2019 helmet

A stand-alone science fiction book.

Publication year: 1895
Format: print
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 1979
Finnish publisher: Kirjayhtymä
Page count for the Finnish translation: 120
Translator: Matti Kannosto

The Time Machine has two first-person narrators, both nameless but both male and at least relatively well-off. The story begins with the first narrator who comes to the house of the time traveler and meets other people there. The time traveler talks about traveling through time and the others think the whole idea is ridiculous. The people leave.

Later, the first narrator returns to the time traveler’s home and again meets other people and later the disheveled time traveler who tells the others about his journey to distant futures.

The traveler is so sure that the future will be good for humans that he doesn’t take any equipment with him. He just has a box of matches in his pocket but that’s all.

The time traveler tells about the year 802701 in the future where he first meets small, beautiful but not very smart humans. They live in deteriorating buildings and eat mostly fruit. They don’t work; instead their time is spent frolicking in meadows and rivers. But they fear the dark. Soon, the time traveler meets another race of small, ape-like people who live underground in darkness. He makes observations but also draws conclusions based on his own biases and expectations, as a wealthy man in Victorian England. Later, he briefly travels further in time to witness the end of Earth.

While the story has some exciting passages, it’s not really an adventure story. The traveler draws very intricate conclusions from small evidence. Also, he sees only a small part of the world and yet supposes that everywhere is the same.

The story doesn’t really have character development; in fact the future seems to confirm the traveler’s expectations and ideas, that strife and hardship are good for humans and if they’re done away with, the human race will degenerate.

This a perfect example of idea based story. It’s the first time travel story so Wells is focused on showing off his idea rather than on the story and characters. However, these days most, if not all, readers are already familiar with the concept so they expect more. The influence of the idea is, of course, great. It’s now an accepted part of not just science fiction books, but TV-shows, movies, comics, plays.

The story is available for free at Project Gutenberg as are all of H. G. Wells’ books.


I’m joining one more challenge: the Helsinki Library’s reading challenge.

It’s non-stress and free-style challenge. It has 50 subjects but the participants are free to include as many subjects per book as they want to. I’m going to use that option and use both Pick&Mix and Mount TBR for this challenge, too. I’m also using novellas and short story collections.

The subjects:

1. The book cover has a human face on it
(read: James Lovegrove: Firefly: Big Damn Hero)
2. Someone is looking for a missing person or an item in the book 
(read: James Lovegrove: Firefly: Big Damn Hero)
3. A book from a genre you don’t usually read
4. The only book written by the author
(read: F.J. Blair: the Delivery of Flesh)
5. The book has been a nominee for a book prize in your homeland
6. A romance novel
7. A book about a place you have visited
8. A book whose reading belongs to general knowledge in your opinion
(read: H. G. Wells: The Time Machine)
9. A book recommended by someone under 18 years old
10. A book written by a person of colour
11. A book about women’s role  in society
12. A book connected to Great Britain
V. E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic
13. A book for children or youth from your homeland
14. The author’s last name starts with the same letter as yours
15. A taboo is dealt within the book /A book about a taboo
16. A story that shifts between reality and unreality
17. There are twins in the book
18. A book written by a European writer
19. You don’t like the title of the book
20. The book deals with a culture that you are not familiar with
21. A book written by a celebrity
22. A book about climate change
23. The book title has a name of a country in it
24. Book chosen from a bookshelf with your eyes closed
25. A book from an author you have never read before
(read: F. J. Blair: the Delivery of Flesh)
26. A book that you see someone you don’t know reading
27. The book is some way based on Nordic mythology
28. There is a moon on the book cover
29. Someone is dreaming in the book
30. The book cover has a city landscape on it
31. Someone travels by metro in the book
32. The book title has a profession in it
33. You have seen a movie based on the book
Jules Verne: The Journey to the Center of the Earth
34. The book has writings by several writers in it
Rebecca Moesta, ed: Fiction River: Superpowers
35. There is an entrepreneur or company in the book
36. Someone is alone in the book
37. A book published by a small publisher
38. A banned book
39. A book about the relationship between humans and animals
40. A book about mental health problems
41. A book about a time period you would like to live in
42. You like the name of the author
43. A book that follows the growth of a child to adulthood
Resa Nelson: Berserk
44. A book about Berlin
45. The book title has a negative in it
46. The book has a trans or non-binary character in it
47. The book has less than 100 pages
Zara Altair: The Roman Heir
48. The book has a hearing-impaired or visually impaired character in it
49. A book published in 2019
50. A book recommended by library personnel

I could use recommendations, especially for 6 (romance novel – no toxic troupes, please), 17 (twins), 19 (book whose title you don’t like – I can’t think off-hand of any, except for “Men who hate women” (the Finnish name of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Larsson and I have no interest in reading it)), 23 (title has a name of a country), 31 (Someone travels by metro), and 48 (has a hearing-impaired or visually impaired character in it).