As a preface to my review I am a massive fan of time travel as a specific genre of Science Fiction. Fiction such as Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys, and Looper all make me hopeful one day I can travel forward in time and The Time Machine is no exception on that list. What excites me so much about time travel is the option to explore what the future of humanity will look like. H.G. Wells tackles that sentiment in what may be the first mainstream science fiction book in history.
The Time Machine is a tale focusing on the character of The Time Traveler, who is never given an actual name. After explaining to his weekly dinner party guests that time is a fourth dimension, he claims to them that he built a functioning time machine. After a week at the next dinner party, The Time Traveler retold his tale of his explorations of the future to his guests. Discovering that humanity may have split into two paths, the docile and simple Eloi, and the brutish violent Morlocks, The Time Traveler almost was trapped in this future. Accompanied by an Eloi named Weena, The Time Traveler learns what humanity will become in 802,701 A.D.. After escaping the clutches of the Morlocks, The Time Traveler jumps forward again discovering giant crab and butterfly creatures roaming the Earth, finally jumping forward one more time to see the end of the planet and then returning back to Victorian England.
What I enjoyed most about Well’s take on the future of humanity was his prediction that humans actually de-evolve in the future. With all of humanities needs taken care of natural selection was eliminated more so than even in today’s era. I’m a huge fan of exploring humanity as just another species of animal and I really enjoyed Well’s take on humanities de-evolution. Humans have split into two races, with the violent one praying on the weaker one. While this is one of the earliest takes on science fiction I still believe that the story holds up today.