In case you haven’t already realised, I kinda love science fiction novels. They combine my unfailing fascination for science with an engaging literary format…so I guess it makes sense why I, of all people, enjoy reading these particular novels so much. The Island of Doctor Moreau is a classic example of the genre. Wells’ manipulation of biology is both brilliant and downright creepy, making it an excellent read that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.
H. G. Wells is a sci-fi legend! He’s often referred to as the father of the sci-fi genre because his work has been so influential. So far, I’ve managed to read his most famous novels (The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, and The War of the Worlds), but The Island of Doctor Moreau has to be my favourite! Even though the science in Wells’ novels is often fantastical and not entirely plausible, his use of scientific theories and techniques allow you to be fully immersed in the wondrous world that he creates.
The Island of Doctor Moreau follows Edward Prendick, a shipwrecked man who finds himself stranded on a strange and mysterious island. On this island nothing is as it seems and everything is out to kill you! Prendick meets the enigmatic and cruel Dr Moreau who uses the island as a giant laboratory; a place where he can conduct his weird experiments which blatantly defy the laws of nature. Wells portrays Moreau as a God-like creator (which is rather blasphemous for the 1890’s) who uses vivisection to fashion human-like beings from animals. Pretty soon, though, Moreau’s experiments get a little out of hand and the island fast becomes a Hell on Earth. As well as the scientific methods that are discussed in the novel, Wells also opens up philosophical conversations such as the issues of morality, identity, and the relationship between man and nature.
The novel is relatively short (about 130 pages), so if you’re someone who is scientifically inclined, and constantly complaining that you “don’t have time” for reading, then The Island of Doctor Moreau could be the perfect novel for you. And if you’re not particularly scientifically minded, Wells’ approach to biology is both incredibly accessible and entertaining. So there’s really no excuse not to read this novel.