Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

"I flung myself into futurity": H.G. Wells’s Deleuzian time machine

Starr, M. (2015) "I flung myself into futurity": H.G. Wells’s Deleuzian time machine. In: Jones, M. and Ormrod, J. (eds.) Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games. North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 51-62.

Item Type: Book Section
Abstract: H.G. Wells’s 1895 novel The Time Machine is generally acknowledged to be the first appearance in popular culture of a time travel vehicle that moves selectively through time at the behest of its human controller, and this device has subsequently become ubiquitous in science fiction and popular culture. Although frequently using a more complex structure (include time-loops and paradoxes not featured in Wells’s text), all subsequent time travel narratives are hence derived from Wells’s time traveller who “flung [him]self into futurity” (Wells, Time Machine 17), and could be argued to still be existing (i.e. utilising time) within the context of a Wellsian universe. So great is Wells’s influence upon the time travel genre that when such a device is utilised in fiction, Wells is often posited as a literal personification of the idea; to cite but a few examples; the film Time After Time (1979), Michael Moorcock’s novel The Hollow Lands (1975), television shows such as Dr Who (1963-), Futurama (1999-) and Warehouse 13 (2009-), and the video game Prototype (2009) all feature Wells in a variety of different representational forms. However, what is significant in these various examples is that Wells’s persona is not that of a character in the traditional sense, but more a manifestation of his time travel concept itself. To this end, this chapter conceptualises Wells and his time travel device via the medium of the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. In this poststructural context, Wells is positioned as a “conceptual persona”, a figure that “accompanies concepts . . . through whom thought moves” (Deleuze, Philosophy 63). In the performance of a Deleuzoguattarian reading of a selection of time travel narratives spanning a range of media (such as those mentioned above), the employment of concepts such as “Difference”, “Eternal Return” and “The Virtual” are employed to conceptualise that more than a mere “reading” or “interpretation”, such texts perform a Deleuzian “production” of Wells, positioning him in a new philosophical space, a new and entirely Deleuzian “plane of immanence.” It is hence demonstrated how Wells and his time travel device are manifest in time travel narratives subsequent to The Time Machine in accordance to the Deleuzoguattarian remit that “the creation of concepts in itself calls for a future form, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist” (Deleuze, Philosophy 108).
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN3427 Special kinds of fiction. Fiction genres > PN3433.5 Science fiction
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR3991 19th century, 1770/1800 - 1890/1900
Creators: Starr, Mike
Editors: Jones, Matthew and Ormrod, Joan
Publisher: McFarland
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology
Research Centres > Centre for Critical and Creative Writing
Date: 13 March 2015
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 51-62
Title of Book: Time Travel in Popular Media: Essays on Film, Television, Literature and Video Games
Place of Publication: North Carolina
Number of Pages: 336
Language: English
ISBN: 9780786478071
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
References: Working Bibliography: Bogue, Ronald. ‘Deleuze’s Style.’ Continental Philosophy Review Volume 29, No 3 (July 1996): 251-268. Borges, Jorge Luis. ‘A New Refutation of Time’. Other Inquisitions 1937-1952. Texas: University of Texas Press, 2000. Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition. London: Continuum, 2004. —. Negotiations: 1972-1990. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995. —. and Guattari, Félix. Anti-Oedipus. London: Continuum, 2004. —. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum, 2004. —. What is Philosophy? London: Verso, 1994 Hardy, Sylvia. ‘H. G. Wells the Poststructuralist’. H. G. Wells’s Fin-de-Siecle: v. 2: Twenty-first Century Reflections on the Early H. G. Wells. Ed. Partington, John S. New York (2007): 113-125. Khalfa, Jean. The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. London: Continuum, 1999. Moorcock, Michael. Hollow Lands: The Dancers at the End of Time. London: Orion, 1983. Slusser, George, Parrinder, Patrick and Chatelain, Danièle. Eds. H. G. Wells’s Perennial Time Machine. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001. Wells, Herbert George. The Time Machine. London: Everyman, 2001. Film and Television: Dr Who. Dir. Various. BBC, 1963-Present. —. ‘Timelash.’ Dir. Pennant Roberts. BBC, March 1985. —. ‘Pyramids of Mars.’ Dir. Paddy Russell. BBC, October 1975. Futurama. Dir. Various. Fox Network, 1999-Present. Prototype (Videogame). Activision, 2009. Time After Time. Dir. Nicholas Mayer. Warner Bros, 1979. The Time Machine. Dir. George Pal. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1960. The Time Machine. Dir. Simon Wells. Dreamworks, 2002. Warehouse 13. Dir. Various. SyFy Channel, 2009-present.

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item