The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 for the first time. This 32,000 word story is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Wells also introduces an early example of the Dying Earth sub-genre — a sub-category of science fantasy which takes place either at the end of life on Earth or the End of Time, when the laws of the universe themselves fail. More generally, the Dying Earth sub-genre encompasses science fiction works set in the far distant future in a milieu of stasis or decline.
The book is based on the Block Theory of the Universe, which is a notion that time is a fourth space dimension.
The story reflects Wells's own socialist political views and the contemporary angst about industrial relations. It is also influenced by Ray Lankester's theories about social degeneration. Other science fiction works of the period, including Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, and the later Metropolis, dealt with similar themes.
The story was first published in serial form in the January to May numbers of William Ernest Henley's new venture New Review in 1895. A section from the 11th chapter of the serial published in the May edition was later deleted from the book. This portion of the story was published elsewhere as The Grey Man. joggoon has added it to this edition as chapter 14.