The Time Machine
Date and publisher of this edition
Dent, London, 1985
Special reason for choosing this book
My theme is sciencefiction, because I like that genre. This book was suggested in Eldorado for the theme sciencefiction.
The Time Traveller tells his theory about time travelling. No one of the listeners really believes him. A week later the same people, and two others have a dinner again. The Time Traveller isn't there. During the dinner he enters the room, dirty and wounded. He changes clothes, eats something (he's starving) and then he tells about his journey into the future.
In the year 802,701 there are two kinds of 'people': the Eloi and the Morlocks (the enemies of the Eloi). The Time Traveller has a lot of wrong theories about these two kinds. His main theory is that everything is so perfectly secure, that the Upper-worlders (the Eloi) slowly degenerated. In 802,701 they are small human-like creatures with a strange language, which eat only fruits. They are terribly afraid of the dark. This is because of the Morlocks. They are white, ape-like creatures, which live in tunnels and only go out them when it's dark. The Morlocks have huge eyes to be able to see in the dark.
The Time Traveller goes investigate the surroundings. Then his Time Machine is lost! He thinks it has been taken away by the Morlocks and put underneath a pedestal of a White Sphinx, but he can't open it. The Eloi aren't very interested in him anymore, but when he saves Weena, a young Eloi, the two of them become friends. She follows him everywhere and gives him flowers. When the Time Traveller is investigating the tunnels of the Morlock, he is captured. He manages to escape and ends up in some kind of museum. There he tries to find some explosives to blow up the pedestal, but he finds only some campher, some matches and an iron bar. The Time Traveller and Weena go to the White Sphinx, but on the way Weena faints. He stops and makes a fire. It is night and Morlocks are nearby. They start fighting, but suddenly the Morlocks run frightened away. This is because of a huge forest-fire. In his attempt to escape to the White Sphinx the Time Traveller looses Weena.
Surprisingly, the pedestal is opened. Within is a small apartment, and there he finds the Time Machine. Morlocks try to stop him, but he manages to escape in the Time Machine.
In stead of going back to the time he came from, the Time Traveller goes further into the future. In the far future the sun is huge and red and the Earth doesn't rotate anymore. The Earth is inhabited by huge crabs and butterflies. The crabs attack him, and then the Time Traveller goes again further into the future. Then he comes back to the time he came from.
He tells his story, and shows two flowers Weena gave him. The next day he got into his Time Machine again, and three years later he still hasn't returned…
Most intriguing characters
- The Time Traveller: his name isn't mentioned. He is a scientist, who discovers a machine to travel through time. He goes to the year 802,701, where he tries to learn the language of the Eloi. He becomes friends with Weena, an Eloi, after he rescues her from drowning. Then he travels even further into the future. He returns, and after telling about his experiences in the future, he leaves again in the Time Machine and still hasn't returned after three years.
- Weena: she is an Eloi, a human-like being, 4 feet tall. Weena is very young, a child, and when she's rescued by the Time Traveller, she follows him everywhere and gives him flowers. She is lost in the forest-fire, so probably she died there.
Most of the story takes place in the future, in 802,701 to be exact. The Time Traveller goes even further into the future, but there are no dates mentioned. The historical time, when he is telling about his experiences, takes place at the end of the nineteenth century, I think, because the book was written in that time.
The story takes place in London. This is quite important, because there are many references to the valley of the Thames etc.
Narrator and point of view
The narrator is a first-person. This person is listening to the Time Traveller, and at the end he (or maybe she, who knows?) is thinking about the plausibility of the Time Traveller's story. He (or she) is the only one who more or less believes what the Time Traveller told.
The theme is how the future will look in 800,000 years. In this book there is the human civilization over its zenith, and the too perfect security led to a slow movement of degeneration.
Sciencefiction, it shows an image of the world in the far future, from the point of view of the author.
Herbert George Wells was born on 21 september 1866. He started studying biology in 1884 and became a teacher. Since 1893 he started writing, partly because of his poor health. There are three main groups in his writings: sciencefiction (like The Time Machine, The invisible man, War Of The Worlds), humoristic and realistic, sometimes semi-autobiografical, novels (like Kipps, The History of Mr Polly) and prophetic utopias (like Open Conspiracy). He also wrote a great number of short stories (like The country of the blind).
The Time Machine has a bit disappointed me. I expected a lot more of it. I didn't feel anything while reading the book, only a little disgust at the part where the Time Traveller 'felt little teeth nipping at his neck'.
The language usage was very long-winded, and the many wrong theories of the Time Traveller about the Eloi and the Morlocks were a bit annoying too. I mean, he is telling his story afterwards, so he knows which one is the right theory. Why then bothering the reader with them? At the end of the book the story became more thrilling. The description of the world in the future, I think, is quite well. Especially the description of the far future, when the sun has become a red giant and the Earth doesn't rotate anymore.
In The Time Machine Wells shows what can happen if everything is too perfect. If there are no diseases, enough food and everything, the human race could degenerate. It is not longer necessary to be intelligent or tall to survive, so the Elois in the book are small, not very intelligent creatures. I think this is a fascinating point of view. I hadn't looked at the future this way, but it is possible indeed, that when technology has reached its top, and everything is safe and under control, we will slowly go back to less sophisticated beings.
I think the story is very long-winded. This may be because of that the story is one big monologue of the Time Traveller, except for the first chapters and the last chapters. There were lots of words in it I did not know, but that wasn't much of a problem.
The meaning of the writer, telling his view of humanities future, is quite clear. Almost too clear, one might say. Nearly every page there is a theory about the Elois and the Morlocks, mostly with terms as communism and aristocracy in it. It's quite clear Wells is against aristocracy.
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