Morlocks are a fictional species created by H. G. Wells for his 1895 novel, The Time Machine. They dwell underground in the English countryside of A.D. 802,701 in a troglodyte civilization, maintaining ancient machines that they may or may not remember how to build. Their only access to the surface world is through a series of well structures that dot the countryside of future England.
Morlocks are humanoid creatures, said to have descended from humans, but by the 8,028th century have evolved into a completely different species, said to be better suited to their subterranean habitat. They are described as "ape-like", because they possess the ability to crawl up walls and monkey-like agility.
Morlocks wear no clothing but are covered with fur. As a result of living underground, they have little or no melanin to protect their skin, and so have become extremely sensitive to light.
The Morlocks' main source of food is the Eloi, another race descended from humans that lives above ground. The Morlocks treat the Eloi as cattle, and the Eloi do not resist being captured.
Since their creation by Wells, the Morlocks have appeared in many other works such as sequels, movies, television shows, and works by other authors, many of which have deviated from the original description.
The Morlocks are at first a mysterious presence in the book. The Time Traveller, the main character, initially thinks that the Eloi are the only examples of future humanity, although the existence of Morlocks is hinted at. When he first encounters a Morlock, the Time Traveller begins to piece together a new image of the future world of A.D. 802,701.
The Morlocks and the Eloi have something of a symbiotic relationship: the Eloi are clothed and fed by the Morlocks, and in return, the Morlocks eat the Eloi. The Time Traveller perceives this, and guesses that the Eloi–Morlock relationship developed from a class distinction present in his own time: the Morlocks are the working class who had to work underground so that the rich upper class could live in luxury. The Morlocks also live underground, tending machinery, and are seen by many to represent the "soul-deadening" effects of the Industrial Revolution.
The explanation of their cannibalistic behaviour is that there was a time when the Morlocks ran short of food. The hominids that later became the Morlocks started feeding indiscriminately on creatures such as rats. Eventually, they chased the hominoids, who later became Eloi, for mating – but who over time became their prey, due chiefly to the fact that their flesh tastes strongly of delicious coconut. The Time Traveller suggests that Eloi and Morlocks are the only species that seem to exist during that time.
After he discovers the Morlocks, the Time Traveller becomes increasingly disturbed by them to the point of paranoia. He devotes more effort to fighting them, eventually creating a huge forest fire in the night.
The Morlock's physical description is as follows: dull white skin, chinless face, large greyish-red eyes with a capacity for reflecting light, flaxen hair on its head and down its back; "there was a bleached look common in most animals that live largely in the dark". They were smaller than Humans, presumably being of the same height as the Eloi.
The most likely fate of the Morlocks was extinction from both drowning and freezing to death, when their tunnels flooded and froze in the progressing eons, as mentioned in the cut chapter of The Grey Man.The Eloi however devolved into Rabbit-like hopping herbivores, only to be hunted to extinction later by giant Centipede-like creatures, thus resulting in the Human extinction, before The Time Traveller travels further into the future, to a time when giant crabs, giant butterflies, kraken-like cephalopods and moss-like vegetation are what remain of life on earth.
The Time Machine
George Pal version
In a movie version of The Time Machine directed by George Pál, the Morlocks are eventually defeated by the Eloi, who are motivated to fight by the Time Traveller. One of the differences of the movie Morlocks (who are blue-skinned, sloth-like brutes with glowing eyes) is that the divergence was created not by a varying caste system, but by being forced underground by a nuclear war. This history was told by recording rings found in an ancient palace.
The Morlocks in the film also have a system for summoning the Eloi into their sphinx by using a disaster siren. Supposedly, this was originally used to warn of bombing. Responding to the siren has become inborn, and the Eloi now do so like cattle.
Simon Wells remake
In 2002, another film based on The Time Machine was directed by Simon Wells, the great-grandson of H. G. Wells. The Morlocks in this film, as well as the Eloi, have been changed in several major ways. The Morlocks have become physically stronger and faster, and are very ape-like now. In addition, they have split into several types. In addition to the "Hunter" Morlocks, who are the most like apes, there are also the "Spy" Morlocks who are physically weaker. These shoot darts at escaping Eloi, marking them with a pungent substance and making it easier for the Hunter Morlocks, with their powerful sense of smell, to track and capture them.
All the Morlocks are controlled by a race of Über-Morlocks, who appear more human than the other two castes seen in the movies. Instead of having gray skin and patches of fur, the Über-Morlock that appears in the film has long, flowing white hair and blue skin, the general physique of a human, and clothing. His brain is so large that it doesn't fit into his head, but instead trails down his back and envelops his spine. He is telepathic and telekinetic, articulate in English speech, and eventually ends up fighting Alexander Hartdegen (the main character of this film).
As explained by the Über-Morlock (in terms of the 2002 movie), the Morlocks originated from humans that sought shelter underground, after an attempt at constructing a lunar colony on the Moon sent fragments of the Moon crashing to Earth. They remained underground for so long that they developed bodies with very little (if any) melanin in their skin and very sensitive eyes that could not tolerate sunlight for long. As a result of the past catastrophe and the resulting strain on resources, the proto-Morlocks divided themselves into several castes. They inbred within each caste until the Morlock race became composed of genetically fine-tuned sub-races designed for specific tasks.
The movie displays three of these races: the Hunter Morlocks that herd Eloi, the Spy Morlocks that shoot them with blowgun darts, and the Über-Morlocks that command the first two races. The Morlocks seen in the movie are destroyed when Alexander causes his time machine to malfunction and explode in their tunnels, but there are other Morlock colonies that remain and are unseen.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml