The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Narrator: Simon Vance
Published by AmazonClassics on August 22, 2017 (first published May 7, 1895)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction, Classic
Length: 3 hrs 19 mins
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

A scientist and gentleman inventor in industrialized Victorian England claims to have irrefutable proof that time is not simply a concept - it's a whole other dimension. When he reveals the prototype of a time-traveling machine to his peers, he's met with skepticism at first...until he returns one week later, disheveled, bloody, and with a fantastic story to tell.

A cornerstone of speculative science fiction, The Time Machine launched the time-traveling genre, influenced generations of writers, and is recognized as a prescient vision of twenty-first-century fears - those of an impending environmental nightmare and the irreversible fate of a dying planet.

Apparently I had no idea what The Time Machine was about, aside from the obvious of course. The Time Traveler has invented a machine that can go into the past or travel into the future, but of course his friends, who he has dinner with weekly, don’t believe him. However, the next week, he shows up late to his own dinner party looking ragged and disheveled and tells his friends an incredible story of traveling into the distant future. 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.  He also tells of going even farther and seeing the dying planet.

On the one hand, it’s an interesting exploration of class and societal evolution. It’s the first story to popularize time travel and the image of the dying earth, not the one of the Eloi and Morlocks, but of the giant crabs on the barren beach, will stick with me.

However, I didn’t care about any of the characters. As a matter of fact, the Time Traveler annoyed me more than anything: his superior attitude, his self-centered relationship with Weena, an Eloi he rescued from drowning. Maybe part of the reason is the story is so short. Wells crams a lot in, but I think the focus is more on the theories than the story.

I appreciate The Time Machine for how innovative it was, but it’s not one I’ll want to re-read.

About H.G. Wells

Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called a “father of science fiction”, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. During his own lifetime, however, he was most prominent as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. A futurist, he wrote a number of utopian works and foresaw the advent of airplanes, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the world wide web. His science fiction imagined time travel, alien invasion, invisibility, and biological engineering. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.

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