While I am not in the habit of rereading novels from my childhood, I recently chose to start some novels by my first science fiction authors, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. I had not intended to read "The Time Machine" again but since it was packaged with "When the Sleeper Awakens" and "A Story of Days to Come", and included the complete novel which I may or may not have read in seventh grade I said "Why Not". I am glad I did because while I could remember the tale of the Morlocks and the Eloi, I had not made the connection of what a critical piece it was for literary science fiction. I now more fully understand the brilliance of Harlan Ellison's New Wave retelling of the story in "A Boy and His Dog" and the centrality of it to Margaret Atwood's "Maddaddam Trilogy". Both stories and so many, many other SF stories are grounded and reinterpret in this tale from the beginnings of the genre and its original in Modernist literature.
Wells' can also achieve a poignancy in his writing that I overlooked in my youth:
"But to me the future is still black and blank - is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his story. And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers - shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle - to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man."
I have reviewed "When the Sleeper Awakens" elsewhere and highly recommend it for its exuberance and continuing insightfulness. "A Story of Days to Come" is set in the same milieu but pales to the original work and fails to meet the wit found within Austen's characterization of Marianne Dashwood's love life in "Sense and Sensibility" which Wells' attempts to update from a Victorian perspective.
Overall as they say "Two out of three ain't bad"...
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Flame Tree Publishing (1 June 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857756818
- ISBN-13: 978-0857756817
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 81.6 g
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