The Time Machine

The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells
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Overview

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780460009157
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/1969
Product dimensions: 20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

About the Author

Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866, in England. At age 7, he suffered a broken leg. While resting his injury, Wells started reading books. As he grew older, he continued to enjoy reading and school. At 14, young Wells quit school to help his struggling family. Fortunately, he received a scholarship in 1883 and began studying science at a school in London. Soon after, Wells started writing. Some of his works, like The War of the Worlds, combine his love for storytelling and science.

As a teenager, Terry Davis was a third-string shooting guard for Spokane's Shadle Park High School junior varsity team. In his junior year, Davis turned to wrestling. He tool to the sport like a bear to a honeycomb and wrestled his remaining high school years. Today, Davis is a father, a writer, and — in his words — "a fat, old wrestling coach." He also teaches narrative and screenwriting at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Alfonso Ruiz was born in 1975 in Macuspana, Tabasco in Mexico, where the temperature is just as hot as the sauce is. He became a comic book illustrator when he was 17 years old, and has worked on many graphic novels since then. Alfonso has illustrated several English graphic novels, including retellings of Dracula and Pinocchio.

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1866

Date of Death:

August 13, 1946

Place of Birth:

Bromley, Kent, England

Place of Death:

London, England

Education:

Normal School of Science, London, England

Read an Excerpt

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."

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
I 3
II 7
III 10
IV 13
V 18
VI 26
VII 29
VIII 32
IX 35
X 38
XI 40

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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The Time Machine (Norton Critical Editions) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 125 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the most interesting books that highschools should read. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved how he captured all the details making it very fun and intresting. It really brought out his creativity. Nice Job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
H.G. Wells
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The best
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Awesome but oldish
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