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This short story established one of the standard plots of science fiction, time travel

  • Dec 1, 2010
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H. G. Wells was both an incredibly gifted science visionary as well as an intelligent social commentator. Those two skills are combined in this book, which soundly set the stage for the use of time travel as a primary plot device for science fiction stories. It also served to create the concept of class warfare leading to a significant separation between the workers and the capitalists. This went against the common belief that progress would continue largely unabated.
 The time traveler moves 800,000 years into the future and he expects to find a utopia of beauty and social order. However, he experiences a dystopia of sorts where the human population has split into the beautiful and childlike Eloi and the ugly Morlocks. The Eloi are the descendants of the propertied class, they have lost almost all intellectual function and are roughly at the level of the five-year-old child. The Morlocks are the descendants of the workers, live underground and use the Eloi as food. 
 Time has tempered the significance of class warfare in industrial societies so the modern reader may not understand how strong a force it was when this story was written. Wells does a superb job of using the tool of science fiction to make a powerful and relevant commentary on how society was separating into two antagonistic groups. That point is often lost by people that concentrate on the science fiction aspects of the story.


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More The Time Machine (book) reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
H. G. Wells was a crusader of his time, with a leaning toward socialism and social equality. With this tidbit of information, it's interesting to see how The Time Machine was both a hope of utopia and a picture of a seemingly inevitable dystopia.      Our time traveler is an amateur scientist who tells an amazing tale to his friends, weekly gatherers at his home for dinner and discussion. He makes a claim to have visited a distant future (in the film, at least, the year …
Quick Tip by . January 12, 2011
One of the first HG Wells books I read, then I went out and bought more. Not modern, but definitely intriguing.
Quick Tip by . November 06, 2010
I really want to read more Wells. A friend once told me thinking of a future that is so vastly different from ours is terrifying.
review by . July 01, 2010
As a big fan of H.G Wells I had to pick this up after reading The War of the Worlds. It's not as long but it's just as good. Once again I really enjoy the Victorian mentality applied to futuristic technology although whereas space travel is now a real possibility so we can see where Wells went 'wrong', this time the subject of time travel is just as much of an impossibility now as it was when Wells wrote it.      The actual specifics of time travel are not really …
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
A haunting tale of past, present and future. Who will forget the Eloi/Morlocks and the far-future cancer-beast on the shores of humanity's sunset?
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
I've never been much for Sci-Fi, but this is one of the few books I have read more than once. So entertaining with a draw for everyone.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Beware the Morlocks,they live among us today !!
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
A classic book but may seem a bit uninteresting at times.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Classic that was written when this was so much more fanciful than today. Truly enjoyable.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Definitely goes against the blind enthusiasm for our future, a trendsetting in sci-fi.
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #76
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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