Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Time Machine (H. G. Wells)

The Time Machine
H. G. Wells
Atria Books
Fiction, Sci-Fi
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: In late-nineteenth-century London, one man makes a startling claim: he has built a machine capable of traveling through time. His guests scoff at the notion, but the Time Traveler produces an impressive demonstration with a model, and insists his full-scale machine is nearly complete. At his next dinner party, he arrives late and curiously disheveled, though he does not seem to have left his own laboratory. He relates the tale of his journey forward in time, to the twilight of Mankind and the ending of life on Earth. Is it the mere figment of an overactive imagination, or has the Time Traveler succeeded in mastering the fourth dimension?
This edition includes preview chapters for a contemporary book, The Map of Time by FĂ©lix J. Palma, inspired by this story.
(NOTE: The Amazon link is not for this special edition.)

REVIEW: Another classic I've been meaning to read for some time, I found it reasonably engaging. The Time Traveler - who is never named - finds his assumptions about humanity's future shaken to their core at what the species has become. The futuristic world he visits is suitably alien to be interesting, with many puzzles he never has a chance to solve. It might have gained another half-star had the story not decided to hang around after his main adventure with post-humans, taking the Time Traveler to an even less hospitable future at the very end of life's existence on planet Earth (where he still, somehow, manages to find a breathable atmosphere.) Overall, however, I found it reasonably enjoyable, and much easier to read than Wells's The Invisible Man.
As for the sample chapters from A Map of Time, I confess that I didn't finish reading them; I gave up when the narrator started intruding on the story. I wouldn't rule out reading the book in the future, but nothing I read here made me particularly need to do so.

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