Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

"When the power of love overrules our love of power, we shall be at peace." - Something I read somewhere but forgot the source; paraphrased


This book, to my knowledge, was way ahead of its time. Herbert George Wells' nameless time traveler explains some of the ideas I first encountered in the more recent Hyperspace by Dr. Michio Kaku. Said ideas include that that time is the fourth dimension; the measure of duration is just as valid as those of length, width, and height. The time traveler ventures from around 1895 (the year of the novel's publication) to the distant-but-approaching year of 802,701. He finds two races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, both of which are derived from humanity, a two-pronged fork of human evolution. The Eloi seem perfectly at peace, harmonious with their surroundings, until the time traveler finds that the second race, the Morlocks, live underground and have evolved away from any form of brighter light, are carnivorous and prey on the helpless Eloi. It becomes apparent that these two separate populations are the product of humankind's over-eagerness to progress. In creating their own perfect surface world, the Eloi have no need of defensive strategies...until the Morlocks come to devour them. But the Eloi have no knowledge as to what is happening to their lost members and continue to exist in pseudo-safety. Reminds me a bit of Orwell's Animal Farm, actually. The time traveler goes so far ahead that eventually all life has been reduced to lichens and slime. This is rather a depressing thought, but can also serve as a warning to all of us.

Final grade: A

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