"Humanity had been strong, energetic, and intelligent, and had used all its abundant vitality to alter the conditions which it lived. And now came the reaction of the altered conditions."
The Time Machine is one of those timeless classics (I was going to do a better pun than this but my creativity stalled, so we'll stop there) that everyone should try on for size.
A well-written, entrancing book that's saved by it's second half because the first part is a little too technical, too subjective to hold more than momentary interest. When the travels are finally revealed, the story finally becomes interesting.
He goes into the future assuming man will have progressed to momentous wonders, but instead finds that once certain plateaus are reached, man can't help but fragment. I'm sure the same could be said for today - people 100 years ago probably spent time marveling at how much we'd accomplish in 2016, but if you turn on the news it's filled with stories about people walking off the cliff playing Pokemon Go on their phone!
It's telling that the ponderings H.G. Wells had back then on social class still exist as problems today.
The visions were trippy and advanced for their time. Imaginative separation of what appears to be the superior race on top, the inferior below, but the narrator finds not all is at it seems in the end. This surprise added layered dimensions that wouldn't be there otherwise.
Really, the best thing about the book is the ending. Not because the rest of it isn't good, but because the ending is THAT good, thought-provoking because of the narrator's speech to his listening audience after his return travel, where he ponders what he could or could not find when he went into the past. When we know he's gone again, we're not sure what's happened - the possibilities are endless. Did he find a place in time he was happier at, not wishing to return? Did he lose the time machine or was it destroyed? Did he get destroyed himself by error or intention?
Unfortunately the Victorian prosed writing isn't always enjoyable during the technical musings, and the characters were invented more as a social commentary of the class separation than to be fully fleshed, but it's still a wonder of a story that has spawned countless children throughout the years. It definitely deserves to live on in its classic category, celebrated for the creative experiment it was.
“Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.”