The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (1866 - 1946)

The Time Machine
by H. G. Wells (1866
- 1946)

Type of Work:

Fantasy / science fiction novel


England; late nineteenth century, and
hundreds of thousands of years in the future

Principal Characters

The Time Traveler, an inquisitive, scientific

Weena, a future woman

Story Overveiw

One Thursday evening, four or five men
assembled for dinner at a friend\'s home near London. But as the evening
passed, their host failed to appear. Finally, at half past seven the guests
agreed it was a pity to spoil a good dinner and seated themselves to a
delicious meal. The main topic of their conversation was time travel, a
subject their host had seriously argued as a valid theory during an earlier
dinner. He had gone so far as to show them the model of a curious machine
he had built, which, he declared, could travel through the fourth dimension
- time.

While the guests conversed, the door suddenly
opened and in limped their host. He was in a state of disarray. His coat
was dusty, dirty and smeared with green; his hair was markedly grayer than
the last time they had seen him, his face pale, and his expression haggard
and drawn as if by intense suffering. As he stumbled back through the door
in tattered, bloodstained socks, he promised his guests that be would return
shortly with an explanation for his actions and appearance.

Soon after, the gentleman did reappear,
and commenced with his remarkable story:

That morning, his machine at last completed,
he had begun his journey through time. Increasing the angle of his levers,
at first he was able to maintain a sense of time and place. His laboratory
still looked the same, but slowly its image dimmed. Then, faster and faster,
night followed day, until the palpitation of night and day merged into
one continuous grayness. New questions sprun up in the Traveller\'s mind:

What had happened to civilization? How had humanity changed?

Now he saw great and splendid architecture
rising about him, while the surrounding expanse became a richer green,
with no interruptions made by winter. The Time Traveller decided to stop.

He fell from his machine to find himself
at the foot of a colossal, winged, sphinx-like figure carved out of white
stone on a bronze pedestal. The huge image, outlined by earlymorning mist,
made him somewhat ill at ease. Then he noticed figures approaching,- slight
creatures, perhaps four feet high, very beautiful and graceful, but indescribably
frail. These beings advanced toward the Time Traveller, laughing without
fear, and began touching him all over. "So these are the citizens of the
future," he mused. They acted like five-yearold children, and the Traveller
was disappointed with their lack of intelligence and refinement.

These gentle people, called Eloi, bore
their visitor to a towering building that appeared ready to collapse. Their
world in general seemed in disrepair - a beautiful, tangled waste of bushes
and flowers; a long-neglected and yet weedless garden. The Eloi served
their guest a meal that consisted entirely of fruit. During this repast,
they all sat as close to the Time Traveller as they could.

With much difficulty he began to learn
their language, but the Floi, with their very short attention spans, tired
easily of teaching him. That evening the Traveller began to hypothesize
how these people, who all looked identical, dressed alike, and reacted
to life in the same way, had evolved. Perhaps, he thought, mankind had
overcome the numerous difficulties of life facing it in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. Under new conditions of perfect comfort and security,
perhaps power and intellect - the very qualities he most valued - had no
longer been necessary. He decided that he had emerged into the sunset of
humanity; a vegetarian society - for he had noticed no animals - where
there was no need for either reasoning or strength.

As night drew near, the Time Traveller
suddenly realized that his time machine had vanished. Engulfed by the fear
of losing contact with his own age and being left helpless in this strange
new world, he flew into a desperate rampage, a futile attempt to find his

Soon the voyager\'s panic faded as he realized
his machine was probably inside the huge stone figure near the spot where
he had "landed." He pounded on the bronze doors without effect, but he
was certain he had heard some voice from inside - a distinct little chuckle.

Calm, welcome sleep, finally overcame the adventurer, and he reasoned that
in time he would succeed in breaking into the stone behemoth to regain
his machine.

Another day passed. The Time Traveller
came to realize that he had