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The Time Machine

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas and anxieties in late Victorian London, explored by HG Wells in his story of time travel, evolution and a planet unfit for humans.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas explored in HG Wells' novella, published in 1895, in which the Time Traveller moves forward to 802,701 AD. There he finds humanity has evolved into the Eloi and Morlocks, where the Eloi are small but leisured fruitarians and the Morlocks live below ground, carry out the work and have a different diet. Escaping the Morlocks, he travels millions of years into the future, where the environment no longer supports humanity.

The image above is from a painting by Anton Brzezinski of a scene from The Time Machine, with the Time Traveller meeting the Eloi


Simon Schaffer
Professor of History of Science at Cambridge University

Amanda Rees
Historian of science at the University of York


Simon James
Professor in the Department of English Studies at Durham University

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

52 minutes

Last on

Thu 17 Oct 2019 21:30


Simon Schaffer at the University of Cambridge

Amanda Rees at the University of York

Simon James at Durham University

The Wellsian: The Journal of the H. G. Wells Society

The Time Machine - Wikipedia



Stephen Baxter, Evolution (Gollancz, 2003)

Bernard Bergonzi, The Early H. G. Wells: A Study of the Scientific Romances (Manchester University Press, 1961)

Daniele Chatelaine, Patrick Parrinder and George Slusser (eds.), H. G. Wells’ Perennial Time Machine (University of Georgia Press, 2016)

James Gleick, Time Travel: A History (Fourth Estate, 2017)

Mark Hillegas, The Future as Nightmare: HG Wells and the Anti-Utopians (Oxford University Press, 1967)

Steven McLean, The Early Fiction of H G Wells: Fantasies of Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Patrick Parrinder, Shadows of the Future: H G Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy (Syracuse University Press, 1996)

Amanda Rees and Iwan Rhys Morus, Presenting Futures Past: Science Fiction and the History of Science (University of Chicago Press, 2019)

Adam Roberts, A History of Science Fiction (Palgrave, 2005)

Michael Sherborne, H. G. Wells: Another Kind of Life (Peter Owen, 2010)

Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, The Time Traveller’s Almanac: The Ultimate Treasury of Time Travel Fiction (Head of Zeus, 2018)

H. G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusions of a Very Ordinary Brain (first published 1934; H. G. Wells Library, 2016)

H. G. Wells (ed. Harry Geduld), The Definitive Time Machine: A Critical Edition of H.G.Wells’ Scientific Romance with Introduction and Notes (Indiana University Press, 1987)


  • Thu 17 Oct 2019 09:00
  • Thu 17 Oct 2019 21:30

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