May 12, 2010

The Time Machine

I'm still waiting for Hans. As in, Hans Christian Andersen, which is next on my list. In the meantime I read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which I randomly bought at the bookstore because it was there and it was cheap and it was on my list.

The Time Machine

This book illustrates the feeling that man had toward science back during the time of the industrial revolution. Technology was taking off; science was suddenly something that mattered in the real world. Everything was moving at a much faster pace, and so much more was possible than anyone had ever thought could be. These sudden rapid developments not only set the industrial world on edge, but also society. And people feared the changes. Science was something to be in awe of, something terrible and magnificent, something to be feared. Thus, science fiction during the industrial revolution tended to be a subgenre of horror fiction.

The Time Machine is a beautifully constructed story; simple and elegant in its plot-lines. Description that is succinct and pungent, as well as a minimum of character development, make the story and the picture that the author creates of future scenarios the entire focus. The story has a distinctly eerie flavor. You know, long before trouble happens, that this will be a horror story; in fact, the author prepares you for it with the typical foreshadowing phrases, eg, "little did he know," and "It would soon be discovered". This creates tension and dread that adds to the horror when one experiences the plot's climax.

The odd thing about this book is that it is so very short, and yet the story conveys so much. Honestly, I read this story, got to the end, and then looked at the thin little volume in my hand with almost disbelief. I felt like I had just read a two-inch thick novel by Vonnegut, or a 400 page Asimov. This indicates how good the writing is--the author conveys a memorable, satisfying story with vibrant imagery and somehow conserves his words to a point that it can be read in an hour.

There is a mild mention of sexuality in passing, but nothing explicit. The violence is implied, for the most part, though the suspense makes it feel more intense.
I would definitely reccommend this. I give it 3.75 out of 4 stars. (I've decided the asterixes just aren't working, sorry guys.)


Emily said...

I re-read this one recently! Loved those crazy Morlocks! I recommend the Island of Dr. Moreau. It may be my favorite H.G... with The Invisible Man a close second. Are you on Goodreads? I love it, keeps a little catalogue of all my books.
I'm wading through Crime and Punishment right now.

David L said...

H.G. Wells is just one of those authors.... I've never read Time Machine, but his War of the Worlds is classically good and almost disturbing in its approach.

Wonderful, wonderful literature with incredibly rich themes. If War of the Worlds is not on your list, I'd strongly recommend adding it.