Monday 10 September 2018

Reviewing the Classics #11 The Time Machine

Goodreads Summary:

A Victorian scientist and inventor creates a machine
for propelling himself through time, and voyages to the
 year AD 802701, where he discovers a race of
humanoids called the Eloi. Their gently indolent way
of life, set in a decaying cityscape, leads the scientist
to believe that they are the remnants of a once
great civilization.

He is forced to revise this assessment when he
comes across the cave dwellings of threatening
ape-like creatures known as Morlocks,
whose dark underground world he must explore
to discover the terrible secrets of this fractured society,
and the means of getting back to his own time.

After being invited by Gone Rogue to review their performance of The Time Machine (review on that will be coming very soon!) I thought I would reread the book. I remember reading The Time Machine in school, but as that was ten years ago (wow am I really that old?) I thought I would read it again and share my thoughts on it!
H.G Wells created the idea of the time machine. Without this book, Doctor Who and Back to the Future probably wouldn't exist, and really where would we be without time travelling Deloreans and Police Boxes? The book follows The Time Traveller, a man who's name we never actually learn. I loved this idea of keeping him anonymous, as it made him even more strange and mysterious. After successfully creating a time machine, The Time Traveller tests it out by travelling forward  to the year 802'701, where he discovers that humans are no longer what they used to be.

This is a short book that is packed with action and adventure. I’m a huge fan of time travel stories and different interpretations of what the future will be like. Something that I do find with time travel stories is that they can get confusing, so I was surprised with how simple the time travel aspects were in this book. I was grateful that there were no time paradoxes or characters meeting their future selves, which seem to have been created later on to confuse us.

I found it interesting that there weren’t many characters. Apart from The Time Traveller and Weena, an Eloi who he saves from drowning, no other characters are properly developed. The story is definitely plot driven rather than character driven, which with the book being so short works out perfectly. The story strives to tell us what will become of the human race if we don’t change our ways.

The political messages were interesting, especially the power structure between the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Time Traveller theorises that humanities desire for an easy and simple life has made their bodies small and weak, and they have forgotten how to do simple tasks such as making fire. The Time Traveller believes that the Eloi used the Morlocks to serve them, and forced them to labour underground, where their eyes became sensitive to the light, but were able to see in the dark. I loved the idea of the Morlocks becoming the strong ones, and rebelling against the Eloi, as with nothing constructive to do, the Eloi’s minds and bodies became weak. Although The Time Traveller sympathises with the Eloi, and shows the Morocks as terrifying, cannibalistic creatures, it was the Eloi who were the original enemies and brought their fate upon themselves. It made me wonder if The Time Travellers theories were true, and what the Morlock’s version of their history might be.

I loved the end of the story, as The Time Traveller went even further into the future where humans seemed to no longer exist at all. However there are still signs of life millions of years into the future, including giant crab-like creatures. I loved the idea that there would always be some sort of life on Earth even when the Earth itself was starting to die. I think we have all wondered what the end of the world would be like, so it was interesting to see H.G Wells’ interpretation. I loved that The Time Traveller was still curious about the future despite everything he had gone through. I also loved how The Time Traveller’s fate is up to interpretation, as he never actually returns to his own time after telling the narrator that he would prove his time machine worked. Not knowing what became of him made him even more mysterious.

I enjoyed this book and feel that it would be a good choice for anyone wanting a quick and action-packed read. It is short and to the point, and none of the scenes drag on as they tend to do in some other classics. I definitely want to read more of Well’s work in the future!

The Time Machine is now available to purchase!

 Alma Classics  | Amazon Book Depository 

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