After falling in love with H.G. Wells in Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery I really wanted to read books written by him. Like, the actual real life him, not the actor. As I told you guys in a blogpost before, I really love the Oxford World Classics books, and they had several of H.G. Wells books, so I bit the bullet and got myself the Time Machine!
At a Victorian dinner party in Richmond, London, the Time Traveler returns to tell his extraordinary tale of mankind’s future in the year 802,701 AD. It is a dystopian vision of Darwinian evolution, with humans split into an above-ground species of Eloi, and their troglodyte brothers.
The first book H. G. Wells published, The Time Machine is a scientific romance that helped invent the genre of science fiction and the time travel story. Even before its serialization had finished in the spring of 1895, Wells had been declared “a man of genius,” and the book heralded a fifty year career of a major cultural and political controversialist. It is a sardonic rejection of Victorian ideals of progress and improvement and a detailed satirical commentary on the Decadent culture of the 1890’s.
I feel really conflicted about this book. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t enjoy it all the time. At times this book got really boring? Which is a shame, as it isn’t a boring story. Granted, I don’t read a lot of science fiction (if any!) but I do really like classics. I think the main issue with this book is that even though the story is about 100 pages, the story itself seemed way too long. Especially the last few chapters that felt too much, as if Wells just wanted to prolong his success as long as possible.
The main issue with a lot of people with reading classics is the use of language, and this one is incredibly easy to read. Yes, it’s a Victorian novel, but it’s published in the 1890s, so the language is really easy. If you are a little bit worried about your Victorian vocabulary, the Oxford World Classics series gives a handy dandy little list in the back with words and sayings that were popular then and explains them to you. So if you are worried about it being too difficult, get one of these editions!
Again, I don’t really know what I think about this book. I enjoyed it, but it was quite boring at times and it felt too long. Would I recommend it? I don’t know! I think that if you are like me, and enjoy classics, you would like this, especially if you like science fiction. I do want to read more books by H.G. Wells, so maybe after a second book I can finally make up my mind whether I think him boring or not!
Have you read anything by H.G. Wells?