User:Pentium5dot1/UN:REQ explanations/H. G. Wells and The Time Machine
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Although this page cites the original text, it contains original synthesis, and it is poorly organized as a general reference.
Status of the requests
- H. G. Wells (request fulfilled)
- The Time Machine (my ideas here)
- "Eloi" should redirect to The Time Machine once that is written, unless someone has a better idea. Same goes for "Weena" (the specific Eloi whom the Time Traveller befriends)
- Morlocks (userfied copy, not originally written by me)
We already have time machine, Dude, Where's My Time Machine?, UnNews:Eloi continue search for mysterious device, and User:Pentium5dot1/Storage facility/Morlocks (I don't quite agree with the direction the UnNews article takes*), but we need a separate article on the H. G. Wells novel.
*Although the UnNews article is generally satisfactory, it makes some references to the 2002 film, which I would prefer not to be the case.
The Time Machine
Physics of time travel
Consider the use of a fictional chemical similar to thiotimoline. Note, however, that thiotimoline is activated by (planned) dissolution in water, while the working substance of the time machine appears to be contained in a transparent crystal rod and activated by some combination of light and mechanical vibrations. (Indirect band gap? Note that this does not necessarily refer to electrons, but more likely to a subatomic particle currently unknown to science)
Assume that the time machine cannot travel to a time before it was fully constructed. Although the Novikov self-consistency principle may or may not be true, we should minimize discussion of it on Uncyc, especially in a clichéd manner like that of the 2002 film adaptation. (Note that this does not rule out the Time Traveller returning to 802,701 AD, saving Weena, reforming Eloi civilization, etc. Whether that is suitable matter for Uncyclopedia is another issue.)
Descendants of H. sapiens
Before he recognizes the existence of the Morlocks, the Time Traveller hypothesizes that Eloi society is based on "communism." See about halfway into Ch. 4. TODO: Convert this into a proper citation
The word kawaii aptly describes the Eloi, since they are cute and childlike in appearance and behavior (like the Precious Moments characters? Get pictures). However, kawaii does not simply mean "cute"; it can also imply "pathetic" and/or "pitiful," which accurately describe the physical and mental capabilities of the Eloi. The joke could be that the Time Traveller is (partly?) Japanese by ancestry and invented the word kawaii specifically to describe the Eloi.
The Eloi are light-skinned despite living in sunny areas because their diet (consisting almost entirely of fruits) is poor in vitamin D. (Relevant Wikipedia material is here.) (TODO: also mention iodine)
TODO: Explain r/K selection theory and the transition from K-selection in present-day humans to r-selection in the Eloi. r-selection is consistent with the small body size of the Eloi.
- See also: Tepples's hypotheses on the Eloi language (Note: may not be very relevant to Uncyc)
TODO: Ideas? Perhaps mention other fictional species named "Morlock"?
Consider what happens when a Morlock's killing instinct fails for some reason, leading to nice behavior toward an Eloi - some fan fiction has been written on this issue - not sure if this is good material for Uncyc
See also the usage of the names Eloi and Morlock by Neal Stephenson (which appears to relate to an image used on the Inciclopedia article(context))
For example, The Man Who Loved Morlocks postulates a few. This is just an example; don't rip anything off from this book.
Other H. G. Wells works
TODO: Describe possible parody structures for other H. G. Wells works.
- ↓ How could the satire consider the fact that Weena is the only Eloi canonically given a name? Perhaps she is the only Eloi with a name at all, or perhaps her name means something special/uncommon in the Eloi language? Maybe she is slightly smarter (or at least more emotionally intelligent) than an average Eloi? Maybe a genetic mutation makes her metabolize and/or excrete the drugs faster than an average Eloi? Well, I digress - this discussion is more a job for fan fiction than for Uncyc. Don't spend too much time thinking about this.
- ↓ This might be tricky to write about. Many readers incorrectly picture the Eloi developmental cycle as similar to that of present-day humans. The film adaptations (1960, 2002), which use adult actors for practical and marketing reasons, are an important cause. Near the end of chapter 3, the Time Traveller observes that an average Eloi is about four feet tall. This height can be taken as an indication of when a typical Eloi "stops growing," since the Eloi are highly neotenous compared to modern humans. Descriptions of Eloi appearance and behavior from chapter 4 on support this idea of neoteny and associated cuteness. The word "cute" did not yet have its current meaning in H. G. Wells's time, so H. G. Wells did not use it. The word kawaii also took quite a while to reach its present form. This leads to another idea: perhaps our satire could portray The Time Machine as an anime and/or manga - which means we would also have to say that H. G. Wells is (partly?) Japanese.
- ↓ TODO: Criticism of existing fan fiction goes here. For example, some fan fiction assumes that sexual intercourse between Eloi and Morlocks can produce viable offspring, which is implausible since both pre- and postzygotic barriers likely exist. Also, much of the early fan fiction is based on the 2002 film, which is quite far from canon.
- ↓ The point is that the Morlocks work directly with machines, so they need to be familiar with the detailed operation of those machines, while the Eloi care only that their basic needs are satisfied.
Footnotes on the footnotes
- ↑ Near end of Chapter 5: "I proceeded, as I have said, to question Weena about this Under-world, but here again I was disappointed. At first she would not understand my questions, and presently she refused to answer them. She shivered as though the topic was unendurable. And when I pressed her, perhaps a little harshly, she burst into tears. They were the only tears, except my own, I ever saw in that Golden Age." By comparison, a typical Eloi would just act mildly disgusted and walk away. (Compare the Time Traveller's other attempts to ask the Eloi about the Morlocks.) For that matter, it is unlikely that a typical Eloi would have shown any lasting affection toward the Time Traveller as Weena did.
- ↑ Regarding "Many readers incorrectly picture the Eloi developmental cycle as similar to that of present-day humans": The problem has actually existed for longer than the films. For example, this page contains an illustration dating from 1931 in which the Eloi are portrayed similarly to the 1960 film. At least three published sequels and several fan-made sequels are based on the Time Traveller successfully impregnating Weena. On biochemical grounds, this is about as plausible as a humanzee. However, it is sociologically implausible because the Eloi look too small and childlike; to have sex with Weena would be repulsive to the Time Traveller's sensibilities.
Regarding "the Eloi are highly neotenous compared to modern humans": The following quote from Chapter 4 (in the paragraph immediately after "Communism") most directly supports the claim of physical neoteny: "And the children seemed to my eyes to be but the miniatures of their parents. I judged, then, that the children of the time were extremely precocious, physically at least..." Note that the word "precocious" often implies acceleration rather than neoteny, except when referring to brain development. In this context, however, the Time Traveller is emphasizing that the children look similar to their parents in every way except for height. Such a developmental course is consistent with neoteny.
For an explanation of why future human evolution might favor neoteny, see this BBC News story starting from the paragraph "However, Dr Curry warns..."
Note that earlier in Chapter 4, the Time Traveller states that a typical Eloi is "on the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children." This comment should not be interpreted as a description of neoteny. First of all, neoteny does not mean low intelligence. Also, the low intelligence of the Eloi is just as much a societal problem as it is physiological. Notice I didn't say "evolutionary"; I hypothesize that the low intelligence of the Eloi is caused by the drugs (mentioned above) combined with the lack of organized education. Neoteny implies that the Eloi actually have a lot of brain potential going untapped. This is outside the scope of Uncyclopedia, though.
TODO: Get better citations from the text for cuteness and for behavioral neoteny.
Summarized from the source from Wikipedia: The modern spelling and meaning of kawaii were not well-established until the late 1970s-early 1980s. Earlier forms of the word include kawayushi (until c. 1945) and kawayui (c. 1970). The etymology[clarification needed] of kawaii reveals additional meanings of "shy," "embarrassed," "pathetic" (i.e. pitiful), and "vulnerable."
The Time Traveller does feel pity: in chapter 7 he says, "...and from the bottom of my heart I pitied this last feeble rill from the great flood of humanity" (emphasis mine).
See also kawaii at Everything2.com (unreliable source, but part is allegedly quoted from Kōjien).
Note: This section may need rewriting to specifically mention progenesis - I already mentioned "stops growing" which is on the right track
- ↑ This page has almost the right explanation (search for the paragraph beginning "Seven years before..."). See also the last comment on Classic WTF: Illicit Process Improvement - The Daily WTF (Page 1).