by H. G. Wells
“We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existence, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave.”
—The Time Traveller
Okay, let me start off by stating quite frankly that I am not very fond of time travel. I would not like to discuss its scientific plausibility; it is far beyond my realm of expertise.
However, if popular science fiction is any indicator, it would probably cause quite a lot of trouble. Just refer to Flashpoint, and you will see what I mean.
H. G. Wells is, along with Jules Verne, often considered the Father of Science Fiction, responsible for coining the term “time-machine”, and the subsequent popularisation of the entire concept of time-travel.
Considering the fact that it was published in 1895, the scientific and logical accuracy of his work makes it all the more impressive.
The story begins in Victorian England, with the protagonist, only referred to as the Time Traveller, discussing the concepts of time, and how one can travel through it.
Thereafter, he uses his new invention, the eponymous Time Machine, to travel into the distant future, where modern human civilisation has collapsed, and humanity itself has been divided into two separate specifies: the small, weak and fairly lame Eloi, and the big, bestial and almost just as lame Morlocks.
It is difficult to go into much detail of the plot of what is actually just a 120-page long book, the perfect length for a single sitting. This makes sure that the reader’s attention never wavers from the story, making it feel like a short but unforgettable trip into the future.
The narrative, for most part, is driven by the Time Traveller, who serves as the first-person narrator to the entire part of the book involving time-travel. The introduction and the epilogue, however, are narrated by an unnamed narrator, who leaves the book completely open-ended. The book has, therefore, spawned several unauthorised sequels.
And, for a book that small, it is baffling how many themes it explores. For instance, the plight of the Eloi can either be attributed to the Victorian decadence, wherein the privileged classes need neither strength nor intelligence to survive, while that of Morlocks can be seen as the direct consequence of capitalism, where the working classes gradually devolve into brutish beasts.
Apart from sociology part of it, considering evolutionary biology, Wells’ native field of study, the eventual stratification of humans does make sense…
When a book is as influential as this, not to mention as short and as interesting, one really cannot afford to miss it.
You can find the book here.
Do read it. Even if you are not a big fan of the genre, the book will anyway run out of pages before you even realise.
And yes, movie adaptations do exist, but I did not like them, so if you do choose to watch it, you are on your own.
Well, that is all for today…