H. G. Wells, _The Time Machine_

H. G. Wells published The Time Machine [external link (UVa ETC)] in 1895, the science-fictional story of a time traveler who visits the future and sees first the strange devolution, and then (as in The Last Man) the eventual extinction of the human race. For the influence of Darwin's theory of evolution on Well's dystopian fiction, see Fiona Stafford.

The theoretical complexities of time travel, which are related to the prophetic tradition in speculative fiction--as seen in Mary Shelley's "sybilline" frame for The Last Man--have continued to play a central role in popular science fiction.