The Time Machine (AmazonClassics Edition)

The Time Machine (AmazonClassics Edition) - H.G. Wells I don't really read a lot of classic fiction written in the 19th to the early 20th century since I usually find those to be boring. In fact, the classics I tend to like were written in the latter half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, I decided to read a classic of Science Fiction, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I haven't read a lot of classic genre fiction but this book has led me to believe that I would like classic genre fiction better than classic literary fiction.

The book opens with The Time Traveller describing to his incredulous friends a time machine that he had made. Later, during a dinner party, he then recounts his adventures hundreds of thousands of years from his time. There, he encounters two species descended from modern humans- the Eloi and the Morlocks. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent to the time traveller the societal ills which led to this sorry state.

I won't spoil more of the story but what really interested me was society presented by H.G. Wells. In The Time Machine, he presented the Eloi who the protagonist believed to be descended from the aristocracy as an indolent race, elegant, childlike, and intellectually stunted. The Morlocks were similarly dim but monstrous in appearance, fearing the light, making everything the Eloi depended upon and believed to be descended from the working class.

Here's what the Time Traveller had to say: "I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide." and "The rich had been assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler assured of his life and work."

In this fascinating paradigm, it then appears that the Morlocks were keeping the Eloi as if they're cattle. The Time Traveller sympathizes with the Eloi but I cannot help but sympathize with the Morlocks. I wondered if the result of hundreds of thousands of years of dehumanization would indeed produce such an effect. Here we saw a case of literally "eat the rich". I once read that H.G. Wells' work reflected his politics as a socialist. I myself believe in Social Democracy and I now ask if the need for an equal distribution of wealth is now even more keenly needed. If it doesn't happen, would that be the future of our society? And even if it isn't, shouldn't be a lack of inequality still be the goal along with the complete eradication of social stratification?

What I am now starting to appreciate in science fiction is the politics of the speculative worlds. As an aspiring law student with an interest in politics, I love seeing what kind of societies are predicted for our future. As such, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine was a short but very satisfying read.