Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Time Machine And The Terran Empire

Today we walked to the Hest Bank Inn again.

It is blog policy to continue posting on a theme until that theme is exhausted for the time being. The Time Machine and time travel seem to be inexhaustible. I compared HG Wells' Time Traveller to Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry in The Wellsian Vision.

Now let us consider future histories. For Anderson's, see here. Wells' works imply perhaps three future histories:

the ascent and descent of mankind in The Time Machine;
the ultimate revolution of The Shape Of Things To Come;
the industrial capitalism of The Sleeper Wakes, "A Dream of Armageddon" and "A Story of the Days to Come." (See here)

While flinging himself into "futurity," the Time Traveller glimpses, in the dim and elusive world racing and fluctuating around him:

great and splendid architecture, "...built of glimmer and mist..." (The Time Machine, Chapter 4, p. 25);
green hills "...without any wintry intermission." (ibid.)

Thus, he passes over the entire advancement and decline of civilization. But what else had happened between 1895 and 802,701 besides the eventual devolution into Morlocks and Eloi? It is to be hoped that Cavorite or some other means of interplanetary propulsion had been discovered and that undevolved human beings still exist elsewhere in the 803rd century, perhaps in a Wellsian counterpart to Anderson's Terran Empire?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Interesting, it makes me wonder what might have happened if Wells had continue to write science fiction, including even inventing the idea of humanity settling the planets of other stars. Possibly by a FTL means? Only that would make it possible there to be interstellar empires, federations, confederations, etc.

I wish Wells had not abandoned SF! Most of his later works after about 1907 were dreary political tracts almost no one reads these days.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Sean!

I remember reading Wells' MEN LIKE GODS, written after World War One. It is science fiction, but it is also something you might describe as a dreary political tract. Whatever you think of Wells's political wisdom, the story involves people from our world being transported to an alternate world that is centuries more advanced, as well as being different in other ways (their version of Christ was killed on a wheel, not a cross). I don't have an exhaustive knowledge of early sf, but this might be the first story with this kind of alternate history/travel across paratime background.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

By "dreary political tracts" I meant those of Wells works that he did not write to be fictional. But MEN LIKE GODS sounds like it might actually be worth reading! Unless the political propaganda overwhelmed the SF plot device?

I have a Barnes & Noble hardcover collection of seven of Wells novels, but MEN LIKE GODS was not included. A pity, perhaps!

Regards! Sean