Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: The Island of Dr. Moreau ~ by H. G. Wells

Island of Dr Moreau

Review by Shellie for: The Island of Dr. Moreau (in audio) ~ by H. G. Wells

A classic science fiction and horror mix that includes monsters created by the amoral Dr. Moreau.

About:  Set in the late 1800’s, an educated and professional man named Edward Prendick inadvertently becomes stranded on a South Pacific island. This tropical island houses the laboratories of Dr. Moreau - a mad scientist of sorts who is doing some unusual and cruel experiments on animals on the remote island. Although Moreau attempts to hide his studies from the stranded newcomer, Prendick eventually finds out what is becoming of the animals when he hears screaming from the laboratories. Prendick is naturally terrified that he too may become one of the doctor’s subjects.

Thoughts:  Originally published in 1896, the novel is an adventure, with some thrilling twists in a spectacular setting. It’s definitely horrific and scientific, although the science is unrealistic based upon today’s standards. It has also been adapted into a variety of movies over the past 100 years. Some look interesting, so I plan to watch a select few since a movie version could be fun and I think would translate well.

There is some interesting commentary hidden in the story, bringing up questions around human and animal social structure, issues of vivisection, definitions of pain, and some unusual monsters; which in some ways reminded me of Frankenstein. So it could be an excellent book for discussion - take a look at its Wikipedia page where there is loads of fodder for thought: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Island_of_Doctor_Moreau

Highly recommended for anyone interested in stories with darker themes. Only 200 pages or so, or just several hours of listening time, I finished it quickly. It was a great read since I love science fiction, horror, and classics and this is all three. I give it a 4 star rating.

Unabridged audio edition;  read by Jonathan Kent; Tantor Media; 4 hours, 7 minutes; Dec 12, 2006.

Bio:  Herbert George Wells lived from 1866 to 1946. He was a British author, best known for his work in science fiction. Also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, he even wrote text books and rules for war games. With Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells is considered one of the “Father of Science Fiction".

Interestingly, Wells' training was in biology, and his thinking was Darwinian in context. He was also an outspoken socialist and later became a pacifist.  For more information link about him link to his bio on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells

This book will be include in several challenges. Two are Fill in the Gaps: 100 Book Project and The Basics Challenge where I explore speculative fiction.

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