Review of THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells
FACTS ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Time Machine
Author: H.G. Wells
Genre: Science Fiction
BACK OF THE BOOK
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
"The Time Machine" tells the story of The Time Traveller who travels through time and spends several days in the future, in the year 802,700. When he comes back he tells his friends of it and one of these friends writes it down in form of this book.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK
It didn't take me long to get into the story since the subject of timetravel reminds Whovians like me very much of Doctor Who and is therefore a very appealing one to me. I really found the story quite interesting right on from the beginning.
I always find conversations so much quicker and easier to read than mere text, which is why I read extremely fast through the first 20 pages because they only consisted out of quite interesting conversations. I really liked that way of starting into the story.
Since this is my third book in a row of the late 19th century, I began to notice some similarities in words and spelling between this one and Dracula (click here for my review) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (click here for my review). The word "queer" seemed to be the favoured one amongst all three of these to describe the strange an unknown, while today it is connotated very differently. I also noticed the old-fashioned spelling of tonight, tomorrow and today as to-night, to-morrow, to-day.
This might not seem relevant to you, but it is most interesting to me, as an English student.
I also found it quite interesting to read a timetravel novel from before the two World Wars because these obviously changed a lot. Nowadays, and especially with Doctor Who as a prime timetravel example, one would definitely think of the World Wars when thinking of travelling into the past. But when the book was written they hadn't happend yet and it seemed to me as though the last "interesting" event that has happened for the characters of the late 19th century in this book, were Greek philosophers, so way before them; while now the closer past seems to be more interesting when thinking about past time travel.
The characters also have a very different attitude to, for example Germany, than they would most certainly have after the two World Wars. I found it generally interesting to read about time travel in pre-war literature.
What I also found interesting was the fact that I am a reader from the future for the characters while they are from the past for me. That might seem quite obvious, but when you read a book about timetravel you are much more aware of that, I think.
I found it very easy to read because I really enjoyed the writing style and the shortness of the chapters, which had exactly the right length for me. I always talk about the chapter lengths in my reviews, but I also find that to be one of the key elements to my reading speed. If the chapters are too long I will automatically read slower. And the chapters in this book were not too long and not too short. If I got ten minutes of free time, I could easily read a chapter. And because the writing style very much appealed to me, it did never take me long to get sucked back into the story.
I liked the mystery and fascination that comes with this book, basically from page one onwards.
But I was a bit disappointed when the story turned into a sole retelling and therefore left out any more conversation.
The future was difficult for me to imagine. I couldn't quite get a clear picture in my head of the Eloi and Morlocks; and the whole future world felt a bit unclear to me at times. And because The Time Traveller doesn't talk to anyone in that future world, it is really just a retelling of what he has done without any talking to anyone else. That slowed down both my enthusiasm and my reading speed and motivation. The main part of the story was definitely more boring than the beginning and the ending of it.
I also found it a bit strange that The Time Traveller seemed to remember everything that he has experienced in such vast detail. It was also a bit hard to imagine that everyone to whom he told the story to, would listen silently for such a long while without commenting or asking anything. I also think that it would have made the story more interesting if there had been comments and questions from his friends in between. That would have cut through the long retelling of this weird future and would have given the future more perspective in my opinion.
I really enjoyed the beginning and the ending of it very much. They make the story a round one aswell, which I really liked. It's definitely a different story and felt new to me and unlike anything I have ever read before. I think that it is worth reading and also a great read at times, and more so if you are interested in time travel in general. But the whole retelling was rather disappointing.
Still, I would definitely recommend this book to Doctor Who fans in particular.