The Time Machine by H. G. Wells is one of several science fiction works written by the author in the late 19th century. The novella begins in the Time Traveller's home in England with a discussion of time being the fourth dimension and the possibility of being able to move through time just as easily as people move through three dimensional space. The Time Traveller demonstrates his ideas with a small working model and announces to his friends his intention to travel in his full scale machine as soon as it is finished. The following week, he turns up late for his own dinner party, walking with a limp with a completely disheveled appearance and an amazing tale of his travels.
The Time Traveller used his machine to travel to London, England in the year 802701 A.D. He encounters a small weak and childish group of people called the Eloi who live in a the remains of what once was a great civilization based on the remains of the buildings. Seeing no sign of disease or weeds or pests, the Traveller surmises that science must have completely conquered nature and these remaining beings having no outside force of nature with which to contend had lost their physical and mental strength over time from lack of use. Then when his time machine mysteriously vanishes, the Traveller become more interested in the wells in the ground that appear to be ventilation shafts. Climbing down inside a shaft, he discovers a second group of what were once people, the Morlocks. The Morlocks lurk in the darkness and are afraid of light, but seeing the remains of one of their meals on a table the traveller realizes that they must come to the surface under the cover of darkness to capture Eloi for the food source. After 8 days, he finally manages to find his time machine and just barely elude the Morlocks and continues to travel farther into the future. All signs of human life disappear and the sun becomes gradually larger and redder in the sky. At last he reverses course and returns to his own time bringing with him only two wilted flowers as proof of his trip.
The book ends with the narrator awaiting the return of the traveller from a second trip for which he has been gone three years.
I actually picked this up in preparation for the upcoming school year because I thought it would make an easy book to start teaching worldview analysis to my rising 8th grader. There is plenty of commentary of the problems of communism and capitalism juxtaposed with a huge dose of Darwinism to discuss, but I have to say I was actually pleasantly surprised to find the story very readable and interesting as well. It will never make one of my all time favorites because of its pessimistic outlook, but I'd say it's definitely worth reading at least once. I'd recommend it for 8th grade and up.