Book Review: THE TIME MACHINE, by H.G. Wells

Anybody else see the remade movie, starring Guy Pearce? No matter that I give Guy the eternal thumbs up for Memento, I have to say it: The Time Machine sucked. Sorry, buddy.

And why? Why should it have sucked so badly when the material they started with was so stinkin' cool?

Because the book, by H.G. Wells, is another story completely. There's no sappy "I must go back in time and save her" routine here, no new love discovered in the distant future--nope, just science, time-travel and satire, with some creepy action/adventure mixed in. Sounds like the formula for brilliance to me.

So. The lead, who is known only as the Time Traveller (as other characters are called Medical Man, the Psychologist, the Very Young Man and the Provincial Mayor--though some have proper names, they are few), hosts a weekly dinner and invites several prominent men to his table. He shows them a miniature model of a Time Machine, and tells him his theory on the fourth dimension (Time), and his discovery that man can, in fact, move through time. He invites them to view his full-scale Time Machine-in-progress; his guests express skeptism and disbelief.

By the same time the next week, the Time Traveller has had himself a full-fledged adventure, the details of which he recounts to his guests after arriving, late and dishevelled, in their midst. Again, they express skeptism and disbelief.

But the adventure part is awesome. I won't tell you about it, in case you haven't seen the movie, but it's great. Some of the passages where the Time Traveller ruminates on the possible fate of mankind are incredible, because Wells reveals not merely one evolution of man, but several, in the way his Time Traveller interprets his surroundings. Genius.

In closing, I will say this: I hate it when Hollywood jumps on any excuse to turn a female character into a sexpot. Sheesh.


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