This book takes place in the late 1800's, in the beginning of the story, and later on in the year 802,701, in the future. When the book starts out, it is in London, England in a restaurant. Towards the middle of the book it takes place in England, yet very little of civilization remains. It is gone, yet there are no animals except birds and there are plants. It is almost perfect, and there is no disease, and a race of people. .
The main characters are mainly two people. The first is the time traveler, the one who made the machine. The inventor, who was not seriously believed because he liked to pull practical jokes. Then there is the writer of the story, the story in the book. Not much is said about him, and he is one of the only ones who believed about the time machine.
The story starts out in the house of the time traveler. He has invited a few friends to tell them about his newest experiment. He starts out by showing them a model of a time machine based on triangles, a principle hardly believed by the people of that time. It was because they were taught the principle was based off of right angles. The small time machine, was made of many strange materials. The time traveler then took a hand of one of his friends and had the friend push a small lever on the machine. It suddenly vanished and the time traveler said that the machine had traveled into the future. He was hardly believed. The friends said that it was just a practical joke. Shortly after that, the time traveler was invited to a dinner to tell what had happened. The traveler was late. When he showed up he was very dirty, had cuts on his hands and his face, and was very hungry. The people there were wondering what happened to him. He told them what happened. He finished the time machine and decided to try it out. He got on it and started it up. At first time was going by very slowly. He watched his maid come into his laboratory and saw her move like a very fast rocket.