Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Fantasy Island

Once again, my wonderful wife, Debi, recommended a winning book. She knew I would like The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells and indeed I did. I read this one for The Decades Challenge (1890s) as well as for R.I.P. Challenge.

A man is lost at sea in a lifeboat and "lucky" for him he is picked up by a ship. He can't help but notice that one of the men on the ship is strange. He has a beastly snout and ears. But, once they arrive at the Island, he soon realizes that there are many beast-men roaming free on the Island. And to compound the tension, there are horrible screams coming from Dr. Moreau's lab at all hours of night and day. Well, it turns out that Moreau has the lab skills necessary to turn animals into men-like creatures. The men-like creatures are not supposed to eat meat, but some of the island's rabbits have been turning up half eaten. The tension builds and before long, the man finds himself alone with the beast-men, who are becoming more beastly by the day. If Something Wicked This Way Comes was creepy, this book was really creepy. But excellent.

As if this story wasn't fascinating enough, the author's writing was absolutely captivating. The writing was amazingly elegant. This book is over 100 years old, and older books can sometimes be a real bummer to read sometimes (e.g., Dickens' Great Expectations...I anxiously await the wrath of the Dickens crowd). Not this book, however. I can't wait to read more Wells, especially War of the Worlds. This was an extremely interesting story that was written in amazingly engaging and elegant prose.

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