The Time Machine: An Invention (Modern Library Classics)

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Overview

When the intrepid Time Traveller finds himself in the year 802,701, he encounters a seemingly utopian society of evolved human beings but then unearths the dark secret that sets mankind on course toward its inevitable destruction. An insightful look into a distant, bleak, and disturbing future, The Time Machine goes beyond the reaches of science fiction to provide a strikingly relevant discussion of social progress, class struggle, and the human condition.

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The Time Machine: An Invention

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Overview

When the intrepid Time Traveller finds himself in the year 802,701, he encounters a seemingly utopian society of evolved human beings but then unearths the dark secret that sets mankind on course toward its inevitable destruction. An insightful look into a distant, bleak, and disturbing future, The Time Machine goes beyond the reaches of science fiction to provide a strikingly relevant discussion of social progress, class struggle, and the human condition.

Hailed as a masterpiece of its genre, H. G. Wells’s famous novella about the perils of history and the hubris of modernity comes vividly alive in this remarkable reissue of a unique 1931 illustrated edition.

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

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

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 3-5-- An adaptation of a major portion of H. G. Wells's classic. Rapid-fire short sentences and sentence fragments set the pace and add to the intensity of the action. The Time Traveler and several of his friends are quickly introduced, and then readers are immediately drawn into the future world. The protagonist narrowly survives his initial travels, returning to tell his friends about his harrowing adventures. He sets off once again, leaving the story's end in question--possibly motivating readers to turn to the original for further exploration. Eden's numerous black-and-white drawings are effective in enhancing the narrative. While certainly not a substitute or replacement for the depth and perspectives offered by the real thing, this version lends itself to presentation and discussion with young readers about the genre and about Wells's creative genius in an era long before Steven Spielberg. --Janie Schomberg, Leal Elementary School, Urbana, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375761188
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/12/2002
  • Series: Modern Library Classics Series
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,072,374
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.97 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

H. G. Wells

Ursula K. Le Guin has published more than one hundred short stories, two collections of essays, eleven books for children, five volumes of poetry, and seventeen novels. She has received numerous awards, including a National Book Award and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Oregon.

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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

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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Reading Group Guide

1. 1. As Ursula Le Guin mentions in her Introduction, The Time Machine was once published in a collection titled Seven Scientific Romances, and indeed H. G. Wells was known to refer often to the novella as a “romance.” This may seem an unusual way of classifying The Time Machine. Why might Wells have deemed his work a “scientific romance”? What elements of the story, and of Wells’s own motivations for writing it, would justify that categorization?

2. 2. In Wells’s Preface to this edition of The Time Machine, he refers to himself in the third person, as “the writer,” until he startles the reader by referring to “my story” at the midpoint of the essay. Why might Wells have made the choice to refer to himself in the third person, and what effect did this have on your response to the rest of the book? Did his apparent objectivity provide an additional sense of credibility to the text? Why might he have abruptly switched voices, making the piece more personal, after establishing himself as an objective observer?

3. 3. The story of The Time Machine is framed by a dinner party. The banquet, or dinner party, is prevalent in literature as both a trope and a literary device. The use of a dinner party in science fiction may, however, seem somewhat untraditional. Why might Wells have chosen a dinner party as a framing device for his story? What purposes does it serve? In a story about time and time travel, did it help to ground you, the reader, in the present?

4. 4. The Time Machine, written in 1895, is often viewed as a radical and insightful discourse in the science of time/
space relations. As a piece of fiction, it is entertaining and provocative, but Wells also delves into a profound discussion of time as a fourth dimension. The Time Traveller’s explanation of these scientific ideas is rather detailed and quite scholarly. Where in the story does he first explain these ideas, and how does he do so? While this may be exposition for the rest of the story, what other purposes might Wells have had in engaging this discussion in such detail? What might Victorian readers have thought about these ideas? What might the character of the Time Traveller reveal about Wells’s attitudes toward science and the scientific pursuit?

5. 5. The issue of credibility comes up at the outset of The Time Machine. How does the Time Traveller attempt to give credibility to his ideas at the beginning, and what devices throughout does the character use to make the time-travel premise believable for his audience? What techniques or ideas does Wells use to make the premise credible for his readers?

6. 6. Throughout the novel, the only character named is Weena. Each of the Time Traveller’s companions is referred to by either first initial or occupation, and the narrator’s identity is not even disclosed until the book’s conclusion. Why might Wells have used this technique? Is the fact that Weena is the only character acknowledged by name meaningful to the book?

7. 7. Written at a time of rapid economic growth and industrialization in England, The Time Machine is renowned as a work of social criticism. It is known that Wells’s own political beliefs were leftist. Describe the relationship between the species of the future, the Eloi and the Morlocks. How might The Time Machine, in its depiction of the future and the struggle between these species, be a metaphor and prophecy for the age in which Wells was living?

8. 8. It is noteworthy that the Time Traveller comments so often on the year in the future to which he traveled, 802,701. Why was it necessary for Wells’s to set his story so far in the future? Does the extremity of the setting make the novel more or less relevant as a work of social criticism?

9. 9. The idea of evolution arises often in this book; the discussion of it falls into the categories of both scientific commentary and social criticism. How does Wells depict the evolution of the human race? What factors contribute to the final results? How do the Eloi evolve into androgynous automatons, while the Morlocks devolve into brutish troglodytes?

10. 10. The processes of evolution and devolution as depicted in The Time Machine provide interesting insight into the concept of gender roles in modern society. How does Wells construct his criticism of gender and society through the depiction of these two species? How do you think his Victorian audience would have responded to this type of commentary?

11. 11. The Time Machine is a work laden with symbolism. The Palace of Green Porcelain stands out as having significant meaning in terms of both the plot and the social commentary it affords. What is the relevance of the palace in the year 802,701, what is it in the Time Traveller’s age, and how does the palace figure into the plot? While in the Palace of Green Porcelain, the Time Traveller chooses a few “weapons.” What are they and how does he use them? It is interesting that the matches he selects figure the most prominently into the story. Is the importance of fire in the far distant future ironic? Find, describe, and discuss other symbols that appear over the course of the novel.

12. 12. While the story takes place far in the future, the hero of the story, a civilized British scientist, experiences profoundly primitive emotions over the course of the story. At what points in the book is it evident that the Time Traveller is regressing to a primitive state? What does this character development say about “time travel,” in scientific, evolutionary, and emotional terms?

13. 13. What purpose does the Time Traveller’s foray to “the end of the world” serve in the story and in Wells’s social commentary? This episode appears desperate and hopeless. Do you think Wells was truly pessimistic about the future of mankind? How does Wells remind the reader that optimism is not only present in his story, but essential? How do Weena’s flowers figure into the optimism/pessimism discourse?

14. 14. The Time Machine is a major work of utopian/dystopian fiction. What is a utopia? A dystopia? Describe the physical landscape of the future as Wells envisions it. What elements of both utopia and dystopia are immediately noticeable? How is the social landscape simultaneously utopian and dystopian? How does this theme figure into the idea of appearance versus reality, a debate that also figures prominently in the novel?

15. 15. Wells certainly opens the doors for discussion with this novel, and it is clear that he felt extremely connected to the ideas conveyed in the book. To what extent do you think the character of the Time Traveller was a literary mask or mouthpiece of the author? Are there any aspects of the book that lead you to believe Wells was more or less hopeful about the future of mankind than his protagonist?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 146 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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3 Star

(16)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 133 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2002

    A wonderful book

    This book is one of the most interesting books that highschools should read. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    53 out of 67 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2002

    The DEPTH!

    If you have a brain, this book is for you. This book is a amazing piece of literature, and I had no idea before reading it that its actually so short. Its not even 200 pages! But its still one amazing book. H.G. Wells was one amazing writer, to be able to compile so much thought into so few words. Again, if you have a brain, you will realize as you read it that it contains a critiscism on society and a moral lesson as well as providing a entertaining story. If you fell asleep while reading this, then that part of your brain that handles thought was obviously on strike.

    22 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    Great Book! Will Keep You Reading!

    The reason I chose this book to read, is because I had just finished reading "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card and I was still craving some science fiction. My teacher handed us a list of Honors books that we should be reading and I saw "The Time Machine". I decided to read it and I loved it! I read it everywhere I went! Some of my teachers even had to take it away so I could focus in class! Some reasons I recommend this book to you is because of its amazing ability to keep you reading, it is so interesting, I loved the detail that made me shiver, it painted a picture in my head that was amazing, and it makes your mind think differently, and lastly, the story line is just great. If you liked the "Ender" series, then you will love this book! It will keep you reading, and you will love it!

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    RP

    Roleplaying is retarded. GET A LIFE IDIOTS!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    I just love it

    I love to type and this nook is so awesome but comment back if you kniw julian bell.

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Surprisingly Fun

    When you hear someone is called the Father of Science Fiction, you expect his works to be more fatherly and less science fictiony. However, Well's "The Time Machine" is an innovative and intelligent visualization of what the distant future may still hold true for the human race.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    This book is lame

    So boring i mean really waz up with the title and the person in the book is gos darn stupid he only makes a time maichene

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2006

    An interesting book

    This book was one of the best books ive ever red. I realy enjoyed how H.G Wells kept you intersted in the whole book by telling tou something and telling you he will explain later. You will never expect how well he explains the simple things and makes them outstanding. He does a lot of show not tells. The characters he makes up is just phonominal, and how he desribes how they look. I hope you enjoy this book as much as i did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 19, 2006

    This book was amazing!

    I loved how he captured all the details making it very fun and intresting. It really brought out his creativity. Nice Job!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2001

    This book is the best!!!!

    Usually I am not interested in bokks but i had to do an adventure book for a book report of mine and i picked this book. At first it seemed like a regular sci fi book but it turned out to be a suspensful story. I think that readers, young and old, should read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2000

    Riveting!

    When I started reading The Time Machine, I couldn't put it down, not even for meals. I finishing it in a day and a half. It's a fascinating look at how we might evolve in the far future. A very enjoyable read. After reading The Time Machine, I had a feeling H.G. Wells wouldn't disappoint me with The Invisble Man. This chilling tale follows a young scientist gone mad when he discovers a way to become invisible. Unfortunutely, there is no turining back. This story was just as well written as The Time Machine. It took me only two days to read. I highly recommend getting this set of two instead of one or the other. Once you are captured, you will be eager to read more of his work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2000

    TIME MACHINE REVIEW

    H.G. Wells' Time Machine is the definition of a true Science Fiction novel. He uses many literary tools to convey the story of a young scientist who travels to the year 802,701 A.D. He finds that the human race (the eloi) has been made slaves of the mutant morlocks. His journey descibes a future world that has suffered from years of war. In the future, the scientist loses his time machine and has no way of returning to 1900(the year is not specifically mentioned). Will he ever return? He has all the time in world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Gvh,v

    Kb
    V

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    About kim possible...

    I don't have disney channel (yeah, i know,"how are you still alive if you don't have disney channel?") But, whats the story with the girl with green hair?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    T

    T

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    Anonymous

    I hate this book. It makes me sad. Its an insult to all other books.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Hi

    The best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    Kim possible

    If u love and remdmber kim possible thdn send back a message.who else wants kim possible back?
    ~kp fan

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    Your just a sick b*****

    Xavier

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Hey guys

    Do u guys stink or wht?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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