Dr Nebogipfel, I presume?

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A wonderful, thorough, 'must-have' annotated edition of The Time Machine

bullet The Time Machine : An Invention : A Critical Text of the 1895 London First Edition, With an Introduction and Appendices (Annotated H.G. Wells, 1) Edited by Leon Stover. McFarland and Company, 1996.

"Apart from its outstanding literary repute, The Time Machine is remarkable for its 'complex bibliographical history, which must be unparalleled among works of modern fiction' (Begonzi 1960:42; see also Lake 1980). Begun in 1888 as an amateur effort, it went through six drafts, three of them published (see appendices I-III) before it appeared in two different versions in New York and London (1895b and 1895c), and even then Wells did not stop tinkering with it until one last refinement done for The Scientific Romances of H.G. Wells (1933a).

From the Introduction to Leon Stover's The Time Machine : An Invention : A Critical Text of the 1895 London First Edition, With an Introduction and Appendices (Annotated H.G. Wells, 1)

Considering the fact that you can buy a paperback for a few dollars... or even read the complete text right here on the site... is it worth shelling out $49.95 for this edition? Well, if you already know what an 'amateur cadger' is, or what it means when they 'plow you for the little-go,' then I guess you could skip it. But if these and other Wells references, phrases, and allusions are lost on you, getting Stover's book is a treat.

It would be worth $149.95. Or even $249.95. At $49.95, it's a downright steal. Buy it! If you travel to the future... make this one of the three books you take. (By the way, clicking on any of the book titles on this page will take you to its Amazon.com listing)

Stover's omnibus contains many of the variations, focusing on the text of the 1895 London First Edition. Annotations explain all the textual references, which adds immeasurably to the reader's enjoyment. The notes are easily accessed - with footnote numbers appearing in the text and the corresponding annotation appearing at the bottom of the very same page. (Indeed, the annotations probably contain as many words as the text itself!) While Wells' prose is every bit as entrancing and engrossing as it was over a hundred years ago, certain topical references and obscure allusions which might otherwise be lost are made clear through Stover's incisive (and exhaustive) annotation. This edition also includes alternate versions of The Time Machine by Wells, notably "The Chronic Argonauts," the earliest version of the story: dark, haunting, and radically different from the versions to come. In "The Chronic Argonauts," which first appeared in The Science Schools Journal in 1888, you lean that the unnamed Time Traveler of the classic text was originally named Dr. Moses Nebogipfel.

The book also contains Wells' second revision, "The Time Traveler's Story," which appeared in The National Observer in 1894.

Also included are excerpts from the Heinemann edition of The Time Machine, which was taken from a serialized version published during the first half of 1895. Was Wells correct in excising the "ghastly rabbits and centipedes" as the descendants of the Eloi and Morlocks? You can read it for yourself and decide.

I am a Chronic Argonaut, an explorer of epochs, a man for all time, a Morlock fighter...

Another Annotated edition with interesting bonuses

bullet The Definitive Time Machine : A Critical Edition of H.G. Wells's Scientific Romance With introduction and notes by Harry M. Geduld. Indiana University press, 1987. (Out of Print)

Childhood fears also left their mark on The Time Machine. At the age of seven, Wells, poring over a copy of John George Wood's The Boy's Own Book of Natural History, "...conceived a profound fear of the gorilla, of which there was a fearsome picture. [I imagined that it came] out of the dark and followed me noiselessly about the house. The half landing was a favorite lurking place for this terror. I passed it whistling, but wary and then ran for my life up the next flight."

From the Introduction to Harry M. Geduld's The Definitive Time Machine : A Critical Edition of H.G. Wells's Scientific Romance

This text for this definitive text comes from the 1924 Atlantic edition of Wells's "The Time Machine." The annotations here are far less conveniently located than in the Stover edition. They're grouped together at the conclusion of the text, and there are no footnote numbers - just chapter and page references, so the reader has to do a bit of searching to find the text being commented upon.

Includes four pages of material "which does not appear in any previously published edition of The Time Machine" - an alternate ending in which the Time Traveler (named "Bayliss" in these fragments!) "...loses his Time Machine after being ejected from it." A longer fragment describes the return of the Time Traveler, his sojourn in 2,000,000 B.C. and his arrival on New Year's Day of 1645, where the locals shoot at him... before he returns to his own time. The short fragments come from the H. G. Wells Collection of the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign.

Also appearing in this volume are "How To Construct A Time Machine," by Alfred Jarry... and an intriguing excerpt from Terry Ramsaye's history of the early cinema, "A Million and One Nights," concerning Robert W. Paul.

Paul patented a 'virtual reality' theme-park-style ride -- in 1895. Based on the idea of presenting time travel using brand-new motion picture technology, the invention, according to Paul, "...consists of a platform, or platforms, each of which contains a suitable number of spectators and which may be enclosed at the sides after the spectators have taken their places... In order to create the impression of traveling, each platform may be suspended from cranks in shafts above the platform... placed so as to impart to the platform a gentle rocking motion, and may also be employed to cause the platform to travel bodily forward through a short space. The films or slides are prepared with the aid of the kinetograph or special camera, from made up characters performing on a stage..."

Not bad, considering that the narrative movie was still nearly two decades away, and the platform-based thrill-park ride wouldn't show up for nearly another hundred years!

Suddenly, out of the blue, The 1895 Holt Time Machine materialized in 1969...

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Children's edition (mistakenly?) uses text of disavowed New York first printing

bulletThe Time Machine and The Invisible Man. Annotated; Complete and unabridged. Illustrated by Dick Cole, Cover by Don Irwin. Classic Press Incorporated/ Children's Press, 1969. LOC 70-79993

The first time I saw this large, school-bookish-looking edition of "The Time Machine," I was  puzzled.

The opening paragraph was completely different from the book I knew. My initial thought was that I was reading an adaptation especially created for school children. But why, then, did the title page state "complete and unabridged?" Further, if this was an adaptation, why offer definitions of obscure words (sometimes supplemented by pictures) in the extra-wide margins? Why not simply re-phrase?

The answer: this edition reprints an early version of the story -- one that Wells later disavowed. This collectable curiosity makes for fascinating reading, reprinting as it does the text of the U.S. Holt edition.

Geduld on this version of the story:

The British edition of The Time Machine published by Heinemann in 1895 is often referred to as the first edition.

In fact, it was not issued until 29 May 1895, whereas the American edition, published by Henry Holt and Co., was published on 7 May or earlier. The Holt version differs in a number of important respects and in numerous stylistic details from both the New Review Text [a serialized version which appeared in the New Review from January through May of 1895]. For example, Chapter 1 of the Holt text looks like a curious blend of passages from both the National Observer and the New Review versions -- although [Wells Scholar] Philmus believes that the Holt text probably antedates the New Review Version -- and the New Review and Heinemann versions conclude with the memorable, poetic epilogue, while the Holt version ends rather blandly with a terse account of what had become of the Time Traveler's guests during the period of his disappearance. On the basis of textual collation, [Wells Scholar] Bergonzi concludes: 'There is a very strong probability that' the Holt version is 'an early and unrevised version' of the New Review and Heinemann texts. 'Wells may have virtually disowned the New York edition since it represented an unrevised text, and this may account for his subsequent silence about it.'"

I strongly suspect that the publishers of the 1969 edition were either unaware of their use of a variant text, or were perhaps  in some way the business successors to Holt. (Imagine the problems that may have been created when a student scholar, using this volume, makes references to passages and events which do not appear in the text belonging to that student's  teacher, who's using a paperback edition for convenience!)

I searched and searched for a copy of this, before I even realized what it was.  I had only seen a copy in the Children's Section of a local library... and was intrigued by the curious content,  marginal notations, and  odd pen and ink illustrations. I finally found and purchased a fine copy on eBay for about $6... quite a bargain, I think, now that I appreciate what I got.

Worth seeking out, but rare -- use "Cole" as a keyword in your searches (the illustrator) to locate this edition.

Chronology: Eight Different Versions of "The Time Machine"

bulletThe FIRST version of The Time Machine was titled "The Chronic Argonauts" and appeared in Science Schools Journal, the students' magazine of the Royal College  of Science, serialized over April, May, and June of 1888.
bulletThe SECOND and THIRD versions were produced by Wells between 1889-1892. These versions are lost.
bulletThe FOURTH Version is the National Observer Version (substantially shorter than the Atlantic version, the text most commonly reprinted today) and appeared in that publication between March through June 1894, though it was never finished. In this version, The Time Traveler visits 12,203 rather than 802,701.
bulletThe FIFTH version is the New Review text, "closer," according to Geduld, "to the final book version than it is to the National Observer serialization" Published in New Review between January through May of 1895.
bulletThe SIXTH version is the Holt edition, the one reprinted in the volume currently under discussion.
bulletThe SEVENTH version is the Heinemann edition of 1895, the first British publication of The Time Machine in book form.
bulletThe EIGHTH version first appeared as the first volume in the Atlantic Edition of The Works of H.G. Wells, and is today considered the standard text. According to Geduld, the "divergencies from the Heinemann edition are all quite minor. Geduld's Definitive Time Machine reprints the Atlantic text; Stover reprints the 1895 Heinemann edition...

Opening Paragraph, HOLT  EDITION: The man who made the Time Machine - the man I shall call The Time Traveler - was well known in scientific circles a few years since, and the fact of his disappearance is also well known. He was a mathematician of peculiar subtlety, and one of our most conspicuous investigators in Molecular physics. He did not confine himself to abstract science. Several ingenious, and one or two profitable, patents were his: very profitable they were, these last, as his handsome house at Richmond testified. To those who were his intimates, however, his scientific investigations were nothing to his gift of Speech. In the after dinner hours he was ever a vivid and variegated talker, and at times his fantastic, often paradoxical, conceptions came so thick and close as to form one continuous discourse. At these times he was as unlike the popular conception of a scientific investigator as a man could be. His cheeks would flush, his eyes grow bright; and the stranger the ideas that sprang and crowded in his brain, the happier and more animated would be his exposition.

Opening Paragraph, ATLANTIC EDITION: The Time Traveler (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought roams gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way--marking the points with a lean forefinger--as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it:) and his fecundity.

Closing Paragraph, HOLT EDITION: But I am beginning to fear now that I must wait a lifetime for that. The Time Traveler vanished three years ago. Up to the present he has not returned, and when he does return he will find his home in the hands of strangers and his little gathering of auditors broken up forever. Filby has exchanged poetry for playwriting, and is a rich man -- as literary men go -- and extremely unpopular. The Medical man is dead, the Journalist is in India, and the Psychologist has succumbed to paralysis. Some of the other men I used to meet there have dropped as completely out of existence as if they, too, had traveled off upon some similar anachronisms. And so, ending in a kind of dead wall, the story of the Time Machine must remain for the present at least.

Closing Paragraph, ATLANTIC EDITION: One cannot choose but wonder. Will he ever return? It may be that he swept back into the past, and fell among the blood-drinking, hairy savages of the Age of Unpolished Stone; into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea; or among the grotesque saurians, the huge reptilian brutes of the Jurassic times. He may even now--if I may use the phrase--be wandering on some plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef, or beside the lonely saline lakes of the Triassic Age. Or did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in which men are still men, but with the riddles of our own time answered and its wearisome problems solved? Into the manhood of the race: for I, for my own part cannot think that these latter days of weak experiment, fragmentary theory, and mutual discord are indeed man's culminating time! I say, for my own part. He, I know--for the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine was made--thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilization only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as though it were not so. But to me the future is still black and blank--is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his story. And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers --shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle--to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.

RHartdecoTmcov.JPG (187874 bytes)artdecoeloi.JPG (112841 bytes) Page under construction - reviews of these editions to come. This is the Random House "Art Deco" version, with Eloi that look like Joan Crawford. It's slipcased and surprisingly easy to find.

bkpeng95.JPG (76441 bytes) This is a Dover Thrift Edition... under a buck.

 Troll Illustrated EditionThis is a really nicely illustrated children's abridgement, currently available.

palpbtiein.JPG (227279 bytes)palpbtieinbc.JPG (258500 bytes) The Movie Tie-in paperback.


Two Books... Which would you choose?

0486284727.gif (68758 bytes) This in-print Dover Edition sells for 80 cents, brand new, at Amazon.com.

tmfirst2.jpg (15806 bytes) An out-of-print first edition (similar to this one) is on the market for $25,000.00.

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ARMED SERVICES EDITIONS were cheaply produced and distributed free in the expectation that they would not only be read, but read up, as well. As it happened, some GI's brought copies home when they came back from the war; and even today, odd ASE volumes are easily and cheaply acquired in second-hand bookshops (the going rate for run-of-the-mill copies is about $2).

Typical British first editions of The Time Machine sell from $750 to $2500. If you'd prefer to spend more money than that for a copy that is distinguished primarily by the misspelling of "H.G. Wells," contact James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., 2026 Cliff Drive, Suite 224, Santa Barbara, CA 93109 USA, which offers this incredibly rare presentation copy for $32,000.00.

WELLS, H.G: The Time Machine. An Invention ; 4181J London William Heinemann 1895 First English Edition. This is the only known copy in cloth with the author’s name misspelled “H.S. Wells” on the front cover. The Time Machine was issued a few weeks earlier in America by Henry Holt and curiously the earliest Holt copies were misspelled “H.S. Wells” on the title page. As this is Wells’ first book and he was then a virtual unknown, it is easy to see how such a mistake occurred. Well’s name is spelled correctly on the title page of all known English copies but amazingly this single copy exists stamped with the error on the binding. The English first edition has always been a complicated affair which noted science fiction bibliographer L.W. Currey has attempted to reveal and he has recorded six different types of copies in wrappers and cloth. This copy conforms to none of Currey’s copies. This copy is bound in a light tan cloth as opposed to the usual gray cloth; measures 18.2 centimeters vertically; the top edges rough trimmed and the fore-edges untrimmed and does not have a publisher’s catalogue. The front cover is stamped with the winged Egyptian lion with the Pharoah’s face as present in the regular English copies though the stamping is a warmer shade of purple than the usual dark purple stamping. The “T” in the first word of the title in the spine is a different type face from the rest and the title stamping on the front cover is two tenths of a centimeter small than normal copies. The possibility exists that this is a single trial copy. Spine darkened, and some very minor stains to rear cover, otherwise very good to fine. Obviously, this is the earliest existing copy of the first English edition in cloth. Wells’ finest work and along with Frankenstein, the most influential piece of 19th century science fiction. Enclosed in a custom slipcase.

Don Brockway, March 1, 2000 (updated October 12, 2004)

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