Essay The Time Machine : A Socialist Warning Against Capitalism
11 November 2014
H.G. Wells The Time Machine:
A Socialist Warning Against Capitalism
H.G. Wells’ 1895 science fiction novel The Time Machine is a cautionary tale of what will befall mankind if capitalism continues to exploit workers for the benefits of the rich. The novel distorts Charles Darwin’s theory of "survival of the fittest" by telling the story of a scientist who travels into the future only to discover that the indulged wealthy have degenerated into helpless beings, and the oppressed poor have degenerated into underground cannibals. The futuristic tale illustrates the true essence of Darwin’s theory: there is no guarantee that a species will evolve for the better, there is only the guarantee that successful species must continuously adapt to their environments or risk extinction. Wells also uses Karl Marx’s concept of class-consciousness as an explanation for why the destitute eventually revolted, and how society consequently changed over the course of space and time.
The Time Machine presents two very different settings: 1890s’ London and the future year of 802,701 AD. When the Time Traveller journeys into the distant future, he finds a society where a species, known as the Eloi, play all day and have no work. Initially, this looks much more appealing than the Time Traveller 's own time, which is filled with worry and disputes over class issues. However, the future ceases to be a utopia when the Time Traveller…