The Island of Dr. Moreau: A Dull Tale About a Mad Doctor
The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells
I always liked HG Wells. He's one of earliest pioneers in science fiction. And though they are not all masterpieces, I respect the author for throwing out a foundation of science fiction that others have built on for over a hundred years now. But there’s one book I never read. It’s the Island of Doctor Moreau. I don’t have a reason why I never read it. Often times I forgot it existed. But the other night I was watching documentary about what happened during the disastrous production of the 1995 film and when they discussed what the film was originally supposed to be with concept art, I was fascinated. If the book tapped into the potential of what the movie could be, then I could certainly enjoy it. So here is my review of The Island of Doctor Moreau by HG Wells.
What is it about? It follows Edward Prendick. After a ship goes down at sea, he finds himself alone is a life boat adrift at sea. Just as he is about to starve to death, he is rescued by a man of science called Montgomery. He travels with Montgomery and a strange malformed man servant. And the two take Pendrick on board their ship. They were to take Montgomery and his servant to a small island, and the captain was to take Pendrick home But when they arrive at the island, the temperamental captain kicks Pendrick off with Montgomery refusing to take Pendrick home because he will not travel any further with men who associates themselves with beasts (the servant). Pendrick finds himself stranded on the island until the next boat arrives.
During his stay on the island, he finds that Montgomery is working with Doctor Moreau. And the two are importing animals and are surgically experimenting on them to make more human. In fact other than the two men, the whole island is inhabited by these creatures, including Montgomery’s servant. As Pendrick realizes this, he’s first is scared but adjusts. But soon some of these experiments begin to break the laws of Dr. Moreau and become more animalistic.
The good? The concept is intriguing. It’s a little strange these creature are surgically created opposed to genetically altered. But this book is over 100 years old, so it’s understandable. The world building is great. And Prendrick is a quite interesting and realistic lead.
The bad? This book has some good ideas, but does do a lot with him. Sure some laws are broken, and there’s man hunt for a beast gone rouge, but it’s somehow very boring. And that doesn’t happen until near the end. Most of the book is about Pendrick acclimating to the strange new world. So not a lot happens and the book is just overall dry and dull. Also detail is lacking.
Overall, this book explores a fascinating concept and it’s intriguing to see through Pendricks eyes. But beyond that, it’s not that interesting. It is quite possibly the dullest book Wells had even written, which is a shame because the subject matter holds so much potential. Its okay at best. But to new readers today, it is quite disappointing. If you stumble upon it, give it a read. But it’s not worth seeking out.
2 smoothies out of four.
Overall Rating: A Dull Tale about a Mad Doctor