Thursday, April 21, 2011



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?


  1. I've not read The Time Machine but I have read The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr. Moreau and loved both. Wells is a great writer, he has such an imagination.

  2. I recently read my first Wells (The Island of Dr. Moreau) and loved it (review to come soon on my blog)! He was so great at highlighting societal problems and also scarring you out of your wits. Can’t wait to read more of his stuff :)

  3. I think when reading any of Wells' works nowadays the term "suspend belief" is apt!My favourite Wells novel is war of the worlds and my favourite rendition of it is the Jeff Wayne album of 1978 narrated by Richard Burton.I still have it in the original vinyl!
    Now whilst writing this my spaghettisauce has stuck to the bottom of the pan...grrr...OK I can't multitask!

  4. +JMJ+

    I don't know about humanity having passed its prime (or the corollary that we will never be able to recreate it), but I've thought for some time that the world we live in already is a dystopia. I'll bet that an average representative of every time period in history would be more appalled by our era than to all other eras given to them to evaluate.

  5. That's an interesting comment Enbrethiliel. It does seem like our world is in pretty bad shape, but I wonder if people in every era feel like they have it the worst. Most dystopian writers often seem to be talking about the behavior of people in their own age.


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