Tag Archives: time travel

The Time Machine

1957 cover art, courtesy of monikalel42 on flickr

H.G. Wells 1895

Thanks Wishbone for exposing a young mind to another great story, this, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

This book harbors more than just the era-typical beginnings of sci-fi and drawing-room stories, topics of communism, social stratification and Darwin-ism murmur in its pages.  Furthermore, the cover portrays the most striking part of the book, the end where The Time Traveller witnesses the eclipsing of a very red, cold sun.  The rest of the tale revolves around H.G. Wells’ speculations on the direction humanity was headed, namely towards a complete stratification into two separate species in 800,000 years.  The “Haves” or Eloi live  in beautiful comfort but also ignorance, the “Have-nots” or Morlocks live below ground in darkness and savagery.  The future the inventor emerged into is humanity in decay.

His book is interesting and imaginative, although at times he speaks like the fluttering of a moth, the character tiring and resolving and worrying constantly.  I liked very much his imagined mechanics of time travel, with days blurring in and out to grey.  The Epilogue holds a gem not really explored in the book but great at an ending thought as a friend of the traveler reflects on what he has witnessed and his lost friend: “And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers–shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle–to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.”

And being a Doctor Who fan, I found this intriguing: “The Time Machine book appears in Doctor Who when the Doctor is reading the novel in the 1996 TV Movie. H.G. Wells’ story is the inspiration for many modern time travel science fiction, including Doctor Who.” ~ Monikalel42‘s flickr page

More on Richard Powers’ sci-fi cover art, or this fun selection of his images


The Time Traveler’s Wife

by Audrey Niffenegger

I love this book.  Clare and Henry’s love is so awesome, it helps them surmount the meaninglessness and cynicism that could take over their lives.  The settings, beautiful Michigan and diverse Chicago, voice, originality, character development and pacing are excellent.  It does seem a little slow and meander-some at first with no clear problem/solution scheme, but you can look past that and enjoy the sights.

Yes I loved it, but I’d also caution that this book for more mature readers.  Clare and Henry are a very happy couple.  As characters, their emotional depth was magnificent.  I like how Henry grew up and became a much better person.

I hated it when Henry lost his feet.  That was devastating.  Did it have to happen?  I think not.  Neither did I like the inevitability, such as when Henry is 15 and his dad walks in on him and himself, he says that he was powerless to do anything.  I prefer a view of time travel along the lines of Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter III.

Recently I heard that my cousin’s wife had a miscarriage.  Before reading this book I never grasped how devastating and actually dangerous a miscarriage can be, now I am equipped with a new sense of empathy for women who experience one.  Clare had six.

And bonus, after reading it and loving it, I went to a library book sale and got The Time Traveler’s Wife on cassette for 10¢.  Ten cents!!  My car doesn’t have a CD player so this will be perfect for long car trips across Iowa.

Some interesting facts: According to The Straits Times, Audrey Niffenegger dyed her hair red to say “goodbye” to the novel after she had finished writing it.  From The Independent, Niffenegger based Clare and Henry’s romance on the “cerebral coupling” of Dorothy Sayer’s characters Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

She said about the prospect of her book becoming a film, “I’ve got my little movie that runs in my head. And I’m kind of afraid that will be changed or wiped out by what somebody else might do with it. And it is sort of thrilling and creepy, because now the characters have an existence apart from me.” (James Cowan, “Niffenegger’s first book, and it’s about time,” National Post)  Filming began in September 2007 and the movie is scheduled to be released by Warner Brothers on 14 August 2009.  Personally I hope to never see it because I feel exactly like Niffenegger about books turned into movies.

I can’t wait to read what comes next from the great Audrey Niffenegger!  Her second novel, the forthcoming Her Fearful Symmetry, has been called “one of the most eagerly sought-after works in recent publishing history”. (The New Zealand Herald)