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“A contemporary reviewer rightly saw H.G. Wells as delivering a warning to contemporary society.”What warnings did both Wells and Bradbury deliver to their contemporaneous societies?

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Introduction

"A contemporary reviewer rightly saw H.G. Wells as delivering a warning to contemporary society." What warnings did both Wells and Bradbury deliver to their contemporaneous societies? In this essay I will be comparing a pre 20th Century novel, "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells and a 20th Century novel, "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury. Both novels fit into the Science Fiction genre and both look at the effects mans ignorance and ignorant intervention could have on the future. Science Fiction has been a popular genre for both authors and readers for a long time. Authors feed off the question "What if...?" and present the reader with a situation, that although far fetched could be plausible especially with the scientific and social advancement that has been taking place rapidly over the last 150 years. This sense of reality can instil a fear into the reader's mind, which is unlike the "horror" effect ghost and monster stories strive to achieve. This fear can enable a writer to deliver subconscious warnings to society. H.G. Wells was born in 1866. In 1884, at the age of 18, he won a scholarship and bursary at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. ...read more.

Middle

We see a relationship developing between the Time Traveller and one of the Eloi, Weena, who gets taken by the Morlocks before the Time Traveller returns to his own time. The story ends in speculation, as the Time Traveller disappears without a trace. "A Sound of Thunder" is a much shorter text and wastes no time in getting to the main theme of the story. No scientific jargon is used to back up the idea of time travel; it is a given fact that it is possible. Bradbury was able to do this as the text is set in the future unlike "The Time Machine." The story is about a journey back in time with a company that specializes in Time Travel, to experience the kill of your choice. In Eckels case this is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Things go wrong when Eckels steps off the anti - gravity path and kills a butterfly that manages to change the course of the future. Characterization in "The Time Machine" is very generalized. Only two characters are given names, the others are simply known by their profession. It is unclear why we are given Filby's name, as he is no more important than the other bystanders to this strange series of events. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bradbury's warning is slightly different with humans changing a place they didn't belong to in the first place. In a way he is telling society to stop looking for ways to alter what has passed, as the results may be devastating. The endings of both stories are very different but convey the same feeling. The Time Traveller feels unable to live in a society that he can see driving itself to destruction and Eckels has his life ended for him, but this is probably for the best as he has created his own hell by altering the past. I feel that "The Time Machine" deals with the topic more successfully because the story is backed up with scientific theory thus making it seem more plausible. It seems to focus on the possible more than "A Sound of Thunder" which gives us many unsupported ideas such as time travel, antigravity paths and the ability to kill such a monster as the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Having said that Bradbury's warning is a lot clearer than Well's and a lot simpler to understand. Both authors manage to put their separate messages across though so neither could be said to be unsuccessful. ...read more.

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