This novella (95 pages in a pocket edition) deals with a future world the outline of which is mainly based on flaky ideas about evolution. It must have been highly, highly original in its time, but over a century later there is not very much to amuse a 21st century reader.
The prose is still readable, albeit a bit wooden, but the story is rather thin and the evolution of mankind that is sketched is totally unbelievable to the eyes of any contemporary sociology or biology scholar. Also, it is based on a GIANT plothole: if the Eloi became complacent and dumb because of a lack of danger & strife, what’s up with the danger from the Morlocks hunting them?
Another minor sidenote: also the physics don’t add up: the time machine supposedly doesn’t move in the 3 dimensions of space, only in the time dimension, but that disregards the fact that Earth rotates and tilts, and that our solar systems moves around in space too. By Wells’ own logic, the machine should’ve ended up somewhere in or near our solar system’s vacuum.
Of course, because of its massive historical importance, those interested in the history of SF should definitely read it. Others, not so much.
originally written on the 3rd of March, 2015