Wednesday, June 28, 2017

20 of 1001 Books: H.G. Wells' The Time Machine

After reading The Time Machine, I'm unsure why our 12th grade AP literature teacher had us read Timeline instead of The Time Machine. I don't even remember her mentioning H.G. Wells that pioneered the genre. Don't get me wrong, as an 18 year old I found more Timeline to be enjoyable, and even to do this day I remember it as a good book, but Wells seems to have more historical and literary aspects to explore when teaching.

Summary: An unnamed explorer recounts his travels to a group of men. These aren't just any travels though, but his travels through time. In the world he travels to he finds to different races. The Eloi who he finds some welcome with, and the Murdocks, who are scary and he believes are keeping his time travelling machine from him. Beyond the debacle of trying to get his time machine back, the explorer also sees a scary tomorrow in the future race if men don't change their ways. The hatred between the two groups has cast them apart from each other, and in different realms.

I should be honest and admit that I do have Spark Notes open while reading through older books, especially if they were written before the 1900s. My skill in reading the style is lacking, but I think it's slowly building as I practice reading slower. The Time Machine for the most part, I read just fine. It's not one that is too complicated to read. My main problem is that I'm not a huge science fiction fan, but I understand it's a popular genre. This also builds up more of a respect I can have for what H.G. Wells did for people who love the genre, by giving them the genre.

I've also come to enjoy exploring how writers then conveyed the way their own narrators in the story told their stories. In Frankenstein the book is a man writing to his love about a man they found stranded on an island with his monster. In The Time Machine it is an explorer telling his tale of a future land to other men, perhaps in the hopes of warning them away from a future he saw, but only one person seems to have any further inkling to explore the explorer's tale to heart. For most the books from then it doesn't seem people just imagined telling a tale as if it was happening in that moment. It was people referring to their past in the form of storytelling.

Credit: dlee at Free Images
You probably won't realize how innovative the book was unless you think of the time it was created in. No cars existed yet, electricity was just being explored, and a book like this is invented. It also shows that people have always perceived earth to have an inevitable Dsytopian future that still has yet to be seen. Not saying it isn't further dsytpia than what was, but nothing like The Time Machine and many others have seen thus far.

It is also interesting all the possible political undertones in the novel. I'm not familiar with British history, so I would know very little about what Wells' implies in his novel as far as his own views, but if you're familiar with the time of then, you would surely pick up on it.

The Victorian England setting and the weaving of technology seem a surefire way to inspire subculture fans, including steampuns, even to this day. In a way it's sort of awe inspiring and intriguing just how much Wells left an impact on the earth. In writing a book about the future and it's destination he actually spun many things into the world that I wonder if he even expected?

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