The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells [Book Thoughts]

The Island of Dr Moreau is old-school classic science fiction: depth, tension and moral ambiguity. 200 years after publication, it’s still easily readable and offers plenty.
-Imran

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If you’re into Science Fiction, the name H.G. Wells might ring a bell.Wells is sometimes called the father of the genre and it’s not without it’s dues; he was writing about time travel, gene-splicing and alien invasions back in the 1800s when such things were only, ahem, science fiction. Along with The War of the WorldsThe Island of Dr Moreau is one of his more notable works.

 I really knew nothing about Wells going in but I read it shortly after Frankenstein and I was surprised to find that it’s a story much in the same vein. The book starts with Edward Prendick shipwrecked at sea and barely alive before he’s rescued by a strange doctor who shelters him unwillingly on an island out in the middle of nowhere. The only other ‘normal’ human being besides the man who rescued him is Dr Moreau, a proud and cold scientist who doesn’t care much for Prendick. Left much to his own devices, Prendick explores the island and finds the inhabitants very strange and alien to him; many of them having unusual features, such as pointy ears.

 After that intro, the story mutates and evolves and it really does cover a lot of ground in 200 or so pages it fills. It’s difficult to go into the nitty-gritty without spoiling anything.

 But that’s what I really loved about it. For book written over 100 years ago, it didn’t follow any of the typical narrative structures that I’m used to and other than a few obvious plot points (obvious 100 years later), I really couldn’t guess which path the story would take next. The book was also surprisingly readable despite it’s age; more so even than Frankenstein. And speaking of Frankenstein, Moreau did remind me of it in many regards. The characters and the emotional content weren’t as rich, but there were a lot of dark scientific and ethical issues weaved into the story that left me scratching my head and thinking. It’s also also quite pacey and dramatic. To say that the book was ‘interesting’ feels like an understatement.

 I really wasn’t expecting to be impressed like this so soon after reading Frankenstein (and I’ve never read Wells before) but it seems like classic Science Fiction is something that I can really get into. There really is a lot more to it than plasma guns and aliens and Wells now proudly takes his place on my Reading List.

 The Island of Dr Moreau is old-school classic science fiction: depth, tension and moral ambiguity. 200 years after publication, it’s still easily readable and offers plenty.

See you next week

 

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