Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Time Machine

I know, I know, another one already. I either seem to go through books like mad, or not at all.

This was an interesting book from several different viewpoints. The first is that today we see what last century envisioned for our future. Wells tended towards a more idealistic, although not perfect, view of how the world would develop, whereas today, many of our futuristic visions tend to be more industrialist and doom/gloom than idealistic. His version also didn’t include space travel, which for us seems to be a given. The second is that although he could travel in time, it was still a fairly linear type of travel. The Time Traveller moved in time, but not space, so whenever he went was simply the same place in space only a different time. It’s nothing like the Tardis which goes through virtually every dimension. Finally, it was all fairly simplistic in both design and execution. There were no mentions of how the machine was powered, how it was built, the materials were nothing that weren’t widely used in the rest of life and no sort of special protection was used for the traveller himself. Since his time, we’ve moved on to make things much more complicated and realistic, which is logical considering our standpoint in relation to travel in general, space or otherwise.

Wells seemed less interested in plot in this book than in making the reader confront the future from a different standpoint. In his version of the distant future, humans have become so intelligent that they no longer needed their intelligence and therefore reverted to an almost pacifistic, childlike innocence. It’s an interesting thought. Usually we consider the future to be a place of advancement in which humans become more intelligent and more advanced, yet retain the negative sides of the human character as well. Wells assumes that humans will eventually reach the point where they become so intelligent that their baser characteristics will be abandoned, leaving humans happy and carefree, obviating the need for intellectual and material advancement thus leading humanity to a happier, but less industrial future. He does avoid making the future a utopia by introducing enemies, however, these enemies are not fought, but feared and avoided, a war being out of the question as it would render the humanistic advances null and void with its necessity of learning how to cause destruction and death.

All in all an interesting book with more thought food than plot.

1 comment:

mari said...

My goodness, you have been reading a lot!