zaterdag 24 september 2016

"The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

“I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide.”

H.G. Wells wrote dozens of books, but he will always be best remembered for his early science fiction novels, "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds" in particular. I'd read "The Time Machine" before, but it's one of those novels that you can read again and again and still find new things to marvel about.

The unnamed Time Traveller journeys to a future Earth, some 800,000 years from now and discovers the future of humanity: the Eloi, as they are called, have evolved into a peaceful, beautiful, albeit quite childlike race that lives in a seemingly perfect world. Earth has become a Utopia, the Traveller initially concludes, if ever there was one. But then his time machine disappears and he soon finds out there's a second race that's descended from mankind. The cannibalistic Morlocks are an evil and scary race, who live underground and operate the machines that support the Eloi, while at the same time breeding their former masters as livestock. The Time Traveller will have to fight for his life to find his time machine and return to his own era.

H.G. Wells was a very politically engaged author and his political ideas are explored in most of his novels. Sometimes this led to long and preachy books, but not here. Sure, Wells's socialist views are clear: he sees a future in which the upper class (portrayed here as the Eloi) have become lazy and complacent and have allowed the working class (the Morlocks) to take over. This is in essence a story about social degeneration of a society created by the Industrial Revolution. But even without this background, "The Time machine" is a fast-paced, exciting adventure, that fully deserves its legendary status.

Author: H.G. Wells
Title: The Time Machine
Publisher: Gollancz, London
Year: 2010 (orig. 1895)
Number of pages: 127 p.
ISBN: 9780575095175

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