Bring me the head of Shirley Bogart

So! I have a deep and sincere loathing for the Great Illustrated Classics line of books. Just the merest glimpse of one of these “adapted” works makes me go ballistic. Especially in regards to the Time Machine adaptation by Shirley Bogart.

This is because of the extra chapter inserted into the book. And by extra chapter I do not mean Wells’ “Grey Man” story. I mean she basically inserted an extra chapter that is basically fanfic. Chapter thirteen features another attempt by the Time Traveler to use the machine where he goes to a time that is well after his own but well before Weena’s time. (if I recall correctly.) He is confronted by an advanced Things to Come type society that is not happy with his little time travel adventures. He manages to escape and he ends up going back to his own time and the book ends more or less as it does in the original.

Now, I have no objection to fanfic! I love fanfic, read it and on occasion write it. What I do not love is the thing where ten-year-old-me went half-crazy trying to find this chapter in real, actual, non-bowdlerized editions of the Time Machine. Because of course, the chapter does not exist in real, non bowdlerized editions BECAUSE IT  WASN’T WRITTEN BY WELLS IT WAS WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY “POINTLESS FANFIC” BOGART.

And it really was pointless to the story. As near as I can figure, Bogart was attempting to add in something a little more optimistic because frankly, TM is a depressing horror-show. (And this is why you should read it.) Adding in “Blah blah we know about time travel there have been other time travelers blah blah illegal blah,” was pointless and kind of moronic if she added it so it would be “less scary” for the presumably younger reader. (Because it actually made it more depressing. If you can’t figure out why, think about it.)

In my case, it was not “less scary” it was “more annoying.” Ten-year-old me was much less able to handle divergences from canon. (Current me finds the book annoying mostly on a “you added something that didn’t need to be added you cow,” level.)

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Filed under H.G. Wells, science fiction, Uncategorized

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