The Time Machine is a classic science fiction novel by H.G.Wells. It tells the story of a time traveller who ventures thousands of years into the future (802,701 AD) to find a world divided into two species: the gentle Eloi people and below them in underground tunnels, the more viscious Morlocks. The Time Traveller must then reclaim his time machine that was stolen. The book was written in 1895 when social class and evolvements in science were rife. I believe the two species: the Eloi and the Morlocks are representative of the difference in social class at the time. The Morlocks are described as carnivorous and vile but despite this, they managed to build underground tunnels and use machinery which shows their intelligence, this is perhaps representative of the lower class at the time who built and laboured. It is also thought that they provided the clothes for the unintelligent Eloi people who are perhaps represented as the upper class in this instance. Wells decided to depict social class at the time in stark contrast to each other in this way.
‘Again, the exclusive tendency of richer people—due, no doubt, to the increasing refinement of their education, and the widening gulf between them and the rude violence of the poor—is already leading to the closing, in their interest, of considerable portions of the surface of the land.’
Wells novella also demonstrates the evolving scientific theories around at the time – most famously Darwin.
We improve our favourite plants and animals—and how few they are—gradually by selective breeding; now a new and better peach, now a seedless grape, now a sweeter and larger flower, now a more convenient breed of cattle. We improve them gradually, because our ideals are vague and tentative, and our knowledge is very limited; because Nature, too, is shy and slow in our clumsy hands. Some day all this will be better organized, and still better. That is the drift of the current in spite of the eddies. The whole world will be intelligent, educated, and co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards the subjugation of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall readjust the balance of animal and vegetable life to suit our human needs.
This quote clearly reflects Darwins theories of evolution and natural selection – the survival of the fittest. The Eloi people are described as frail and so are often eaten by the stronger Morlocks. Darwins theories were not accepted by everyone at the time however, much like the time travellers time machine.
-‘You can show black is white by argument,’ said Filby, ‘but you will never convince me.’
-Have a good look at the thing. Look at the table too, and satisfy yourselves there is no trickery. I don’t want to waste this model, and then be told I’m a quack.’
-Then he turned, lighting his pipe, to look at the Psychologist’s face. (The Psychologist, to show that he was not unhinged, helped himself to a cigar and tried to light it uncut.)
These quotes display the scrutiny that Darwin would have faced and the often bleak reception his theories would have been greeted with.
Wells also writes of some more recent scientific discoveries. I believe the following quotes hints at the theory of global warming.
‘I think I have said how much hotter than our own was the weather of this Golden Age. I cannot account for it. It may be that the sun was hotter, or the earth nearer the sun. It is usual to assume that the sun will go on cooling steadily in the future. But people, unfamiliar with such speculations as those of the younger Darwin, forget that the planets must ultimately fall back one by one into the parent body. As these catastrophes occur, the sun will blaze with renewed energy; and it may be that some inner planet had suffered this fate. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the sun was very much hotter than we know it.