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时间机器Time Machine

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The Time Machine is a novel by H. G. Wells, first published in 1895 and later directly adapted into at least two theatrical films of the same name, as well as two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in all media. This 38,000 word novella is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. It was also inspired by Charles Darwin and On the Origin of Species, showing us humans that have evolved into different species. Wells introduces an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre as well.

 

The book's protagonist is an amateur inventor or scientist living in London who is never named; he is identified simply as The Time Traveller. Having demonstrated to friends using a miniature model that time is a fourth dimension, and that a suitable apparatus can move back and forth in this fourth dimension, he builds a full-scale model capable of carrying himself. He sets off on a journey into the future.

The Time Traveller details the experience of time travel and the evolution of his surroundings as he moves through time. While travelling through time, his machine allows him to observe the changes of the outside world in fast motion. He observes the sun and moon traversing the sky and the changes to the buildings and landscape around him as he travels through time. His machine produces a sense of disorientation to its occupant, and a blurring or faintness of the surroundings outside the machine.

His journey takes him to the year A.D. 802,701, where he finds an apparently peaceful, pastoral, communist,[1] future filled with happy, simple humans who call themselves the Eloi. The Eloi are about four feet tall (~122 cm), pink-skinned and frail-looking, with curly hair, small ears and mouths and large eyes. Males and females seem to be quite similar in build and appearance. They have high-pitched, soft voices and speak an unknown language. They appear to be quite unintelligent and child-like and live without quarrels or conflict.

Soon after his arrival he rescues Weena, a female Eloi he finds drowning in a river. Much to his surprise she is grateful to him and insists on following him.

The Eloi live in small communities within large and futuristic yet dilapidated buildings, doing no work and eating a frugivorous diet. The land around London has become a sort of untended garden filled with unusual fruiting and flowering plants, and similarly strange yet collapsing buildings and other structures, all clearly no longer used, dotted around. There is no evidence of the implementation of agriculture or technology, of which the Eloi seem incapable.

The Time Traveller is greeted with curiosity and without fear by the Eloi, who seem only vaguely surprised and curious by his appearance and lose interest rapidly. He disables the time machine and follows them to their commune and consumes a meal of fruit while trying to communicate with them. This proves somewhat ineffectual, as their unknown language and low intelligence hinders the Time Traveller from gaining any useful information. With a slight sense of disdain for his hosts' lack of curiosity and attention to him, the Time Traveller decides to explore the local area.

As he explores this landscape, the Time Traveller comments on the factors that have resulted in the Eloi's physical condition and society. He supposes that the lack of intelligence and vitality of the Eloi are the logical result of humankind's past struggle to transform and subjugate nature through technology, politics, art and creativity. With the realisation of this goal, the Eloi had devolved.

With no further need for technology, agriculture, or innovations to improve life, they became unimaginative and incurious about the world. With no work to do, they became physically weak and small in stature. Males, generally being breadwinners and workers in former times, have particularly degenerated in physique, explaining the lack of dimorphism between the sexes. The Time Traveller supposes that preventive medicine has been achieved, as he saw no sign of disease amongst his hosts. With no work to do and no hardships to overcome, society became non-hierarchical and non-cooperative, with no defined leaders or social classes.

The fact that there was no hardship or inequalities in societies meant there was no war and crime. Art and sophisticated culture, often driven by problems and aspirations or a catalyst for solutions and new developments, had waned, as no problems existed and there were no conceivable improvements for humanity. He accounted for their relatively small numbers as being due to the implementation of some form of birth control to eliminate the problems of overpopulation. The abandoned structures around him would suggest that prior to these achievements, the population had been larger and more productive, toiling to find the solution that would make the new utopia a reality.

As the sun sets, the Time Traveller muses on where he will sleep. Retracing his steps back to the building where he had eaten with the Eloi, he suddenly realizes that the time machine is missing. He panics and desperately searches for the vehicle. At first, he suspects that the Eloi have moved it to their shelter. He doubts the Eloi would be capable or inclined to do this, but nonetheless rushes back to the shelter and demands to know where his machine is. The Eloi are confused and a little frightened by this. Realising the Eloi don't understand him and he is damaging his position with them, he continues his search in desperation during the night before relenting and falling into an uneasy sleep.

The Utopian existence of the Eloi turns out to be deceptive. The Traveller soon discovers that the class structure of his own time has in fact persisted, and the human race has diverged into two branches. The wealthy, leisured classes appear to have devolved into the ineffectual, not very bright Eloi he has already seen; but the downtrodden working classes have evolved into the bestial Morlocks, cannibal hominids resembling human spiders, who toil underground maintaining the machinery that keep the Eloi — their flocks — docile and plentiful. Both species, having adapted to their routines, are of distinctly sub-human intelligence.

After further adventures, the Traveller manages to get to his machine, reactivate it as the Morlocks battle him for it, and escape them. He then travels into the far future, roughly 30 million years from his own time.

There he sees the last few living things on a dying Earth, the rotation of which has ceased with the site of London viewing a baleful, red sun stuck at the setting position. In his trip forward, he had seen the red sun flare up brightly twice, as if Mercury and then Venus had fallen into it. Menacing reddish crab-like creatures slowly wander the blood-red beaches, and the world is covered in "intensely green vegetation." He continues to make short jumps through time, seeing the red giant of a sun grow redder and dimmer. Finally, the world begins to go dark as snowflakes begin to fall, and all silence falls upon Earth. In the very end of the Earth, all life has ceased, other than the lichens that still grow on rocks, and a kraken-like creature, roughly the size of a football, that slowly moves onto shore.

Feeling giddy and nauseated about the return journey before him, he nevertheless boards his machine and puts it into reverse, arriving back in his laboratory just three hours after he originally left. Entering the dining room, he begins recounting what has just happened to his disbelieving friends and associates, bringing the story back full circle to his entrance in chapter 2. The following day, the unnamed narrator returns to the Time Traveller's house. There, he finds the Time Traveller ready to leave again, this time taking a small knapsack and a camera. Although he promises the narrator he will return in half an hour, three years pass and the Time Traveller still remains missing. What happened to him, and where he ultimately ventured, remains a mystery.

 

   
1895年,纽约,哥伦比亚大学的副教授亚历山大·哈德金博士,人近中年却仍抱有着孩童一般的好奇心和求知欲,满脑子旁人看来稀奇古怪的理论。这些理论从来得不到校长的赏识,总是被看作“不切实际的幻想”而打入冷宫。纵使如此,亚历山大还是决定自行建造一部时间机器来向世界证明--人类完全可以在时空中穿梭旅行。
  为了避免冒然改变过去所可能造成的逻辑混乱和时空崩塌,哈德金全力着手飞向未来的计划。整个建造过程都进展得非常顺利,亲手建造的机器终于完美地启动,时间如流水般划过,世界以惊人的速度变化,时间旅程展现出一幅幅奇丽而又壮观的景象。时间机器载着他成功地抵达了第一个目的地--2005年的纽约。
  时间机器的降落地点已经不是他出发时的实验室,纽约周遭环境的改变更是让他大吃一惊。公众图书馆变成了彻底的虚拟真人交互式访问系统(保守的评价,这在2002年的今天看来,仍有些过于“科幻”)。人们所热衷谈论的,是关于在月亮上建立新殖民地的雄伟计划。受到科学家本能的好奇心趋使,亚历山大迫不及待地动身前往另一个未来---2007年。的确,没有什么比看到人类成功殖民月球更激动人心的了。
  谁也没有料到,在未来等待着他的是如此难以想象的险境。人类的殖民计划出了大问题,肉眼就可以察觉天空中的月亮已经变得比过去大得太多。事实上殖民计划给月亮带来不可逆转的伤害,月球的运行轨道正在下降,很快将坠入地球。来自月亮的碎片轰击着纽约的曼哈顿区,人们匆忙逃入建立在地下的防空洞中想躲过这场大灾难……

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