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.
I picked this book up on a whim – I had been reading a lot of YA books and still had one more to read and review, but I really fancied something in a different genre and seeing as this book is only 120-odd pages I thought I could slip it in easily enough. Long term followers will be aware that I don’t tend to read many classics (Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are still books I might get around too at some point), but I’ve quite enjoyed dipping into HG Wells back catalogue in the past plus I just love time travel stories. I blame Marty McFly and Doc Brown for that particular love!
The story is told by a friend of the Time Traveller who first of all hears his theories of time travel and then his extraordinary story of his first travel through time. One of the things that I noticed almost straight away is the lack of names given characters in this story. The Time Traveller is always referred to as the Time Traveller, his dinner companions are usually referred to by their jobs – the Journalist, the Editor, the Doctor (no, not The Doctor...at least I don’t think!). This allows them to almost be caricatures in your own head rather than actual personalities.
As to the adventure, it is both similar and completely different to the numerous films based on the book. He does travel to the far future and meet the child-like Eloi (his words) and the dark dwelling Morlocks. Overall, there is less action in the story than you’d expect with most of it based on thoughts and a lot of walking around rather than much positive action. The Traveller has numerous theories as to how the Eloi and Morlocks evolved – so at times it almost feels like a subtle lecture from HG Wells on the ills of the class system in Victorian times.
That said, there are some fascinating ideas that are played with and the Travellers experience both with the Eloi and the Morlock and his other adventures in time are never less than interesting. It is easy to understand how this has become the template for most time travel stories. Well’s writing is both challenging and encouraging. This is a classic for a reason and one I think is worth reading for any fan of time travel stories.
Recommended for fans of Alexander Dumas and Lewis Carroll. 8 out of 10