The Time Machine - H.G. Wells

This struck me as unimpressive, which I know is completely unfair--it's that this is the one that created the mold and since 1895 we've had a bazillion time travel novels. I might feel very different if I was a contemporary of Wells reading this when published.

This zipped past pretty quickly--it's only 32,000 words. Not to get into spoilers, but I've read that Wells is a socialist and it's obvious in how he pounds out his theories about humanity's future, and often struck me more of a tract than a story.

Another part of why it didn't for me have much impact though is that the style itself was distancing. It's the first person narration of an unnamed friend of the unnamed "Time Traveller" who tells his tale to a group of friends after his time in two far future periods: the year 802,701 and 30 million years later where he watches a dying Earth. In the first far future time period he meets the child-like Eloi, who live in the Upper World, which seems like a paradise--and the bestial Morlocks who live Underground. The only one of them who is given an individual identity is Weena, a female Eloi the Time Traveller rescues--she doesn't so much get a line of dialogue though.

I give the book snaps for it's seminal function in science fiction and because it went by quickly without my being tempted to put it down, but it didn't stir me.