Length: 104 pages
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When the Time Traveller tells his dinner company that he’s invented a machine that can move through time, his guests write it off as a fantastic idea. But days later, when the Time Traveller is late in joining the same party (and a few more) at dinner, he arrives with more than an explanation. He arrives with a tale of adventure from the future. He’s been to the year 802,701 which is populated by the graceful surface dwelling Eloi, and the nocturnal underground-dwelling Morlock. And the story he relates depicts a world very unlike the one we now inhabit, but one that will, one day, surely be ours.
Let me begin by saying that I have never really been a fan of classics. They often make for heavy reading and, to me, have just not been enjoyable. But The Time Machine is one of the best books I have ever read, and it really does deserve a perfect 5-star rating.
The only thing that could bring this down (and for some time, almost did), is the beginning. The book has a slow start and given the old writing style and lengthy explanation of concepts, makes for slow and heavy reading. The plus point here, though, is that the concepts were explained simply enough, while also incorporating some dry humor to keep it as light as possible.
But around one-fourth in, the slow progression changes… and how.
At one point, the book begins to pick up; and then it never stops. It just keeps moving faster and faster, making pages turn and the book, difficult to put down. And that is the smallest aspect of what was great about the book.
The Time Machine touches upon concepts of society, culture, humanity, belief, and the idea that the right to existence is not simple, but complex. A great deal of this is done through discussion and recap; but a large part of it is done through what is not said – from between the lines. That is why you become aware of the depth of the story only after you’re done and you’ve had a moment to reflect upon it.
The best part, though, is how easily and simply Wells evokes a plethora of emotions in the reader. The Time Machine really takes you on a journey – not just through time, but through a range of emotions that you feel incredibly strongly, in every fiber of your being.
There are parts so creepy that you can feel the tips of your fingers and toes tingling. They leave you just… disturbed, on edge, and looking over your shoulder for things you know are not real. Then there are parts that leave you feeling so very, very sad – all through one or two simple statements. And you’re left, long after you’re done reading, just thinking about the book and filled with this surreal sense of heavy acceptance.
There is also a need to mention here the amazing imagination that Wells possessed. The Time Machine presents fantastic and unique ideas and images, understandably making it a universal reference when it comes to science fiction and time travel. I’m glad that I put my general lack of inclination to read classics aside long enough to be able to get into the story. What I got was a story that was simple yet vivid, and brilliantly thought-provoking, emotional, and impactful. It will definitely be one of my favorite books of all time.
- Ages 15+ because some parts can be truly disturbing
- Fans of science fiction
- Fans of classics
- Those who want to take a shot at reading their first (or one of their few) classics
Did you read/like The Time Machine? Do drop a comment to share your thoughts/opinion.