Author(s): H. G. Wells; Mark Bould (Introduction by)
The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 for the first time and later adapted into at least two feature films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media. This 32,000 word story is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Wells also introduced the idea of time being the "fourth dimension", as well as an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre. Wells had considered the notion of time travel before, in an earlier work titled The Chronic Argonauts. He had thought of using some of this material in a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette, until the publisher asked him if he could instead write a serial novel on the same theme; Wells readily agreed, and was paid £100 (equal to about £9,000 today) on its publication by Heinemann in 1895. The story was first published in serial form in the January to May numbers of William Ernest Henley's new venture New Review. The story reflects Wells's own socialist political views, his view on life and abundance, and the contemporary angst about industrial relations. It is also influenced by Ray Lankester's theories about social degeneration. Other science fiction works of the period, including Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and the later Metropolis, dealt with similar themes.
A pocket hardback of H. G. Wells' brilliant first novel
Herbert George Wells, the son of a shopkeeper and a lady's maid, was born in Kent in 1866. A bookish child, his education was interrupted when he served a brief and gruelling apprenticeship to a draper. But Wells then went on to study biology under the great T. H. Huxley, before finding instant literary success in 1895 with the publication of his first 'scientific romance', The Time Machine. This was followed in quick succession by The Island of Dr Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds. A visionary and lifelong socialist, Wells also wrote extensively on social issues, history and science. He died in 1946.