Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Island of Dr. Moreau (Classic SF Novella)

A Rescue at Sea. Experiments. Vivisection. Animal Nature.

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells was first published in 1896. The story is part science fiction and part horror. Like The Time Machine, it is a timeless classic. I can see the influence of The Island of Dr. Moreau in China Mieville’s descriptions of the Remade from his novel Perdido Street Station.

Briefly, Edward Prendick is rescued at sea by Montgomery and finds himself on a strange island. He hears screams coming from the locked laboratory of Dr. Moreau. To evade the screams, Prendick explores the island. There he finds strange men who look like animals. His first thought is that Moreau is somehow turning men into animals and that his own life is in jeopardy. Moreau assures him that this is not true. When Montgomery and Moreau are both killed, Prendick finds himself alone with these strange creatures.

While I am normally not a fan of horror, I found the story fascinating. Wells’ world building is admirable. This could quite easily be a modern story. I am reminded of the recent discussion in the news of frankenfish.

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