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Give It A Ride

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo is too lazy to track it down now, but I recall somewhere in the last month or two posting about the prospect of reading (for the first time) Mr. H.G. Wells’s novella** “The Time Machine“.

I was spurred to do so largely out of curiosity as to whether the fairly recent movie treatment, which I’ve seen a few times and which has some pretty nifty CGI effects, bears any real resemblance to the original book.

Well, I actually bestirred myself to order the book from the devil’s website, and the other afternoon I sat down and read it.  (**I call it a novella because it’s surprisingly short and can be finished in a couple hours.)

The answer to my query regarding the movie’s similarity to the book so far as the plot and characterization goes, which I could have guessed anyway, is “very little”.  To give but one example:  In the movie, the Eloi are a sort of New Age wise hippies.  In the book, they’re childish cattle.  Similarly, in the movie the Morlocks are basically orcs on steroids.  In the book, they’re more a mob of evil lemurs.  And there’s no place in the book for Jeremy Irons’ debauched, perverted Morlock Overlord.

Feh.

But as for the book itself, I was really quite pleased.  Wells was evidently a story-teller of some giftedness.  His plot is clean, his narration crisp, and his imagination quite vivid.  And so far as he may have been trying to push a class-struggle socialist theme (re the evolution of the Eloi and Morlocks from the Haves and Have-Nots of “capitalism”***), it bothered me not in the least, as he seems more or less forced to admit that socio-economic constructs may channel human nature, but they’ll never change it, as that idiot Marx seemed to think possible.  (*** I put “capitalism” in quotes because that’s a Marxist term.  I prefer “free-market economics” myself.)  In this, I think both God and Darwin smile.  And G.K. Chesterton.

Anyhoo, a highly-entertaining story and one worthy for a place on my Adventures shelf, albeit in the extremely slim scifi section.  My next project may be to push that back some and try a little Jules Verne.  As far as I can recollect, I believe I’ve never actually read one of his.

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