The Time Machine

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas explored in HG Wells’ novella, published in 1895, in which the Time Traveller moves forward to 802,701 AD. There he finds humanity has evolved into the Eloi and Morlocks, where the Eloi are small but leisured fruitarians and the Morlocks live below ground, carry out the work and have a different diet. Escaping the Morlocks, he travels millions of years into the future, where the environment no longer supports humanity.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Simon Schaffer 25 episodes
    Professor of History of Science at Cambridge University
  • Amanda Rees No other episodes
    Historian of science at the University of York
  • Simon James No other episodes
    Professor in the Department of English Studies at Durham University

Reading list

  • Evolution
    Stephen Baxter (Gollancz, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Early H. G. Wells: A Study of the Scientific Romances
    Bernard Bergonzi (Manchester University Press, 1961) Google Books →
  • H. G. Wells' Perennial Time Machine
    Daniele Chatelaine, Patrick Parrinder and George Slusser (eds.) (University of Georgia Press, 2016) Google Books →
  • Time Travel: A History
    James Gleick (Fourth Estate, 2017) Google Books →
  • The Future as Nightmare: HG Wells and the Anti-Utopians
    Mark Hillegas (Oxford University Press, 1967) Google Books →
  • The Early Fiction of H G Wells: Fantasies of Science
    Steven McLean (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) Google Books →
  • Shadows of the Future: H G Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy
    Patrick Parrinder (Syracuse University Press, 1996) Google Books →
  • Presenting Futures Past: Science Fiction and the History of Science
    Amanda Rees and Iwan Rhys Morus (University of Chicago Press, 2019) Google Books →
  • A History of Science Fiction
    Adam Roberts (Palgrave, 2005) Google Books →
  • H. G. Wells: Another Kind of Life
    Michael Sherborne (Peter Owen, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Time Traveller's Almanac: The Ultimate Treasury of Time Travel Fiction
    Ann and Jeff Vandermeer (Head of Zeus, 2018)
  • Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusions of a Very Ordinary Brain
    H. G. Wells (H. G. Wells Library, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Definitive Time Machine: A Critical Edition of H.G.Wells' Scientific Romance with Introduction and Notes
    H. G. Wells (ed. Harry Geduld) (Indiana University Press, 1987) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: m0009bmf

Episode page:

Auto-category: 823.912 (Science fiction literature)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1895, H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine, in which the wealthy time traveller goes to the year 802,701 AD and is shocked by the future.