The Time Machine

The Time Machine and the Protocols of Science Fiction College

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells features horrific creatures from beneath the earth that enslave helpless humans, yet it is rarely if ever described as a horror novel. The tale features an adventurous leading character who manages to find a little romance as he hurtles back and forth through time, but is rarely found sitting on the shelf next to other adventure novels of its era like Around the World in 80 Days or King Solomon’s Mines. The Time Machine could arguably fit with the conventions of genre logic that would qualify it as horror or adventure, but instead it is only ever referenced within the realm of science fiction and this universal agreement is due it precisely alignment of themes and motifs which James Gunn outlined his definition of the genre of science fiction: the existence of a fourth dimension, the evolution of mankind and the prominence of curiosity as an integral component of the human imagination.

The foundational component in Gunn’s definition of science fiction—the influence of which stretches across the breadth of his more expansive definition—is that it is a genre centered upon the idea of change and the possibility for the events of a character timeline to altered through apprehension of fourth...

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