My rating: 4 of 5 stars
H.G. Wells‘s The Time Machine was required reading in high school for most when I was in 9th grade (about 25 years ago), and one of my teachers chose this book as 1 of 10 books we read that year in an English literature comparative analysis course. Each month, we’d read a book and watch two film adaptations, then have discussions and write a paper. At the time, I thought, this book is a little cheesy… I mean, not that I was a huge Star Trek fan (although I did love me some Voyager), but even I know time machines were a lot cooler than what I saw in the movie and read about in the book.
THEN, I realized HG Wells published this book in 1895… an entire century before I started watching TV shows about time travel. And that’s when you realize what a priceless book this was. It was the advent of a new genre’s blossoming into fandom. And I became fascinated with these types of stories. But there was so much more to it than time travel.
It’s a commentary on society and values. Are you ostracized when you think differently? What if you look different… like as in your skin looks blue. Do you know what a Morlock is? Check it out (thanks the original GIF source in link!)
What I loved about this story was the thoughts and ideas of an 1890s man writing about the potential for traveling to the past and the future, suggesting what happens to humankind over time. In the era of Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species, or perhaps a few decades later, this book covers those ideas and helps activate a reader’s imagination outside their own limited world. It was the 1890s… no TV, not phones, car engines being built for the first time, indoor plumbing had just become common in regular homes… life was every different. That said, it’s the words and imagery that catch you in this book. You have to forego current life and pretend you were still back in time.