Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
Edward Prendick is a regular guy with the misfortune of being shipwrecked and stranded on an island, home to a couple of scientists who have been tinkering with biology (bioengineering, perhaps? Vivisection, is actually the term Victorians used to describe the act of dissecting a living body. . .ugh ) to create whole new types of animals, many of them humanized. So these scientists would cut apart, say, a leopard, a man, a hyena, and a pig, mix up the parts and put them together again as two new beings: Leopard-Man and Hyena-Swine. The new creatures were used as slave labour and adhered to a set of rules, devised by the scientists, known as 'The Law'. They were allowed to colonize and roam, but were not smart enough to know how to do anything else until . . .
Oh man. Weird. I won't say anymore because there is a great sense of foreboding and suspense right from the get-go.
What did he want with the beasts? Why, too, had he pretended they were not his when I had remarked about them at first? Then again, in his personal attendant there was a bizarre quality that had first impressed me profoundly. These circumstances threw a haze of mystery round the man. They laid hold of my imagination and hampered my tongue. pg22
It may seem a little thing to you, perhaps, but it came like a sudden blow to me. The only light near us was a lantern at the wheel. The creature's face was turned for one brief instant out of the dimness of the stern towards this illumination, and I saw that the eyes that glanced at me shone with a pale green light. pg24
I was struck especially with the curious movements of the legs of the three swathed and bandaged boatmen - not stiff they were, but distorted in some odd way, almost as if they were jointed in the wrong place. pg35
I wondered what language they spoke. They had all seemed remarkably taciturn, and when they did speak, endowed with very uncanny voices. What was wrong with them? pg42
"He's unnatural," I said. "There's something about him . . . Don't think me fanciful, but it gives me a nasty little sensation, a tightening of my muscles, when he comes near me. It's a touch . . . of the diabolical, in fact." pg48
Could it be possible, I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection of men was possible? The question shot like lightening across a tumultuous sky. And suddenly the clouded horror of my mind condensed into a vivid realization of my danger. pg68
A horrible fancy came into my head that Moreau, after animalizing these men, had infected their dwarfed brains with a kind of deification of himself. pg81
Book #3 - check!