The Time Machine
On the Novum and the Dangers of Humanity’s Pursuit of Scientific Advancement
The concept of the novum is a central theme to science fiction as a whole. It represents something new and different from the world as we know it. The novum usually functions as the impetus to the science fiction story, guiding the motivations of main characters or, in some cases, existing as the protagonist itself. Obvious novums include the title subjects of H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine and Avram Davidson’s “The Golem,” as well as the various artificial beings presented in Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot stories. In some instances, it is not so distinct. In Wells’s work, for instance, the future environments that he sculpts for his protagonists to explore, representing as they do something equally unfamiliar to contemporary humanity, serve as further paradigms of the science fiction novum. In this case, then, the story’s very setting can serve as a novum. By assessing the consequences of the technological novums of Wells, Davidson, and Asimov, as well as the explanations for and conditions of Wells’s dystopian take on futurity, the current study will present the stories as cautionary tales which reveal to the reader the irresponsibility of the human species’ fixation on technological and economic advancement.
In Wells’s The Time...
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