Free dimensional thinking and time travel

Can free dimensional thinking help us to understand what exactly we’re talking about when it comes to time travel?

Some time ago I met a pretentious bloke at a party who was overly keen to tell me his views on philosophy and something which he called “free dimensional thinking”.

“What’s free dimensional thinking? ” I ask.

“Oh! Don’t you know? It’s when you’re free to think on different dimensions.”

“OK I’ve got that, but how? Can you give me an example?”

“Well it takes some getting used to. Most people only think one dimensionally. With free dimensional thinking you think on more than one dimension. You can think on two dimensions, or three. Or four…as many as you like. It depends how advanced you are. I’ve done 6.” He beamed.

I indicated visually the dimension of height of the room and the height of my frustration by rolling my eyes upwards, and departed.

Pretentious pillocks aside, this idea of dimensional thinking must have lodged (though perhaps in a different way than I was ‘supposed’ to) because I got round to thinking about the measurement of dimensions.

Free dimensional thinking
“Free dimensional thinking” – with a football! 😉 Image credit: Chandra Sekaran.

Take a football game, for example. How long is it?

Would we say 90 minutes plus extra time (or as my daughter told me after 7 minutes…it’s too long, Daddy!) or would we describe it more literally as somewhere between 90 and 120 meters?

What dimension are we talking about here? The length of time, or the length of the more tangible field? It usually helps to be clear. H. G. Wells in his book The Time Machine famously commented that time is the fourth dimension – and yet the time traveler in that novel experienced nausea as he was subjected to the rotation of the 3 spatial dimensions and time upon their axes.

A shuffling of the dimensions can assist then, in time travel, but a precise knowledge of each dimension – and where it is – is a clear pre-requisite.

Maybe this mysterious free dimensional thinker / party goer may well have been aware of the multiple dimensions he was thinking along. But like the analogy between time travel and the teapot in orbit around Venus (* see footnote below) it’s extremely improbable.

It’s a shame. Not because I’d spent (and wasted) too much of my time with him, but because I probably missed his clues if he really was onto something useful.


* Note about Teapots – it’s been quoted (by I can’t remember who) that time travel is like finding a teapot in orbit around Venus – there’s no rule in physics prohibiting it, it’s just very unlikely.

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Review: Epilogue by Jaime Batista

It’s a no-brainer – for every copy of the original The Time Machine sitting on a bookshelf or in an e-reader, there should be a copy of Epilogue!

Epilogue: Time Machine Chronicles

(A sequel to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells)

It’s a no-brainer – for every copy of the original The Time Machine sitting on a bookshelf or in an e-reader, there should be a copy of Epilogue!

If you like The Time Machine, you’ll love this, and if you didn’t like the original (I found it OK but not great) – Epilogue offers originality and more.

Meshing with The Time Machine

Epilogue by Jaime Batista

I’ll start off with this section because arguably the original starts things off. Actually I contacted Jaime and asked him whether he advised reading the original (again) prior to Epilogue to ensure that I didn’t miss any key continuing threads. It turns out that Jaime received emails from readers saying that they had read The Time Machine first and then, after reading Epilogue, they re-read The Time Machine and enjoyed it even more than they did the first time.

Trust time travel enthusiasts to read the original after the sequel! 😉 Not wanting to miss anything, I started to (re)read the original, but to be honest I was too impatient to continue for more than a few chapters in so I dived into Epilogue.

This is an important point. Sequels are often stand-alone but use the same characters, settings and history (and future) as previous books so that they are tied in, but can also be read independently. And Epilogue is such a novel – it can be read on its own, as a continuation of the original, or – as other readers testify – an insight into the original. This latter point shows how truly interlaced and consistent Epilogue is with the original.

Epilogue doesn’t simply pick up from where The Time Machine finishes but begins some time before the original end providing additional depth and insight into what in the original would be considered to be secondary characters and events. In this way Epilogue envelopes The Time Machine.

The Time Machine is first introduced as a letter to the reader and a similar approach is adopted in Epilogue. This writing tool is wielded masterfully; in between journeys to the future we have narration by “Friend” or his son which serves as a third party interpretation of the events played out and witnessed by Traveler.

Jaime has done an incredible job in adopting the same style of writing as Wells. It doesn’t come over as forced or contrived, and is very natural. Every now and then there’s a line which really stands out adding beauty to the prose; something which I thought Wells misses. Character names are excluded and given as Traveler, Writer, Friend, etc.. Whilst their personalities are expanded upon in Epilogue, Jaime ensures that the character of the time traveler remains true to the original.


Epilogue depicts a future which is realistic and not far-fetched. But whereas The Time Machine is a dry political statement, Epilogue weaves social lessons within the plot, and for me these insights are more applicable and therefore meaningful in everyday life.

And the plot? Epilogue fills in the history between Traveler’s present and the Morlocks…it’s much fuller and richer than what Traveler had originally thought. Actually this is good continuation of the character and thought process of Traveler who within The Time Machine often readdressed his original ideas and thoughts about the things and events that he saw (like any good scientist! 😉 ).

Time travel

As I alluded to in my review of The Time Machine it feel short as it was basically a drama. Epilogue picks that up, continues and refines, adding elements to what was essentially the elephant in the room which Wells didn’t acknowledge – the time travel adjective of the namesake of the book.

Being called “The Time Machine” and not having much to say about time travel is quite an omission; there’s only so much forgiveness I can give Wells for being the first time travel author (actually, for The Chronic Argonauts, not The Time Machine! 😉 )

So Jaime now faces a problem – how to keep in line with The Time Machine by ignoring all of the juicy aspects of time travel, but at the same time grabbing hold of that elephant by the ears and hitching a ride to the far future.

And here Jaime does that with splendour and elegance. Traveler and Friend have conversations about the nature and philosophy of time travel, its motivations and its ethics. The plot reveals how time travel paradoxes are resolved too, like how, for example, nature deals with two (time)Travelers at the same time.

“The [time]machine is a mechanical incarnation of a number of theories”

There are also interesting tangents to the plot which allow thought experiments (for us – it actually happened to Traveler); I love the idea of a faulty time machine and what that would mean for someone inside it Actually this example is done beautifully – and done so in a manner commensurate with the technology and mechanisms available at the time of its construction – no onboard computer failures or software updates as might befit a time machine from today’s technology, but mechanical.

Or what conditions are required to step out of a time machine whilst it’s in transit? Does the time machine need to match the speed of the ambient passing of time for fear of getting sliced by the passing seconds? Brilliant stuff!

Journey or destination?

Epilogue is one of those rare time travel novels which deals with both the nuts and bolts of time travel as well as an engaging story line. It’s the journey and the destination.

I was thinking that the time traveler is a man who’s in love with his machine, the journey and the destination. I remember a story Mum told where she went on a drive with Dad. Mum was destination orientated, and wanted to see places and experience them, whereas Dad was much more journey focused – the car and driving it.

Jaime Batista
Author, Jaime Batista with his bike!

Traveler seems to take on both interests. Of course, he designed and built his time machine, so clearly he has an interest in it. He uses it to go forwards (and back again) in time; he enjoys the benefits of his machine. But he’s also less of a point to point traveler simply enjoying the journey because he stops every now and them to observe progress and to learn more about the roots of the future. And he develops a clear bond with the indigenous people of the time.

I was trying to think of a parallel then I thought of a biker…out on the free road on a nice set of wheels, enjoying the view and riding though it and stopping every now and then for a while to take it in more closely.

Brief comparison with The Time Ships.

(Or: Is a chicken nugget really chicken?)

At first I didn’t want to mention The Time Ships (Baxter). For those of you more familiar with my likes, dislikes and pet peeves, you’ll know that Baxter’s writing style and ‘creativity’ irritate me. But I can’t really write a review of a sequel to The Time Machine without at least a reference to Baxter’s effort since it’s the “authorized” sequel. (Note that Baxter is English and tries to emulate H. G. Wells’ (English) writing style, he uses the American spelling…) Details, mate. Details.

My full review of The Time Ships is here, but in summary Baxter butchers and rapes the original, taking it and mashing it all up and reforms it into another one of his run-of-the-mill rehashed Baxter/Arthur C. Clarke clones. It’s just not chicken, and it doesn’t read like it.

If you’re torn between the two, go for Epilogue, it’s genuine, it’s original and an excellent read!

Rating * * * * *

Easy: Full marks!

Epilogue: An outstanding sequel to The Time Machine.

It should be a best-seller because simply put, The Time Machine is!

If you’d like to know more about Jaime and gain a further insight into his novel you can read an author interview with him over at Time Travel Nexus!


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Disclaimer: A copy of “Epilogue” was sent to me free of charge. Whilst I wasn’t asked to write a review, I chose to because I like writing about things I enjoy!

Star ratings:

| 5* Excellent! | 4* Good | 3* OK | 2* Not good | 1* Crud |

Some time in Holland

What is it with Holland and time travel?

A lot of people think that the first time travel novel is The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, published in 1895.

Aside from the fuzzy logistics of what “being first” really means in time travel, the above statement is incorrect. Indeed, H.G. Wells had already published a short story called The Chronic Argonauts in 1888, thus scoring an own-goal in beating himself to the title of First Time Travel Author.

A little less self-plagiaristic is The Clock That Went Backward, a short story by Edward Page Mitchell which was published in 1881, and as far as I can tell, the ‘first’ piece of fiction involving time travel.

I’ll get round to reviewing it later, but the point I wanted to make is that the story is set in Holland; a small country with a complicated language. I can’t help but wonder why Holland was chosen as the setting for this ground-breaking piece of work!

Yes it’s true…the time2timetravel HQ is situated in Holland too, where if you search hard, you can end up in some pretty quirky places!

Dutch Clock
“Dutch Clock”. Fancy one on your wall? Image courtesy:

And there is the “Dutch clock”. I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing until they kept popping in in various novels I’ve been reading, and here was a surprise…that the picture of a clock face used as a header on this site is actually of a Dutch clock…although I hadn’t realised it when I took the picture!

(Rather ironic…I live in Holland, and took this picture of a Dutch clock during a holiday in France!)

I don’t have a picture of the above clock in all of it’s full Dutch chronological glory (…in France 😉 ) but descriptively it could be described as a short and stumpy wall mounted grandfather clock. Or at least, one with its legs cut off (see image, right).

Given the story line of The Clock that went Backward irony again hits us in the face, in that there is a Dutch saying that the Dutch people are tall so that if the sea dikes break then they can keep their heads above the water.

Tall people, short clocks. But I guess they are not the only ones short on time!


Live review: The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

Stephen Baxter’s The Time Ships is the authorised sequel to H. G. Well’s The Time Machine.

How does this ship fare?


The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter is pretty poor as a sequel to the original The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. This is mostly because the the Time Traveller displayed very different characteristics in each book, and the underlying messages and meanings in the original were not followed through. Indeed, the only ties between the two books were contrived references at the start of the novel and the Time Traveller’s attempt to rescue Weena at the end.


As a novel in its own right, this is brilliant! Yes, it is clearly Baxter-esque with his Baxterisms of astro-engineering and Watchers etc., but there is some great science, and of course, elements of time travel.

Whilst multiple and alternate universes are core to this novel, it didn’t strike me as an easy get out of jail free card as used in several other time travel novels (e.g. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma). Actually, the idea was followed through really nicely and was internally logical and consistent with a brilliant ‘application’ at the time-space singularity at the beginning of time.

The main character is a complete and utter pillock which for made for me some pretty angry reading (I must admit that in the first person I was reading Baxter as the Time Traveller) but at the same time I think it helped to nurture a real fondness for Nebogipfel through whom Baxter expresses his fascinating insights.

Although this novel deserves 0/5 stars as a sequel to The Time Machine, I’m giving The Time Ships a full 5 stars as a time travel novel in its own right.

The Time Ships is available from and (affiliate links).

A new approach

The Time Ships book cover

I’m going to try something new with this review – I’m going to write it as I read…pseudo live, if you like!

Perhaps I should first confess that I’m approaching The Time Ships with a little bit of prejudice…not simply that I’ve already read The Time Machine (and The Chronic Argonauts – arguably the predecessor to The Time Machine), but also that I’ve read some of Baxter’s works before and find many of them immensely irritating.

This is because (subjectively speaking) I find much of his writing has googled science crow-barred into patronising narrative, as well as more than a few prods to NASA, which is probably related to him not being selected as an astronaut.

Anyway. Let’s see how this goes!


OK. So I’ve read The Map of Time which depicts a fictitious story around H. G. Wells, and I was moved to (re)read The Time Machine as it’s written in first person, implying, in a way, that the main character is Wells himself, and now I know a little bit more about him.

I’ve also read The Chronic Argonauts (a very short story written by Wells, and predating The Time Machine) which some argue forms the basis of the more well known novel.


* The Time Ships commences with an “Editors note” to introduce the novel itself as part of a bigger picture. This reminds me of The Planet of the Apes by *Pierre Boullon which also starts (and finishes) in a similar manner.

* Baxter is trying to stay close to Well’s first person style of writing and using archaic and flowery language. I’m finding it a little unnatural and it reads almost like a young child’s description of events. I went here. I did that. I then found this… and so on. Actually, it’s a bit like Fred Hoyle’s dreadful style of writing (e.g. In October the First is too Late; The Black Cloud). Nice ideas, but you get rushed through.

* Baxter clearly has a copy of The Time Machine next to him. He’s pulling out small occurrences from the Time Traveller’s dinner with his friends, and forcing them them into the narrative to give an impression of continuity. I know it’s a sequel…I don’t need to be rudely prodded as a reminder and have it spelled out.

* Ah, the mechanics of the time travel! There’s a nice idea about twisting the 4 dimensions such that the temporal dimension lies on a spatial axis, meaning that motion through time can be achieved in much the same way as motion through space. A physical twisting of time.

The Time Taveller therefore feels dizzy when he time travels because he’s being twisted and subjected to centrifugal and Coriolis forces.

At first I thought this was stupid as he’s not physically twisting, and certainly, Coriolis force in some ways is the (imaginary) force opposing centrifugal force (also imaginary)…

Centrifugal force is simply an object obeying Newton’s first law of motion and that it will move in an straight line at constant speed unless an external force (such as a twist) is applied to it. Coriolis force is the apparent force that an object seems to follow when it’s linear motion is viewed from a rotating frame. So you have one and not the other – you can’t be flung out from rotation in a straight line (centrifugal force) whilst experiencing Coriolis force which acts to give you a lateral motion (measureable from the rotating frame that you’re being flung out from!).

* Second thoughts, I might let Baxter off. Centrifugal and Coriolis forces are 2 different ways of describing the same thing, but from two different (reference) viewpoints. A bit like time and space! OK…I’m now thinking it was a clever idea!

* The time machine itself is powered by a substance called Plattnerite – a substance delivered by a mysterious visitor. Much as I don’t like the idea of a fuel cell of some description to activate time travel, I’m toying with the idea that this mysterious visitor will be seen later on in the novel!

And into the far future…

* There seems to be an over-play of how bad Morlocks are. I think this is again another reference to the original book, but here it’s not fitting, and I should think that such prejudiced feelings from the Time Traveller are not in keeping with the original character.

* And here we are…Baxter hasn’t let us down with his precious Gaijin. Page 34 (of 630) and the Time Traveller is faced with A Watcher. So the Gaijin are back.

* I’m getting quite angry. The Time Traveller is behaving like a complete and utter prick towards a Morlock who is clearly looking after him. This is not in keeping with the original character, though I should confess I’m probably most upset because I prefer to identify with characters (especially in first person novels), whereas this one is more like a stroppy teenager than the thoughtful and respectful scientist of the original book. For example, whilst there may be a hint of shame, there’s no real apology or outward show of remorse when he’s told that he’s killed children.

No wonder the Morlocks appointed him a day carer. That’s a nice touch!

Still. I’m going to make a deliberate effort to read this book as a separate piece of work, rather than as a sequel with consistent characters and characteristics. I know that’s not in the spirit of the book, but then again, this book seems to be more of a piece of dodgy fan fiction than a sequel…

“We have harnessed a star.”

* And now comes Baxter’s idea of the future – astronomical engineering, just like in his Manifold Trilogy, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series (the latter having a spaceship which revolved to induce artificial and spatially gravity with distance from the hub…a theme repeated here in The Time Ships.)

* OK, I’ve just checked – the Manifold Trilogy was published after The Time Ships, so I suppose I should moan about his repetition of ideas if I was ever to re-read and review that Manifold Trilogy.)

I’ll let him off again here though, except to say that it seems that he’s to take many ideas from The Time Ships and developed them further in subsequent novels – much the same, as some believe, H.G. Wells did with taking ideas from The Chronic Argonauts, and developing them further in The Time Machine.

Which brings me nicely onto the next point:

* The Morlock’s name is Nebogipfel. i.e. the same name as the mysterious scientist in The Chronic Argonauts who later goes on to be a time taveller. Is this a coincidence, or opening the possibility of a temporal loop? I don’t think it too far to expect that many readers of The Time Ships will have also read both The Time Machine and The Chronic Argonauts!.

* There are pictures in this book!! What!! Much as I disliked Time and Again (Jack Finney), the inclusion of pictures there sort of made sense. But here? I’m no artist, but I don’t find the illustrations particularly good, neither do I think they add anything. I’d rather let narrative description and my imagination paint my pictures…

Back to the (near) present

* The Time Traveller ‘escapes’ from the future (Nebogipfel follows him into the time machine) and ends up a few years before his original time frame. He meets himself (as a slightly younger version) and this is an interesting read.

* The younger version of himself is “Moses” – his little used first name…as well as the first name of the time traveller in The Chronic Argonauts Dr Moses Nebogipfel. Another possibility of a temporal loop?

* Things are very different in 1944, thanks to war with the Germans. It’s an old and boring story line of alternate history which I find very exceedingly unoriginal.

* Introduction of the term time technology – research into time travel, time machine construction etc..

* Quantum mechanics is used to explain the idea of parallel universes and alternate histories. Even though I don’t like parallel universes and find them an easy escape from some of the complexities of time travel paradoxes, I must admit that the uncertainty and probability underlying quantum theory make it very novel and almost makes the chance of parallel universes possible!

* OK, the trouble with the Germans started on p198, and it’s taken till p314 to finally get past it. Dull dull dull. The section is full of names which I didn’t recognise (my own failing) but it turns out that these are key people in history, such as pioneers of bouncing bombs and soforth.

Into the deep past

* p323. Oh b***dy hell. The Watcher is back.

* The Time Traveller and Nebogipfel find themselves so far back in history (the Paleocene) that the climate is now tropical. The Time Traveller notes that in his own time he never ventured to tropical regions. I found this to be an interesting side nod to the connectivity between time and space!

* The possibility of causing an event in the past which will cause ripples into the future is astronomical. The Time Traveller kills an ancestor of a monkey, and Nebogipfel points out that this could significantly change the future. He then shows remorse at his action…notably more so that killing child Morlocks.

* During his stay in the deep past, the Time Traveller seems to become increasingly a pillock towards Nebogipfel, about whom I must say that I’ve developed quite a liking.

* Baxter shows a nice insight: the forest that the Time Traveller and Nebogipfel find themselves in is “self engineered” to withstand heavy flooding, by channelling water through grooves in the bark of tree trunks. This was well-written in the narrative, and not heavily levered in as in so many other cases.

* Soldiers from 1944 come back to deep history and find The Time Traveller and Nebogipfel. Again, names of characters are mentioned who are key in history. This is getting tiresome and, dare I say, unrealistic…that one character should meet so many other well-known characters.

* On the subject of names, the name of the main character in the original is not divulged, and Baxter tries hard to maintain this in his novel…but it’s done so very heavy handedly:

“Good morning, Mr ___ ” he said, calling my name.

So irritating! In the original, the name simply didn’t come up, whereas now it’s deliberately withheld. Very contrived, and weak. In one case, a character insinuates that the Time Traveller’s surname is Livingstone. That section of prose sticks out like a sore thumb!

* Other named characters are given a huge fanfare of phoney intriguing introduction, culminating in the name being given at the end of the chapter. It’s nothing more than a nod to alternate histories (of which I am no fan). Certain that the inclusion of so many names must be of some significance, I had to approach google (it’s my own failing that I have a poor knowledge of history), and indeed, most of the names were historically significant. It makes it unrealistic that so many well-known (not to me! :; ) should come together at one place, one time and be connected to the Time Traveller. It got really tiresome, and predictable.

* There’s a forest fire, and just as I’m thinking this is similar to the original, the Time Traveller ties grass to his feet and is reminded himself of his ‘earlier’ excursion. It’s a nice natural link between the books!

* It’s sad that the boring war story line extends into this portion of the novel, but I suppose that’s a bit of the point. I especially like the football match (similar to the Christmas Day match during WW1). Needless to say a well known footballer from the past was involved.

Back to the present (1891)

* The Time Traveller and Nebogipfel set the time machine to take them to the year 1891. This present is different from the present that The Time Traveller knows as it is populated by descendants of man from the Paleocene several millions of years ago. Baxter gives an account of the new ‘human’ species which has evolved, often referring to ants and ant-like motion. This reminded me of a sci fi novel I’d read but can’t for the life of me remember who wrote it (possibly John Wyndham) where ants occupy large metal structures because otherwise they are limited by their small size.

* As expected from Baxter there is plenty of astro-engineering, but by now I think I’ve got used to it and it’s par for the course.

* There is a fantastic copying of Arthur C. Clarke’s space elevator (from one of the Space Odyssey books, forget which one). Heaven knows why Baxter is called ACC’s heir – he just rewrites his ideas (with a touch more story line). Baxter’s only original contribution to the elevator is that if it’s made of glass, then it won’t be good for vertigo sufferers. Then again. Glass elevator sounds a little bit like Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name, doesn’t it…

* The new species are named The Constructors. Nebogipfel understands them better than the Time Traveller who of course is embarrassingly narrow minded and thick. Nebogipfel adapts well and is able to learn of the plans in time travel the Constructors have in mind, with help from a billiards table which serves as a demonstration of the role of time travel and multiple universes. I thought this was a very clever insight.

A hop into the future

* The construction of the time machine will take half a million years, so the Time Traveller and Nebogipfel time travel forwards in time by that amount when the Constructors’ own time machine is ready. During this travel, the physical space which they occupy is maintained by the Constructors, again, a brilliant insight from Baxter, from whom by now, I’m starting to forgive…whilst his ideas are repetitive (e.g. the vastness of time and space, watchers, astronomical engineering, ideas from other sci fi authors), I must admit that he’s b***dy good!

The beginning of time

* The Constructor’s plan is to go back to the beginning of time, and they take the Time Traveller and Nebognipfel with them. The descriptions from Baxter of the astronomical occurrences are really impressive, as is the final outcome – that the Constructors reach the singularity in time and space, and are able to disperse themselves in all universes of the multiplicity.

* The Time Traveller and Nebognipfel are taken into an optimal universe (for the Constructors). The Time Traveller is again visited by his Watcher which is when he realises that the Watchers have been monitoring him all along, and have been engineering the artificial universe in which they find themselves. Having waited for so long in the book for some information about the Watchers, I felt the description came over as very rushed and without much back up. It is also soaked in pre-material for the Manifold Trilogy.

* The Time Traveller at this point is experiencing total eternal infinity and is at a deep peace with himself…although there doesn’t seem to be any sense of peace conveyed – just bland, vague, and despite the overbearing brightness…dull. That said, it is interesting that after a while the Time Traveller recaptures his inquisitivity, showing that despite a change in his physical form he is still human.

* The Time Traveller and Nebognipfel are returned to human form and placed in an alternate history. I thought Nebognipfel would get reconstructed a little more human like (i.e. of the Time Traveller’s form) and go back to Wales to close the circle from The Chronic Argonauts. (Why did Baxter give him such a name?) Instead he’s simply left by the Time Traveller who with no surprise at all turns out to be the mysterious visitor who bears the initial vial of platternite at the beginning of the novel.

* The Time Traveller admits earlier that he is not one for long goodbyes, and Nebognipfel is a no nonsense kind of a guy, but I really expected something more. The paragraph really seems like an unfinished note that needs a little more expansion.

It’s a real shame that Nebognipfel leaves the novel. He gives some really interesting insights, or I should say, Baxter describes his insights through Nebognipfel) such as how the point of singularity at the beginning of the universe works, or the possibility of multiple multiplicities. Staggering stuff, actually!

The quest to save Weena

* The Time Ships now remembers its origins as a sequel, and the Time Traveller goes forward in time to rescue Weena from the Morlocks. It is another sad note that he does this alone; it would have been interesting to read how Nebognipfel would have reacted to seeing alternate versions of Morlocks; the seed, perhaps, of the Time Traveller’s deep seated aversion to him. (B***dy idiot).

* The Watchers seem to have disappeared. A hugely disappointing close to a story line…no wonder Baxter keeps returning to it in his subsequent novels.

* Anyway. The novel is now reading more like a sequel to The Time Machine the style of writing is more true (e.g. with lengthy descriptions).

* Actually the fact that the Time Traveller wants to save Weena shows the keeping of the character in the original. I think the character depicted in the Time Ships would really have preferred to go back to the Paleocene era.

The End.

[edit] I’ve started reading Tau Zero by Poul Anderson. He’s describing flight in a spaceship where centrifugal and Coriolis forces are making the passengers feel dizzy. Published in 1967, I wonder if Baxter has mastered time travel after all, or whether he’s doing the Baxter thing of taking other people’s ideas…

Although this novel deserves 0/5 stars as a sequel to The Time Machine, I’m giving The Time Ships a full 5 stars as a time travel novel in its own right.


Review: The Time Machine, H.G. Wells

The Time Machine

H. G. Wells

This is perhaps the most famous of time travel stories, and is often heralded as being among the first, despite being predated by Well’s own short story “The Chronic Argonauts”.


The main character remains unnamed throughout the book, and is referred to only as the time traveler. He builds a time machine, and goes forward in time to a period when mankind does not exist in a condition as they do now, but rather as a dipolar population consisting of Eloi (carefree and innocent creatures) and Morlocks (savage and brutal). During the course of the time traveler’s visit, he formulates various theories as to how the Eloi and the Morlocks came into being, as well as their interactions with each other. The truth is finally crystallised when he is able to visit a museum where he learns of the true course of development of Eloi and Morlocks from modern day man.

The time traveler returns to the present day only a few hours after he originally left, and relates his experiences and thoughts to friends over dinner. The following day he makes preparations to make an additional trip, promising to return shortly, though the reader is informed that the return of the time traveler was still awaited after 3 years.


No discussion is entered into as to how the mechanics of time travel operate in this story. Rather, time travel is used more as a tool enabling Wells to give voice to his creativity for a futuristic world. The Time Machine is therefore not really a sci fi novel as such, but never-the-less, an easy read which introduces the possibility of incorporating time travel into a novel.