Time is only the fourth dimension.
It’s easy to imagine the future in 2017. Or even from any point in the 20th century, when automation and the space race gave breath to truly glorious flights of imagination.
But what if someone was writing from 1895 Victorian England? It may also have been a period of great technological progress, but things were still rather primitive by today’s standards, which is why H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine stands out as one of the seminal works of science fiction.
Its speculative leap 800,000 years into the future is imbued with both wonder and dread, where a frail and ineffectual race called the Eloi live in a seeming paradise above ground, while the ape-like and brutal Morlocks live underground.
The time traveler also ventures 30 million years into the distant future, a time where even the Earth is dying and the entire planet is a wasteland.
The landscapes Wells depicts are haunting, beautiful, and also terrifying. We may think of time as just a way to take stock of the changes around us, but Wells drives home the realization that the passage of time can also conjure up entirely new worlds.
When then, does the future hold?