Eloi

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For other uses, see Eloy (disambiguation).

The Eloi are one of the two post-human races in H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine.

In The Time Machine[edit]

By the year AD 802,701, humanity has evolved into two separate species: the Eloi and the Morlocks, whereof the Eloi live a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending machinery and providing food, clothing, and infrastructure for the Eloi. The narration suggests that the separation of species may have been the result of a widening split between different social classes. Having solved all problems that required strength, intelligence, or virtue, the Eloi have slowly become dissolute and naive: they are described as smaller than modern humans, with shoulder-length curly hair, pointed chins, large eyes, small ears, small mouths with bright red thin lips, and sub-human intelligence. They do not perform much work, except to feed, play, and mate; and when Weena falls into a river, none other of the Eloi help her (she is rescued instead by the Time Traveler). Periodically, the Morlocks capture individual Eloi for food; and because this typically happens on moonless nights, the Eloi are terrified of darkness.

A portion of the book written for the New Review version, later published as a separate short story, reveals that a visit by the Time Traveller to the even further future results in his encountering rabbit-like hopping herbivores, apparently the descendants of the Eloi. They are described as being plantigrade (with longer hind legs) and tailless, being covered with straight greyish hair that "thickened about the head into a Skye terrier's mane", having human-like hands (described as fore feet) and having a roundish head with a projecting forehead and forward-looking eyes that were obscured by lank hair.

In the 1960 film version of the book, the Eloi are depicted as identical to modern humans, but small, blond, and blue-eyed. The Morlocks use an air raid siren to lure them into their caves. One of the Eloi is motivated to beat a Morlock to death when it attacks the Time Traveller. In the 2002 movie adaptation of The Time Machine, the Eloi are depicted as identical to modern humans with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and appear to be an ethnic amalgamation of various indigenous races, but maintain the English language as an intellectual exercise.

In Dan Simmons' Ilium[edit]

In Dan Simmons' Ilium novel, 'Eloi' is a nickname for the lazy, uneducated, and uncultured descendants of the human race after the post-humans have left Earth. The name is a reference to H. G. Wells' Eloi.

Old-style humans and post-humans rule in Simmons' novel, with the Eloi being kept in 'zoos' in restricted areas on Earth. The Eloi are technically adept but don't understand the technology; they regress and unlearn millennia of culture, thought and reason, until they are satisfied with the pleasure of merely existing.

Later use of the name[edit]

  • The progressive rock band Eloy are named after the race.
  • The Elokoi of Brian Caswell's novel Deucalion are presumably inspired by the Eloi, but ones without the dark side of the Morlocks.
  • The book Air by Geoff Ryman contains a fictional ethnic minority called the Eloi, whose struggle for autonomy is quashed by a repressive government.
  • Scottish social and cultural commentator Gordon P.Clarkson has termed contemporary Mass Culture "Eloi Culture" as he claims that it is creating a society of unthinking passive consumers of "meaningless trivia".
  • James Alan Gardner uses the terms "Eloi" and "Morlock" in his novel Expendable to refer to two warring sects of 'glass people'.
  • The name is used as a term of derision in the novel Feed by M.T. Anderson
  • In Greg Bear's novel "Moving Mars," "Eloi" are humans who seek to extend their lifespans beyond 1,000 years, through the use of advanced medical nanotechnology and other enhancements.
  • The War of the Sky Lords by John Brosnan [1]
  • The book After America by Mark Steyn, uses the Eloi metaphor in its intended context onward from Chapter 4, as the end-result of a post-Western society collapsed under the weight of secular-socialist political correctness, self-loathing and entitlement.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ A 1992 Review of "The War of the Sky Lords"

See also[edit]