Thursday, April 21, 2011
THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells
A man travels through time in a machine.
Wells' novella explores the brief, but extraordinary journey of an unnamed man more than 800,000 years into the future. Unlike many time travel stories in which travelers encounter future humans with highly advanced technology and social problems, Wells brings his time traveler all the way to a point in time when the human species has split and evolved into new forms.
The Time Traveler expects to find a higher form of man, but he overshoots the mark and finds humankind in decline. He observes the weakness and desolation of civilization in its twilight years. His vision of the future is sobering and mildly disappointing. He tries to deduce the path that man took to reach this point, even as he struggles to preserve his own future.
This was the first time I've read this piece, although I was already familiar with the classic story. Wells' story is brief, but he raises interesting questions about the paths society could take in the coming millennia. Perhaps his most interesting observation is of the weakness that results when people are no longer challenged to survive in their daily lives.
H.G. Wells society
Free Kindle edition. I recently went on a free books downloading binge, so expect more classics soon.
Do you think Wells' vision of the future is plausible? Do you think humanity has passed its prime already?