Posts Tagged With: the time machine

“Morlock Night” by K. W. Jeter

I received a copy of Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter from the fine folks at Angry Robot in exchange for an honest review.  Angry Robot puts out some awesome books, and if you haven’t already, you should definitely check them out.

Morlock Night is a steampunk novel that picks up where H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine leaves off.  The protagonist, Edwin Hocker, attended the dinner party in Wells’ story and heard the tale of the time machine, but thought that it was merely a fanciful story.  It turns out that the story was true, and now the Morlocks have possession of the machine and are poised to take over Victorian England.

Morlock Night is an ambitious novel, as it pairs the story of The Time Machine with the legend of King Arthur.  That’s right.  Who better to save England from her most dire hour than he reincarnated Hero of Britain?  Of course, that’s not as easy as it sounds, because Merlin’s archenemy, Merdenne, has joined forces with Morlocks.  He’s captured both Arthur and Excalibur, and so Hocker must suspend his rationality and disbelief, otherwise all is lost.

For such an enterprising and complex story, I felt that Morlock Night accomplished its goals well.  I’ve read other steampunk novels that feel cluttered, or that try to incorporate so many different elements that they don’t quite do any of them well.  I didn’t get that impression here.  Jeter was able to integrate several different mythologies, including King Arthur, The Time Machine, and the legend of Atlantis, and I was impressed that he was able to pull it off.  Jeter does take some liberties with the source material, but it’s for artistic reasons, and I’m okay with his interpretation of Wells’ vision.

Jeter incorporates the same tone as H.G. Wells as he tells his story, which makes the novel campy and fun.  This isn’t *serious* reading, and it’s not meant to be.  It’s a pulpy steampunk adventure, and I loved it.  One of the things that I enjoy about steampunk is its ability to incorporate strong female characters.  In this case, Hocker’s sidekick from the future is a woman named Tafe who fought in the resistance against the Morlocks.  She disguises as a man when she time travels to before the invasion, and Hocker wouldn’t have been able to succeed without her.

If you’ve read The Time Machine and are into steampunk, Morlock Night is an excellent adventure.  It’s a quick read and definitely worth giving a chance.

By the way, does anyone else adore this cover as much as I do?  I love the 1960s psychedelic feel that it has.  If it were a poster, I’d want it on my wall.  The creepy eyes and the submarine are awesome.


Categories: Fiction, Sci Fi, Steampunk | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells

After reading “Before the Storm” by Marian Perera, I decided that I need more steampunk in my life.  After consulting a bunch of random lists on the internet, I came to the conclusion that I ought to read something by H. G. Wells before delving into modern steampunk, as his ideas provide an inspiration to many steampunk writers.

Before starting the book, I didn’t know much about it.  Yeah, I saw the “Wishbone” episode as a kid, but I don’t think that counts, as I’m pretty sure that I remember Weena being a love interest in that version.

I probably would have read “The Time Machine” a lot sooner if I’d have realized that it was so short.  Clocking in at only about 100 pages, it’s a rather quick read, as Elizabeth mentioned in her review.  Sometimes I think that a book’s status as a classic makes it more intimidating than it ought to be…

The narrator of the “The Time Machine” has an eccentric friend who attempts to convince his social circle that he has the ability to travel through time.  At first he sends a simple device, then finally tries out his own time machine.  The Time Traveler journeys to the distant future and finds, rather than a more intellectual and technological society,  a childlike race known as the Eloi.  The Eloi don’t read or write, and lead a blissful animal-like existence during daylight.  The Time Traveler tries to theorize why the Eloi exist, using his own social theories to try to comprehend the future.  What the Time Traveler doesn’t immediately realize is that the Eloi are terrorized at night by the Morlocks, a subterranean humanoid race that treat the Eloi as a food source.  When the Morlocks steal his time machine, the Time Traveler is forced to confront them in order to return to the past.

“The Time Machine” uses a science fiction story about time travel to illustrate a broader point about social class.  The Eloi and the Morlocks were both descendents of mankind, as the gulf between the workers and the wealthy became so great that they followed their own evolutionary directions.  As we’re in the middle of a major recession marked by growing income inequality, it’s a timely message.  It’s funny how little has changed since 1895!


This book counts for several of the challenges that I’m participating in.  I’m including it in the The 2012 Science Fiction Experience hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and the Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012 hosted by Baffled Books.  It also counts toward the Vintage SciFi Not-a-Challenge hosted by The Little Red Reviewer.

Categories: Fiction, Sci Fi, Steampunk | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

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