Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

'Great shapes like big machines rose out of the dimness, and cast grotesque black shadows, in which dim spectral Morlocks sheltered from the glare'. Chilling, prophetic and hugely influential, "The Time Machine" sees a Victorian scientist propel himself into the year 802,701 AD, where he is delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty and contentment in the form of the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man. But he soon realizes that they are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and living in terror of the sinister Morlocks lurking in the deep tunnels, who threaten his very return home. H. G. Wells defined much of modern science fiction with this 1895 tale of time travel, which questions humanity, society, and our place on Earth. (Description from BookDepository)

Still from the 1960 film "The Time Machine".
Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite author of all time, has been highly influenced by H.G. Wells' writing, therefore I finally decided it was time to read The Time Machine. It has been an exceptional read, as short in length as full of considerations on time, organic evolution, human nature, society and the future world. H.G.Wells in his imaginary future has not been kind on men. In 802,701 AD the human race split in two, Eloi and Morlocks. The Eloi are small, frail, elegant, kind, featherbrained, lighthearted creatures, descending from the upper class. while the Morlocks are, on the other hand, creatures of the night, relegated in the underground and free to scour the surface for food (the Eloi) only during the night, when the moon doesn't shine so bright. The Morlocks descend from the working class who has become cruel, savage, malicious, cannibal, nevertheless they retained more than a spark of intelligence, most probably thanks to the hardships they had to go through.
However impossible as this future may seem, I share Wells' opinions on the disastrous consequences that an extremely "relaxed" lifestyle may lead to. Moreover, it must never be underestimated the power of an oppressed working class that, when time is ripe, will rise again and have its vengeance. 
Moral of the story: be wise, be respectful, never rest on your laurels and always be kind. 

H.G. Wells

Herbert George “H.G.” Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics, and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is sometimes called The Father of Science Fiction, as are Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Wells’s earliest specialized training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Most of his later novels were not science fiction. Some described lower-middle class life (Kipps; The History of Mr Polly), leading him to be touted as a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. (Wikipedia)

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