Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5 Rating
I would absolutely go check out the novel
About the author:
H.G Wells was an English writer best known for his science fiction books. “The Chronic Argonauts” is considered the short story that served as the initial inspiration for Well’s classic novella The Time Machine, which is excerpted here. Although it is popularly believed that “The Chronic Argonauts” was the first fiction published with a time-travel theme, another story, also in this anthology, predates it by almost a decade: Edward Page Mitchell’s “The Clock That Went Backward.” In addition to The Time Machine, Well’s other famous and popular books include The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. The Time Machine was first published in 1895.
This was only a 4-page except from The Time Machine novella itself. However, these pages were riveting, and I would absolutely go check out the novel after reading this!
Our narrator has just built the Time Machine, and today he decides that he is going to use it. He sits on the saddle, straps in, grips the starting lever and pulls!
One thing we have seen very little of so far is what happens during the actual time travel. Most stories, it is someone pushing a button and then there are at a new point, or the time-travleling happened before the story started. I believed last week’s story, Himself in Anachron (my review), is the only one that has attempt to describe what it is like during the travel (and did so unsuccessfully). With The Time Machine, I felt it was done wonderfully.
When our narrator pulls the level, everything around him starts moving slighlty faster. The first thing he notices is that his assistant walks through the room in a matters of second, when it would take a minute. This is when he cranks the lever up more. Suddenly the day and night, sun and moon, starting going back and forth, quick and quicker, almost flickering; the season staring going by in seconds; and pretty soon, he traveling years every minute!
What I loved about this was how descriptive – and not confusing at all! – the whole scene was and how well Wells was able to convert that sense of building-up of the excitement and nervousness, and as the narrator keep going faster and faster! And then the danger if he could stop and not die!
That’s the other thing I loved: how Wells took into account how our narrator was traveling and some problems with that. Our narrator is not physical moving, but Wells tells us that his molecules are and this why he is not having any issues “running” into items. However, to stop, this would mean slowing down the molecules, and having them take up space again. So, there is a very real chance he could end up somewhere in the future where there is a wall, too.
I was so grateful for that that. Quite a few authors we have read so far, take for granted those little details – like the molecules – and expect the readers to just chalk them up to “science”.
I have noticed 2 types of stories thus far: First, is the hard science where the time-travel and explination is spot on, but the characters and story are lacking; Second, is the opposite, where I love the plot, but time-travel explanation is left up to the “magic of science”, or the time-travel isn’t the focus of the story. There has yet to be a story where was a time-travel explanations and plot, that both hooked me in. With The Time Machine, I believed I found my golden ticket.
Spolierific Speculations: (Highlight to read)
If your comments contains a spoiler, please type “SPOILER:” at the start of your comment to alert fellow readers and comments. Thanks!
The reason I am only give this a 4-star is because, it’s only 4 pages of a novella. While the time-travel is amazing, these 4 pages are literally him sitting on the machine and traveling, until he stops in a new time. I felt a good bond with the character, but how accurately can you judge from this few pages out of a whole novella? And the plot, well, it’s a 4 page except: it’s nothing major. They way it ended, I could guess where the novella is going – but, again, I can tell if it’s good or bad, because I have only 4 pages.
Regardless, I have nothing to complain about, and EVERYTHING from this excerpt makes me think, if I were to read the novella, I would be rating it a 4.5 or 5.
Side note: I can’t believe how much I enjoyed the prose a story that was written 120 year ago!!!
Be sure to check out my fellow time-travelers’ reviews!
Follow along on Twitter with #TimeTravelThursday
To see a full list of The Time Traveler’s Almanac reviews and reading schedule, visit The Time Traveler’s Almanac Page
Feel free to join in any join time! Just leave a comment down below 🙂
See you next Thursday for Young Zaphod Plays it Safe by Douglas Adams