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The Time Machine, a novel by H.G. Wells

A pioneer in the writing of science fiction, Wells presents a book that expounds upon the foibles of his society of 1900 in a way that causes all since then who read his novel to look and contemplate about their own future and the impact they may have on it. Although Wells incorporates the literal use of a time distortion mechanism to explain his point in this book, the relevance of his questions is carried through time, as if on a social time machine, with the outcome depending upon how well society takes into consideration the events of the past. So, from a certain point of view, Wells’ book is a time machine.

This Powerpoint presentation covers four areas:

- the background of the author

- information on the book and its structure, including vocabulary from each chapter

- theories of the concept of time travel

- social messages of Wells in

There is also a section of review questions from each chapter and overall.


Einstein once said "The relativistic analogy can be carried to its logical end. Since time begins to slow down with higher speeds,it can be shown that at the speed of light it stops totally and beyond that begins to run backwards! Similarly, matter having contracted more and more, ultimately vanishes. But beyond the speed of light it is difficult to imagine negative matter with infinite mass.


The Author

The Book

Time Travel






HG Wells Biography

List of Works

Literary Application

Historical Application

Back to Main Frame

Review Questions



H.G Wells, (1866-1946), English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian, famous for his works of science fiction. Wells's best-known books are The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War Of The Worlds (1898).

H.G. Wells was born on September 21, 1866 in Bromley, Kent. His father was a shopkeeper and a professional cricketer, and his mother served from time to time as a housekeeper at the nearby estate of Uppark. His father's business failed and Wells was apprenticed like his brothers to a draper, spending the years between 1880 and 1883 in Windsor and Southsea. Later he recorded these years in Kipps (1905).

In 1883 Wells became a teacher-pupil at Midhurst Grammar School. He obtained a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London and studied biology under T.H. Huxley. However, his interest faltered and in 1887 he left without a degree. He taught in private schools for four years, not taking his B.S. degree until 1890. Next year he settled in London, married his cousin Isabel and continued his career as a teacher in a correspondence college. From 1893 Wells became a full-time writer. After some years Wells left Isabel for one of his brightest students, Amy Catherine, whom he married in 1895.

As a novelist Wells made his debut with The Time Machine(1895), a parody of English class division and a satirical warning that human progress is not inevitable. The work was followed by such science-fiction classics as The Island Of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897) and The War of the Worlds (1898). The First Men On The Moon (1901) was a prophetic description of the methodology of space flight and The War In The Air (1908) describes a catastrophic aerial war. Love And Mr. Lewisham appeared in 1900, Tono-Bungay and The History Of Mr. Polly in 1909. Wells also published critical pamphlets attacking the Victorian social order, among them Anticipations (1901), Mankind In The Making (1903) and A Modern Utopia (1905).


Short Stories

Aepyornis Island

The Cone

The Country of the Blind

The Diamond Maker

The Door in the Wall

A Dream of Armageddon


Jimmy Goggles the God

The Lord of the Dynamos

The Magic Shop

Miss Winchelsea's Heart

A Moonlight Fable

Mr. Brisher's Treasure

Mr. Ledbetter's Vacation

Mr. Skelmersdale in Fairyland

The New Accelerator

The Star

The Stolen Body

The Story of the Inexperienced Ghost

The Truth about Pyecraft

The Valley of Spiders


Ann Veronica

In the Days of the Comet

The First Men in the Moon

The Invisible Man

The Island of Doctor Moreau

The New Machiavelli

The Research Magnificent

The Soul of a Bishop

The Time Machine

The War in the Air

The War of the Worlds

The Wheels of Chance

The World Set Free

Tono Bungay

When the Sleeper Wakes


God The Invisible King


Literary Application

Wells’ book is touted as a leader in the area of science fiction. It successfully combines the paradox of science and fiction to predict an outcome of mankind based on what he perceives about his own society.

It is praised for its structure, of a story within a story. First is the tale of the time machine itself, an anomaly of its time, nevertheless it creates mystery and adventure for the time traveler and the reader.

The second is the examination of a society through displacing it to another time, a trait typical of science fiction. An author removes the subject and places it out of context so people can see it for what it is. Just as a tree is just another tree in the forest until it stands alone, most people refuse or neglect to see singular issues until they become obvious or malignant. And even then, the response sometimes is the whole forest had already been made up by that tree and we just have to accept it.

Many have pondered about what the future holds. Wells gives his answer through his study and predictions of what he sees around him. The presentation of the Eloi and their characteristics reminds the reader of a return to an edenistic world. This image is even more apparent when the Morlocks, the metaphoric snake, finally makes their presence known.


Historical Application

Though most of The Time Machine takes place in the future, where the London of Wells’s time has been gone for a very long time, Wells’s story speaks volumes about the society in which he lived and wrote. The city, in many ways, was at the center of the world, most especially in trade and industrial progress. Both goods produced in the city and those shipped from around the world, especially the colonies, circulated in the city and its harbor and out to all points, creating a great amount of wealth.

New transportation allowed the millions of residents to spread further out from the city center, as London expanded its geography as well as its wealth. At the same time, the empirical project was beginning to falter, and more questions were beginning to be asked about the value and morality of maintaining it.

Although wealthy in many ways, Victorian London was not a paradise, most especially for the members of the lowest classes, who labored in terrible conditions. There was social unrest at the beginning of the century, followed by a time of higher wages and more prosperity, but even in these times, many labored on the underground railroad, which was completed in 1865--which the Time Traveller specifically mentions as the beginning of the Morlocks--and after that in similar conditions in factories all around London.

Wells was very interested in the concerns of the lower classes, and the inequality of English society. In 1903, he joined the Fabian Society, a socialist group, which grew out of the Fellowship of New Life, founded in 1883. The group became better known in 1889 when they published Fabian Essays. The Fabians held beliefs similar to Marxism in that they recognized the mistreatment of the worker, and the inequalities exacerbated by capitalism, but instead of supporting the theory that revolutionary end must and should be the result of capitalism, they believed that social reforms, and the alteration of present political structures would bring about a gradual amelioration of the social system. These beliefs clearly pervade The Time Machine, as the effects of capitalism become expressly clear at a distance of hundreds of thousands of years.

Also at this time, Darwin’s theories were becoming accepted as the norm in the scientific community, and Wells’s position as a Darwinist can clearly be seen in his application of evolutionary biology to the evolutionary social theory practiced by the Fabians. Thus, just as the social system has gradually changed over the thousands of years, the biology of humans has changed concurrently, in a kind of reciprocal relationship. The Morlocks and Eloi gradually developed their physical characteristics as a result of the gradually changing social system.


Plot Line Overview

Etext of

The Time Machine

Book Specs, Film Adaptations

Two Threads of the Book

Vocabulary from each chapter

Back to Main Frame

Review Questions


Plot Line Overview

Several gentlemen are gathered at a house, which they do every Thursday, to eat and talk, the topic of discussion being time travel. The host presents and sustains the concept of time travel and even produces a small model which vanishes, apparently to go into the future. It is then learned that the host wants to travel into the future because he hopes to be a part of stronger minds and scientific advances.At one of these Thursdays thereafter, the host arrives late and is in a state of disarray. He explains that he had succeeded in time travel and will tell the tale of the Eloi and Morlocks and how he came to understand about the fate of humanity.None believe the host however, and he returns to the future at the end of the novel. Three years elapsed and the Time Traveler had not reappeared. He was considered by his friends as a lost wanderer, somewhere in time.


Book Specs and Film Adaptations

Wells, H.G. The Time Machine . Bantam Books: New York. 1991.

First published in 1895, 115 pages


1960 2002

Directed by: George Pal  

Written by: David Duncan , Herbert G. Wells  

Original music by: Russell Garcia  

Produced by: Galaxy Films, Metro-


Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

103 minutes  

Director: Simon Wells

Executive Producer: Arnold Leibovit

Producers: Walter F. Parkes and David Valdes

Screenplay By: John Logan

Novel By: H G Wells

Director of Photography: Donald M. McAlpine

Production Designer: Oliver Scholl

Film Editor: Wayne Wahrman, A.C.E.

Costume Designer: Deena Appel and Bob Ringwood

Music By: Klaus Badelt

Casting: Mindy Marin

Art Directors: Chris Burian-Mohr, Bruce R. Hill, and Donald Woodruff

Set Decorator: Victor J. Zolfo

Visual Effects Supervisor: James E. Price

Alexander Hartdegen - Guy Pearce

David Philby - Mark Addy

Mrs. Watchit - Phyllida Law

Emma - Sienna Guillory

Vox - Orlando Jones

Mara - Samantha Mumba

Kalen - Omero Mumba

Toren - Yancey Arias

Uber-Morlock - Jeremy Irons


Yvette Mimieux --> Weena

Rod Taylor  --> George (H. G. Wells)

Alan Young  --> David Filby / James Filby

Bob Barran  --> Eloi Man

Sebastian Cabot  --> Dr. Philip Hillyer

Tom Helmore  --> Anthony Bridewell


The Two Threads of The Time Machine

The Time Machine has two main threads. The first is the adventure tale of the Eloi and Morlocks in the year 802,701 AD. The second is the science fiction of the time machine.

The adventure story includes many archetypal elements. The Time Traveller's journey to the underworld, his fear of the great forest, and his relationship to Weena, mirror imagery prevalent in earlier literature, imagery strongly associated with the inner workings of the human psyche.

The tale of 802,701 is political commentary of late Victorian England. It is a dystopia, a vision of a troubled future. It recommends that current society change its ways lest it end up like the Eloi, terrified of an underground race of Morlocks. In the Eloi, Wells satirizes Victorian decadence. In the Morlocks, Wells provides a potentially Marxist critique of capitalism.

The rest of the novella deals with the science fiction of time travel. Before Wells, other people had written fantasies of time travel, but Wells was the first to bring a strong dose of scientific speculation to the genre. Wells has his Time Traveller speak at length on the fourth dimension and on the strange astronomy and evolutionary trends he observes as he travels through time. Much of this was inspired by ideas of entropy and decay promulgated by Wells' teacher, Thomas Henry Huxley.


Back to



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12


Chapter 1 Vocabulary

adroit -Skillful and adept under pressing conditions

anachronisms -The representation of someone as existing or something as happening in other than chronological, proper, or historical order

anecdote -A short account of an interesting or humorous incident

Apparatus -An appliance or device for a particular purpose

askew -To one side; awry

assimilation -The process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture

conjurer -One that performs magic tricks; a magician

Controvert -To raise arguments against; voice opposition to

draughty -Pertaining to a draught, or current of air

explicit -Fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied

fecundity -Productive or creative power

impartiality -Not partial or biased; unprejudiced

interminable -Being or seeming to be without an end; endless

intermittently -Stopping and starting at intervals

misconception -A mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding

paradox -A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true

patents -An exclusive right or title

pensive -Suggestive or expressive of melancholy thoughtfulness

perspective -A mental view or outlook

plausible -Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible

recondite -Not easily understood; abstruse

Spasmodic -Given to sudden outbursts of energy or feeling; excitable

subtly -So slight as to be difficult to detect or describe; elusive

trammels -A shackle used to teach a horse to amble

Transitory -Existing or lasting only a short time; short-lived or temporary

velocity -Rapidity or speed of motion; swiftness

verification -A confirmation of truth or authority

Back to Vocab




Chapter 2 Vocabulary

Articulation -The act of vocal expression; utterance or enunciation

caricature -A representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect

eke -To supplement with great effort

fervent -Having or showing great emotion or zeal; ardent

ghastly -Inspiring shock, revulsion, or horror by or as if by suggesting death; terrifying

haggard -Appearing worn and exhausted; gaunt

jocular -Characterized by joking

lucid -Mentally sound; sane or rational

mutton -The flesh of fully grown sheep

peptone -Any of various water-soluble protein derivatives obtained by partial hydrolysis of a protein by an acid or enzyme during digestion and used in culture media in bacteriology

verbatim -Using exactly the same words; corresponding word for word

whim -A sudden or capricious idea; a fancy

Back to





Chapter 3 Vocabulary

attenuated -To make slender, fine, or small

consumptive -Consuming or tending to consume

elusive -Difficult to define or describe

fluctuating -To vary irregularly

imminent -About to occur; impending

Indistinctly -Not clearly or sharply delineated

inevitable -Impossible to avoid or prevent

intermittent -Stopping and starting at intervals.

interstices -A space, especially a small or narrow one, between things or parts

intricate -Having many complexly arranged elements; elaborate

luminous -Emitting light, especially emitting self-generated light

palpitation -A trembling or shaking

petulance -Unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered; peevish

poignant -Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings

scaffolding -A temporary platform, either supported from below or suspended from above, on which workers sit or stand when performing tasks at heights above the ground

temerity -Foolhardy disregard of danger; recklessness

tunic -A loose-fitting garment, sleeved or sleeveless, extending to the knees and worn by men and women especially in ancient Greece and Rome

verdigris -A green patina or crust of copper sulfate or copper chloride formed on copper, brass, and bronze exposed to air or seawater for long periods of time

Back to





Chapter 4 Vocabulary

Back to


ameliorating -To make or become better; improve

connubial -Relating to marriage or the married state; conjugal

corroded -To impair steadily; deteriorate

Cupola -A vaulted roof or ceiling

Derelict -Deserted by an owner or keeper; abandoned

eroticism -An erotic quality or theme

facet -One of the flat polished surfaces cut on a gemstone or occurring naturally on a crystal

frugivorous -Feeding on fruit; fruit-eating

gesticulated -To say or express by gestures

Grotesque -Outlandish or bizarre, as in character or appearance

impetus -An impelling force; an impulse

labyrinth -Something highly intricate or convoluted in character, composition, or construction

languor -Lack of physical or mental energy; listlessness

obelisk -A tall, four-sided shaft of stone, usually tapered and monolithic, that rises to a pointed pyramidal top

plausible -Seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible

precocious -Manifesting or characterized by unusually early development or maturity, especially in

putrefaction -Decomposition of organic matter, especially protein, by microorganisms, resulting in production of foul-smelling matter

quaintly -Charmingly odd, especially in an old-fashioned way

rotundity -Rounded in figure; plump

subjugation -To make subservient; enslave

subtle -So slight as to be difficult to detect or describe; elusive

variegated -To change the appearance of, especially by marking with different colors; streak

vivid -Presented in clear and striking manner

wane -To decrease gradually in size, amount, intensity, or degree; decline

Chapter 5


Chapter 5 Vocabulary

apertures -An opening, such as a hole, gap, or slit

cicerone -A guide for sightseers

crematoria -A furnace or establishment for the incineration of corpses

etiolated -To make weak by stunting the growth or development of

explicit -Fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied

exuberant -Full of unrestrained enthusiasm or joy

folly -A lack of good sense, understanding, or foresight

furtively -Expressive of hidden motives or purposes; shifty

indolent -Disinclined to exert oneself; habitually lazy

interpolated -To insert or introduce between other elements or parts

leprous -Having or consisting of loose, scurfy scales

perplexity -The state of being intricate or complicated

ramifications -A development or consequence growing out of and sometimes complicating a problem, plan, or statement

serenity -The state or quality of being serene.

stolid -Having or revealing little emotion or sensibility; impassive

subterranean -Situated or operating beneath the earth's surface; underground

Utopia -An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects

vestige -A visible trace, or sign of something that once existed but exists or appears no more

zenith -The point of culmination; the peak



Back to



Chapter 6 Vocabulary

abysmal -Resembling an abyss in depth; unfathomable

appalled -To fill with consternation or dismay

disconcerted -To upset the self-possession of; ruffle

discordantly -Disagreeable in sound; harsh or dissonant

eking -To supplement with great effort

halitus -Any exhalation, as of a breath or vapor

impenetrable -Impossible to understand; incomprehensible

lustre -a surface coating for ceramics or porcelain

novelty -Something new and unusual; an innovation

oppressive -Weighing heavily on the senses or spirit

parapet -A low protective wall or railing along the edge of a raised structure such as a roof or balcony

vermin -Various small animals or insects, such as rats or cockroaches, that are destructive, annoying, or injurious to health

Back to





Chapter 7 Vocabulary

degradation -A decline to a lower condition, quality, or level

dexterous -Skillful in the use of the hands.

eccentric -Departing from a recognized, conventional, or established norm or pattern

impeded -To retard or obstruct the progress of

intolerable -Impossible to tolerate or endure; unbearable

mallows -Any of various plants of the genus Malva, having pink or white auxiliary flowers, palmate leaves, and disc-like schizocarpic fruits

nemesis -A source of harm or ruin

To Main



Chapter 8


Chapter 8 Vocabulary

deliquesced -To disappear as if by melting

desiccated -To make dry, dull, or lifeless

diminution -The act or process of diminishing; a lessening or reduction

Estuary -The part of the wide lower course of a river where its current is met by the tides

futility -The quality of having no useful result; uselessness

hermetically -Completely sealed, especially against the escape or entry of air

vestiges -A visible trace, or sign of something that once existed but exists or appears no more

Back to Vocab

Chapter 9


Chapter 9 Vocabulary

atrocious -Extremely evil or cruel; monstrous

carbuncles -A red precious stone

incessant -Continuing without interruption.

pulsated -To expand and contract rhythmically; beat

succulent -Full of juice or sap; juicy

Back to Vocab

Chapter 10


Chapter 10 Vocabulary

abominable -Unequivocally detestable; loathsome

siege -Surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it

tumult -A disorderly commotion or disturbance

Back to





Chapter 11 Vocabulary

appalling -To fill with consternation or dismay

Concavity -The state of being curved like the inner surface of a sphere

foliated -Of or relating to rock that exhibits a layered structure

incrustation -A crust or coating

lurid -Glowing or shining with the glare of fire through a haze

palpitating -To move with a slight tremulous motion; tremble, shake, or quiver

perpetual -Lasting for eternity

prodigious -Impressively great in size, force, or extent; enormous

reverted -To return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief

Back to





Chapter 12 Vocabulary

assertion -Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof

precious -Of high cost or worth; valuable

stagnant -Not moving or flowing; motionless

truncated -Having the apex cut off and replaced by a plane, especially one parallel to the base. Used of a cone or pyramid

Back to

















For Review

Back to Main


Fabian Socialists

The British counterpart of the German Marxian revisionists and heavily influenced by the English Historical school, the upper-middle-class intellectual group - the "Fabian Society" - emerged in 1884 as a strand of latter-day utopian socialism. They became known to the public firstly through Sidney Webb'sFacts for Socialists (1884) and then through the famous Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) written by the Webbs, Shaw, and others.

The "Fabians" were named after Fabius, the famous Roman general which opposed Hannibal as they were "biding their time" until they would "strike hard".  Exactly when this strike would occur was a perennial question.   Eschewing the revolutionary tactics of more orthodox Marxians, the middle-class Fabians were more directly involved with politics and practical gains - through contacts not only in the "International Labor Party", trade unions and cooperative movements but also throughout the entire British political apparatus (Liberals and Tories included).

At the core of the Fabian Society were the Webbs - Sidney J. Webb and his wife, Beatrice Potter Webb (married 1892). Together, they wrote numerous studies of industrial Britain, alternative economic arrangements (esp. cooperatives) and pamphlets for political reform. At the core of their system was the Ricardian theory of rent which they applied to capital as well as land (and labor as well - their opposition to high labor incomes was also an issue). Their conclusion was that it was the state's responsibility to acquire this rent (a position strikingly familiar to Henry George - whom Shaw credited explicitly).  Their later admiration of Soviet Russia stemmed partly from Stalin's "efficiency" at acquiring this rent.

More on Fabians


Victorian Culture






Culture and


Darwin and




Simon Newcomb

Born: 12 March 1835 in Wallace, Nova Scotia, Canada

Died: 11 July 1909 in Washington, D.C., USA

Simon Newcomb had no formal education but, in about 1854 after he joined his father who had moved to Maryland USA, he began to study mathematics in the libraries at Washington.

He obtained a job (1857) in the American Nautical Almanac Office (in

Cambridge, Mass. at that time). He studied at Harvard graduating in 1858. In 1861 Newcomb was appointed to the Naval Observatory at Washington. He spent the next10 years determining the positions of celestial objects using various telescopes including a 26-inch refractor telescope which had just been built.

In 1877 Newcomb became director of the American Nautical Almanac Office (by this time in Washington). He then started his most important work which, in his own words, gave

... a systematic determination of the constants of astronomy from the best existing data, a reinvestigation of the theories of the

celestial motions, and the preparation of tables, formulae, and precepts for the construction of ephemerides, and for other

applications of the same results.

The reason he undertook this work was because of the

... confusion which pervaded the whole system of exact astronomy, arising from the diversity of the fundamental data made use of by the astronomers of foreign countries and various institutions in their work.

Newcomb was professor of mathematics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins (1884-1893). He was an editor of the American Journal of Mathematics for many years. He was also a founding member and first president (1899-1905) of the American Astronomical Society. He served as president of the American Mathematical Society from 1897 to 1898.

Although most of Newcomb's work was in mathematical astronomy, some of his papers were purely theoretical. He wrote a paper showing how the coordinates of a planet might be represented by trigonometric series. He also wrote on non-euclidean geometry and Cayley commented on one of this theorems saying:-

... from the boldness of the conception and beauty of the result a very remarkable one, and constitutes an important addition to

theoretical dynamics.



Political theory advocating community ownership of all property, the benefits of which are to be shared by all according to the needs of each. The theory was principally the work of K. Marx and F. Engels. Their Communist Manifesto (1848) further specified a "dictatorship of the proletariat," a transitional stage Marx called socialism; communism was the final stage in which not only class division but even the organized state--seen by Marx as inevitably an instrument of oppression--would be transcended (see Marxism). That distinction was soon lost, and "communist" began to apply to a specific party rather than a final goal. V. Lenin maintained that the proletariat needed professional revolutionaries to guide it (see Leninism). J. Stalin's version of communism (see Stalinism) was synonymous to many with totalitarianism. Mao Zedong mobilized peasants rather than an urban proletariat in China's Communist revolution (see Maoism). European communism (see Eurocommunism) lost most of its following with the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991). See also Communist Party, dialectical materialism, First International, Second International.



Economic system in which most of the means of production are privately owned, and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets. Capitalism has been dominant in the Western world since the end of mercantilism. It was fostered by the Reformation, which sanctioned hard work and frugality, and by the rise of industry during the Industrial Revolution, especially the English textile industry (16th-18th cent). Unlike earlier systems, capitalism used the excess of production over consumption to enlarge productive capacity rather than investing it in economically unproductive enterprises such as cathedrals. The strong national states of the mercantilist era provided the social conditions, such as uniform monetary systems and legal codes, necessary for the rise of capitalism. The ideology of classical capitalism was expressed in A. Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776), and Smith's free-market theories were widely adopted in the 19th cent. In the 20th cent. the Great Depression effectively ended laissez-faire economics in most countries, but the demise of the state-run command economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (see communism) and the adoption of some free-market principles in China left capitalism unrivaled (if not untroubled) at the end of the 20th century.



Ideology and socioeconomic theory developed by K. Marx and F. Engels. The fundamental ideology of communism, it holds that all people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labor but are prevented from doing so in a capitalist economic system, which divides society into two classes: nonowning workers and nonworker owners. Marx called the resulting situation "alienation," and said that when the workers repossessed the fruits of their labor, alienation would be overcome and class divisions would cease. The Marxist theory of history posits class struggle as history's driving force, and sees capitalism as the most recent and most critical historical stage--most critical because at this stage the proletariat (Lowest-ranking socioeconomic classes) will at last arise united. The failure of the 1848 European revolutions and an increasing need to elaborate on Marxist theory, whose orientation is more analytical than practical, led to such adaptations as Leninism and Maoism; the collapse of the Soviet Union and China's adoption of many elements of a free-market economy seemed to mark the end of Marxism as an applicable economic or governmental theory, though it retains interest as a critique of market capitalism and a theory of historical change.



(French: "allow to do") Policy dictating a minimum of governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society. It was promoted by the physiocrats and strongly supported by A. Smith and J. S. Mill. Widely accepted in the 19th cent., laissez-faire assumed that the individual who pursues his own desires contributes most successfully to society as a whole. The function of the state is to maintain order and avoid interfering with individual initiative. The popularity of the laissez-faire doctrine waned in the late 19th cent., when it proved inadequate to deal with the social and economic problems caused by industrialization.











Structure and Evolution

of the Universe


Utopia and Dystopia


A society or place that is perfect or ideal


A society or place whose imperfection is perfect or who's evil is ideal


on Utopia

and Dystopia


Wells’ Theory

Of Time


Theories of

Time Travel



Back to



Well’s concept of Time Travel is identified through his main character, the Time Traveler. Wells explains that the theory has been examined, and a few scientists believe in the concept, yet can’t conceive how it could be accomplished.

The following excerpt from the book shows the line of thought:

`You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one or two ideas that are almost universally accepted. The geometry,

for instance, they taught you at school is founded on a misconception.'

You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness NIL, has no real existence. They taught you that? Neither has

a mathematical plane. These things are mere abstractions.

`Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence.'

`So most people think. But wait a moment. Can an INSTANTANEOUS cube exist?'

`Clearly,' the Time Traveller proceeded, `any real body must have extension in FOUR directions: it must

have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and--Duration.


`It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it, is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call

Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others.

But some philosophical people have been asking why THREE dimensions particularly--why not another direction at right

angles to the other three?--and have even tried to construct a Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago. You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions, we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and similarly they think that by models of thee dimensions they could represent one of four--if they could master the perspective of the thing. See?'





Concepts of Time Travel

Wells asserts that the manipulation of the fourth dimension, time, has been speculated on by scientists. Books have alluded to the concept. Today, there is a one main theory to harness energy for the dynamics of time travel, and lots of opinion from leading scientists and scholars on the possibility or impossibility of time travel.

Time Travel

(an optimistic


Carl Sagan

Speaks on Time


“Everything you

Wanted to know

About Time


Time Travel


“How stuff





Questions for Review


1 and 2


3 and 4




6 and 7


8 - 10


11, 12 and
















Chapters 1 and 2

1) Is the idea of people sitting around in someone’s home talking about abstract concepts like time travel a normal thing in our time? Why or why not.

2) (page 12) What is the impact of the statement by the Medical Man when he questions the time traveler, “Or is this a trick -- like that ghost you showed us last Christmas?”

3) Why does the author only give us professions, and not names, of most of his characters

4) What problem would there be if someone were to appear in the same space as another object?

5) What were the possibilities the guests felt that time travel could offer?

6) (page 17) What is meant by the term, “Nebuchadnezzar phases”?

7) Why does the Time Traveler want to go into the future?


Chapters 3 and 4

1) How does the appearance of the Eloi lead the Time Traveler to believe they are living communistically? What are the drawbacks the Time Traveler identifies to the way the Eloi are living?

2) How is the world of the Eloi in these chapters so opposite to the world of Well’s time?

3) What does the Time Traveler find odd about the Eloi?

4) (page 35) The Time Traveler makes a comment about the similarity of the sexes. Interpret his meaning in the following statement:

... for the strength of a man and the softness of a woman, the

institution of the family, and the differentiation of occupations are mere militant necessities of an age of physical force;

5) (pages 37-41) Wells expounds on the rise of technology to the point that it mastered nature , human interaction and the family structure. Does he feel this is a good thing or a bad thing? Should human intelligence be employed to just make life easier? If so, who should it benefit?




Questions for Chapter 5

What did the Time Traveler conclude about what happened to cause this society to happen when he discovered the subterranean world?

Why didn’t the Time Traveler feel that the girl he rescued from the river would be grateful for his saving her life?

How did the Time Traveler describe the new creatures he discovered?

What did the Time Traveler attribute to the existence of the two different descendants of mankind and their differing lifestyles?

Describe the symbiotic relationship of the Morlock and Eloi.

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Questions for Chapter 6 and 7

What is the significance of the two flowers the Time Traveler showed his guests?

After the visit to the underground world of the Morlocks, the Time Traveler determines that there is another reason for the development of these two species. What is the reason?

Why does the Time Traveler unite with the Eloi to improve them instead of the Morlocks?

In what ways is the world of the Eloi a “paradise”?

In what ways is the world of the Morlocks the opposite of a “paradise”?

Between the Morlocks and Eloi, which are more like us and why?

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Questions for Chapter 8 through 10

Describe the museum. What is he able to see and what is missing in the description of the artifacts that you would expect to see after some 800,000 years?

The Morlocks take the time machine and then open the doors so the Time Traveler can get to it. What does this say about the Morlocks?

These chapters conclude the philosophical discussion of the development of the human race. What is his final decision about what must be done? Does he think there is any hope for the Eloi or Morlock?

What happens to Weena?

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Questions for Chapter 11, 12 and Epilogue

Describe the changes in the sun and sunset as the Time Traveler goes into the future.

Describe the evidences of life.

Why would the Time Traveler go back into the future if it didn’t provide him the satisfaction he expected?

When would he stop in the future? Would he stop periodically along the way, or proceed directly to where he left off when he escaped the Morlocks?

Wells alludes to a world that reaches a pinnacle of technology and understanding and then regresses to where it began. Provide evidences from the book that supports his theory.

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