|About the Book|
One of the most difficult courses I took in college was a class called Sociological Theory. The professor was either brilliant or a total nut, I’m still not sure, and one of the questions for our final exam was actually:Why? (Use diagrams to support your response).Ugh, ugh, ugh!!! I walked out of that class with a B and I kid you not, I have never worked so hard for a B in my life! I pity the one guy in my class who walked away with an A and don’t even want to think about what his social life was like during that semester because I know mine was down the tubes.At one point, the kooky prof mentioned The Time Machine as some interesting (but not required) reading to pick up on the side. But since he already had us reading upwards of 1,000 pages a week and we were required to hand in a 7-10 page paper every Monday (just for the one class!!!!), I was like, “screw you! H.G. Wells can kiss my ass!”And that’s the funny thing about regret. Because now I’m wishing I’d have made time in my busy schedule to read it. Maybe I should have blown off another class for a couple hours so I could have read The Time Machine. And then I could have thought about it in a state of mind that was open and receptive to what was being said and layering it with some weird, academic extrapolations and connections (the kind professors slurp up) and it would become something ultra-meaningful and profound. Or something.But no, I read it now. At age 29. Because I was dragging my feet and didn’t feel like finishing the book I’m supposed to be reading about Al Qaeda. And so the entire time I was reading it, I was like, “hm, interesting. If I was a younger person and still remembered the specific details about theories I studied in my past life as a student, the ideas in this book would have given me a nerd brain orgasm. And hot diggity damn! This book would have made a fantastic paper for my Soc. Theory class! By referencing several schools of sociological thought and combining those with discussions of evolution, social deconstruction and combining all that with the social norms of Victorian peoples—that would have knocked that prof’s socks off!So anyway. I liked this book okay. I’m really not a huge science fiction fan and that aspect probably kept me from getting into it as much as I could have given its potential for creating nerd brain o’s. Plus, it was only 90 pages long. It’s hard to really get into something that’s that short. Parts of the story felt like they weren’t fleshed out enough and Wells seemed to have skimmed over several scenes that shouldn’t have been skimped on. But then I found out that his original intent for this story was to turn it into a full-fledged novel but that just never happened due to some financial burdens and it sort of made sense.The basic plot revolves around a Victorian gentleman and his theories about time travel. To prove them, he builds a machine and travels 800,000 years into the future where he befriends a group of people, the Eloi, who are descended from modern human beings. They are much shorter, childlike people who only eat fruit and spend most of their day playing games. They have no concept of work, they have no critical thinking skills and are incapable of logical reaction to problems. They are also terrified of the dark.After spending a few days with them, the Time Traveler discovers another distinct species, also descended from modern man but of a much more sinister nature. This second group lives underground, only comes out at night, is a bit more cunning than the gentle people who live aboveground and this group is also extremely predatory in that they cannibalize the Eloi. These are the Morlocks.The Time Traveler has several adventures during his time spent amongst the Eloi and the Morlocks and towards the end of the story, Wells makes some fairly blatant comparisons between the Eloi and the ultra-rich of our own society. If they spend their entire days being attended to by others, they will lose the ability to care for themselves and if they’re not careful, over the course of time and evolution of the species, they could turn into the Eloi, a group of wimpy wimpsters upon whom a life of privilege has backfired.