Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thoughts: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

When the Time Traveler courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,701--and everything had changed. H.G. Wells's famous novel of one man's astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination is regarded as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction. – via Goodreads

I know this book is supposed to be revolutionary and, overall, a REALLY BIG DEAL, but it was just MEH for me. Perhaps, that’s why I couldn’t even come up with my own summary. Every time I try to think of something to say about it, I’m stumped. I can’t come up with a single thing—I blame this, of course, on the MEHness of The Time Machine.

But I digress.

There were some facets of the book that I enjoyed. I liked the glimpse into 802,701 wherein the Morlocks, humans who later evolved into rat-like subterranean beings, prey on the Elois, a race of beautiful but weak men. Before writing this review, I learned that H.G. Wells was a student of Thomas Huxley, popularly known as Charles Darwin’s bulldog. The little factoid completely explained why The Time Machine reeks of Darwin’s theories on evolution. I liked how Wells wrapped up his beliefs in a neat, not to mention entertaining, package.

The only thing I didn’t like was how women were portrayed/treated in the book. There’s only one female character in the novel, a female Elois named Weena who befriends the nameless Time Traveler, and maybe that’s the problem. She’s manipulated by the Time Traveler for his own gain, while she treats him with nothing but kindness and unfettered devotion. Yes, my modern feminist feathers were more than a little ruffled.

The Time Machine entertained me, but I forgot about it after I finished it. It was supposed to make me think, and maybe even a little sleepless. (I expect too much from books, don't I?) Hence, the whole MEH thing. I am willing to give H.G. Wells another try, though. The Invisible Man looks interesting. Any suggestions?

7 comments:

fatbooks.org said...

i finished paul auster's "oracle nights" a week or two ago. the main character's being looked at to write a screenplay for "the time machine" so he rereads the book and finds it - well, dull and uninspired and not at all revolutionary and being pretty basic in its "consideration" of class issues. so, you're not alone - one of paul auster's characters feels the same as you!

-- ellen

Eclectic Indulgence said...

I enjoyed 'the Invisible Man' but I read it in high school, so I'm not sure how much I knew about literature then. 'Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde' by Stevenson, I remember thinking was much better. I've also read 'War of the World' and have forgotten it completely - it was just 'MEH' too, though.

Trisha said...

I read this one a long time ago, and just like you, I forgot it immediately upon turning the last page. I do wonder why some books just don't stick.

Sam said...

I've read War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells and enjoyed both, although neither had a massive impact on me. The man just has such creative ideas though!

Erin said...

Huh, I didn't really know what this one was about. I suppose I could have guessed from the title! I'm not convinced it's something I'd love. I hate it when I expect great things from a book and come away feeling meh. I've had that happen a couple of times recently...always disappointing!

Avid Reader said...

It's funny, I feel like Well's ideas were big, but the books themselves were often MEH. I just read The Invisible Man and I'd recommend that over War of the Worlds, but even still, it wasn't earth shattering.

mel u said...

I have seen the movie but have never been motivated to read the book

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