Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

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Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby EnderDracolich » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:37 pm

My all time favorite novel, one of the greatest works of fiction in history, is The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.

An ultimate work of Science Fiction, the book stays within the laws of science (as they were known at the time) and provides an evocative story of adventure and horror, set in the Earth's distant future, while also offering relevant social commentary about Wells' own life and times. Interestingly, one of the central themes of the novel is the relationship between the Morlocks and Eloi; the two descendant species of Homo Sapiens who exist in the future the story portrays. The relationship is one of symbiotic predation, in which the intelligent, subterranean, carnivorous, nocturnal Morlocks provide food, clothing, and protection to the Eloi, who are physically human but have child like intellect. The Eloi are so unintelligent that they could not survive, or at least could not enjoy a civilized and comfortable existence, without the Morlocks to care for them. However, the world in which the Morlocks and Eloi exist is almost devoid of animal life, and lacks any source of nutrition for the carnivorous Morlocks, other than their Eloi neighbors. I don't really want to spoil the major plot of the story (in case you have not read this 120 years old book!), which involves a 19th century Homo sapiens time traveler who lands in the future, and his reaction to the Morlocks. I thought it might be interesting to discuss how the book portrays the Morlocks and Eloi with the Ekas' community, given the Vore-related themes involved

There is clearly a metaphor about the working class and the rich; scholars have debated which is which, Morlock or Eloi, for over a century. In more recent years, the book has been used as a metaphor for real-world animal rights and meat industry issues. However, I think it is more interesting when analyzed literally as an example of cannibalism in fiction, that is treated with nuance and complexity, and is far older than most other such works. Coming from 1985, a story about cannibals who are not *entirely* the villains is quite atypical.

What do you think? What are your feelings about the Morlocks as predators? The Eloi as prey? They actually seem to have a much better relationship than some of the Vore stories I have seen here on Ekas! I find the Morlocks to be very relatable and sympathetic, and I am normally a prey-oriented person. I think it might have been more interesting if the Eloi were just a tad bit smarter; as it stands, they play a rather passive role in the relationship, rather than accepting or resenting the Morlocks activities. They pretty much just tolerate it because they can't stop it and don't really understand it. If they were weak, stupid, and needed the Morlocks, but were smart enough to *recognize* that need, it would be an even more interesting case study of fictional humanoid-on-humanoid predation than it currently is.
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby Cowrie » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:42 pm

Though I've lost the stuff to create more art content for it, I have a setting with two plant-alien species with a relationship heavily inspired by the Morlocks and the Eloi. Though the book The Time Machine is still on my must-read list, the relationship between the two species fascinates me.
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby EnderDracolich » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:23 pm

It's definitely worth reading. The story is good, the science is surprisingly not that dated, and it's overall a very good read.
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby Cowrie » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:42 pm

Frankly, it's not the only book by H.G. Wells on my list. I've also been meaning to read The Island of Dr. Moreau for quite a while.
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby EnderDracolich » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:32 pm

War of the Worlds is also worth reading, if you are just looking for good books to read. The science is unfortunately a little more outdated, but still not that bad, and the story is well written.
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby Cowrie » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:41 pm

Thanks for the tip. Back on topic of Morlocks and Eloi, the whole relationship can be considered as the farming of an intelligent race, which can be fun to explore in a vorish setting. In my plant world example I mentioned above, the prey race is capable of getting food on it's own but lacks any long term of fear of predators, meaning their predatory "counterpart" has to protect them from the various sorts of predatory wildlife and carnivorous plants.

Another interesting twist would be if the prey race were unaware of the fact their lives are controlled by another species. Actually, that gives me an idea for some stuff involving a shapeshifter species I've been working on. Back to the Word document!
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Re: Morlocks and Eloi: Predator and prey in The Time Machine

Postby EnderDracolich » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:04 am

With the Morlocks, the Eloi are more or less unaware. They are too unintelligent to really understand what the Morlocks are doing to them. It is worth nothing that both races more or less NEED each other to survive; it's more than just farming, as the Eloi cannot survive without their Morlock caretakers, and the Morlock's have no alternative food source beyond the Eloi.
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