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Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

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Offline joo Reading Off The KUF Vol I
13 Aug 2013, 04:04 PM | Post: #1

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Offline Cathy Reading travels in Elysium by William Azuski
14 Aug 2013, 03:57 PM | Post: #2

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

I finished The Time Machine a couple of days ago and enjoyed reading it. I’d read several HG Wells novels when I was young but never this one. I knew of him as a Fabian and early Socialist but on Googling him found he wasn’t quite so much involved as I’d thought which was slightly disappointing.

A while ago we used to go to a pub where there were a lot of old hard back volumes of classics on a shelf behind the seats. Whenever Michael went outside for a ciggie break I would read another couple of pages of HG’s The Country of the Blind and I really rated it so was pleased to give The Time Machine a go in the Book Club.

Overall I enjoyed it although it’s fairly predictable. It’s an interesting exploration of the class struggle where the Uppers are apparently enjoying a life of leisure and contentment based on a fruit diet while the Lowers are confined to drudgery in the darkness below. Eventually it becomes apparent that this is not the case at all and the Lowers are the predators and the Uppers are the victims; not a good place to be for either and no satisfactory conclusion.

HG’s description of where it all ends up with the red crabs is bleak and very depressing and I’m glad it won’t occur in my lifetime (hopefully).

The relationship with Weena, one of the Uppers, is bizarre and doesn’t really work at all. It seems rather ridiculous and ends up as though the Time Traveller is an irresponsible pet owner.

I’m glad I read it but, even so, felt slightly disappointed: the novel is too short and lacks substance at the end. It felt like Wells was setting up a sequel which he never got round to writing. Taken as part of his oeuvre overall I think it is worth reading The Time Machine; HG is an amazing imaginative writer with a remarkable talent for forward thinking and almost prophetic insights. Especially worth reading if you can get it on your Kindle for free.
Offline cecilia_writer Reading Murder by the Glass by Lynda Wilcox
15 Aug 2013, 06:17 PM | Post: #3

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

This was quite an easy read in some ways. I liked the first half best as there was all the time travel information (thought not enough of that - was it just me or did the time machine seem a bit like a souped-up bicycle?) and the friends gathering round and narrative framework, then the new things the traveller came across in the future. I agree with Cathy that the relationship with Weena was a bit bizarre. His feelings for her didn't seem at all deep, I suppose because she didn't belong to his world so he just looked on her as an interesting novelty - a pet or even a toy. I don't think Wells made the most of the friends either.
The bits about the end of the world were the scariest although I kept thinking about 'The Restaurant at the End of the Universe' which took the edge off the scariness! I suppose in a sense the more we've read of modern fiction the less tolerant we are of any shortcomings in the plot or characters in that of Victorian/Edwardian times. But I do think their use of language is generally more precise and more elegant than ours (or is this another 'is it just me?' moment!).
Offline TechnoHippy Reading One book at a time
16 Aug 2013, 08:01 AM | Post: #4

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

I was still in school the last time I read this. I remember enjoying it back then as one of my first forays into science fiction. It was with some trepidation that I started reading it again as part of the KUF book club. There have been many things I enjoyed as a youngster that haven't lived up to their memories. Thankfully this wasn't the case with The Time Machine.

As with all great science fiction stories it's based around a big idea, in this case what does the future offer us a species. H G Well's thoughts on this are a bold vision, all too often glimpses into the future take us to better technology, or of a race that conquers the stars. This isn't the case in this book. It poses the question, what left for mankind if we make our lives so comfortable that further progress isn't required?

This book fully deserves it's classic status, it's an imaginitive story and is well written. It might seem a little anachronistic for modern readers, but I love it. It's in keeping with the time and has an elegance that keeps me reading. That being said it does have a few issues. The main one for me was that it was too short. It would have been nice to learn more about the Morlocks in particular.

The sequence at the end stand outs for me, the trip into the real far future is stunning. A classic book that any fan of science fiction should read at least once.
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Offline Notoriety Reading Five Days in May by Andrew Adonis
17 Aug 2013, 05:09 PM | Post: #5

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

Somehow I'd managed not to have read it before and thoroughly enjoyed it.  What was interesting was the balance between ideas and action.  There was quite a lot of "Futurology" combined with a good dash of sub-Darwinian speculation - though I gather that Wells was taught by "Darwin's bulldog" T H Huxley, so presumably knew his stuff.    The book was written in a time of growing intellectual ferment - Darwin, Marx and the beginning of Freud's work and the start of sociology/modern anthropology which can be seen in the traveller's revisions of his take on the "class" relationship between the Morlocks and the Eloi.  I found that intriguing and eventually shocking as Well's grim dystopian vision is finally revealed.  I do note that Chesterton (according to the Wikipedia article on Wells) took a rather less positive view of his writing, wittily commenting, "He sold his birthright for a pot of message".  (!!)

I thought the story was pretty OK too - with the tension in the drama over the traveller's escape back to his own time and then from the actual clutches of the Morlocks.  The "relationship" with Weena was deliberately very limited.  He had hoped for companionship and a way to understand her people but she was no different to the rest of her kind, not much more than a talking farm animal, bred by the Morlocks.  I'm sure some would feel disappointed she could not be a stronger character but then so did the Time traveller.

Thanks whoever suggested it - well worth the read!  I gather that many have attempted unofficial sequels for those who want more but I am happy to end with the mysterious and possibly tragic disappearance of the time traveller. 

Tony
Arab proverb: Only a fool lends his books and only a fool returns them.
Offline joo Reading Off The KUF Vol I
17 Aug 2013, 06:42 PM | Post: #6

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

I must admit I found it a bit wanting. I didn't like the way he treated Weena, especially after the fire.
I liked the going into the future bit the best. That had tension for me.
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Offline gloriajanek Reading United States of Banana - Giannina Braschi
28 Aug 2013, 03:29 PM | Post: #7

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of The Time Machine (contains spoilers)

This post was last modified: 28 Aug 2013 03:30 PM by gloriajanek.
Being a fan of dystopian novels I decided to take a look at this, having seen the film (the one with Samantha Mumba) a number of years before. Suffice it to say that the book and the film differ in many ways and that the book trumps the film tenfold.
The book is a real page turner, and is really short at 90 pages long. The plot has it all, both science and fantasy, intrigue, characters that are likeable and even prophetic undertones. One thing that greatly surprised me was the ingenuity of this novel and how many of things described by Wells were actually incredibly accurate even for our age. It is hard to remember that this book was actually written in the Victorian, and not the present, age.
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