G. Wells began work on what would eventually evolve into The
Time Machine nearly eight years before its publication
as a novel. The original story was serialised in three parts in
The Science Schools Journal (which Wells founded
and edited) in 1888 as The Chronic Argonauts. After
two further drafts, now lost, it was published as a series of
loosely connected articles as The Time Travellers Story
in The National Observer then edited by William
Ernest Henley. Seven installments were published beginning in
March 1894 and the final installment in June. The magazine never
published the conclusion, owing to Henley accepting a position
as editor of The New Review. Henley arranged to
have the story published again under the title
The Time Machine in five installments in the New
Review from January to May of 1895. H.G. Wells
was paid £100 for the story by Henley.
asked Wells to make some changes to the story so that it would
not appear to be the exact same story as it had previously been
printed in The National Observer . Additions to
the story were also requested to fill out short installments.
As the story was being published in the New Review
, Wells apparently was negotiating with Henry Holt as early as
February 1895 to publish the story as a novel in the United States.
The text of the Holt edition shows elements from the New
Review articles. Wells later removed and replaced elements
with text from the National Observer version before
having the story published by William Heinemann, thus the Holt
text is different than that of the the Heinemann edition. The
Heinemann edition is largely the same text as published in The
New Review but with some of the original elements from
The National Observer put back and
the additions from the New Review removed.
Wells lived at Tusculum Villa
23 Eardley Road, Sevenoaks when he wrote The Time
still remember writing that part of the story in which the
Time Traveller returns to find his machine removed and his
retreat cut off. I sat alone at the round table downstairs
writing steadily in the luminous circle cast by a shaded
paraffin lamp. Jane had gone to bed and her mother had been
ill in bed all day. It was a very warm blue August night
and the window was wide open. The best part of my mind fled
through the story in a state of concentration before the
Morlocks but some outlying regions of my brain were recording
other things. Moths were fluttering in ever and again and
though I was unconscious of them at the time, one must have
flopped near me and left some trace in my marginal consciousness
that became a short story I presently wrote, " A Moth
Genus Novo." And outside in the summer night a voice
went on and on, a feminine voice that rose and fell. It
was Mrs. I forgot her name our landlady in
open rebellion at last, talking to a sympathetic neighbour
in the next garden and talking through the window at me.
I was aware of her and heeded her not, and she lacked the
courage to beard me in my parlour. "Would I never
go to bed? How could she lock up with that window staring
open? Never had she had such people in her house before,
never. A nice lot if everything was known about them.
Often when you didn't actually know about things you could
feel them. What she let her rooms to was summer visitors
who walked about all day and went to bed at night. And she
hated meanness and there were some who could be mean about
sixpences. People with lodgings to let in Sevenoaks ought
to know the sort of people who might take them. . ."
"It went on and on. I wrote on grimly to that accompaniment.
I wrote her out and she made her last comment with the front
door well and truly slammed. I finished my chapter before
I shut the window and turned down and blew out the lamp.
And somehow amidst the gathering disturbance of those days
The Time Machine got itself finished."
Experiment in Autobiography pp. 436-37
first printing of The Time Machine as an independent
novel was by Henry Holt shortly before May 7th, 1895, the author
being credited as H. S. Wells. The error was corrected for the
2nd printing. William Heinemann produced the First British Edition
on May 29th. Between May and August of 1895 Heinemann produced
6000 copies printed in softbound, and 1500 copies hardbound.
Both versions of the text can be found in print. The Heinemann
edition has 16 titled chapters and an epilogue. The Holt edition
has 12 titled chapters, also reading the opening sentence of the
novel can determine if you have the Holt text. The Holt version
reads: "The man who made the Time Machinethe man I
shall call the Time Traveler was well known in scientific
make matters even more confusing, there are as many as seven different
variations of Heinemann First Edition. The main difference between
them is the number of catalog pages added at the end of the story.
It is believed that Heinemann initially printed 10,000
copies all dated 1895 but did not bind them until more copies
were needed to go on the market. Thus with each release the inclusions
to the catalog changed but not the publishing date. Some of the
"1895 First Editions" were not bound and released until
after 1899 as the catalog pages have entries from works
which were not printed until then.
The Time Machine was the first book that Heinemann
added a printed catalog to. It is thought that the Time Machine,
being a rather short novel (under 40,000 words) and under a half
inch in thickness was slow to sell so the catalog was added to
thicken the look of the book thus appearing it was a longer read.
All of the Holt First Editions (H. S. Wells) have 6 catalog pages.
he has found a copy of the book in which, somewhen about 1898
or 1899, he marked out a few modifications in arrangement
and improvements in expression. Almost all these suggested
changes he has accepted, so that what the reader gets here
is a revised definitive version a quarter of a century old."
H. G. Wells
The 'he' in this case is Wells himself
(preface to the 1924 Atlantic Edition)
enough yet, we're just getting started. In 1924 Wells made minor
changes to the Heinemann text, removed the chapter titles and
combined some of the chapters reducing the number of chapters
from 16 to 12 plus an epilogue. This version was published along
with his other works as a set of 28 volumes as the Atlantic
Edition of the Works of H.G. Wells. 1050 sets were published
for the U.S. and 620 sets for the U.K.. The first volume of each
set was signed by H.G. Wells and contains The Time Machine,
The Wonderful Visit and Other Stories. This version is
the most published version still today.
1927, The Time Machine was published as Volume 16
of the Collected Essex Edition of the Works of H.G. Wells
with slight changes by Wells. This edition of The Time Machine
also appeared as the first story in The Short Stories of
H. G. Wells published by Benn in 1927 and was later retitled
The Complete Short Stories of H. G. Wells.
1933 it was again published as part of the Gollancz Collected
Scientific Romances, again with slight changes by the
doesn't cover any of the various spelling errors made by or corrected
by the various publishers. That's another can of worms.
what about those blue bunnies?