Monday, February 24, 2014

Island of Doctor Moreau

Island of Doctor Moreau follows the typical 19th century "found manuscript" adventure narrative. After a shipwreck, a man ends up on a mysterious island. He writes down his story. His relatives later publish it. In the time, however, the island has reverted back to its "natural" state, so we have no way of knowing if it actually happened.

Island is a "cautionary tale". However, it may caution against a number of different things. On one level it is warning against the vivisection and too much biological research. Trying to reason away from pain and suffering does not make it go away. On another level it talks about society at large. A society can quickly degenerate from a fairly advanced state to a beastial state of nature. It also warns against GMO and bioengineering (long before those become common words.) Do we know the costs of things that changes we make? Finally it warns against fragility of charasmatic leaders. If some bit of that leadership falls, the whole society can go away.

There are lots of things you can read into it. And based on Wells writing, he probably ha even more meanings. However, it is also an entertaining late-19th century pulp adventure that can simple be enjoyed.

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