The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
Guardian 1000 Novels
I guess you can't write a novel about the future without making it some kind of political commentary, and The Time Machine is no exception. Wells' Time Traveler finds himself in the year 800000-something, and humanity has splintered, with a weak, stupid race living indolent communal lives above the earth while an underground race of cannibals toils for them. Wells paints this in a Marxist light:
At first, proceeding from the problems of our own age, it seemed clear as daylight to me that the gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer, was the key to the whole position.He goes on to lament that the "human intellect ... had committed suicide." The novels takes the pessimistic view that man's progress "must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end."