Friday, July 31, 2009

Review: The Time Machine

The Time Machine coverTitle: The Time Machine
Author: H. G. Wells
Genre: Fiction, Classic, Sci-Fi
Pub Date: This ed. Jan 2005, Barnes & Noble, orig. 1895
Hardcover, 83 pages
Book Source: Purchased from


From The Time Machine, H. G. Wells’s first novel, is a tale of Darwinian evolution taken to its extreme. Its hero, a young scientist, travels 800,000 years into the future and discovers a dying earth populated by two strange humanoid species: the brutal Morlocks and the gentle but nearly helpless Eloi.

My Thoughts

I always feel that one has to have a certain appreciation for classic literature, regardless of whether or not one actually likes it. I've been fortunate to read a lot of classic works that I have loved, and while The Time Machine may not be one of my favorite classics, it is certainly an impressive work of its time. Really, isn't any book that is still in publication over a hundred years after its first printing worthy of note?

The premise of this short novel is fascinating but at times I became so bogged down in the often-involved writing that I had difficulty getting into the story. At other points, the writing was markedly clearer and I found myself able to focus much more easily on the story. There is little to speak of in terms of characters and character development, but I will say Wells's presentation of the descendants of humankind certainly makes one pause to consider what might happen in the future. Wells leaves much open to the imagination and I really found myself trying to picture this distant future on Earth. Towards the end of the Time Traveller's 8-day trip in the future, events start to get pretty interesting as we are given a glimpse into how Wells pictured the end of the world. Really, these few pages were my favorite part of the story and I rather wish more time had been devoted to this, but at the same time I imagine Wells wanted to give readers food for thought. After the Time Traveller returned to his own time and told his story to an unbelieving audience, the story ends almost abruptly and leaving much to speculation.

I really appreciated what we see are the beginnings of Science Fiction. I can only imagine that as a debut work, The Time Machine must have created a bit of a stir at the end of the 19th century. It's interesting to see how people then pictured the distant future of the planet and the possible fate of humankind. This is a short book, at just over 80 pages, so even though it may become involved, it still doesn't take too long to read and gain a general understanding of what is going on. I definitely think it is worth reading as a Classic work, and a glimpse at the beginnings of Sci-Fi.

My rating: 3 stars

Other reviews of The Time Machine:

Things Mean a Lot ~ Rat's Reading ~ Becky's Book Reviews
Once Upon a Bookshelf ~ Age 30+... A Lifetime of Books
Reading Comes from Writing

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment below with the link to your review!


  1. I read this book in January and loved it. It's funny that the last bit about the far future was your favorite, it was the part I found the most scary! Great review. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking.

  2. I haven't read many classics since I was a teenager, but the beginnings of the science fiction genre sound like a good place to start back up. Thanks for sharing your review!

  3. Definitely a book I need to look into.

  4. This is a classic that I haven't yet read. You did a really nice job with your review of it; sometimes I find it hard to add anything to a book that has been discussed so much.

  5. The writing is very 19th century, isn't it? But weirdly enough I liked that about it :P Anyway, I know what you mean about sometimes appreciating a classic without necessarily liking it.

  6. Thanks for linking to my review. This isn’t one of my favorite classics but it is definitely worth reading. Did you ever see the movie based on this? It was so incredibly cheesy. :)

  7. I loved this book but most of the movies I've seen ruined it for me. There are some things that shouldn't be messed with.

  8. This one is my favorite from my bookshelves! I really like bloggers that emphasize the importance of reading, like you do, whereas most have the most common, boring subjects.


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