Wednesday, 26 July 2017
A Potential Series
By contrast, we want to know much more about HG Wells' Time Traveller whose character is succinctly delineated by a few lines in the opening paragraph of Chapter 3. In Chapter 16, "After The Story," which is followed only by the short Epilogue, the outer narrator asks the Time Traveller whether he really travels through time. He replies:
"'Really and truly I do.'"
-HG Wells, The Time Machine (London, 1973), p. 100.
He follows this with an invitation to wait half an hour, have lunch and receive proof. That reads like the beginning of a series, not like the last words that this character will ever utter. The Epilogue suggests six sequels:
that the Time Traveller fell among the savages of the Age of Unpolished Stone;
that he fell into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea;
that he fell among the Jurassic saurians;
that he is "even now " (p. 101) wandering on a plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef;
that he is "...beside the lonely saline seas of the Triassic Age";
that he went forward into "...the manhood of the race..." (ibid.)
All that in a few lines but Wells went on to write other things - and none as good as this. In a sense, the Time Traveller lives on in his many successors but any direct sequel (see here) should extend Wells' legacy, not add ideas that we know originated later. And no sequel that I know of succeeds.
But Poul Anderson could have done it.