My rating: 4 of 5 stars
H. G. Wells was clearly a master of the genre. “The Time Machine” works through both science and sociology, examining the dangers of aristocracy and Marxism in a thought experiment on the distant future of 802,701 AD.
Wells uses pleasantly complex vocabulary, the allowance of which I envy. I wish I could write the words recondite, trammel, and fecundity in the first paragraph of a novel without alienating the vast majority of our modern, poorly educated audience. Alas, it cannot be so, lest I am already an established author with a profound influence that people will not simply ignore. Oh, well.
This classic story lacks the stylized salvation present in both film adaptations of which I am aware. The Time Traveller does not rescue the Eloi, nor teach them resilience and strength – unless he does so in his final disappearance, after the end of the story. But we see his own thoughts, his own feelings, the distance he placed between himself and the horrors of a future he feared and hated.
I enjoyed the book immensely. The roiling adventure combined with the intellectual science of the late 19th century is inspiring and pleasantly refreshing. Unlike the hard-lined, politicized dystopias of modern science fiction, Wells’ “The Time Machine” plays with the ideas of peace versus conflict and the necessity of necessity. The Time Traveller’s own view sees the technological and sociological progress of mankind as inevitably self-destructive, but the narrator intimates a desire to live for the best in life, to better ourselves and to seek greatness in spite of the danger of becoming the Eloi and the Morlocks.
It is a conflict of opinion that leaves the decision up to the reader.
If the book could be said to have any flaw, it would be its brevity, for as the story concluded, the one thing I desired was a continuation of the tale.