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The Time Machine (Enriched Classics…

The Time Machine (Enriched Classics (Pocket)) (original 1895; edition 2011)

by H.G. Wells

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12,983259285 (3.72)712
Title:The Time Machine (Enriched Classics (Pocket))
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:Atria Books (2011), Kindle Edition, 180 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (1895)

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Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
I can’t say that I actually enjoyed The Time Machine by H. G. Wells but the fact that it was originally published in 1895 and is one of the first books to explore the theory of time travel gives this short novel a special place in history.

The story is of a Victorian scientist who creates a time machine and travels to the year AD 802701, where he discovers a childlike race of humanoids called the Eloi. They live in a decaying city which leads the scientist to believe these are the remnants of a great civilization. He then must change his theory when he meets the Morlocks, who are threatening ape-like creatures that live in the dark underground. The narrative reads much like a critique of the class system that was prevalent in Britain at that time bringing together Wells love of both science and politics.

The Time Machine paints a rather bleak future for mankind but it does have a very dated feel to it so I never took the story very seriously. The invented machine also had sounded quite dated and downright uncomfortable, having the traveller seated out in open exposed to the weather and other dangers. But before one writes off this story, one should remember the countless stories of time travel that have followed, and each story owes H. G. Wells a tip of the hat. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Nov 23, 2018 |

The Time Machine is a true classic. Originally published in 1895, H. G. Wells’ short novel of time travel is one of the most beloved works in all of science fiction. Back when I was a twelve-year-old, I vividly recall watching the 1960 film with Mom and Dad at the local movie house. Traveling through time with the turn of the century scientist as he encounters first the Eloi and then the Morlocks proved to be among my most powerful childhood experiences.

As I’m sure was the case with thousands of viewers, after reading the short novel, I discovered the book was actually better than the movie. I just did do a reread and my judgement is confirmed – the book is truly outstanding, worth a read or reread by both those new to science fiction as well as avid fans of the genre. SF Masterworks wisely published the novel as a stand-alone and also combined with the author’s The War of the Worlds.

The tale is told as a frame story, that is, the narrator is one of five guests in the home of a British gentleman referred to as the Time Traveller. One evening the Time Traveller shares his ideas about time and space and then displays a model of a device the size of a small clock he claims can move through time. After the Time Traveller places the finely crafted model on his desk next to his lamp and flips a switch, all the guests are astonished when the little time machine vanishes.

At their next meeting, the guests are taken aback when the Time Traveller enters the room pale, scrapped and his clothes dusty and dirty. He then proceeds to recount his extraordinary experience in the last eight days, an experience mostly focusing on his encounters in the far distant future, in the year 802,701 A.D.

Firstly, next to a large white sphinx, he is surrounded by a band of small, frail, beautiful, graceful people all with curly hair and wearing tunics and sandals. He soon learns they live communally in one buildings and are strict vegetarians eating only a curious futuristic fruit.

Such a future race prompts the Time Traveller (and indirectly the author) to pose a number of philosophic questions: Is this close resemblance of men and women a consequence of there being no need for physical force or to protect themselves from beasts or enemies? Why the sameness in all these people he comes to know as the Eloi (children simply miniatures of adults)? Is individuality a thing of the past? What are the reasons for their lack of curiosity and absence of any written language? What accounts for the apparent dearth of struggle and suffering? Is all what he's seeing the inevitable result of the elimination of class and rank? However, as he acknowledges, his general assumptions about the circumstances of their lives proves to be inaccurate.

But then it happens: he discovers his Time Machine is gone. Who moved it? Where is it now? This is but the first in a series of additional shocks: the Time Traveller recognizes, although they spend their days eating and chatting together, dancing and playing and having casual sex, the Eloi lack any deep feelings for one another. This stark fact is brought home when he watches a helpless woman carried down the river and not one of the Eloi comes to her rescue. Undaunted, the Time Traveller pulls her out of the water. Her name is Weena, and she and the Time Traveller subsequently form an emotional bond.

The most shocking revelation: there is a second race inhabiting this future world, a larger, more ferocious race with white fur and blazing eyes, a race living with their machines under the earth: the Morlocks. Thus the plot quickly thickens. The more the Time Traveller grasps the dynamics of this future world, the more sinister and disturbing. Is all this, he muses, the inevitable outcome of the division of class, the idle aristocrats on one side and the laboring commoners on the other?

His philosophic assumptions about a future society have been shattered. After all, he didn’t bring any provisions with him on his time travel since he assumed future peoples would maintain and expand science and technology thereby furnishing him with any needs he might have for things like medicine or clothing. And to think, he also took it for granted there would be one and only one future race of humans. Who would have guessed the human race would split in two?

With the appearance of the Morlocks, Wells’ tale kicks into one of high adventure. Along the way, the Time Traveller battles the Morlocks with an iron club and that most decisive part of human development: fire. Weena places two white flowers in his trouser pocket, flowers he eventually shows his five guests upon his return to Victorian England, flowers that serve as material evidence his time travel is fact not fiction.

Also worth noting: the Time Traveller reports even more distant future times. One particular account of a race of kangaroo-like brutes that have evolved from future humans was deemed too disturbing and cut by the author’s editors. Yet even without this specific inclusion, what the Time Traveler sees is truly remarkable.

A classic work of science fiction not to be missed.

British author H. G. Wells, 1866 - 1946

“So, as I see it, the Upperworld man had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the Underworld to mere mechanical industry. But that perfect state had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection—absolute permanency. Apparently as time went on, the feeding of an Underworld, however it was effected, had become disjointed. Mother Necessity, who had been staved off for a few thousand years, came back again, and she began below. The Underworld being in contact with machinery, which, however perfect, still needs some little thought outside habit, had probably retained perforce rather more initiative, if less of every other human character, than the Upper. And when other meat failed them, they turned to what old habit had hitherto forbidden." - H. G. Wells, The Time Machine
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
"Consider I have been speculating upon the destinies of our race until I have hatched this fiction." Indeed, in this early piece of speculative fiction, the Time Traveller goes into the far future to find the human race degenerated into two weak and low intelligence species. He speculates that humanity have reached a point where all needs were met and all dangers were eliminated, which lead to decline in both physical and mental capabilities. Wells extends the prevailing ideas of Darwinism and contemporary social trends into the far future. He also explores the idea of visiting Earth after the sun has gone out and witnessing the regression of the planet's life into crustaceans.

Interesting from the point of view of literary history, but it is a dated, dreary read, although mercifully short. His ideas are thought-provoking but it feels like you have to drudge through awkward descriptions and rambling monologues to get to them. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
I'm trying to read some of the books that have such an influential impact, and I figure this might be one of them. If you already have a vague idea of a book because pop culture has mentioned it so much, then yes, it's probably influential. Maybe it was the unique yet diverse ideas that Wells had for each of his early books that made them influential. Also, Wells as a scientist probably made these books important, influencing his ideas and giving him the motivation to write them. I liked 'The Time Machine' much better than I thought. I never knew there was more than the Morlocks in the plot before reading. I loved all of the time traveler's ruminations on what might have happened to the earth and human beings through time. I especially loved the visions while the time traveler is in the time machine. The book reminded me of 'At the Mountains of Madness' by Lovecraft. And it also seems like the yin to the yang of Journey to the Center of the Earth' by Jules Verne but I don't want to spoil the plots by saying why. I love all three of these books... they should all be on the shelf side by side. ( )
  booklove2 | Aug 29, 2018 |
I thought a re-read of this seminal science fiction work was long overdue, as I hadn't read it for nearly 20 years. It deserves all the accolades it has received. It is a taut and crisp narrative of only a little over 100 pages, but within it contains many of the basic science fiction and time travel ideas that have formed a huge part of subsequent literature, film and ŧelevision; plus reflective parallels on class divisions and hostility in contemporary late Victorian Britain. A novel of ideas par excellence; it is of no importance that we never find out the Time Traveller's name. ( )
  john257hopper | Aug 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
Without question The Time Machine is the best piece of writing. It will take its place among the great stories of our language. Like all excellent works it has meanings within its meaning and no one who has read the story will forget the dramatic effect of the change of scene in the middle of the book, when the story alters its key, and the Time Traveller reveals the foundation of slime and horror on which the pretty life of his Arcadians is precariously and fearfully resting...

The Arcadians had become as pretty as flowers in their pursuit of personal happiness. They had dwindled and would be devoured because of that. Their happiness itself was haunted. Here Wells’s images of horror are curious. The slimy, the viscous, the foetal reappear; one sees the sticky, shapeless messes of pond life, preposterous in instinct and frighteningly without mind. One would like to hear a psychologist on these shapes which recall certain surrealist paintings; but perhaps the biologist fishing among the algas, and not the unconscious, is responsible for them.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Statesman, V.S. Pritchett

» Add other authors (139 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, H. G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arvan, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Auer, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bear Canyon CreativeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crofts, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Michele, RossanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, Paul E.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayes, BernardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLean, StevenNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, JosephIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oliva , RenatoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagetti, CarloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrinder, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Priestley, J. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reney, AnnieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warner, MarinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmerman, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

The Time Machine / The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine / The War of the Worlds / The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds / The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H. G. Wells by H. G. Wells

The treasury of science fiction classics by Harold W. Kuebler

The Time Machine / The Man Who Could Work Miracles by H. G. Wells

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The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.
It is a law of nature we overlook, that intellectual versatility is the compensation for change, danger, and trouble.
Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness.
Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change. Only those animals partake of intelligence that have to meet a huge variety of needs and dangers.
I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort and ease, a balanced society with security and permanency as its watchword, it had attained its hopes—to come to this at last. Once, life and property must have reached almost absolute safety. The rich had been assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler assured of his life and work. No doubt in that perfect world there had been no unemployed problem, no social question left unsolved. And a great quiet had followed.
He, I know—for the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine was made—thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilisation only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as though it were not so.
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Book description
When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year a.d. 802,701, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment, and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realizes that these beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture—now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity—the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist’s time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels if he is ever to return to his own era.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451528557, Mass Market Paperback)

“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 the 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.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:17 -0400)

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The first and greatest portrayal of time travel is printed with a newly established text, a full biographical essay on Wells, a list of further reading, and detailed notes.

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4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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