In the beginning a group of men, including the narrator, are listening to the Time Traveler talk about his theory on time travel and that time is the fourth dimension. Then the Time Traveler comes up with a miniature time machine and makes it disappear. The next week, the men come back and find the Time Traveler looking beaten and tired. They all sit down and after dinner the Time Traveler starts telling his story.
The Time Traveler finally finished work on his time machine when he uses it to send him into the future. When the machine stops in the year 802,701 AD, he finds that he has ended up in a "utopic world"ÃÂ of small humanoid things called Eloi. They are kind and peaceful, and give him fruit to eat. He looks around the world but when he returns he finds that his time machine is gone.
He thinks that it has been put inside the nearby statue. He tries to find it but cannot. In the night, he begins to see strange white ape looking creatures the Eloi call Morlocks. He finds that the Morlocks live below ground, down the wells that are everywhere. Otherwise, he saves one of the Eloi from drowning, and she makes friends with him. Her name is Wenna. The Time Traveler finally gets up enough courage to go down into the caves of the Morlocks to try and find his time machine. He figures out that matches can be used as a good defense against the Morlocks but then they chase him out of their caves. He is frightened by the Morlocks so he takes Weena to try to find a place where they will be safe from them. He goes to what he calls the "Palace of Green Porcelain"ÃÂ, which is really a museum. There, he finds more matches, some camphor, and a lever that he can use as a weapon. That night, running from the Morlocks through the woods, he accidentally starts a fire. Many Morlocks die in the fire and the battle continues. Then Weena is killed. The exhausted Time Traveler returns to the statue to find out that it has already been opened. He runs in, and just when the Morlocks think that they have trapped him, he jumps onto the machine and goes back into the future.
The Time Traveler makes several more stops. In a distant time he stops on a beach where he is attacked by giant crabs. Then the red sun sits motionless in the sky. He then travels thirty million years into the future. The air is very thin, and the only sign of life is a black blob with tentacles. There he sees a planet eclipse the sun. He then returns to the present time. The next day, he leaves again and this time never returns.