Book Review: The Time Machine and Other Stories by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine and Other StoriesFour tales comprise this collection, the first of which is the story for which H. G. Wells is most known, The Time Machine. The adventures of a time traveller who builds a machine that propels him 800,000 years into a future that appears utopian only—and quite literally—on the surface has been reprinted thousands of times and adapted into at least a half dozen films that I know of.

However, the other three stories in the collection were new to me: “The Empire of the Ants”, “The Country of the Blind”, and “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.”

Of these, the first is forgettable, the second compelling, and the third entertaining. In “The Country of the Blind,” we join professional mountain climber, Núñez, as he survives a fall from Parascotopetl in Ecuador only to discovers a hidden land occupied by a population of blind natives. Núñez learns that these people have been without sight for generations and somewhere along the way, lost all knowledge and belief in the world beyond their own village. Núñez recalls the old adage, “In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” He quickly learns just how wrong he is…

In “The Man Who Could Work Miracles,” a nebbish clerk with the unlikely name of George McWhirter Fotheringay does not believe in miracles and is all too happily debating their impossibility in the Long Dragon pub when, to his utter astonishment, he performs a miracle by ordering an oil lamp to turn upside down and continue burning. This leads Fotheringay on a journey of escalating marvels that eventually leads to global consequences…

 

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