I have never thought a horror story might shock me but this little novella from Mr Wells has shocked me quite a bit. When Doctor Moreau is experimenting pain treatment on the puma next door behind which the shrieking and howling disturbs the main character Mr Prendick, I also feel discomposed. Such creeping effect is extremely powerful even after a lengthened gap of more than one hundred years.
Despite its nightmarish depiction, the work itself cries out to the reader that it is very good. Right from the first page, its setting reminds me of Robinson Crusoe as island fiction, except it is an even richer story in which man tries to be god and creates monsters that in the end haunts the ungodly master. Shocking but never shallow!
I must say, Mr Wells is a genius, mastering several genres with perfection. His Time Machine is a sci-fi work. But his range is wide enough to cover the Gothic and the fantasical: The Island of Doctor Moreau is a Gothic story with a moral; his First Men in the Moon is a fantasy. He is not just a sci-fi writer; he is an imaginative prophet.
I am very pleased with this OUP edition with the introduction by D. Jones. The suggestion of degeneration in the late Victorian times is implicitly linked with the sexual orientation of Oscar Wilde is very revealing about contemporary reception of the work. Of course with the benefit of hindsight, modern readers can say such alarm was rather mis-attributed. But given the fact that Darwin's idea and its implications greatly disturbs the Victorians, it is hardly the case that Victorians might think otherwise.
The introduction is also very informative as well. If the editor did not mention the set-up of Royal Society of Prevention of Cruelty against Animals, I would not have been aware that the impending 200th anniversary of RSPCA and how humanity has made the leap forward.
""The Island of Dr. Moreau" takes us into an abyss of human nature. This book is a superb piece of storytelling."
--V. S. Pritchett
--V. S. Pritchett
Following our successful publication of L. M. Montgomery's Emily of New Moon series, we will publish the beloved Anne of Green Gables series in its entirety on the VMC list, with beautiful new covers. Anne's House of Dreams is the fifth book in the Anne of Green Gables series.