I think my perception of this one was irrevocably tainted by my childhood infatuation with the 1959 silver screen rifacimento. There was no Saknussem or Gertrud in the novel, nor were the Lindenbrook or Alec characters anything like their filmic counterparts. Hell, Alec wasn't even Alec, he was "Harry" in the version I read. Harry!
Of all names... (Though it could have been Axel, which is even worse, as that name is forever associated with a strawberry-haired, caterwauling prima donna.)
Overall it was disappointing and underwhelming, and I'm sure my rating is very unfair, but hey, c'est la vie.
P.S. I have a bad feeling that my similar love for the 1960 film The Time Machine
is going to loom large while reading its source material.