When I started The Time Machine, I imagined that it would be similar to Journey to the Center of the Earth, but H. G. Wells is no Jules Verne. Wells is a much darker and more metaphorical writer than that.
Where Journey is a story in which monsters and adventure are around every corner but danger only lasts for a page or so until the next inevitable plot twist, the time traveler spends a lot of his time in an unknown world, without the knowledge of how he will get out, if at all. Wells’ time traveler goes on his adventure alone, while the rest of his friends are eating dinner at his house without him, wondering where he is. Dinner is going on, and the Time Traveller is seeing the end of the world.
The Time Machine also clearly uses its situation as a way to question the nature of human civilization and class structure. The creatures he meets, the tiny childlike Eloi and the subterranean worker Morlocks, live separately, but can’t live without each other. The Time Traveler keeps saying I thought we should be done with this in the future, but apparently we aren’t. What does that say about human society? That we’re destined to have a class divide?