The Time Machine

"The Time Machine" was written by H.G.Wells,who was born in Bromley, Kent in 1866, to a working class family.His mother worked as a maid and housekeeper.
After working as a draper’s apprentice and pupil - teacher, he won a schoolarship to the "Normal School of Science" in South Kensington, where he began to write.The first published work appeared in May 1887 in the Science Schools Journal - "A Tale of the Twentieth Century". After his studies he worked in poverty in London as a cramer and published his first book "A Textbook of Biology" (1893), which was to remain in print for over forty years. Wells had been in print as a professional writer, since 1891 when the FOTNIGHTLY REVIEW published his article "The Rediscovery of the Unique". He lived on his writing in those times. But not until he published his first novel "The Time Machine" (1895) did his literary career start.
H.G.Wells died in London, on 13thAugust 1946 at the age of 79 years, after having survived the First and Second World War.

Published :
It's an EVERYMAN Book, published by J.M.Dent, and edited by John Lawton in 1995. It was first published on paperback by J.M.Dent in Everyman’s Library 1935.The first publication as book was 1895 by Heinemann in Britain and in the USA by Holt.

Type of book:
It is a science fiction novel about the Victorian future which is more than a fantastical yarn. It raises chilling questions about progress, social orders, so called civilisation and the ultimate fate of the world. It tells the story from the present until the end of our sun - system, a cold, almost lifeless earth with a dying sun.
Wells wrote this novel mainly because Charles Darwin published and proved his theory of Evolution, which was the greatest scientific rumpus since the trial of Galileo. Although the theory shocked society, and Wells had created another "prove" with "The Time Machine", he got positive critics like:
"The Time Machine - considered by the majority of scientific readers to be Mr. Wells’s best work" - Nature Magazine.
"The Time Machine - A new thing under the sun" - The Daily Chronicle.

It's a story about evolution brought to the reader as an adventure of an old scientist, who has invented a time machine. Although Wells doesn’t tell the reader the names of the Victorian scientist and the Narrator, he creates a personal relationsip with the reader, which is very difficult and proves again that H.G.Wells is one of the best writers.
The Time Traveller lives in a house in London, in Richmond. In the cellar he has his laboratory, his workshop, where he invents a miniature and a full - size time machine. The Time Traveller shows his disbelieving dinner guests a device he claims is a Time Machine.
In real time a week later the dinner guests visit the Time Traveller again, but instead of a settled old man they find him raged, exhausted and garrulous. The tale he tells is of the year 802,701 AD of life as it is lived on exactly the same spot, what once had been London.He has visited the future, he has encountered the future - race - elfin, beautiful, vegetarian, helpless, leading a life of splendid idleness.
But this is not the only race, these are not our only descendants. In the tunnels beneath the new Eden there lurks another life form.
The end of the book is open because the Time Traveller disappears in front of the eyes of the Narrator and hasn’t come back for three years although he said he’ll need only half an hour for his journey.

The most important persons:

The Time Traveller: He is an old but lively grey - eyed man who usually has a pale face. He is very learned and wise.The Time Traveller is as reliable as all inventors of new things that weren’t proved properly. He thinks un - happyly of the Advancement of Mankind, and sees in the growing pile of civilisation only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end.
The Narrator: He is one of the most constant guests of the Time Traveller. He is a young man, who believes the Time Traveller because of the things he saw ( the flowers, the Time Traveller disappearing). But he also has his own point of view of the future. For him future is still black and blank - is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of the Time Traveller’s story.
A Psychologist: He always tries to destroy a theory with facts that are universally accepted.
A Medical Man: He is a very realistic thinking man. He trusts his eyes but doesn’t make premature decisions.
A Provincial Mayor: He doesn’t really understand the matters of science, but tries hard to do so.
Filby: He is an argumentative person with red hair.
A Very Young Man: Smokes cigars, is very young and gullible
A Journalist: He thinks the same as the Editor.
A Editor: He believes that the Time Traveller is only an old man who made "telling fantastic stories" to his aim.
A Silent Man: plays his part perfectly. Silent in action and sound.
The Eloi and the Morlocks: Those were the two species that resulted from the evolution of man. Those two were now in the year 802,701 AD sliding down towards, or had already arrived at, an altogether new relationship. The Eloi who were the Upperworld people, might once have been the favoured aristocracy, and the Morlocks, their mechanical servants. But that had been long ago. The Eloi, like Carlovingan kings, had decayed to a mere beautiful futility. They still possed the earth on sufferance, since the Morlocks, subterranean for innumerable generations, had come at last to find the daylit surface intolerable.
In contrast to the Upper - worlders, to whom fire is a novelty to watch and play with, the Morlocks fear any light because their eyes were that sensible that they could see under the surface of earth.
Weena: One of the Eloi women. She fell in love with the Time Traveller because he saved her life. Weena had the oddest confidence in the Time Traveller. She followed him everywhere he went and tried to delight him when he got upset. The Eloi feared the darkness like the Morlocks the light but nevertheless Weena followed the Time Traveller into the darkness. After one week queer friendship for about a week, during a journey, the Time Traveller and Weena got attacked by Morlocks and Weena died.

All characters are only related to one another because of their meetings with the Time Traveller.

Plot synopsis:

The action of the book plays in two main settings.One is the house of the Time Traveller in the Victorian age. The other one is on exactly the same place, on an area from Richmond until Wimbledon (in London), but in the year 802701, where everything but - physical rules - has changed. The action, if one sees it in the perspective of the Time Traveller, is strictly cronological, but in the view of all other involved persons in real time, the action has a long and exact foreshadowing.
The novel is gradually built up. It starts with an open beginning, where the Time Traveller, Provincial Mayor, Very Young Man, Psychologist, Filby and the Narrator discuss the existence and nature of a fourth dimension. The Time Traveller explains, that he found out that the fourth dimension, time, is only another dimension of space. He also tries to convey to the dinner guests that man is only able to move in two dimensions without technical help (like a balloon as technical help for the third dimension, heighth). He compares time with some sort of gravitation which limits our movements up or down. The Timetraveller visualizes with that example, if it is like that, that it is possible, with technical help, to interrupt the floating time stream, or even move through time as one wants. To prove that to his guests, he experiments with a miniature time machine and shows his guests his lifework, the full - size version of the nearly completed Time Machine.
After a week real time, the Psychologist, Medical Man, Journalist, Editor, Silent Man and Narrator gather at the Time Traveller’s. As they can’t find him, they start to eat dinner. When he suddenly appears, dishevelled and lame, he washes himself, eats dinner and begins his story.
There is one disruption in the tale of the Time Traveller in chapter seven while he puts the flowers of Weena on the table. This should be a significant sign for the reader that there were two actions at the same time. And that the Time Traveller is only telling a story which is told like a very long direct speech.Except for that very long direct speech the whole book is narrated like a diary by the Narrator who is not named.
"At ten o’clock this day, real time,..." the Time Traveller begins his hardly believable story about his journey. He tells about his sensations as he travelled through time, that one gets a bit sick of it, that years pass like seconds for him,... and he tells about the risks of time travelling.
The peculiar risc lies in the possibility of him finding some substance in the space which he, or the machine, occupies. As long as he travels through time at a high speed, this scarcely matters, but to come to a stop would involve the jamming of him, molecule by molecule into whatever lies in his way. That would result in a far reaching explosion and would blow him and the apparatus out of all possible dimensions into the Unknown.
But already while he was making the machine, he accepted it as an unavoidable risk, one of the risks a man has to take.
When continuing the story, the TimeTraveller says that when he halted, he saw some creatures, friendly, smiling, human, vegetarian, but degenerated. Their behaviour was comparable to children’s, not to adult’s. He says that he had dined with the creatures he met and comments on their nature and way of life. Eg. that they spoke a very sweet and liquid tongue. They didn’t know what fear during sunshine was, their hair, which was uniformly curly, came to a sharp end at the neck and cheeck, their mouths were small, with bright red, rather thin lips and their eyes were large and mild,... etc.
The Time Traveller considers how the world of his own time could have changed to that in which he finds himself after the journey. After dinner he discovered that his machine had disappeared. He met Weena. In the early dawn of one night he caught a glimpse of creatures other than those he first met and concluded that there were two distinct peoples, those who lived above ground, and those who existed below.
Convinced the under - world creatures which he named Morlocks had hidden his machine, the Time Traveller descended to their underground caves but had to escape, empty - handed.
But that action was not useless. From that moment on he knew that the Morlocks feared light and the Eloi, like he named the upperworlders, feared the dark. He considered the relationship between the two races and realized that the once - subservient Morlocks now dominated the Eloi. So he toke Weena to explore a large place, which had been a museeum in former times.
During the journey Weena put some flowers into his pocket. While he tells the story he puts the flowers onto a table in his smoking room. After a short break he continues and says that it was further than he thought. With the darkness approaching, his and Weena’s fear of Morlocks grew. They spended the night in safe. In the ruined museum the Time Traveller found matches, camphor and a metal bar to use against the Morlocks as a weapon.
As the Time Traveller and Weena returned from the museum, they were forced by tiredness to rest in a forest. Although the Time Traveller had set fire to the trees to fend off the Morlocks, the two were attacked and Weena disappeared which gave the Time Traveller a keen stab of pain directly into his heart. The Morlocks, however, were blinded by the raging fire.
On the next day the Traveller returned to the Eloi and found his time machine in a trap of the Morlocks, but he escaped through time. He went on into the future. During his journey he recognized that the changing of day and night got more slowly although he drove at a constant speed, which could only mean, that the earth was spinning more and more slowly. He also saw that the sun got bigger. When he stopped, he discovered a cold and almost lifeless earth with a dying sun. That shocked him that much, that he returned immediately into his own time, where he was greeted with scepticism.
As the Narrator visits the Time Traveller on the next day again, he, the Time Traveller disappears with a camera in his Time Machine.

In the Epilogue the Narrator reflects on what might have befallen the Time Traveller, he also considers his own view of the future, as black and blank as ever.

Ideas, opinions and comments:

This book is very interesting because since I was in Kindergarten, I wanted to build a Time Machine, so I really could easily identify with the Time Traveller, as an excellent scientist and inventor. I really enjoyed that science fiction novel because it is not that unrealistic, how time works and what will happen to our earth. I think many writers of science fiction novels have gathered material from the fairy - land of science, and have used it in their construction of literary fabrics, but none have done it more successfull than H.G.Wells.

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