They dwell underground in the English countryside of 802,701 AD in a troglodyte civilization, maintaining ancient machines that they may or may not remember how to build. Their only access to the surface world is through a series of well structures that dot the countryside of future England.
Morlocks are humanoid creatures, said to have descended from humans, but by the 8,028th century have evolved into a completely different species, said to be better suited to their subterranean habitat. They are described as "ape-like", with little or no clothing, large eyes and grey fur covering their bodies. As a result of living underground, they have little or no melanin to protect their skin, and so have become extremely sensitive to light.
The Morlocks' main source of food is the Eloi, another race descended from humans that lives above ground. The Morlocks treat the Eloi as cattle, and the Eloi do not resist being captured. However, because of the Morlocks' adaptations to darkness, the Eloi have an incredible fear of the dark and are terrified of being underground.
The Morlocks were created by The Time Machine's writer H. G. Wells in 1895.
Since their creation by Wells, the Morlocks have appeared in many other works such as sequels, movies, television shows, and works by other authors, many of which have deviated from the original description.
Major Story Arcs
The Morlocks are at first a mysterious presence in the book. The Time Traveler, the main character, initially thinks that the Eloi are the sole descendants of humanity.
The Morlocks' physical features are the result of thousands of generations of living without sunlight. They have dull grey-to-white skin, chinless faces, large greyish-red eyes with a capacity for reflecting light, and flaxen hair on the head and back. They are smaller than humans, presumably being the same height as the Eloi.
When he first encounters a Morlock, the Time Traveler begins to piece together a new image of the future world of the year 802,701 AD. The Morlocks and the Eloi have something of a symbiotic relationship: the Eloi are clothed and fed by the Morlocks, and in return, the Morlocks eat the Eloi. The Time Traveler perceives this, and suggests that the Eloi–Morlock relationship developed from a class distinction present in his own time: the Morlocks are the working class who had to work underground so that the rich upper class could live in luxury.
The explanation of their cannibalistic behavior is that there must have been a time when the Morlocks ran short of food. The hominids that later became the Morlocks started feeding indiscriminately on creatures such as rats. Eventually, the Eloi became their prey. It is strongly suggested that Morlocks descended from the lower working class humans and that the Eloi were the upper middle class ruling over the Morlocks.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The Morlocks appeared in a story by Alan Moore titled Allan and the Sundered Veil, which appeared as part of the comic book collection The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume I. In the story, the Time Traveler takes some of the regular League characters into his future world, where he has made a base out of the Morlock sphinx. The party is soon attacked by Morlocks, who are fierce, simian creatures in this story. They are physically much more powerful than Wells' creatures, although they're similar to the Hunter Morlocks from the 2002 film.