close with Weena, an Eloi who he isn’t familiar with. One of the last more general notions Wells points to is the curiosity of beings no matter who or what they are. Curiosity is something that is rooted in the human condition at its’ most basic level. Wells examines the notion of curiosity through his own experiences in the futuristic worlds he visits but also with the lives of the Eloi and Morlocks.

800,686 Years From Now…

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells offers readers an adventurous and fast sample of Cli-fi literature. The book starts off kind of slow but soon after catches your attention and continues to keep you guessing right along with the time traveler. Wells uses the two very different groups that humanity has evolved into (the Eloi and the Morlocks) as a social critique and warning for the future. Although the time travel story is fun the underlining messages that Wells is presenting just seems to scream at you the whole time.

 

During the time traveler’s stay in the year 802, 701, he finds himself in the presence of a species that has evolved from present day humans called the Eloi. The Eloi are beautiful child-like “creatures” that have a very little attention span. They live in small communities and although they do not seem intelligent at all, they do have a very basic language that the time traveler tries to learn. The time traveler is amazed at this tiny new race of humans that he believes to have created such a simple and peaceful society that no longer required strength or intelligence. “Under the new conditions of perfect comfort and security that restless energy, that with us is strength, would become weakness. “ (31) It becomes evident that Wells is most likely poking fun at the upper class for being lazy and ignorantly comfortable. I am not sure why the time traveler found a romantic interest in Weena, other than pure loneliness.

 

The time traveler discovers the Morlocks, the second group, while in search for his missing time machine. They are white ape like creatures that live deep under the ground and only come out under the darkness of night. He finds that all of the machinery and industry that helps run the communities are underground with the Morlocks. After days of only eating fruit with the Eloi, the time traveler’s mouth begins to water when he realizes they have meat, yet he sees no livestock. He comes to the realization that the Morlocks do not take care of the Eloi because they are a bound to serve a higher class, but they take care of them for food such as a farmer caring for their livestock or crops.

 

Being a new reader of the Sci-fi genre, I was interested to see how I took to The Time Machine. It started off slowly and than I was hooked. Wells wrote a book that is great for warming people up to a genre that might have previously been a turn off for them.

The Time Machine – A Review

In H. G. Wells’ vision of the future, the result of wealth disparity and technological progression for the sake of leisure is a dystopian era, where humanity has literally been split into two species; the beautiful, but impotent Eloi, and the carnivorous, underworld dwelling Morlocks. In this dichotomy, the Eloi are the descendants of the upper class, whose easy, unstressed lives causes their half (or maybe just 1%) of the human race to devolve into a species that lacks a need for any kind of mental or physical self-improvement. The Morlocks, meanwhile, are the descendants of a lower class that is slowly pushed underground while the rest of human civilization approaches its zenith without them. Transitioning to a subterranean life combined with the constant toil and strife of their labor causes the lower class to evolve into grotesque, beastly creatures that lurk in the dark and feed upon the Eloi in a pseudo-cannibalistic manner.

This dichotomy of species sets the stage for two central arguments: one, that adversity is necessary for the continued development of the human race, and two, that the unending subjugation of the proletariat will lead to the destruction of their humanity. In this regard, The Time Machine subverts the notion of future society as an advanced, technological utopia, instead taking for granted the downfall of humanity, and focusing on what happens after humanity is gone to form a parable for the consequences of capitalism’s bloom in the 19th Century.

Wells’ argument is effective, insofar as his portrayal of the future is alarmingly stark, but its premise is less compelling without some suspension of disbelief, and so The Time Machine is better read as a philosophical undertaking than a work of speculative fiction. Nevertheless, where The Time Machine functions purely as a critical allegory, it succeeds in offering plenty for the reader to consider. Its focus is both primitivistic, emphasizing the dangers of a society that relies too heavily on technology, but also critical of that same primitivism, lamenting the death of human intellect that pervades the shallow, helpless lives of the Eloi.

That Wells takes for granted humanity’s end is certainly bleak, but it also reminds the reader that the problems at the core of The Time Machine need solving in the present. If humanity is only temporary, then why not strive to make the best of what time remains? The Time Machine assumes that the earth will still exist in a livable form by year 802,701 C.E., and that assumption alone, whether current humanity remains or not, suggests that Wells has some hope for our survival, be it in some subspecies or another. If, however, Wells’ hopeful assumption seems dubious to a reader in the age of climate change, then perhaps The Time Machine’s depiction of complacency towards a flawed status quo is only more relevant.

Timeless

The Time Machine, a novel by H.G. Wells starts out with the story of a man who was late to his dinner party and turns into one of the most well-known science fiction novels in the genre. In the book, his guests recently found out that he has his own time machine….which didn’t exactly help out his whole “sorry for being late” attitude he had when he came in looking all disheveled.  The story is not overly technical, Wells doesn’t go into great detail about his time machine, but the book does dive deep into some big themes about the nature of man.  Told from an outside third person perspective, we never really know if the story is 100% true or not. The narrator tells his dinner guests that he has traveled into the future to the year 802,701 where there are two different kinds of people that more or less give us a look into the types of people that are all around us right now. Not in the literal sense considering the lower class (Morlocks)  eats some of  the upper class (Eloi) But the gap between those two types of people relates directly to the gap between classes during the time the book was written. While the story is very compelling, there are a few things that were a little off scientifically. The Eloi are described as being completely disease free, but even in the future if there are no viruses, or parasites you still need bacteria or the entire ecosystem will fail…there are just Little holes in the plots here and there.

Not The Future I Expected

I found H.G Wells’ Time Machine very interesting. I thought it was a unique take on the future and what is to become of the Earth. I feel like most portrayals of the distant future include a world covered in chrome and technology so advanced that it surpasses human intelligence. Going into the book I didn’t really have any previous knowledge of what it was about. I’ll admit, I kind of expected the typical humans vs. machine story, but that was not what I got.

The story focuses on the character The Time Traveler and his story of his journey through time. He tells them of a world that has completely transformed from their own. He explains that the world now consists of two different races. The first is the Eloi, a childlike and carefree race. The Time Traveler spends most of his time in the future with these childlike creatures. They live a simple life of frolicking in the sun and spending the day doing nothing and The Time Traveler is at first confused by their lack of intelligence. The other race are the Morlocks, ape-like creature that live underground in the dark. The Time Traveler discovers that these creature are responsible for the only running machinery of that time. Throughout his trip to the future, he begins to theorize what has turned the world into what he sees it as.

After reading the book I find it difficult to believe that is what the human species would evolve into. Both of these species lack any sort of intelligence and are basically wild animals and children. I think I find it difficult thinking that we would lose all advancement that we have made. I also think that this may be because I am used to most portrayals of the future race being highly intelligent with super advanced technology. I do, however, think that the Earth having a consistent warm climate is not unlikely. Looking at our own history, we can see that the temperature has increased, so looking ahead to the year 802,701 AD this seems like a probable conclusion.

Overall I thought that it was an interesting book that I would recommend reading. It is a different take on the future and what happens to the human race.

Is This The Future??

I’m on the fence about H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.

The pace of the beginning chapters was slow and hard to trudge through for me. Then there was the Time Traveller’s off-putting view of the future world: extremely patronizing and contemptuous, undoubtedly due to his high expectations of human intelligence in the year 802,701. He compares their intellectual level to that of a five year old child, notes their frailty, and asserts his belief that he could “fling the whole dozen of them about like ninepins”. He also seems unreasonably astounded that one of the Eloi asked him if he came from the thunderstorm. He appeared out of nowhere. Where else should they have guessed?

That being said, I think that one of its most interesting parts was when the Time Traveller discovers the Morlocks’ existence. It shatters his belief of the new world’s complacency and weakness. He sees that humans are essentially at war with themselves, devouring their other half and eventually killing themselves, as shown by the end of the book, where there is no human life remaining. Only huge crabs and something that appears to flop around in the waveless ocean remains, along with a “red eastern sky, the northward blackness… [and] the thin air that hurt one’s lungs”.

The splitting up of humans into the Eloi and the Morlocks was also an interesting component. It definitely reminded me of Darwinism and survival of the fittest. However, it does seem like the Time Traveller is a catalyst in destroying this future world. The destruction was already taking place before he got there, as evident by the dead Eloi body he finds upon his first venture into the underworld. But I think with him attempting to bring his ideas, his customs, and his self-determination to “better” this world, he inevitably messes things up for the Eloi and tips the delicate balance between the Eloi and the Morlocks into the latter’s favor.

The lack of diversity was a component that struck me as odd, but maybe it’s just because I can’t wrap my head around all humans and deviations of humanity being white in the year 802,701. I should also note that this is set in London, and I don’t know the racial or ethnic demographics of London in 1895. However, it’s a bit outlandish and unrealistic (yes, even in science fiction) that H.G. Wells chose to aesthetically obliterate human beings with darker skin tones in his futuristic society. It would be easy for someone to write it off as Wells being a product of his time, but as a person of color, and because of Wells’s constant emphasis on both the Eloi and Morlocks’ whiteness, it’s not so easy for me.

I understand its significance in being one of the earliest science fiction works, but I feel that there are a lot more science fiction novellas/novels out there written with much more finesse, complexity, and racial and ethnic inclusivity than this one. So, I’m at an impasse. I like the idea of humans literally being split into two separate entities and the theory of it being due to the “social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer”. But the haughty tone of the Time Traveller’s narrative towards this futuristic society, and the lack of (aesthetic) diversity, is what’s keeping me from fully liking the book.

 

Wells’s Idiot Time Traveler, Too Smart For His Own Good, Is A Symbol For Self-Destructive Progress

I had read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells years and years ago, but way back then I did not find it even nearly so rewarding as I found it now that I’m older. Part of my enjoyment, I think, is due to Ursula K. Le Guin’s new (2002) introduction, where she remarks on “the Time Traveler’s amazing improvidence” (xiv). “Reading as a child, I didn’t notice,” she says, echoing exactly my own relationship with the book as well, “but I find it strange now that he sets off into the future without a notebook; without provisions of any kind; without even putting on outdoor shoes” (xiv). What an idiot! With this in mind, this time, I chose to read the book with special attention to how curiously inept the Time Traveler is.

[This paragraph contains spoilers and is not essential to this essay.] The first thing he does in the future is stop the time machine too short, sending himself flying off and smashing his stupid face. Then he meets some Eloi, whom he immediately believes—apparently without a second or even a first thought at all—to be harmless creatures. Then, after surviving less than a day in the year 802,701, he loses the big, heavy, very hard-to-lose time machine, his only way back to his normal present time. He accidentally incites a frenzy among the Eloi as he looks for it, panicked. He grossly underestimates the distances he must travel to arm himself for the search, and then, once finally inside the Green Palace museum, he walks obliviously through darker and darker rooms, going underground toward Morlock territory somehow without noticing it. On his way back from this excursion, he starts a forest fire by accident and then, incredibly, falls asleep in the blazing forest. Weena, the only companion he manages to make in this future time, dies in this blaze, and it’s all his fault. After all this, one might expect him to have learned his lesson about underestimating his troubles, but no! He knowingly walks into a Morlock trap, self-assured that he has working matches to fend them off, and the matches do not work. He hadn’t tested them. He barely escapes to his normal present time. Then, having learned almost nothing, he goes time traveling again, and he gets himself stranded, apparently, and probably killed.

What glaring idiocy! Surely, I think, it must have been a thoughtful decision on the part of H. G. Wells to make his Time Traveler so completely devoid of common sense. Why did he do it? My theory is this: Every bone-headed mistake that the Time Traveler makes underscores the theme of modern man as over-confident in his mastery of the world and self-destructive in his obsessive pursuit of “progress.”

So the question is raised: What is progress? To the Time Traveler, the answer is unquestionably technological advancement. (Probably, most inventors would agree.) He is a characteristically industrious man, and so his role in the story is as a symbol for the whole industrial impulse of humanity. “Had I been a literary man,” he says on page 64, commenting on the ruins of a library that he found, “I might, perhaps, have moralized upon the futility of all ambition. But as it was, the thing that struck me with keenest force was the enormous waste of labour to which this sombre wilderness of rotting paper testified.”  Herein he reveals his fatal flaw.  He fails to even consider the moral implications of his discoveries.  He’s too busy thinking.  He’s like Gulliver, who, despite his incredible travels, never learns anything of use, because he’s too wrapped up in trying to keep a travelogue.  Wells even confesses a love for Jonathan Swift in his preface to the Time Machine, in fact (xxi).

The reason for the Time Traveler’s stupendous learning disability is that his head is over-filled with high-brow Victorian assumptions which crowd out all his common sense.  A full dedication to upward mobility, an overemphasis on the nobility of the dominant class, and a pervasive Anglo-centrism are three big parts of the Victorian attitude which he brings with him into the year 802,701.  Although he carries himself around at his fancy dinner party like he is one of the sophisticated, the noble, the beneficent, the enlightened, he still intends to carry Weena back to the nineteenth century whether she wants to come or not, just like the pillaging conquistadors had captured Native Americans hundreds of years before.  The blatant inhumanity of this action hardly seems to trouble him at all.

At one point, the Time Traveler laments, “I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide” (73).  What a beautifully artful throwback to the previous, shocking statement he made earlier, at the beginning of his tale: “I suppose a suicide who holds a pistol to his skull feels much the same wonder at what will come next as I felt then [as I prepared to activate the time machine]” (17). He, being so single-minded, becomes the cause of his own destruction. Likewise, the human race is the cause of its own decline as well. By the year 802,701, we will have mastered Nature, but sunk into idiotic complacency as a result.  The Time Traveler’s abandonment of his own common sense is the first symptom of this twisted recession.

The Morlocks, on the other hand—the descendants of the working class, of the non-intellectuals—will have retained some spark of intelligence, and will have triumphed as the smarter and stronger of the two divergent races. This turns the Victorian paradigm of savagery versus civility on its ear.

Speaking of savagery, the Time Traveler openly admits, “I longed very much to kill a Morlock or so,” and he does engage them with violence on several occasions (63). Yet, the narrator (the other narrator, the one who is not the Time Traveler) still makes the claim, at the end of the story, that “a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man” (86).  How blind can we be?

Viewing the Future in a Mere 80 Pages

The Time Machine is an excellent book, well written and thoroughly gripping. This book is truly an all or nothing read, because once you start reading you simply cannot put it down. The book covers some interesting social topics as well as providing a vision for the future, but not necessarily one of hope. What makes the story so interesting is the third person limited point of view, which forces the reader to question the legitimacy of the story. The epilogue does provide a reassurance that perhaps the events did occur, but it is ultimately up to the reader to decide.

The idea of time travel has always been the dizziest day dream of scientists and writers alike. H. G. Wells takes a stab at the idea with a take that is not altogether outlandish but perhaps original. H. G. Well’s vision of the future is one of a bleak society divided by a deep class divide. There are the Eloi, the privileged upper class, and the Morlocks, the underworld workers, who slave away for the bettering of the life of the Eloi. This class divide shows an interesting vision of the future, and is an interesting comment on the time that the author is writing in. This story leads one to believe that the division of classes is natural, and will still be retained when all other facets of humanity have faded. The author mentions multiple times that all facets of humanity have fallen away as time as progressed, because we no longer need them. While the year 802,701 is rather far away, this is not a promising ideal.

The story is gripping, easily digested, and a light entrance into the Sci-Fi genre. There is very little about this story that is worth criticizing, and overall it is simply an excellent read.

Hope for a Better Future???

I really enjoyed reading The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, a novella about a quirky, headstrong time traveler who defies expectations and ends up getting himself into a gigantic mess of trouble. He involves himself in the year 802, 701 with a group called the Eloi, fragile and beautiful creatures who live on the surface of the Earth. Below the ground, though, lie the Morlocks. The almost albino-looking inhabitants of the underground world who climb up to the surface to hunt for the Eloi after dark and eat them once they’re safely below ground again. This novella focuses on the triumphs and tribulations of the time traveler as he tries to associate and familiarize himself with this new world. One of his most important challenges he faces is when he discovers an Eloi drowning in a river. None of the other Eloi rush to save her because the current is too strong for them to go after her, so the time traveler takes it upon himself to save her from her imminent doom. The two quickly become very close friends and spend the majority of the novella accompanying each other through many other adventures. In my opinion, this is a short book that’s great for both teenagers and adults. It really captivates the potential for a rather morbid future should mankind decide to, more or less, destroy itself. But at least we have the quote from the end of the Epilogue that provides a glimmer of hope, “…when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man”.

The Concept Of Time

H.G. Wells “The Time Machine,” is an extremely detailed and descriptive look at the year 802,701 (and beyond). In his travels, he encounters a world that was completely different from his own, “right down to the flowers,” he states. The new world had no social or economic toil, and he suggests that he should be excited at the idea of social paradise. It was interesting how this new way of living was without hardship and everything the past encompassed. This is what we strive for; the idea of having no worries, yet the Time Traveler has to actively make himself comfortable with the idea. How the Eloi were described was intriguing as well, because of the word “childlike.” I view that time in our lives when we a limited amount of worries or concept of time. In the world of the Eloi, they never have to grow up; there is no need for progression of the species, as it had already reached its peak.

Also, the Time Traveler brought with him what could be looked upon as one of the most primitive developments of man, (the concept of fire), yet this new world has no knowledge of it. I find it ironic, that once the Time Traveler goes to this wondrous, beautiful and apparently untouched world he ends up destroying it. Even with the divide of the Eloi and Morlocks, they lived together for seemingly hundreds of thousands of years before the Time Traveler arrived, and in a matter of days he ravaged part of their land. Not to mention killing one of the Eloi in the process, especially poignant since death was an uncommon occurrence in this world, as they had mastered the art of preventing disease, famine, and decay. In all accounts, their world had become “perfection.”

I found a New Yorker Magazine article by Brad Leithauser entitled “H.G. Well’s Ghost,” and the line “Perfection suggests stasis, and there is no stasis in the medium of time, whose essence is mutation.” In The Time Machine, time itself in the world of the Eloi essentially stood still, but in present day we are constantly consumed with time. How much time we have left, what time it is, where we have to be by a certain time etc. Perhaps because we have not reached our own version of perfection, and only have a limited amount of “time” to achieve it, in our mind. I wonder also if we do achieve the balance (between time and life) we strive for, if the human population (present day) would ever be satisfied.

One other theme that struck me, and I saw in both the “The Machine Stops,” and “The Time Machine” was the essence of silence, when the world around them stops. The stillness at the beach, in the new world, H.G. Wells found hard to convey. This always reminds me of present day black outs, and how the placidity of it can be overwhelming. We are so used to having constant sounds around us, that the calmness of silence can be unnerving.

H.G. Wells does a good job at creating a new world that the reader can easily envision. You can clearly see the differences in the classes (Eloi vs the Morlocks) and how they relate to present day. The Time Machine was an interesting take on how he saw the future, and how the new world it essentially cured itself, but in the process had reverted back to the beginning in regards to technological advancements.

Article Reference

The Time Machine: Bleak Yet Beautiful

In her introduction to The Time Machine, Ursula K. Le Guin ponders whether H.G. Wells was an optimist or a pessimist in his view of the future. Upon a first glance at Wells’ cleverly veiled critique of Victorian capitalism and industrialism, it would be facile to dismiss Wells as a socialistic pessimist who saw absolutely no good in mankind’s industrial progress. When the Time Traveler first finds himself in the world of the Eloi, he imposes upon this world the ideals of perfection that he himself (and perhaps Wells as well) desires to exist within a utopia: equality for all, absence of factories, communistic style of living, and a total conquest over nature. Presently unknown to him is the fact that the problems of this futuristic world are literally buried underground with the Morlocks. So, 800,000 years have passed and man’s intelligence and industrialization has already passed its pinnacle, yet, all of these conquests have culminated in naught as civilization retreats into a primitive form. From this perspective, Wells’ view of man’s future is abysmally bleak, and invoked a sort of hopeless despair within me as a read it.

However, it is impossible to overlook those symbolic withered flowers of hope laying on the table. Hundreds of thousands of years of building up an empire have wiped many species into extinction and presumably altered the entire landscape of the world. Even still, this was not enough to rid the world of compassion. Weena, the only character in the story who is named and not merely known by a moniker, is a testament to the indestructibility of love in a crumbling world. In this aspect, Wells had an optimistic view of the durability of the human condition which served as an interesting and well-crafted contrast to the aforementioned social issues he raised in his dystopia.

So, it appears to me that, while he was certainly critical of society, Wells was far more than just a harbinger of doom. I believe that Wells sees progress not as a skyline full of enormous buildings, but as the growing ability to love wholly and unconditionally. I am certain that it was no small feat for Wells to highlight beauty at the twilight of mankind, but he does this masterfully. Ultimately, it is nearly impossible for me to label Wells as an optimist or a pessimist, as extremely convincing arguments could be made for both sides. Frankly, I do not think this classification matters very much in the end. Wells’ view of the end of time may be utterly confusing and complex, but it is absolutely extraordinary. I would recommend this book to any reader of modern apocalyptic literature to see where many of the genre’s tropes and themes truly began.

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells story of a machine that travels through time was a great introduction to sci-fi for a novice. I went in thinking I would not be able to follow the story line and thought it was going to be totally outside of my realm of thinking. I was wrong. The story actually was interesting and drew me into his idea of what life could be like in the year 802,701. It was actually scary  in his depiction of how two classes of people existed. The Eloi were described as everyone having the same hair cut, dress and mannerism and they were vegetarian. The Morlocks were undressed, bald and could not bear the sunlight, they were seen as evil. It was disturbing that the story focused so strongly on good versus evil.

It’s Gettin Hot in Herr

For fans of the Cli-fi genre, H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” will surely delight and hold their attention as the first-person narrative is written with clear concise high diction articulating, in short-story format, a tale that provokes thought engaging socioeconomic and racial issues, while manifesting a sublime account of climate globalization. The story of “The Time Machine” is told from the perspective of the character “The Time Traveler”; Wells delineates an Earth where Homosapien has evolved into two distinct species: “Eloi” (diurnal surface dwellers) and “Morlocks” (subterranean nocturnal creatures). It is interesting to note, that the term Morlock was also used in Marvel’s X-MEN cartoon, and just like the Morlocks in Wells’ story these Morlocks, too, were subterranean disfigured outcasts. If “The Time Traveler’s” assumptions are to be believed these civilizations may have developed from the present day social classes: the affluent being the “Eloi” and the lower/working class (dominated by minority classes such Blacks and Hispanics) being the “Morlocks.” Infused among this economic, social, political, and racial sub-textual drama and clash of the classes is the threat of global warming. As these new species evolve, so begins the Earth’s reversion and with it Homosapien’s decent into archaic times.

The vast majority of Cli-fi novels/stories have a natural disaster theme of some type of tsunami flooding or snow encapsulation that forces mankind into a survival state; however, Wells’ story takes a distinctively unique approach in touching upon the importance of being conscientious of future negative weather globalization by focusing his narrative on global warming. Wells’ hypothesis on future global warming is a most logical conclusion based on theories and principles developed by Darwin. Wells describes “how much hotter than our own was the weather of the Golden Age. It may be that the sun was hotter, or the earth nearer the sun. It is usual to assume that the sun will go on cooling steadily in the future. But people, unfamiliar with such speculations as those of the younger Darwin, forget that the planets must ultimately fall back one by one into the parent body. As these catastrophes occur, the sun will blaze with renewed energy; and it may be that some inner planet had suffered this fate. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the sun was very much hotter than we know it” (43).

According to “The Time Traveler” and by extension the author Wells, this planetary concave collapse caused an interesting shift in atmospheric pressure in relation to the Earth’s positioning with the sun “the band of light that had indicated the sun long since disappear; for the sun had ceased to set-it simply rose and fell in the west, and grew even broader and more red […] the sun, red and very large, halted motionless upon the horizon, a vast dome glowing with a dull heat, and now and then suffering a momentary extinction […] but it speedily reverted to its sullen red heat. [It is] perceived by this slowing down of its rising and setting that the work of the tidal drag was done. The earth had come to rest with one face to the sun even as in our own time the moon faces the earth […] the sky was no longer blue. North-eastward it was inky black, and out of the blackness shone brightly and steadily the pale white stars. Overhead it was a deep Indian red and starless, and south-eastward it grew brighter to a glowing scarlet where, cut by the horizon, lay the huge hull of the sun, red and motionless […] there were no breakers and no waves, for not a breath of wind was stirring. Only a slight oily swell rose and fell like a gentle breathing, and showed that the eternal sea was still moving and living” (76-77).

Wells further illustrates the effects of a planet consumed in suffocating heat from global warming as he describes the chemical reaction of a lit match in the air of the new atmosphere. The traveler notes how a “flame must be in the absence of man and in the temperate climate. The sun’s heat is rarely strong enough to burn, even when it is focused by dewdrops, as is sometimes the case in more tropical districts. Lightning may blast and blacken, but it rarely gives rise to widespread fire. Decaying vegetation may occasionally smoulder with the heat of its fermentation, but this rarely results in flame. In this decadence, too, the art of fire-making had been forgotten on the earth” (67).

In the end Wells leaves readers with an image of an “abominable desolation that hung over the world. The red eastern sky, the northward blackness, the salt Dead Sea, the stony beach crawling with these foul, slow-stirring monsters, the thin air that hurts one’s lungs; all contributed to an appalling effect. I moved on a hundred years, and there was the same red sun—a little larger, a little duller—the same dying sea, the same chill air, and the same crowd of earthly crustacean creeping in and out among the green weed and the red rocks. And in the westward sky I saw a curved pale line like a vast new moon. So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth’s fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. At last, more than thirty million years hence, the huge red-hot dome of the sun had come to obscure nearly a tenth part of the darkling heavens” (78-79).

Though the Cli-fi medium is not within my particular interest for leisure reading, I would recommend this novel for its sub-textual themes and its ability to evoke thoughtful environmental consciousness. Most climate enthusiasts assume global warming will occur due do man’s deterioration of the ozone layer, but Wells presents a natural warming occurrence based on Darwin’s planetary collapse theory.

An Interesting Expectation of the Future

H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine was an interesting read to say the least. Being from the perspective of somebody other than the time traveler gives the reader a sneaking suspicion that this whole story has been fabricated. The tales of the future seem so incredibly bizarre to the point where I had to question several times if he was indeed still talking about our planet Earth. The Elois and Morlocks being descendants of humans? I understand that he traveled hundreds of thousands of years into the future, but I simply could not comprehend the extreme change in atmosphere and human existence. Are we not supposed to be more advanced in technology and intelligence as time goes on?

Perhaps that was the expectation Wells has for our future, that we are eventually destined to succumb to nothing worth boasting about. Our current motivation which is almost entirely built upon trying to “out do” each other is pointless because our lifestyles and thought processes will eventually become so very simple. He also notes the differences of the future on an atmospheric level, though those concepts are only minutely mentioned and are not given great significance. However, if anybody wanted to take the time out to notice the hotter weather and description of the sun, I’m sure somebody could find a significant meaning to it.

Overall, I don’t think anybody would have a problem getting through this book simply because you would want to know if the time traveler’s tale is at all true. My only warning is to be prepared for some certainly strange occurrences as described by the time traveler.

The Time Machine and It’s Legacy

Since H.G. Wells had his novella The Time Machine published in 1895, there has been a string of adaptations and works that have been inspired by it. Wether it be the 1960 film starring Rod Taylor, a BBC radio production, or a reference on a popular tv show, the reach of this classic science fiction novel seems to never end.

Reading it and having seen the films are completely different experiences, though, as reading the book feels like one man actually telling a story about his travels through time. It wasn’t always an easy read with a severe lack of dialogue for around 70 pages or with overwhelming descriptions of things that didn’t feel too important, like when the Time Traveller was exploring the ruins of a museum that was lost to the impacts of time. Looking past these moments of groan inducing descriptions lies a really important novel to the genre of science fiction, but also to people who may agree that it’s very possible that the world is going to shit.

As cool as it is to just think of the Eloi and the Morlocks as surreal and memorable creations, Wells is also presenting a fairly exaggerated but altogether realistic warning. I didn’t read The Time Machine as a warning involving the climate, but more so as a warning to mankind not to get too comfortable. Many times, the Time Traveller complains that the Eloi have gotten so dumbed down because of their complacency and ridding themselves of disease and work. This has made them weak and childish. I interpreted this novel as Wells’ fears in narrative form that instead of going forward, we will ultimately move backwards, especially considering the track we’re on with the economy, technology, and other sciences.

The Time Machine wasn’t always an entertaining read, but for anyone with any kind of interest in literature, I feel like it’s a necessity. Like E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, it feels very ahead of its time in terms of the lore of the story, but also the opinions of the author and his fears for the future, especially in the early years of technological advancement following the Industrial Revolution.

Living in the Moment

I enjoyed reading The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. It provided an optimistic perspective of how people should view life and more specifically, time. The time traveler explains his theory of time by stating that space has three dimensions: length, breadth and thickness and that time is just a form of space. He continues to say, “There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our conscious moves along it.” In other words, he is trying to convey that we as humans have control over time based on the perspective we choose to hold. The time traveler also presents this idea that time moves fast for most people because, “We are always getting away from the present moment.” I can personally relate to this concept of not living in the present and I think many people can. Often times in life we get so preoccupied thinking forward or in the past that we forget to appreciate what we are going though in that moment. Although it is fiction that people can control the speed of time, it is true that time can appear to go fast or slow depending on a person’s perspective in a particular moment. Therefore, I liked the message that H.G. Wells was trying to send to his reader regarding perspective. H.G. Wells also provided an interesting representation of the future. As the time traveler is going through the future he comes in contact with humanlike creatures. H.G. Wells is making a claim that in our future we will be dehumanized due to the problems that exist in our society, such as our dependence on technology. As a reader, I was left feeling unsettled and confused about this representation of our future. I believe that H.G. Wells was trying to warn his audience that our future is in danger due to the poor decisions that we are making in the present.