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November 4, 2022


#NovNov22 Classic novella The Time Machine

by NancyElin



The Time Machine by H.G. Wells by H.G. Wells H.G. Wells

Quick Scan:
The Time Machine is a science fiction novella (111 pg) published in 1895 and written as a story within a story (mise-en-abyme). The time traveller whirls off to the year A.D. 802,701 only to find that the state of the human race has changed considerably.


Finish date:  November 2022
Genre: Classic novella (111 pg) (#NovNov22)
Rating: C-
Review: The Time Machine (ISBN: 9780141439976)


Bad news: I expected a vivd description to the future where the Time Traveller had landed….all I’m reading is about flowers, little underworld people, the sunset and the ‘missing’ time machine! Those people are smart cookies..they hide the machine!


Bad news: Strange narrative…not at ALL what I was expecting. I feel just like the ’Time Traveller” …is disillusioned when travelling forward into time reveals a dark and dangerous society, not one of enlightenment!


Bad news: Question: what is the purpose of the character Weena? She is mentioned 54 x …even more than the Morlocks (49 x). Weena keeps the time traveller company and tries to keep him safe and comfortable – in her own way. This mostly involves trying to prevent him from going underground and putting flowers in his pockets. I felt this was a weak character…probably inserted just to give the story a “human connection” to an Eloi.


Bad news: Narrative seems to deflate in ch 11 that is filled with scientific and philosophical musings about The Palace of Green Porcelain. The sense of suspense has disappeared!


Good news: A+ for imagination of H G wells…see ch 14…monstrous crab-like creature!
Good news: Very good  ch 14 (time traveller visits a dying earth)…. and ch 16 After the Story.  H.G. Wells still leave us open to speculation!


Personal: I had quite a wild ride in The Time Machine (1895).  I liked 25 % of the book…but all in all it was a disappointment. H G Wells is considered the father of SF. Time travelling …going back in time to erase a mistake or going forward to know the future. These are themes everyone has thought about…but be careful what you wish for!  This #Classic was a quick read but to be honest…I thought The War of the Worlds (287 pg) written in 1898 was 10x better than this book.

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 4 2022

    Reading this as a teenager I felt just as confused as you, but your review has got me fired up to revisit it and to try to fathom out Wells’ motives in writing this! I agree that The War of the Worlds feels a much more satisfactory narrative than this.

    Oh, and thanks for following my blog. I’ll pop back here and have a look at your other reviews in the near future.

    • Nov 4 2022

      So glad you stopped by…! I had a look at some of your reviews and challenges…lot’s to like!

      • Nov 4 2022

        Thank you, I try my best!

  2. Nov 4 2022

    Not one that I’ve been tempted to read it before, I think I would have a similar experience to yourself

    • Nov 4 2022

      This novella was a disappointment…but at least it was only 111 pages!
      I have 3 more novellas….for the challenge and I hope to have 1 or maybe 2 that are good.

  3. Nov 5 2022

    I have always been fascinated by SciFi but rarely have I been able to read it. Maybe I should try SciFi novellas, but maybe not THIS one. Ha ha.

    • Nov 5 2022

      SF…it is a genre that I have the most difficulty with. I listened to an audible book that I loved: “How Science Fiction Works” (12 hr. 31 min). It really opened my eyes about the “nuts & bolts” of SF. It’s not all random robots, spaceships, futuristic megacities, planets orbiting distant stars! After this audio book I could search for a SF that I could understand…. I have DUNE on my kindle so I should at some point in time read it! H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” (1898) was amazing. Just remember Wells had to “think up” things like heat-rays and walking mechanical invasion vehicles (tripods) way back in 1898!!

      • Nov 6 2022

        I wanted to read Dune and the local library had ebooks but not a physical book. Since it’s a chunkster, I wanted a physical book. The library purchased a copy for their library, based on my suggestion, and I was the first one to get to borrow it. Unfortunately, I could NOT get into it and it ended up another SciFi DNF. But I keep trying to read SciFi. I don’t know why. That How SciFi Works book sounds interesting!!!

  4. Nov 6 2022

    Jinjer, SF is a struggle for me as well. Talking motherships and shapeshifting “things” just cannot interest me.

  5. Nov 7 2022

    I read this one for my classic novella pick as well. And like you, I was disappointed. I quickly lost interest. I did think Wells’ writing style was very good; but the story just didn’t hold my attention. I am encouraged to hear that War of the Worlds is much better! It’s also on my classics TBR. 🙂

    • Nov 7 2022

      War of the Worlds…I read it in one day
      …it really is such a difference with this book!
      Thanks for your comment and how the book impressed you.

  6. Nov 8 2022

    I haven’t read it yet!
    But this year I read The First Men In the Moon by him, which i really enjoyed a lot. It is a smart spin on Verne’s De la terre à la lune (and Verne’s is actually on the boring side).

    • Nov 8 2022

      Thanks for your comment….I’ll have a look at First Men in the Moon

  7. Nov 13 2022

    I guess I recall the book (and the Rod Taylor movie) more favorably than you, but enjoyed your review (and the memories). Also, I thought I was so smart but you taught me a new word (mise-en-abyme). Thanks!


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