Thursday, January 24, 2008

Other Possibilities

As science fiction, as we have discussed in class, is a reflection of the time and society it was written in. However, how someone reads or interprets the piece in another time can say many things and give the piece a new relevance. The largest complaint about the book seemed to be based on the displacement from the time and society Wells was writing in. For these reasons it seems appropriate to examine how one might have thought that the society of the future was shaped if the Time Traveler had not been advocating his belief. It is also interesting to think about how else this society might have been created. For example, as to the meat on the Morlocks table, the Morlocks may have been raising a cattle equivalent underground which feed more on fungi then plants or a larger eco-system underground. One way the separation between the Eloi and Morlocks could have occurred was that there was an large and long threat of a nuclear attack, so many of the more cautious people moved their city underground as they felt that it would be safer (more easily separated fro radioactive air) and they had the technology and after a few generations liked their underground world. While those who later evolved into the Eloi were either more optimistic or less aware of the danger. I'm not trying to say that this is what happened in the Eloi timeline, but having a larger tradition to draw on and sitting at a different point in history we extrapolate, even when the same outcome is looked for, along very different lines.

One comment however, relating to a point in Jen's post concerning the fact that the Time Traveler does not go back for Weena. We must recall this is the first use of a time machine in science fiction, and although now the grandfather pardox (you go back and kill your grandfather before he meets your grandmother, hence you are never born, hence you didn't go back in time and kill him) is seen as an obvious question and authors dealing with time travel (or even Precognisance) is expected to at least have an idea on what form time is in in their world. So for a Victorian man, such as the Time Traveler, maybe even the idea that he could go back and be in two places at the same time was simply mind boggling.

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