BBC AUDIO CD REVIEW: The Time Machine, BBC Audio Books, £7.25 from

You just can't help but marvel at the extraordinary imagination of the great H G Wells. Few Victorian minds travelled further than his, but then again, even fewer were possessors of their very own Time Machine.

It's a mind-boggling invention '“ one of those creations of Victorian imagination which remain as distant today as they ever did.

But join the cast on this excellent BBC dramatisation - first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October 2008 - and you'll come as close as possible to flying through time.

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The traveller tells his remarkable story in retrospect to a group of friends, varyingly dismissive or concerned but all increasingly intrigued.

He takes them to a primitive world which initially appears idyllic, too good to be true '“ and so it soon turns out. A sinister threat is played out threatening the innocent love the traveller finds.

If there's a fault with this dramatisation, it is that it is just a little too indulgent in recreating for us the strange language the young woman speaks, but that's a minor quibble as the tension mounts and it all moves towards its other-worldly conclusion. Great stuff, gripping, enjoyable'¦ and also thought-provoking.

You could almost forgive the BBC the completely-naff cover to their audio CD presentation.

Phil Hewitt