William Morris’s utopian novel News from Nowhere was written in 1890. Morris imagines a future in which common ownership and democratic control of the production of life’s necessities are based in a pastoral paradise. The story is narrated in the first person by a man who wakes on the banks of the Thames, transported centuries into the future. In this transformed land, there is no private property, no industrialisation, no money, no capitalist system. All members of society work co-operatively and take pleasure in their labour. Reluctantly, the narrator returns to his own time, resolved to make this future a reality.
How does News from Nowhere relate to H G Wells's The Time Machine?
H G Wells knew Morris slightly, and in his autobiography (1934) writes about visiting Morris’s house in Hammersmith, where the socialists held meetings – Wells too was a socialist and writes of wearing a red tie to show his affiliation.
Morris’s utopian view of the future is classless, and thus contrasts distinctly with H G Wells’s view, as expressed in The Time Machine, in which the relationship between the Morlocks and the Eloi is one of fear and dependency. While maintaining some gender-based roles for women, Morris’s society is free from the restraints of education in childhood, the nuclear family, and the burden of possessions.
Ten years after The Time Machine,
Wells wrote the first of his utopian novels A Modern Utopia
, which describes an alternative world history; later utopian novels In the Days of the Comet
(1906) and The Shape of Things to Come
(1933) are based on the premise of the aversion of catastrophe.