Propelled into the year 802,701 AD, a Victorian scientist is delighted by what he finds in the futuristic world. A beautiful elfin race, descended from mankind, reigns in peace and plenty. However, when the scientist discovers that this race is actually childish and simple, he also finds that another race lives beneath the surface of the ground. Also descended from man, this race is not like the one that lives on the surface, and they hold the only means the scientist has of returning home...
A seminal and hugely imaginative work of early science fiction, H.G. Wells's The Time Machine is the first and greatest modern portrayal of time-travel, edited by Patrick Parrinder with an introduction by Marina Warner and notes by Steven McLean in Penguin Classics. When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture - now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. But they have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity - the sinister Morlocks. And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels, if he is ever to return to his own era. This edition includes a full biographical essay on Wells, a further reading list and detailed notes. Marina Warner's introduction considers Wells's development of the 'scientific romance' and places the novel in the context of its times. H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a professional writer and journalist. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. Among his most popular works are The Time Machine (1895); The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), filmed with Bela Lugosi in 1932, and again in 1996 with Marlon Brando; The Invisible Man (1897); The War of the Worlds (1898), which was the subject of an Orson Welles radio adaptation that caused mass panic when it was broadcast, and a 2005 film directed by Stephen Spielberg; and The First Men in the Moon (1901), which predicted the first lunar landings. If you enjoyed The Time Machine, you might like Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, also available in Penguin Classics.
H.G. Wells was a professional writer and journalist, who published more than a hundred books, including novels, histories, essays and programmes for world regeneration. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. His controversial views on sexual equality and the shape of a truly developed nation remain directly relevant to our world today. He was, in Bertrand Russell's words, 'an important liberator of thought and action'. Marina Warner is a famed writer and critic. Patrick Parrinder has written on H.G. Wells, science fiction, James Joyce and the history of the English novel. Since 1986 he has been Professor of English at the University of Reading. Steven McLean is Secretary of the H.G. Wells Society. He recently completed his PhD on H.G. Wells at the University of Sheffield.
“[Wells] contrives to give over humanity into the clutches of the Impossible and yet manages to keep it down (or up) to its humanity, to its flesh, blood, sorrow, folly.” —Joseph Conrad
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