The Time Machine

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The Time Machine

Book description

A brilliant scientist constructs a machine, which, with the pull of a lever, propels him to the year AD 802,701.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

Why read it?

13 authors picked The Time Machine as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I had to include this book because this is the book that opened up the whole world of time travel for me.

I read it as a young teenager and have loved everything about the concept of time travel ever since. I think the reason is that there is this implied desire to fix the mistakes of our past or something, and that whole idea bubbles under the surface of Wells’ classic.

Of course on the other side of that coin is that I would later come to learn that Wells was an atheist, and so that brings up the…

From James' list on thought-provoking time travel.

The novella that gave birth to science fiction and introduced the world (and a very young me) to the magical concept of time travel. After hosting a dinner party, and via his “time machine” (a term coined by the author), the Time Traveller embarks on a journey to the year 802,701 when our Earth has evolved into a lush paradise seemingly void of industry. Humans have become fragile, docile, and childlike (the Eloi), lacking curiosity about their world or the discipline to maintain it or build upon it. They fear the night, but remain silent about their reason. The…

The genius of HG Wells lies not only in his mastery of words, but in his uncanny way of predicting the future and future events. From submarines to flying machines to future societies, many of Wells’ predictions came to fruition over the course of the 20th century. An enjoyable, albeit cautionary read, The Time Machine takes readers on a white-knuckled ride into the past and far into the future, exploring and questioning man’s own humanity.

The Time Machine was part of a book study I did in grade seven. The complex time travel theories made my mind swirl and would eventually inspire me while I wrote my first novel. This is a time travel book that has no rival; the ideas and concepts are captivating.

H.G. Wells was way ahead of his time, and The Time Machine proves this. Although usually considered to be pure Science Fiction, I would argue that it has horror elements to it as well. Our hero, the Time Traveller, finds himself flung far into the future where mankind has evolved into two distinct species, the Eloi and their carnivorous masters, the cave-dwelling Morlocks. Some of the writing in this is pure horror, and Wells writes in such a ‘modern’ way that readers in the 21st Century can still relate to it.

From Richard's list on mixing horror with other genres.

This is actually not the first time travel novel – Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee and Bellamy’s Looking Backward preceded it by a few years – but it’s the first that can properly be called science fiction rather than fantasy, since Wells provides a machine to do the time travel. It respects the paradoxes in a straightforward way, by telling a story of travel to the future that doesn’t run into any mind-twisting paradoxes at all.

An oldie but goldie, I’m sending you even further back into history for this rec’ to the year 1895 and even as I’m writing that I can’t get my synapses around how ahead of his time ol’ Herbert was.

Sure, it’s got that time travel razzle dazzle surrounding the time machine itself, but what this book is really about is actually more a case of putting class systems under the microscope and proving that if we don’t learn from past mistakes humanity will end up in the same state as the dinosaurs from my last recommendation. That is to say,…

As an author, my genre is historical fiction and, presently, time travel, with a side-trip to steampunk. This classic novella is the quintessential time travel tale from the grandfather of science fiction itself and steampunk. As in my books, a young chrononaut (time traveller) travels through time. Unlike my books, this chrononaut travels into the future, not the past, and comes across a dwindling planet inhabited by two strange species, evolved from humanity. A quick read that leaves you wanting more trips on the steampunk time machine.

From Craig's list on to contemplate for a time.

The first time-travel book I read, which is kind of appropriate, since it’s widely regarded as the first one written, and inspired many later works. It showed me that a great science fiction story, at its heart, is simply a great story set in a world that is somehow “other.” As a budding writer, I loved the freedom that a far distant future gave the author to imagine what might happen to the human race over the course of several hundred thousand years, and present a picture of an apparent utopia that had a hidden, and much darker, side. 

The Time Machine was published in 1895 and served as the catalyst for future science fiction writers dealing with time travel. This novel warns of the eventual doom of the human race. Wells wrote this fictional story over a hundred years ago and the divisions in class and the calamity of war still exist today just as it did during his lifetime. Each war his time traveler encountered was more devastating than the previous one, reflecting the human tendency to never learn from the past and to continue to control and manipulate people they consider less than themselves. Sound familiar?…

From Tony's list on written by science fiction masters.

Want books like The Time Machine?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Time Machine.

Browse books like The Time Machine

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in time travel, evolution, and dystopian?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about time travel, evolution, and dystopian.

Time Travel Explore 313 books about time travel
Evolution Explore 110 books about evolution
Dystopian Explore 483 books about dystopian