I listen to audiobooks in the car, and on the subway, etc, and I should REALLY use that time to listen to texts relevant to this book project; however, I typically choose something light and fun without regard to responsibility (This is how I read the Dresden Files), or I choose something that I have always meant to read but somehow never got around to (This is how I read Jane Austen). The last week or so, I chose The Time Machine, because if I have ever actually read it, it was long long ago, and I don’t remember.
Anyhow, imagine my surprise, toward the end, when the Time Traveler, after relating his outlandish tale of Morlocks, announces that (paraphrasing) “You surely think it all a lie. Perhaps you think it a dream I had in the laboratory. Perhaps it WAS.”
Now, I am thinking about The Time Machine in comparison to William Morris’ News from Nowhere, another vision of the far future, in which the explicitly-dreaming narrator visits a socialist Utopia, recognizes that it is better than his contemporary London, and also recognizes that he is too much a product of his own time to endure living in the perfect future.
Where Morris’ vision is informed primarily by political thinking and optimism, Wells’ future is more influenced by Darwinian forces of necessity – his narrator approaches every new phenomenon by asking himself what biological or social need might have led to its evolution. This leads to a much less optimistic vision of the future, of course.
I’ll have to do some biographical reading on Wells, and reread The Time Machine in paper format so I can underline things and take some notes, etc. This will help me reach the 75,000 words McFarland wants, for sure.