The Time Machine

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About the Author

Herbert George Wells was born into a decidedly middle-class family on September 21, 1866, in the London borough of Bromley. His father was a tradesman and his mother a Lady’s maid. Central to the experiences of his youth was an acute awareness of class structure that was emphasized by the position of his family in the class-conscious English society of the ...
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The Time Machine

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Overview

About the Author

Herbert George Wells was born into a decidedly middle-class family on September 21, 1866, in the London borough of Bromley. His father was a tradesman and his mother a Lady’s maid. Central to the experiences of his youth was an acute awareness of class structure that was emphasized by the position of his family in the class-conscious English society of the time.

After a basic education he became a pupil-teacher at the Midhurst Grammar School and secured a scholarship that allowed him to study with T.H. Huxley, the champion of Darwinism in England. After completing his studies with Huxley, Wells worked in a number of professions including journalism until 1895 when The Time Machine was published.

From that point on, Wells became a full-time writer. The Island of Dr. Moreau was published in the following year and War of the Worlds two years later. Wells produced a significant corpus of journalistic, philosophical, and political writing as well as fiction.

Two works in particular, The Discovery of the Future (1902) and Mankind in the Making (1903) caught the attention of George Bernard Shaw and Wells was invited to join the Fabian Society.

In 1920 Wells wrote an immensely popular historical work, The Outline of History. As evidenced by his involvement in the establishment of the League of Nations, Wells was continually involved with questions of social reform. During the Second World War he created the first draft of what would become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He died in London on August 13, 1946.

A scientist invents a time machine and uses it to travel hundreds of thousands of years into the future, where he discovers the childlike Eloi and the hideous underground Morlocks.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
The "Classic Starts" series are hard bound, handsomely-illustrated, inexpensive abridgements of classic literature for younger readers. The concept is exemplary, but the execution is problematic. Yes, the bare bones of Wells' proto-science fiction story have been faithfully recounted in Chris Sasaki's smooth-reading, simplified adaptation, yet in the process its soul has gone missing. Abridging is one thing; bowdlerizing is another. What's lost is the late Victorian world of 1895 so marvelously conjured up by words and phrases such as "cadge," "chap," "I'd give a shilling-" and "What's the game?" Gone is the comfort of the returned Time Traveler's glass of champagne, mutton dinner, and pipe by the fire—all replaced by a quickly-chugged glass of water! As a child, I relished British editions of books precisely because of the exoticism of previously-unknown turns of phrases. They made the universe richer, fuller, more mysterious. It is a pity this edition of Wells' story will never leave its readers with that enchantment. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
Library Journal
Two of Wells's sf masterpieces get the red carpet treatment here. These "critical text" editions contain the full text plus annotations, indexes, appendixes, and bibliographies. Though these editions are pricey, Wells's works deserve serious consideration. Libraries should at least stock up on a few extra budget paperback copies of Doctor Moreau to meet demand generated by a forthcoming film remake starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-The St. Charles Players perform this readers' theatre-style rendition of H.G. Wells' classic story. Using appropriate sound effects and alternating readers allows listeners to differentiate between characters and to develop a sense of place and time. The lively narration will hold listeners' attention from beginning to end. The story begins with a revolutionary Victorian scientist who claims to have invented a machine that allows him to travel through time. Using flashbacks, he recounts his adventures in the futurist world he visits in his time machine to a group of skeptical friends. This abridged version will work well as an introduction to classic literature in elementary grade classes, but omits too much of the original text for older students. Consider adding this title to audiobook collections that focus on classic, time-tested literature.-Sarah Prielipp, Chippewa River District Library System, Mt Pleasant, MI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up -Wells's simple stories are surefire hits. Is time travel possible? What would it be like to be invisible? These slim versions of the classics provide both the mind-bending plots-although slightly edited, such as a twist ending in The Time Machine -and also some discussion questions and writing prompts. The artwork and paneling are slightly oversize, hinting at a younger audience, but the coloring and lettering have that familiar computer-enhanced sleekness comic readers know well by now. Because of the simplified texts and the slimness of the volumes, these titles are great choices for boosting the reading interests and skills of reluctant readers.-John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“[Wells] contrives to give over humanity into the clutches of the Impossible and yet manages to keep it down (or up) to its humanity, to its flesh, blood, sorrow, folly.” —Joseph Conrad
From Barnes & Noble
The Time Traveller embarks on an astonishing journey into the future. His Time Machine transports him to a far-distant buy dying world where humanity is divided into two classes: the graceful , idle Eloi who inhabit the idyllic surface of the world, and the Morlocks, ugly nocturnal creatures who live and work underground. In The Time Machine, Wells created one of the first and finest science fiction stories: a social allegory that is both vivid and perturbing. Running time: Approximately 4 hours.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612930824
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2011
  • Pages: 106
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells, usually known as H. G. Wells, was an English author, best known for his work in the science fiction genre. Wells and Jules Verne are each sometimes referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction".
Wells was an outspoken socialist and a pacifist, his later works becoming increasingly political and didactic. His middle period novels (1900-1920) were more realistic; they covered lower middle class life (The History of Mr Polly) and the 'New Woman' and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica). He was a prolific writer in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary.

Biography

Social philosopher, utopian, novelist, and "father" of science fiction and science fantasy, Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in Bromley, Kent. His father was a poor businessman, and young Bertie's mother had to work as a lady's maid. Living "below stairs" with his mother at an estate called Uppark, Bertie would sneak into the grand library to read Plato, Swift, and Voltaire, authors who deeply influenced his later works. He shoed literary and artistic talent in his early stories and paintings, but the family had limited means, and when he was fourteen years old, Bertie was sent as an apprentice to a dealer in cloth and dry goods, work he disliked.

He held jobs in other trades before winning a scholarship to study biology at the Normal School of Science in London. The eminent biologist T. H. Huxley, a friend and proponent of Darwin, was his teacher; about him Wells later said, "I believed then he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet." Under Huxley's influence, Wells learned the science that would inspire many of his creative works and cultivated the skepticism about the likelihood of human progress that would infuse his writing.

Teaching, textbook writing, and journalism occupied Wells until 1895, when he made his literary debut with the now-legendary novel The Time Machine, which was followed before the end of the century by The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, books that established him as a major writer. Fiercely critical of Victorian mores, he published voluminously, in fiction and nonfiction, on the subject of politics and social philosophy. Biological evolution does not ensure moral progress, as Wells would repeat throughout his life, during which he witnessed two world wars and the debasement of science for military and political ends.

In addition to social commentary presented in the guise of science fiction, Wells authored comic novels like Love and Mrs. Lewisham, Kipps, and The History of Mister Polly that are Dickensian in their scope and feeling, and a feminist novel, Ann Veronica. He wrote specific social commentary in The New Machiavelli, an attack on the socialist Fabian Society, which he had joined and then rejected, and literary parody (of Henry James) in Boon. He wrote textbooks of biology, and his massive The Outline of History was a major international bestseller.

By the time Wells reached middle age, he was admired around the world, and he used his fame to promote his utopian vision, warning that the future promised "Knowledge or extinction." He met with such preeminent political figures as Lenin, Roosevelt, and Stalin, and continued to publish, travel, and educate during his final years. Herbert George Wells died in London on August 13, 1946.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The War of the Worlds.

Good To Know

In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel. However, he eventually left her for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895.

Wells was once interviewed on the radio by an extremely nervous Orson Welles. The two are unrelated, of course.

Many of Wells's novels became film adaptations, including The Island of Dr. Moreau, filmed in 1996 by Richard Stanley and John Frankenheimer, and The Time Machine, filmed in 2002 by Wells's great-grandson, Simon Wells.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Herbert George Wells (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1866
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bromley, Kent, England
    1. Date of Death:
      August 13, 1946
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Read an Excerpt

The Time Machine


By Wells, H. G.

Tor Classics

Copyright © 1992 Wells, H. G.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780812505047

1
 
The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way--marking the points with a lean forefinger--as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it:) and his fecundity.
"You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one or two ideas that are almost universally accepted. The geometry, for instance, they taught you at school is founded on a misconception."
"Is not that rather a large thing to expect us to begin upon?" said Filby, an argumentative person with red hair.
"I do not mean to ask you to accept anything without reasonable ground for it. You will soon admit as much as I need from you. You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness nil, has no real existence. They taught you that? Neither has a mathematical plane. These things are mere abstractions."
"That is all right," saidthe Psychologist.
"Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence."
"There I object," said Filby. "Of course a solid body may exist. All real things--"
"So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?"
"Don't follow you," said Filby.
"Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?"
Filby became pensive. "Clearly," the Time Traveller proceeded, "any real body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and--Duration. But through a natural infirmity of the flesh, which I will explain to you in a moment, we incline to overlook this fact. There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time. There is, however, a tendency to draw an unreal distinction between the former three dimensions and the latter, because it happens that our consciousness moves intermittently in one direction along the latter from the beginning to the end of our lives."
"That," said a very young man, making spasmodic efforts to relight his cigar over the lamp; "that...very clear indeed."
"Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked," continued the Time Traveller, with a slight accession of cheerfulness. "Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of looking at Time. There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of that idea. You have all heard what they have to say about this Fourth Dimension?"
"I have not," said the Provincial Mayor.
"It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions particularly--why not another direction at right angles to the other three?--and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of three dimensions they could represent one of four--if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?"
"I think so," murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows, he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic words. "Yes, I think I see it now," he said after some time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.
"Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being, which is a fixed and unalterable thing.
"Scientific people," proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause required for the proper assimilation of this, "know very well that Time is only a kind of Space. Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did not trace this line in any of the dimensions of Space generally recognized? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore, we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension."
"But," said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the fire, "if Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is it, and why has it always been, regarded as something different? And why cannot we move in Time as we move about in the other dimensions of Space?"
The Time Traveller smiled. "Are you sure we can move freely in Space? Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely enough, and men always have done so. I admit we move freely in two dimensions. But how about up and down? Gravitation limits us there."
"Not exactly," said the Medical Man. "There are balloons."
"But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jumping and the inequalities of the surface, man had no freedom of vertical movement."
"Still they could move a little up and down," said the Medical Man.
"Easier, far easier down than up."
"And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot get away from the present moment."
"My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That is just where the whole world has gone wrong. We are always getting away from the present movement. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave. Just as we should travel down if we began our existence fifty miles above the earth's surface."
"But the great difficulty is this," interrupted the Psychologist. "You can move about in all directions of Space, but you cannot move about in Time."
"That is the germ of my great discovery. But you are wrong to say that we cannot move about in Time. For instance, if I am recalling an incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence: I become absent-minded, as you say. I jump back for a moment. Of course we have no means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a civilized man is better off than the savage in this respect. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?"
"Oh, this," began Filby, "is all---"
"Why not?" said the Time Traveller.
"It's against reason," said Filby.
"What reason?" said the Time Traveller.
"You can show black is white by argument," said Filby, "but you will never convince me."
"Possibly not," said the Time Traveller. "But now you begin to see the object of my investigations into the geometry of Four Dimensions. Long ago I had a vague inkling of a machine---"
"To travel through Time!" exclaimed the Very Young Man.
"That shall travel indifferently in any direction of Space and Time as the driver determines."
Filby contented himself with laughter.
"But I have experimental verification," said the Time Traveller.
"It would be remarkably convenient for the historian," the Psychologist suggested. "One might travel back and verify the accepted account of the Battle of Hastings, for instance!"
"Don't you think you would attract attention?" said the Medical Man. "Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms."
"One might get one's Greek from the very lips of Homer and Plato," the Very Young Man thought.
"In which case they would certainly plough you for the Little-go. The German Scholars have improved Greek so much."
"Then there is the future," said the Very Young Man. "Just think! One might invest all one's money, leave it to accumulate at interest, and hurry on ahead!"
"To discover a society," said I, "erected on a strictly communistic basis."
"Of all the wild extravagant theories!" began the Psychologist.
"Yes, so it seemed to me, and so I never talked of it until---"
"Experimental verification!" cried I. "You are going to verify that?"
"The experiment!" cried Filby, who was getting brain-weary.
"Let's see your experiment anyhow," said the Psychologist, "though it's all humbug, you know."
The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory.
The Psychologist looked at us. "I wonder what he's got?"
"Some sleight-of-hand trick or other," said the Medical Man, and Filby tried to tell us about a conjurer he had seen at Burslem; but before he had finished his preface the Time Traveller came back, and Filby's anecdote collapsed.
The thing the Time Traveller held in his hand was a glittering metallic framework, scarcely larger than a small clock, and very delicately made. There was ivory in it, and some transparent crystalline substance. And now I must be explicit, for this that follows--unless his explanation is to be accepted-is an absolutely unaccountable thing. He took one of the small octagonal tables that were scattered about the room, and set it in front of the fire, with two legs on the hearthrug. On this table he placed the mechanism. Then he drew up a chair, and sat down. The only other object on the table, was a small shaded lamp, the bright light of which fell upon the model. There were also perhaps a dozen candles about, two in brass candlesticks upon the mantel and several in sconces, so that the room was brilliantly illuminated. I sat in a low arm-chair nearest the fire, and I drew this forward so as to be almost between the Time Traveller and the fire-place. Filby sat behind him, looking over his shoulder. The Medical Man and the Provincial Mayor watched him in profile from the right, the Psychologist from the left. The Very Young Man stood behind the Psychologist. We were all on the alert. It appears incredible to me that any kind of trick, however subtly conceived and however adroitly done, could have been played upon us under these conditions.
The Time Traveller looked at us, and then at the mechanism. "Well?" said the psychologist.
"This little affair," said the Time Traveller, resting his elbows upon the table and pressing his hands together above the apparatus, "is only a model. It is my plan for a machine to travel through time. You will notice that it looks singularly askew, and that there is an odd twinkling appearance about this bar, as though it was in some way unreal." He pointed to the part with his finger. "Also, here is one little white lever, and here is another."
The Medical Man got up out of his chair and peered into the thing. "It's beautifully made," he said.
"It took two years to make," retorted the Time Traveller. Then, when we had all imitated the action of the Medical Man, he said: "Now I want you clearly to understand that this lever, being pressed over, sends the machine gliding into the future, and this other reverses the motion. This saddle represents the seat of a time traveller. Presently I am going to press the lever, and off the machine will go. It will vanish, pass into future Time, and disappear. Have a good look at the thing. Look at the table too, and satisfy yourselves there is no trickery. I don't want to waste this model, and then be told I'm a quack."
There was a minute's pause perhaps. The Psychologist seemed about to speak to me, but changed his mind. Then the Time Traveller put forth his finger toward the lever. "No," he said suddenly. "Lend me your hand." And turning to the Psychologist, he took that individual's hand in his own and told him to put out his forefinger. So that it was the Psychologist himself who sent forth the model Time Machine on its interminable voyage. We all saw the lever turn. I am absolutely certain there was no trickery. There was a breath of wind, and the lamp flame jumped. One of the candles on the mantel was blown out, and the little machine suddenly swung round, became indistinct, was seen as a ghost for a second perhaps, as an eddy of faintly glittering brass and ivory; and it was gone--vanished! Save for the lamp the table was bare.
Everyone was silent for a minute. Then Filby said he was damned.
The Psychologist recovered from his stupor, and suddenly looked under the table. At that the Time Traveller laughed cheerfully. "Well?" he said, with a reminiscence of the Psychologist. Then, getting up, he went to the tobacco jar on the mantel, and with his back to us began to fill his pipe.
We stared at each other. "Look here," said the Medical Man, "are you in earnest about this? Do you seriously believe that that machine has travelled into time?"
"Certainly," said the Time Traveller, stooping to light a spill at the fire. Then he turned, lighting his pipe, to look at the Psychologist's face. (The Psychologist, to show that he was not unhinged, helped himself to a cigar and tried to light it uncut.) "What is more, I have a big machine nearly finished in there"--he indicated the laboratory--"and when that is put together I mean to have a journey on my own account."
"You mean to say that that machine has travelled into the future?" said Filby.
"Into the future or the past--I don't, for certain, know which."
After an interval the Psychologist had an inspiration. "It must have gone into the past if it has gone anywhere," he said.
"Why?" said the Time Traveller.
"Because I presume that it has not moved in space, and if it travelled into the future it would still be here all this time, since it must have travelled through this time."
"But," I said, "if it travelled into the past it would have been visible when we came first into this room; and last Thursday when we were here; and the Thursday before that; and so forth!"
"Serious objections," remarked the Provincial Mayor, with an air of impartiality, turning towards the Time Traveller.
"Not a bit," said the Time Traveller, and, to the Psychologist: "You think. You can explain that. It's presentation below the threshold, you know, diluted presentation."
"Of course," said the Psychologist, and reassured us. "That's a simple point of psychology. I should have thought of it. It's plain enough, and helps the paradox delightfully. We cannot see it, nor can we appreciate this machine, any more than we can the spoke of a wheel spinning, or a bullet flying through the air. If it is travelling through time fifty times or a hundred times faster than we are, if it gets through a minute while we get through a second, the impression it creates will of course be only one-fiftieth or one-hundredth of what it would make if it were not travelling in time. That's plain enough." He passed his hand through the space in which the machine had been. "You see?" he said, laughing.
We sat and stared at the vacant table for a minute or so. Then the Time Traveller asked us what we thought of it all.
"It sounds plausible enough to-night," said the Medical Man; "but wait until to-morrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning."
"Would you like to see the Time Machine itself?" asked the Time Traveller. And therewith, taking the lamp in his hand, he led the way down the long, draughty corridor to his laboratory. I remember vividly the flickering light, his queer, broad head in silhouette, the dance of the shadows, how we all followed him, puzzled but incredulous, and how there in the laboratory we beheld a larger edition of the little mechanism which we had seen vanish from before our eyes. Parts were of nickel, parts of ivory, parts had certainly been filed or sawn out of rock crystal. The thing was generally complete, but the twisted crystalline bars lay unfinished upon the bench beside some sheets of drawings, and 1 took one up for a better look at it. Quartz it seemed to be.
"Look here," said the Medical Man, "are you perfectly serious? Or is this a trick--like that ghost you showed us last Christmas?"
"Upon that machine," said the Time Traveller, holding the lamp aloft, "I intend to explore time. Is that plain? I was never more serious in my life."
None of us quite knew how to take it.
I caught Filby's eye over the shoulder of the Medical Man, and he winked at me solemnly.
 
All new material in this edition is Copyright 1986 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.


Continues...

Excerpted from The Time Machine by Wells, H. G. Copyright © 1992 by Wells, H. G.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1. The Text 1
2. The Sphinx-Question 2
3. The Two Socialisms 4
4. Eloi and Morlocks 7
5. The Two Cultures 12
The Time Machine: An Invention (1895) 19
App. I. The Chronic Argonauts (1888) 174
App. II. The Time Traveller's Story (March-June 1894) 196
App. III. Excerpts from The time Machine (Jan.-May 1895) 221
App. IV. "Mammon," by Walker Glockenhammer (H. G. Wells) 229
App. V. "The Fourth Dimension," by E. A. Hamilton-Gordon 233
App. VI. Excerpts from "Evolution and Ethics," by T. H. Huxley 240
App. VII. Robert W. Paul on the Time Machine and the History of Movies 244
Bibliography 247
Index 255
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First Chapter

CHAPTER I

THE Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere, when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way - marking the points with a lean forefinger - as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it) and his fecundity.

"You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one or two ideas that are almost universally accepted. The geometry, for instance, they taught you at school is founded on a misconception."

"Is not that rather a large thing to expect us to begin upon?" said Filby, an argumentative person with red hair.

"I do not mean to ask you to accept anything without reasonable ground for it. You will soon admit as much as I need from you. You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness nil, has no real existence. They taught you that? Neither has a mathematical plane. These things are mere abstractions."

"That is all right," said the Psychologist.

"Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence." "There I object," said Filby. "Of course a solid body may exist. All real things -"

"So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?"

"Don't follow you," said Filby.

"Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?"

Filby became pensive. "Clearly," the Time Traveller proceeded, "any real body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and - Duration. But through a natural infirmity of the flesh, which I will explain to you in a moment, we incline to overlook this fact. There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time. There is, however, a tendency to draw an unreal distinction between the former three dimensions and the latter, because it happens that our consciousness moves intermittently in one direction along the latter from the beginning to the end of our lives."

"That," said a very young man, making spasmodic efforts to relight his cigar over the lamp; "that . . . very clear indeed."

"Now, it is very remarkable that this is so extensively overlooked," continued the Time Traveller, with a slight accession of cheerfulness. "Really this is what is meant by the Fourth Dimension, though some people who talk about the Fourth Dimension do not know they mean it. It is only another way of looking at Time. There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it. But some foolish people have got hold of the wrong side of that idea. You have all heard what they have to say about this Fourth Dimension?"

"I have not," said the Provincial Mayor.

"It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others. But some philosophical people have been asking why three dimensions particularly - why not another direction at right angles to the other three?- and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimensional geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of three dimensions they could represent one of four - if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?"

"I think so," murmured the Provincial Mayor; and, knitting his brows, he lapsed into an introspective state, his lips moving as one who repeats mystic words. "Yes, I think I see it now," he said after some time, brightening in a quite transitory manner.

"Well, I do not mind telling you I have been at work upon this geometry of Four Dimensions for some time. Some of my results are curious. For instance, here is a portrait of a man at eight years old, another at fifteen, another at seventeen, another at twenty-three, and so on. All these are evidently sections, as it were, Three-Dimensional representations of his Four-Dimensioned being, which is a fixed and unalterable thing."

"Scientific people," proceeded the Time Traveller, after the pause required for the proper assimilation of this, "know very well that Time is only a kind of Space. Here is a popular scientific diagram, a weather record. This line I trace with my finger shows the movement of the barometer. Yesterday it was so high, yesterday night it fell, then this morning it rose again, and so gently upward to here. Surely the mercury did not trace this line in any of the dimensions of Space generally recognised? But certainly it traced such a line, and that line, therefore, we must conclude was along the Time-Dimension."

"But," said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the fire, "if Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is it, and why has it always been, regarded as something different? And why cannot we move in Time as we move about in the other dimensions of Space?"

The Time Traveller smiled. "Are you so sure we can move freely in Space? Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely enough, and men always have done so. I admit we move freely in two dimensions. But how about up and down? Gravitation limits us there."

"Not exactly," said the Medical Man. "There are balloons."

"But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jumping and the inequalities of the surface, man had no freedom of vertical movement."

"Still, they could move a little up and down," said the Medical Man.

"Easier, far easier down than up."

"And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot get away from the present moment."

"My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That is just where the whole world has gone wrong. We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existences, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave. Just as we should travel down if we began our existence fifty miles above the earth's surface."

"But the great difficulty is this," interrupted the Psychologist. "You can move about in all directions of Space, but you cannot move about in Time."

"That is the germ of my great discovery. But you are wrong to say that we cannot move about in Time. For instance, if I am recalling an incident very vividly I go back to the instant of its occurrence: I become absent-minded, as you say. I jump back for a moment. Of course we have no means of staying back for any length of Time, any more than a savage or an animal has of staying six feet above the ground. But a civilised man is better off than the savage in this respect. He can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way?"

"Oh, this," began Filby, "is all -"

"Why not?" said the Time Traveller.

"It's against reason," said Filby.

"What reason?" said the Time Traveller.

"You can show black is white by argument," said Filby, "but you will never convince me."

"Possibly not," said the Time Traveller. "But now you begin to see the object of my investigations into the geometry of Four Dimensions. Long ago I had a vague inkling of a machine -"

"To travel through Time!" exclaimed the Very Young Man.

"That shall travel indifferently in any direction of Space and Time, as the driver determines."

Filby contented himself with laughter.

"But I have experimental verification," said the Time Traveller.

"It would be remarkably convenient for the historian," the Psychologist suggested. "One might travel back and verify the accepted account of the Battle of Hastings, for instance!" "Don't you think you would attract attention?" said the Medical Man. "Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms."

"One might get one's Greek from the very lips of Homer and Plato," the Very Young Man thought.

"In which case they would certainly plough you for the Little-go. The German scholars have improved Greek so much."

"Then there is the future," said the Very Young Man. "Just think! One might invest all one's money, leave it to accumulate at interest, and hurry on ahead!"

"To discover a society," said I, "erected on a strictly communistic basis."

"Of all the wild extravagant theories!" began the Psychologist.

"Yes, so it seemed to me, and so I never talked of it until -"

"Experimental verification!" cried I. "You are going to verify that?"

"The experiment!" cried Filby, who was getting brain-weary.

"Let's see your experiment anyhow," said the Psychologist, "though it's all humbug, you know."
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Reading Group Guide

When the Time Traveller courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything has changed.  In another, more utopian age, creatures seemed to dwell together in perfect harmony.  The Time Traveller thought he could study these marvelous beings--unearth their secret and then retum to his own time--until he discovered that his invention, his only avenue of escape, had been stolen.  H.G. Well's famous novel of one man's astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination first appeared in 1895.  It won him immediate recognition, and has been regarded ever since as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction.
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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 2048 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    MASTERFUL!!!

    H G Wells has awakened the world with his art of tale through the travel of time. He is the inspiration of every time travel writer in existence today, with no exception, myself included. Along with great classics like Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea, I remember the first time reading these classics. I was in awe. Though time travel, a genre given life by H G Wells is the ultimate epic sci-fi adventure. The very idea of time travel has opened the eyes of every imagination in my soul. The ramifications are endless. H G Well's Time Machine is my favorite, all time story. Even when you think of how the future looked as grim as it did thousands of years from the story-line's origination, one only needs to remember that this tale is merely one possiblity of billions that could be changed with a simple act of maybe a push of a button or even less. I believe THAT was the message Wells was revealing to us all. This is a very well written story that I highly recommend to anyone of any age or time. This very book was my biggest inspiration since I was first able to read.

    114 out of 136 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    Time Machine

    this was a interesting book but i am not that interested in science. there were parts in the book that were very interesting and had a great climax. i recommend this book for someone who likes science and mystery.

    81 out of 108 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    H G Wells is the godfather of time travel genre

    Have you read any other time travel books? Ever? Thanks to this wonderful author and seer we have unlimited stories of time travel via many fantastic authors. Time travel is the subject of much controversy, and no doubt will be until we prove Albert Einstein wrong. I like sci-fi, that's why I picked up the book back when I was kid. Today, the subject still fascinates me. The time machine is well written, opening the door for an endless line of sci-fi lovers with open minds for imagination.

    37 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Rea this commet

    I feel like i'm sitting by a campfire listening to his story. And a.. good one at that. Cant wait to finish

    33 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2000

    wonderfuly briliant

    this book is inspiaring and one of the most wonderful books ever written.

    29 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great book with a great lesson

    The Time Machine tells us of the future and how it can be drastically different than how we may predict it to be. Many people talk of flying cars and robots, but the Time Traveler sees something different. The Time Traveler is the main character in the book and has figured out how to build a time machine. When he tells this to his friends they do not believe him. To show them that it works, he ventures to the year 802,701.He arrives there and finds that humans have evolved in two different ways. There is a lower class called the Morlocks. These people are nocturnal and ape-like. They live underground and appear to be more barbaric than the Eloi. The Eloi are the upper class of people. They live similar to how we live now - in houses and above ground. Both of the species speak odd languages, so it is difficult for the Time Traveler to communicate with them. When the Morlocks steal the Time Travelers time machine, he has to get it back from them. While attempting to get it back he learns many things of the two classes, and he wonders what went wrong with the world. He makes a friend along the way named Weena, who is an Eloi. When he finally gets the time machine back he travels back to the present time, but his friends still do not believe him. The Time Traveler must go back to the future to prove it, but this time he says he will take pictures. Three years had gone by since then, and his friends still had not seen him. The major theme in this book is the problems of the current day. H.G. Wells makes the point that the gap between the upper-class and lower-class is too expansive, and if we don't do anything about it then we will one day evolve into two different species. This book was written during the Victorian times in Great Britain. I think H.G. Wells may have been relating that Communism was a safer path at the time, and he expressed his feeling about it in the book by warning people of what could happen. I disliked this book because I feel like the author could have made the book longer by telling what happened to the Time Traveler after he went back into the future and at least gave the reader an idea of what happened. It almost seemed like he didn't finish the book. On the other hand, I liked this book because it is entertaining to think about what the future could be like and all the different possibilities. I also liked it because it was paced very well, and there was the right amount of action. I think that you should read this book because it is very entertaining and it is a classic.

    24 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    THE PIONEER OF 'TIME TRAVEL'

    This book was my first of inspiration to the theory of time travel. I love the story, the adventure, and the possibility of what could happen if time could, in fact, be manipulated and folded...HG Wells is truly the pioneer of the subject. The book is fantastic, a must read.

    14 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    Ups and Downs

    I found The Time Traveler a little boring, but not horrible. It is about the Time Traveller, and how he travels to the future and meets the playful creatures he calls the Eloi, and the frightening Morlocks, who are obsessed with mechanics and eat the Eloi. While the Time Traveller is observing the Eloi, the Morlocks steal the time machine, the only way of escape for the Time Traveller. If you think this sounds like a good book, don't let my opinion discourage you from reading it. While I didn't like it, many people I know really loved this book. I think it is one of those books where you either really like it or really don't. If you like science and are not easily confused you should really give this a shot.

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Horrid

    This was the most boring and unfascinating books i have ever read sci fi is one of the best genres but this book completely ruined my view of this hard couldnt understand it and it seemed like torture to read it dont read this even if its free its a total waste of space and time! Doesnt even deserve one star!!!!!

    8 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Epic

    My favorite because it is good and FREEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2006

    Time Machine

    the book was very interesting but since i am not that big on science, i was not that captivated by it. It was also filled with mystery and wonder. There were great parts in the book with climaxes and action. i would recommend this book for someone who likes science and mystery.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Reviews

    Stop using book reviews as social networks

    6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Wow

    Great

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Confusing but good.

    Mainly one person talks the whole time. Good book though.

    5 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Get it

    Great story very gripping

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    This book sucks!!

    This i too complicated to comprehend with odd narations and is very boreing! Plus it uses words never seen in my life!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Enjoyed

    Interesting plot of the future, the way he interprets time was intriguing and new. Wells goes into great detail (without boring you) and really makes you visualize what hes saying. The ending i think could ve had more excitement or ended abruptly.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    So how is it

    Well i hope this book is good. I heard it was goodd so i guess ill give it a try.

    4 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Best book ever

    It was interesting but good

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Best Book Ever

    This was an interesting book. I would recommend this book to anyone 8+ who likes action, mystery & mechanics. I am just suprised that this book was so cheap. Best book I have ever read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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