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Zenith and Beyond
The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
Member Name: 1st2thebar
The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
Advantages: A fascinating insight of Victorians impression of the future
Disadvantages: Should be on Schools' reading lists
Everyman's Library: 1935
Reissued Phoenix: 1996
The Time Machine by Wells is a novella of 58 pages which captures the Victorians' adventure of the unknown. A classic fantasy that derived in a golden era of English literature in the late nineteenth century, spurred on by Oscar Wilde's works; notably 'The Time Machine' novella was published the same year as Wilde's 'The Importance of being Earnest' screen play. Wells expression leaks a boastful pride that Victorians who'd embraced the industrial age, did peruse into the teleporting possibilities of time travel. Of course this was the period a particularly young Einstein learned of such wonderments and the seeds were no doubt sown; as Wells novella explored the works of a charismatic inventor, exploding with infectious eccentricities eager to embark on a journey of time travel: 'I expect to finish it on Friday; but on Friday, when the putting together was nearly done I found that one of the nickel bars was exactly one inch too short, I had to get it remade; so that the thing was not complete until this morning'. The other components of ivory, brass and quartz completed the Victorian innovation - this was before the days of double-sided sticky tape and Bostick glue - Wells novella was one of the first of its kind to be deemed as being in the genre of science fiction - thirty two years prior to the German's Metropolis in (1927) during the 'Weimar Period' - Directed by Fritz Lang (1890 - 1976) - Wells own depreciation of Darwinism is portrayed in 'The Time Machine' - similarly to Lang's Metropolis, albeit its Gothic influence is stimulated via the Stoker novel Dracula in (1897) - The Time Machine has an endearing fantasy quality - rather opting for the dark forces of Gothic threads in the literature of the late Victorian era - Wells novella is conversational, quirky as illustrated here: 'I remarked indeed a clumsy swaying of the machine. For which I was unable to account. But my mind was too confused to attend to it, so with a kind of madness growing upon me, I flung myself into futurity' - A choice from the enthused inventor to see the journey through himself, embarking into the fourth dimension - in a rickety tardis type 'time capsule'.
Setting the scene at a dinner table in front of level-headed guests was a stroke of narrative ingenuity. Wells quest of the scientist claiming such an eccentric act to the bourgeoisie on a regular weekly dine, by unveiling the time machine to astonished onlookers amidst the bubbly and mutton - conventionally tied up with upper-crust Victorian values, indeed provided the intriguing possibilities of time travel to the notion of how humanity has progressed. All was revealed a week later at the dinner table, whereby the scientist appeared dishevelled, weary and yet full of discovery; as he embarked on his 'Time Machine' encounter. The main Victorian prose was mankind's 'progresses'. Wells eliminated Darwin's theory of biological 'Natural Selection'. The Scientist claimed: 'The ideal of preventive medicine was attained, diseases had been stamped out. I saw no evidence of any contagious diseases during all my stay. Social triumphs, too, had been effected. I saw mankind housed in splendid shelters, gloriously clothed, and as yet I had found them engaged in no toil'. You would've expected by the 83rd century in London, mankind had reached its utopia, ironed out any cell division deficiencies or malformation. Seemingly, all biological work had been accomplished; therefore generations beyond that great success may live without the need of intelligence, a fear of social deprivation, knowing all problems that mankind had in a bucket full have dissolved like an aspirin in a glass tumbler of time. For after the battle comes 'Quiet'.
Wells certainly has a coherent comprehension of 'nature' - the unpredictability of nature keeps the descendants guessing in a different means to where dangers lie. By solving mankind's ailments, nature evolves via a creating two separate races - a split of two kinds from the Homo - Sapien we know of in Victorian age - the 'Eloi' and the 'troglodytic Morlocks'. The latter eats the flesh of the 'Eloi', as the yellow moon illuminates the inky blue sky - A shocking reality of controlling a city's populous. Once disease turned to dust, another threat to humanity shows its ugly head, the 'Under-grounders'. The perfect, innocuous 'Eloi' race lived in the 'upper-world' - playful incredibly na´ve and whose society emulated a tranquillity for some may claim as the great triumph of humanity. Due to such successes the 'upper-world' was too perfect, it had slowed down intellectual prowess, too the extent it had degenerated. The capacity for education waned somewhat - where was the need? Humanity had long gone reached its Zenith, once that happened the only way is a descent - but at what pace? 'The Time Machine' depicts an analogy that human-kind requires a goal to reach even when all seems to have been achieved - Otherwise, an existence becomes an idle one. Wells social hierarchy plays a valid part in his novella - the scientist did not associate himself with the 'Morlocks' even though he had his suspicions the 'Under-grounders' had something to do with the time machine's disappearance, perhaps they saw the rickety, nickel object as we would see a coat of armour. They'll admire the workmanship, tinker with the pulleys, and enthusiastically give the brass a vigorous spit and polish.
The thought of being trapped in a world of upper-ground serenity, having lost the time machine momentarily filled the script with a dreadful uncertainty which Wells portrays superbly. The sentences shorten to add intensity. Weighed down by the gravitas prospect of residing in this alien future the Scientist's fear flicks between desperation to ponderous muses - 'When I started the time machine , I had started with the absurd assumption that the men of the future would certainly be infinitely ahead of ourselves with all their appliances. I miss tobacco enormously, If only I thought of a Kodak!' - Wells, vision of the 83 Century in London, hardly makes it a location to be if you're highly innovative and thrive on an intellectual conversation - with all societies perfections lies an equal balance of imperfections beneath the surface. Narrated by the scientist throughout, the reader gets an idea of the Victorian existence the author got acquainted too. 'The Time Machine' is an exploration of human-kind, from the eyes of the Victorian era; encompassing humanities raw emotion to humanities dark dealings.
Summary: The motor behind Young Einstein