The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (originally published 1895) is a short novella that, on the surface, is about a man who invents and then uses a time machine to travel 800,000 years into the future. More specifically, however, The Time Machine is about class division. In the futuristic world the Time Traveller visits, the evolved humans of the future have become divided into two different types: Eloi and Morlocks. The existence of two very distinct types of evolved humans comments on the dangers of living with distinct social classes.
It seems that the world has regressed into a non-technology era. The Eloi are simple, child-like creatures. They seem to do nothing but run around, eat, and sleep. They live together, seemingly at peace, until the night comes.
The Morlocks, on the other hand, are animal-like, strong, and ground-dwelling. They live underground, apparently making all the clothing for the naive Eloi, and otherwise keeping them alive.
What happened to the technology and know-how of the current era (the late 1800s)?
In Wells’ futuristic vision, he seems to be portraying the two classes as if they were his era but grossly exaggerated. In late Victorian/ Early Edwardian England, the poor supported the rich; the rich were often unemployed simply by their status. Jobs were not essential, as their fortunes continued to grow. Wells was a supporter of the early English socialist party; these ideals of equality definitely seem to ring through in his story about the future.
From a perspective of one hundred years, it seems ridiculous to think that the status quo would have remained as it was in the 1890s; World War I brought a certain devastation to the private fortunes of many, and rebellion among the laboring classes brought a certain degree of fluidity between the classes. Today, only 120 years after The Time Machine was written, it is ridiculous to think of human evolution going to such extremes over 800,000 years.
In that sense, The Time Machine was a bit political and ridiculous. However, despite the political undertones of the story, I still greatly enjoyed reading it. I love books about time travel, and this was one that started them all! I only wish that Wells had had the Time Traveller return from yet another journey with more tales to tell.