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The Time machine Paperback – 20 April 2005
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When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace.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 realises that this 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.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin; 1st edition (20 April 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141439971
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141439976
- Dimensions : 0.86 x 12.88 x 19.71 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 19,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Warnings: mention of suicide, racial slur
The editor has given a very succinct overview on the development of Wells, the writer, from his financial hardship to his later success as a world-historical figure in the early twentieth century. The editor pays special attention to those contemporary writers like Wells who did not come from upper-middle class to whom a classical education was more preferable than a science education. So, at the time, Wells and Haggard, for instance, were subtly slighted by "elitist" writers and critics.
What is so impressive about the introduction is the editor's nuanced analysis on degeneration, a topic that greatly concerns the Victorians. Evolution is not always about becoming better; there is a chance to degenerate. The editor has shown how contemporary writers in the last twenty years of Victorian period expressed their concerns for the gloomy future of humanity.
I also think the editor has greatly enriched the end-notes to the main text, which comes from the first UK edition though other editors use an earlier edition as copy text and emended errors one by one. As Prof Luckhurst says in Explanatory Notes, he has been also indebted to early work by S. Arata, P. Parrinder, ect. He has supplied some findings of his own to elucidate some terms. A wonderful job done!
The flow of ideas is smooth. But on page xxiv, a misplaced subject in a sentence "mis-represents" the intended meaning of his idea: As a science journalist, drama critic, etc, IT is surprising that Well's work... My guess is that the editor is referring to the author rather than the work and so it may be: As a science journalist, a drama critic, WELLS not surprisingly has produced a work that feels like an echo-box of many literary genres...
Very happy to see a renewed interest in Wells as reflected in the long list of books and articles on his works.
I also purchased a Wordsworth Classics edition of another of Wells' stories (actually a 2-in-1) and that includes a more substantial introduction, biography and (relevant!) end notes. I'd recommend you look out for those editions instead.
Again, this book is told from the perspective of telling a story, a first hand first person account, like the previous books that I’ve read by Wells. This just seems like his writing style and why fix something that’s seems to be working. We never really know the main Characters name as he is referred to as The Time Traveller, which I find interesting, even towards the end when I think they’re going to say it, but they just say “Mr...” and stumble the rest.
I did really enjoy this book and it just hooked me from the very beginning, like I said, devouring it in one sitting. I have obviously heard little bits about this books, whether about the film or from The Big Bang Theory, (poor Sheldon) so it was good to finally get this one off my TBR list and see what the fuss is all about. And I had to go for the book of course, rather than the movie.
It is mad to think that this novel, and his other works, were written decades ago and how much of a staple he is in the Science Fiction world. I wonder where he came up with his ideas!
The book itself is a classic, there is no doubt. However, it is a short; only some 125 pages and at about 30,000 words is a novella rather than a novel.
The story involves a 'Time Traveller' who builds a time machine and explains to sceptical dinner party guests his travel forward by some eight hundred thousand or so years to a world where humankind has split into two races, the gentle Eloi living above ground and the subterranean dwelling Morlocks. The themes explore how human society and evolution may interact to create these two separate races. An interesting and no doubt radical and groundbreaking work of its time, however modern scientists may question the credibility.
There is a single short chapter towards the end where the Time Traveller goes forward to the end of the Earth as the sun dies - only some 30 million years hence, which is a much shorter time than modern science predicts.
Good to have read it, although inevitably dated.