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The Time Machine

The Time Machine

by H.G. Wells

Science Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

But my mind was already in revolution; my guesses and impressions were slipping and sliding to a new adjustment. [...] And very vaguely there came a suggestion towards the solution of the economic problem that had puzzled me. (5.35)

A large part of the book is the Time Traveller's attempt to puzzle out what the future is like. In many Hollywood disaster movies, a scientist will come on just to give an answer. The Time Machine isn't just interested in the answer, but also in the process of coming up with it. So we get a lot of sequences, like this one, where the Time Traveller is thinking and groping his way toward the truth.

Quote #8

Presently the walls fell away from me, and I came to a large open space, and striking another match, saw that I had entered a vast arched cavern, which stretched into utter darkness beyond the range of my light. The view I had of it was as much as one could see in the burning of a match. (6.8)

Wells wrote an essay in which he compares science to a match. Here we see that comparison being made into a part of the narrative: no matter how much the Time Traveller figures out, there always seems to be something more that he can't see.

Quote #9

I tried to look at the thing in a scientific spirit. [..] And there was Weena dancing at my side! (7.14)

Here the Time Traveller is wrestling with his realization that the Morlocks eat the Eloi. From a scientific point of view, that's the end of the story: animals eat other animals, and that's the way it is. But the Time Traveller has some difficulty with that notion. He's trying to be scientific and not be bothered by the idea that Weena is going to be eaten, but he is bothered by it. This is another scene where we see how hard it is to suppress one's emotions in the pursuit of science. It's like when you watch a nature show: one episode will be about the deer and you root for the deer, and the next episode will be about wolves and you root for the wolves. The scientific point of view would be not to root for either side, but rather to see both sides as part of the same system.

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