Listening to another HG Wells classic on my dog walks, this time the book that was a long time favourite of the young Richard Herring and has perhaps influenced my life more than any other - The Time Machine. It’s fucking excellent stuff still and in fact it’s brilliant to return to these works as an adult as you get way more out of them. I was surprised to discover that the time traveller goes straight to the time of the Morlocks, rather than stopping off a couple of times before to take in the sights. Of course my memory has been clouded by the film versions I’ve seen - especially the very enjoyable one with Rod Taylor with the model in the shop window and the nuclear war.
But there’s no need for all that bunk. Although if you actually had a time machine you might want to go back to some historical event or forward a bit to steal a sports almanac, going straight to the distant future is a genius idea from Wells, in terms of his plot of the diversification of humanity into two distinct species.
Although I am not at the end of the book yet, I had always thought it was a bit dim of the “author” not to realise (spoilers) that the time traveler was not returning (for whatever reason) as if he could travel in time he could return to the moment that he left if he wished. Though I guess his machine could have got buckled and less controllable. But for the first time today I wondered about the possibilities of a sequel and came up with a Planet of the Apes rip-off where the Morlocks managed to gain control of the machine in the future and come back to our time to defeat us with their Morlock ways.
Or the Morcocks if the publisher wanted to go that way.
It would be rubbish though. The time traveller’s theory of how the Morlocks developed is better than a hack cyclical thing like this. But an alternate time line where Victorians had to fight off crazed Morlocks would be fun.
As it turned out there are already a couple of sequels to this story available, which there obviously would be. And any time travel adventure is more or less a sequel to this extraordinary novel.
It inspired to me to get on with some writing work myself and I spent the morning putting together a proposal for a kids book called “The Thriling Three.” Yes, that’s right, based on the terrible/amazing stories I wrote when I was 9. Imagine if that comes off. An idea over forty years in the making. It would be slightly more sophisticated that the version that you might be familiar with from AIOTM and Collings and Herrin, but not much more. It might have been more fitting if I try to resurrect my teenage Wellsian though more comedy effort, “The Time Bomb”, but let’s see how I get on with this one first.
Later I looked at clouds with my daughter and once again recalled one of the happiest hours of my childhood, when I lay on Fairlands school field with Phil Fry and we commentated on what the white clouds scudding across the blue sky resembled. That memory, like the Thriling Three is over 40 years old. And nothing that’s happened since has been as good. The Thriling Three must be a little older though, cos if I was friends with Tim and Angus then and Phil Fry had not yet crossed my path. He’s the oldest friend I have that I still see occasionally. I must give him a ring and ask him if he wants to lie in a field and look at clouds with me. I have a feeling we might not recapture the magic of the first time.