The Time Machine

The Time Machine, a nineteenth-century scientific romance by H. G. Wells, propels us into the distant future, only to bring clarity to current issues of climate change and economic inequality.


  • Economists
  • Environmental Scientists


  • Climate Change
  • Economic Inequality
  • Natural Resource Management

Teaching Ideas

The following ideas are drawn from the syllabus of “Reading with Scientists: How to Export Literature,” a class taught by Abigail Droge in the UC Santa Barbara English Department.

If we view The Time Machine as a work of scientific communication, we can pair it productively with other texts that use narrative structures to tell stories about science. Interdisciplinary environmental programs are also a nice complement, introducing students to a spectrum of intellectual connections.

  • Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
  • Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything
  • Environmental Humanities Initiative (UCSB)
  • Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (Stanford)


For more about the experience of teaching The Time Machine, see the blogpost below, originally published on the WhatEvery1Says website by Abigail Droge under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. WhatEvery1Says is a Mellon-funded public humanities project. Click on the title to read the full post.

Reading with Scientists: The Time Machine and Environmental Science

What stories do both literary and scientific texts tell about the environment? This question motivated a “Reading with Scientists” unit that paired H. G. Wells’s famous novella, The Time Machine (1895), with four selections representing different aspects of environmental science: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything (2014), and the websites of two pedagogical programs, the Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI) at UC Santa Barbara and the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) at Stanford. By directly placing a literary text beside works of science communication, a main goal was to highlight potential commonalities across disciplines. I also wanted to increase students’ awareness of the environmental humanities as a robust interdisciplinary field. [Read more…]