“Baby you’re so classic” When those guys made that song with these words (I’m so good at pop culture references), they were talking about H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine. I’m pretty excited my first review of a book I chose to read and was not assigned is for classic science fiction. I friggin’ LOVE classic science fiction.
So why The Time Machine in the midst of all these African American literature assignments and postmodern comps nightmares? To be honest, I decided to read it now because OwlCrate* sent me this new nifty edition with a neat cover and large typeface. I’ve been reading it over breakfast the past few days, and it’s a delightful way to start the day.
The Time Traveler sits down with some friends to tell them about how he created the time machine, and then he gallivants off into the future and meets the Eloi and Morlocks and comes back to tell his friends about the devolution of the human race.
I enjoy this book for several reasons.
I’m a big fan of frame stories because the character has the chance to tell you what happened; when the frame is a character telling the story to a friend, it is even better because the entire thing becomes more personal and engaging.
This book is succinct and classified as a novella, and like many other novellas, it packs an amazing amount of social commentary into a tiny amount of space. The Time Machine is a product of Wells’s socialist views, and he makes direct comments about the separation of classes and the problems that decadence will lead to.
I also love the tone Wells writes the Time Traveler’s voice in; if you asked me what an arrogant scientist sounds like, I would just hand you this book. The Time Traveler is obviously intelligent, enthusiastic about his interests, detached at times, caring at others, quite pleased with his accomplishments, and thirsty to continue his adventures in knowledge. His arrogance is that normally associated with brilliance without being overbearing; he is a very human character.
Perhaps the most important reason I enjoy this book is that it is just plain fun to read. I would recommend H.G. Wells to anyone.
*OwlCrate is a really great subscription service that sends a box of young adult book goodies out every month. Each month has a theme. I’ve had it for two months, and I loved both boxes (Magic for January and Sci-Fi Love for February). The March theme is Writer’s Block. You can subscribe if you click here. If you’re curious, this was the entire box from February.