Finally Read the Original

So, there are certain canonical books that have spawned countless reinterpretations, and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is no exception. I am a little ashamed to admit that I had never actually read the original until quite recently. And, to my surprise, I rather enjoyed it.

A lot of the fiction from the late 1800’s/early 1900’s I just find to drag on with unnecessary philosophical discussions or endless discussions at parties, but Wells keeps this story short and sweet. It is about a young inventor who develops a time machine and travels so far into Earth’s future that there is hardly anything left that is recognizable as human. The human race split long ago into subterranian and surface-dwelling races, with the surface people living on fruit and the cave dwellers living on their surface cousins. When our traveler leaves this world, he travels even farther into the future to find a desolate wasteland peopled by hideous creatures and living under a dying sun.

As many of the pieces from the time, it is presented from the perspective of a companion of the main character, though in this case he does not travel with the protagonist; instead, he is hearing the man relate his travels at a dinner party. This allowed the story to have a much smoother and leaner view of the protagonist’s adventures that made it seem almost like a modern adventure novel.

The book also offers an interesting judgement on humanity, hinting at the splitting of our race into the pretty useless people supported by the people who live below who make the world run. I’ll leave it to each individual reader to decide just how much of the social commentary they choose to read into it. Personally, I prefer just the hint of it to flavor the adventure of it all. Though I can’t help but feel that his commentary is even more relevant today, with the rich beautiful people marrying and producing useless pretty offspring (*cough* Kardashians *cough*) while a good portion of the world sinks into the darkness of their own uneducated worship of these creatures.

All in all, its a fun, and fast, read. I suggest giving it a go if you’re a fan of classic science fiction, especially if you’ve enjoyed any of the iterations that have since followed.