I've moved bookishwhimsy.com to tumblr! This blog is now an archive of my past posts.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: The Time Machine

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , ,
The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells

Plot Summary:

“I’ve had a most amazing time....”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him the reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. 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. Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.

Review:

This is a seminal work of science fiction and one that is surprisingly effective given the brevity of the book.  The Time Traveller tells his tale to a group of his friends - and it is interesting how every character in his time is labeled by their profession and not by name.  Except for the narrator who is never named at all.  The story is wrapped in thought-provoking speculation on the nature of mankind and because the Time Traveller works to understand why mankind has seemingly evolved into the two races he sees in the future, the reader is treated to a discourse on the nature of man's intellect, the need for fear and hardship and the possible outcome of a real utopia.  It's rather a disheartening story when you think of how H. G. Wells visualized the future.  But so readable and engaging - especially seeing how the Time Traveller uses his ingenuity to get back to his time.

There's little in the way of character development - the focus is on the narrative and the world-building and the cleverness of the story.  And while it's possible that the story could have delved more into the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks, the believability of the story is maintained because the Time Traveller is more concerned about getting back to his time and away from danger than really recording future history.  So while this story seems very sketch-like, there's so much ingenuity in the main character and in the story that it more than makes up for it.

The actual descriptions of the fourth dimension - time - was a highlight for me.  I loved how possible the author made time travel seem.  And how simple it seemed too, with the comparisons to how we perceive the three dimensions.  If only it were that easy!  This is a wonderful, short read, and so full of incident and mystery inherent in discovering what the future holds.


Share this post: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr
Scroll Up

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Oh good, I think this is one of those books everyone should read because it's so influential, especially about time travel! And it's short so it's easy to get through.

      Delete
  2. I need to read this book soon. I am intrigued but the whole subject!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the time travel element is really interesting, as well as the author's ideas for our future!

      Delete
  3. I've never read this book (that I can remember), but I've always meant to! H.G. Well was the first true sci-fi writer. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, after this I definitely need to read more of H.G Wells' work! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Considering how much I adore sci-fi, I'm ashamed to say I've never read anything by him (as far as memory serves me). This is a good chance for me to get to know his works and I think Time Machine is a great place for me to start! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, although this is my first work by him too, I think The Time Machine is a great place to start. Oh no wait, I did read The Invisible Man which was also good, but I don't remember it as much. I'm surprised it's taken me this long to read this book too actually!

      Delete
  5. I read this book years ago and remember loving it, but I'm actually a little fuzzy on the details. It's on my TBR list, so I will get around to reading someday soon. Do you think H.G. Wells addressed the group by their profession rather than a name to suggest the group was society and they each represented some stereotype? I'm just guessing here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking that actually- by naming the characters by their professions, it seemed like he was pointing out certain stereotypes associated with each job. And the writer was the only one who was really open-minded and sensible, so that seems suggestive. Ah I really should have expanded on that comment in my review! I'm glad you are planning to reread this book- it seems like a book that would be good to revisit later and see how your perspective on the ideas in it have changed!

      Delete
  6. Read this a long while ago and enjoyed it! Also loved how the author conveyed the concept of time travel. Speaking of time travel though, when are you going to write that story about time traveling princesses??

    (Every time I remind you to write it I end up wanting to write it myself hahaha)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, well time is relative so maybe I've already written it? (Yeah, I don't really know if that's actually a feasible statement. ) But I really should write it! :D And again, I have no problem with you writing it, it would be fun to read your take on it!!

      Delete
  7. This sounds so neat, especially the descriptions of the fourth dimension and that the narrator isn't named (and now my brain's going, "well, technically, we never learned the Doctor's name either...")! :) Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, wow, I didn't even make a Doctor Who connection! Now I'm thinking of a fanfic where the main character in this book is actually the Doctor with amnesia or something and he kinda remembers how time machines work. :D

      Delete
  8. I have always wanted to read this.. and your review makes me want to read it even more. I am interested in HG Wells' books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think HG Wells has such interesting ideas, it's definitely worth it to read them!

      Delete