“I’ve had a most amazing time….”
So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.”
Do you understand why this is a classic?
Sugar – For sure. It’s like the great-great-grandpappy of multiple science fiction sub-genres, and I would imagine that back in 1895, that it had to be pretty damn groundbreaking. Even science fiction aspects aside, it took the time to also include a social commentary of capitalism in Victorian England and how it was dividing people who could be considered the Haves and Have Nots.
Scream – Yes. I’m sure at the time this was published, it blew the literal minds of the people. How many had considered the planet dying at this time period?
Does this make you like it anymore based on your answer to question 1?
Sugar – Yeah, I do think it made me appreciate it for what it is more, sure. Knowing what we know now as readers, I find it difficult to ignore how it set the groundwork for so many other wonderful stories to come after it, and how unique it would have been back when it was first published. We live in a different, more fast-paced world these days, so there were definitely parts where I was a little bored, but I may have felt completely differently as a reader in the 19th century, you know? I think of it sort of like, this story had to walk so that other stories that came after it could run.
Scream – Honestly, if it was written today, I wouldn’t like it nearly as much. So, it gets points for admiration based on when it was published. While I liked it, I didn’t love it. That’s saying something though because I have a difficult relationship with classics. I don’t think I’ve ever rated one above 3 stars.
What did you think of the protagonist?
Sugar – Hmm. . . kind of a “meh” character overall. He mostly felt like a vessel for us to experience the story through in my opinion. He also rubbed me the wrong way a few times, as I imagine many men of the Victorian era would if I were to meet them today.
Scream – I mean, he built a time machine so that’s cool. But otherwise, I would agree with Sugar. He was there to lay the groundwork for the story and not much else.
Would you have taken the time machine to the end of the planet?
Sugar – Oof. I dunno. Like, on one hand, it’s like that question of, “if you could know how you will one day die, would you want to know?” but on a much larger, planetary scale. My immediate instinct is “no”, but perhaps, if you timed it right, you could change things?
Scream – “Curiosity killed the cat,” definitely applies to me. I don’t think my morbid curiosity would let me NOT find out how our planet dies and if we ever discover life elsewhere in the universe before that happens.
If you had a real time machine, when would be your first stop?
Sugar – Hmm. . . good question. Time travel and the responsibility involved with it, kind of creeps me out, if I’m being honest. I would be so worried about that whole butterfly effect bit that goes along with it. I’d hate for something harmless I did, or even something for the greater good I did, to come back around and bite everyone in the ass in some unexpected way. I could ramble on way too long about this, but I’ll give the fluffy answer and say: as long as I could loop back around if needed, why not become a time traveling vigilante? That said, the FIRST place I’d stop would be to see my grandparents. I never really got to know any of them as an adult because they all died too young, so I’d want to ensure they were able to avoid or detect certain ailments early enough that they could still be around today. Side note because, yes, I’m anxious enough to worry about this sort of thing even in a hypothetical time travel situation: How much more concerning would time travel be now with Covid-19 being a thing? Yikes!
Scream – See? Isn’t that some noble ass shit? That’s why she’s Sugar. Here’s my gut reaction answer: Fuck long dead loved ones, I want to see some goddamn dinosaurs! I don’t even know which period to pick first, I want to see them all. I really want to see a T-Rex but hopefully not get eaten by it. Even from a distance, I would be squeeing in complete glee.
BY OUR POWERS COMBINED, WE RATE THIS READ 3 STARS.
3 thoughts on “The Time Machine by HG Wells – Buddy Read”
At first this idea of accidentally talking COVID back in time scared me, but then I wondered if, when Sugar came back to the future, things would actually be more normal because we would be a smaller band of people but by now wouldn’t COVID have waned? Or do viruses always-always get stronger??
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Very interesting things to consider! 🙂 Who knows how things could have gone. Some viruses have just kind of dwindled off throughout history, but then there are the resilient ones that only get diminished through high vaccine rates. I do have to wonder if more people would have complied with masks/getting vaccinated if this had all happened at another time in history though.