"And don't call me Shirley."
|Notice what Vox is showing the time traveler here. Um...|
...waiting for the Time Traveller; waiting for the second, perhaps still stranger story, and the specimens and photographs he would bring with him. But I am beginning now to fear that I must wait a lifetime. The Time Traveller vanished three years ago. And, as everybody knows now, he has never returned.Wells doesn't tell us the Time Traveler's ultimate fate in the vasty deeps of Time. However, perhaps he does provide a hint: In Chapter 2 the narrator mentions the mysterious Silent Man, "a quiet, shy man with a beard," at the dinner table. As Glenn "DVD Savant" Erickson (a movie-watching kindred spirit of long correspondence) says at his site:
"The Silent Man is obviously the Time Traveler himself, returned at an advanced age. Older but perhaps wiser, he's there just to contemplate his younger self. His motive has to be guessed at, and it is easy to read into his blankness anything one wants."This sly nuance by Wells, if that's what it is (and I do believe it is) pleases me mightily — this suggestion not just of some self-directed circularity in the Time Traveler's life, but also of Time's potential mutability, and therefore the possibility, however slim, that the bleak, pointless future the Time Traveler witnessed can be avoided, undone. At least that's my read on it. I am a "this time machine is half full" kind of guy.
"I have no desire to tempt the laws of Providence, and I don't think you should. It's not for Man to trifle with.... There is something to say about the common-sense attitude to life. If that machine can do what you say it can do, destroy it, George! Destroy it before it destroys you!"
"What have you done? Thousands of years of building and rebuilding, creating and recreating so you can let it crumble to dust. A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams. For what? So you can swim and dance and play!"Meanwhile the few surviving books crumble to dust untouched and unread. Necessary exposition comes from the Talking Rings (voiced by the ubiquitous Paul Frees), mechanisms so ancient and underpowered that they can only hint at the history of the preceding 800,000 years. George frowns at the story they tell, while Weena looks on smiling at the incomprehensible toys.