Review: The Time Machine, H.G. Wells

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells

This is perhaps the most famous of time travel stories, and is often heralded as being among the first, despite being predated by Well’s own short story “The Chronic Argonauts”.


The main character remains unnamed throughout the book, and is referred to only as the time traveler. He builds a time machine, and goes forward in time to a period when mankind does not exist in a condition as they do now, but rather as a dipolar population consisting of Eloi (carefree and innocent creatures) and Morlocks (savage and brutal). During the course of the time traveler’s visit, he formulates various theories as to how the Eloi and the Morlocks came into being, as well as their interactions with each other. The truth is finally crystallised when he is able to visit a museum where he learns of the true course of development of Eloi and Morlocks from modern day man.

The time traveler returns to the present day only a few hours after he originally left, and relates his experiences and thoughts to friends over dinner. The following day he makes preparations to make an additional trip, promising to return shortly, though the reader is informed that the return of the time traveler was still awaited after 3 years.


No discussion is entered into as to how the mechanics of time travel operate in this story. Rather, time travel is used more as a tool enabling Wells to give voice to his creativity for a futuristic world. The Time Machine is therefore not really a sci fi novel as such, but never-the-less, an easy read which introduces the possibility of incorporating time travel into a novel.

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