At about half-way, I begun thinking, “Huh, this doesn’t seem to be a story about a time machine at all.” Admittedly, however, it was most probably a New Age concept for that era, and all in all- a very curious premise.
I must say that this is, indeed, a very spectacular story. What an amazing imagination! The characters, the setting, the overall ambiance… Oh, and let’s not forget the time machine itself! Simply extraordinary.
What made this story all the more interesting for me was knowing about the Time Traveler’s opinions / thoughts on how the society he left (19th c.) had evolved into the state enjoyed by his 802,701AD. While his line of thinking had the undeniable trace of Industrialism in it, I have to say that I was rather impressed to read about things that may apply to current-day. [For the record, it’s the year 2012 as I write this.] The “perfection” of machines, the evolution of medicines… I almost got scared, just thinking about it. What really struck me: white-collar jobs vs blue-collar jobs / social stratification / First World VS Third World… [I can go on and on about this… I really can.]
[Of course, given the time period he wrote this, he couldn’t have thought about robots, and other such advances in technology. I was thinking that the museum would have more techie stuff, and he’d find a flashlight in there somewhere, among other things. (highlight for spoilers) Still, the far-off future of 802,701AD was dazzling and odd enough in its own right.]
The other steps he took with his time machine (besides his brief interlude with the Eloi & Morlocks) made me realize my own mortality, which was, undoubtedly, on the Time Traveler’s mind as well. [I almost cried out once or twice: “I feel for you, man!”]
Overall, it was a great journey for me, and probably a greater one for the Time Traveler. (The epilogue filled me with sadness, though.)