The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells
This classic science fiction novella is a true treat, and a great example of why I love science fiction so much. Wells' tale of an Edwardian time traveler's journey to the year 802,701 CE is fascinating and enthralling. Humanity, he guesses, has split into two distinct species, and the endeavors towards social and economic stability have resulted in a decadence leading to fatal weakness, rather than the incredibly advanced society the time traveler had expected to find. This future horrifies, but as Wells says in the epilogue, "to me the future is still black and blank...a vast ignorance." Fear of the future cannot be allowed to wither the present. The possibilities are endless and infinite, and we must not live perpetually afraid of the most dire consequences of our actions. If the human imagination is vivid enough to think of a future like that in "The Time Machine," it is powerful enough to come up with new ones as well.