|Manlove, Colin. “Charles
Kingsley, H. G. Wells, and the Machine in Victorian Fiction,” Nineteenth-Century
Literature Vol. 48, No. 2 (Sept. 1993): 212-239.
Manlove declares that apart from Samuel Butler in his Erehwon, the only important Victorian writers who focus on the central role the machine plays in life and nature are H. G. Wells, in The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, and Kingsley, in The Water-Babies. He argues that though The Water-Babies may appear to be a marine pastoral, machines and engines are mentioned over and over again and the animals themselves are treated as in part machines. He considers that The Water-Babies reflects Kingsley's view that the whole order of nature functions as one great engine. In fact, the content and the style of the novel renders it a type of organic engine itself. "The Water-Babies is an amazing diversity of contexts, characters, and apparent irrelevancies, all bound together by secret principles that make it a machine without being a monolithic one -- indeed, it manages to fuse all the variety that Kingsley saw in nature with the purposiveness of the engine."