Saturday, 25 February 2017

Hurry Up Please It's Time-Machines

A few unusual covers and sequels. Here's a Brazilian edition from c. 1930



Not sure what's wrong with Machina do Tempo, title-wise. Perhaps a speaker of Portuguese can enlighten me.


This 1980 novel was written by director George Pal (he of the famous 1960 Time Machine movie, to which this is a sequel) and screenwriter Joe Morhaim. It novelises an idea they'd tried, and failed, to get made into a movie: Christopher Jones, an orphan, is born in the Blitz with no knowledge of his parents and raised in the US. You will be no more surprised than I was to discover that his Dad (of course) is Wells's Time Traveller, and his mother Weena; and that they both died under the 1940 bombs. Christopher builds his own upgraded Time Machine and hurries millions of years into the future where father is helping humanity in a war against giant insects. "He knew then he must follow his father into the frightening worlds of the future," the back-cover blurb tells us: "He must warn them not to return. They must not die...though it meant, perhaps, that he might never live!" The resulting novel is best described by the two words very bad. That said, it does not have the worst cover of any unauthorised sequel to Wells's Time Machine ever published. That honour surely belongs to the following Pablo Gomez opus:


That hurts my eyes. Think what it would do to the Morlocks! That said, Burt Libe's 2005 sequel runs it close, cover-design-wise.



This Bengali translation of the title has a pretty good cover, although the publisher's book-reading yellow smiley logo looks rather out of place in among that angry Morlock mob.


Finally the poster to Robert Lloyd Parry's dramatic adaptation.


A nice design, that; but it also brings out a detail about which the novella is explicit (the diminutive size of the Eloi: four-feet tall). That in turn casts a rather queasy light upon what is implied in Wells' text, and made manifest in many of the sequels: that the Time Traveler has sex with the literally child-sized Weena. Urgh. I'll come back to that in my post on the actual novel, in a few days' time.

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