Friday, May 17, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine
H. G. Wells

When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year a.d. 802,701, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment, and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realizes that these beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture—now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity—the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels if he is ever to return to his own era.

William Heinemann


Rosy's scrawlings on The Time Machine
The Time Machine isn't just one of my favourite H. G. Wells books but also one of my all time favourite books. It is also one I'd recommend as staple reading, whether you're a fan of science fiction or not. It typifies an era, it shows the evolution of the futuristic/utopian/dystopian literature genres into science fiction and it is a plain old fun yet serious read. Like many of the earliest science fiction (as the known genre and not science fiction's preceding genres) it tackles the social issues of the day, weaves through some technology use and presents a huge fantasy adventure based on reality.
There's much to consider serious about The Time Machine but instead of making the book a difficult or boring read an understanding of the social issues about the divide between the rich and poor, the working and the elite, classes actually feeds into all the most entertaining aspect of the story: the clash between the beatific Eloi and the beastly Morlocks. What I've always loved about the story is that you are initially led to believe the Eloi are all the good of what humanity once was and the Morlocks all the bad through the impressions of The Time Traveller. But the nature of both races of humanity is something completely different and the sympathies drawn aren't as expected. This, above even the inclusion of a time machine, is one of the most brilliant aspects of the story and makes it well worth reading.
The Time Machine is a short story that's easy to read for the subject matter and has various different elements within it that would appeal to readers even of an early age. There's an edge of horror to the story but I've found that a love of horror stories starts quite young. For this reason The Time Machine is a great addition to a child's library as much as it is to an adult's. The language is smooth and the style is a little dated but reading many different styles of writing is only a bonus to any reader. The imagery is also dark, strange and compelling, with an intensity that gives the story more depth than is usually found in a short story. All I can say is "read it, read it, read it" but there's no pressure, just an expectation that you'll have fun doing so. Especially if your a massive reader.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone, particularly those who like to deconstruct society to analyse it.

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