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Old 10-24-2011, 09:12 AM   #16
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I began the book oblivious to the theme, then midway smiled at the clever reveal of it, then by the end rolled my eyes a bit at the heavy-handedness of it.

...

Was Wells an atheist? I know nothing about him and this is the first of his I've read. I didn't expect it all to be so...overly thematic. I thought I was getting myself into a 19th century sci-fi horror novel about the perils of men messing with nature, and not a treatise on religion!
Wells did write at least one book directly centered on religion God the Invisible King, but he's definitely more known for his social condition writing than religious. I don't know that Wells was an atheist, but he certainly didn't seem to follow any standard religion. I agree with your comment that there is a a bit of a microcosm of Christianity, and there's definitely the theme that it is belief and faith that keeps one on track over animalistic tendencies. Having read a bit more about Wells and a few other titles of his this year, it definitely brings out the themes of socialism and abuses of power we see in many of his other works.

I read a lot of Wells this year after having never read anything by him. He can get a bit preachy at times. I really liked the story in The Island of Dr. Moreau despite being a little grossed out by all the vivisection. Overall not so scary for horror, but quite disturbing at times. The horror would have been more effective if Wells hadn't used what is his usual schtick -- relate a person writing a memoir about an event. It would have been far creepier if we didn't know the protagonist survives when we start the story.

I'm left puzzling over Prendick and how he fits in with the usual themes in other of Wells' books. Prendick comes to the obvious conclusion that in order to keep himself safe he needs to be the alpha dog on the island after Dr. Moreau is gone. But does Prendick believe this? Does he believe in Christianity and one God? More generally, in a montheistic regime? A dictatorship over the collective?
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:18 PM   #17
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The horror would have been more effective if Wells hadn't used what is his usual schtick -- relate a person writing a memoir about an event. It would have been far creepier if we didn't know the protagonist survives when we start the story.
I agree with this. It really distanced me from what was going on. Didn't prevent me from enjoying the book, but I think I could have enjoyed it more had it been written with a different perspective.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:37 PM   #18
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Finally.....

I'm done!

My immediate reaction (which I also posted on GoodReads): "Ugh! I hated this book...not because I did not like the story, but becuase I could not put it down permanently, which is what I wanted to do on numerous occasions. It was a raw, disturbing and distressing train wreck."

Reading the other responses, I can see the religious aspects mentioned, but I think it loses the theme at the end.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:06 PM   #19
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...The horror would have been more effective if Wells hadn't used what is his usual schtick -- relate a person writing a memoir about an event. It would have been far creepier if we didn't know the protagonist survives when we start the story....
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I agree with this. It really distanced me from what was going on. Didn't prevent me from enjoying the book, but I think I could have enjoyed it more had it been written with a different perspective.
I don't know. I enjoy stories from the first person perspective. They have a way of putting you in a ringside seat to that person's view and their emotional response. I'm not saying all stories should be written in that manner, but after all—isn't variety the canary that got away?
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:15 PM   #20
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I don't know. I enjoy stories from the first person perspective. They have a way of putting you in a ringside seat to that person's view and their emotional response. I'm not saying all stories should be written in that manner, but after all—isn't variety the canary that got away?
I agree. When done correctly, with the right story, there is a personal nature about the first person perspective that can often pull a reader into the story.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:36 PM   #21
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I don't think this book gave me a ringside seat and that was what I was getting at. It read like someone's recollections. This was deliberate of course, but I would have preferred another way of telling the story - whether first person or third person.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:48 PM   #22
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I don't think this book gave me a ringside seat and that was what I was getting at. It read like someone's recollections. This was deliberate of course, but I would have preferred another way of telling the story - whether first person or third person.
I think the recollection aspect would have gone better if we got a proper epilogue.

I had a distinct feeling at the beginning of the book that he was going to end up in an insane asylum, but that did not come across at the end of the book, other than his seeing a therapist.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:56 PM   #23
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I actually skipped the introduction that let us know that Prendick had definitely survived (I read it after the rest of the story). Many essay-type introductions to books ridiculously give spoilers away, so I usually skip them and then read them at the end. I didn't realise this introduction was actually part of the book.

So, I didn't know he'd survive. I assumed it was more than likely he would, since he's now writing about it, but there's been plenty of narrative tricks in first-person-written books with people writing as ghosts and such, and this was a "horror" pick, so I wasn't sure. I spent the first half of the book thinking that people were used in the experiments and that animal parts were transplanted onto them to make an animal-human, and I was imagining the book might lead to Prendick eventually getting captured and turned into a puma-man, and then maybe he would lead the other animal-people in a revolt against Moreau.

I was a little upset after the book was done and I read the intro and realised it was part of the story. But now, reading these posts, I think I was better off skipping it; it made the story more unpredictable through the first half.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:19 AM   #24
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But would that be what Wells is getting at? The reason I ask is that Moreau was clearly ostracised from London's scientific community in the book which seems to indicate that not even the London of that time would be willing to squash ethical concerns for the sake of Moreau's aims.
That might not have been what was in Wells' thoughts as he wrote the book, but it was one of the things the book made me think of. Usually when I read a book or look at a painting or a photograph, I not so much try to imagine what the artist wanted to relate, but I try to listen into myself to see which feelings or ideas are brought on.
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:36 AM   #25
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So, I didn't know he'd survive. I assumed it was more than likely he would, since he's now writing about it, but there's been plenty of narrative tricks in first-person-written books with people writing as ghosts and such, and this was a "horror" pick, so I wasn't sure. I spent the first half of the book thinking that people were used in the experiments and that animal parts were transplanted onto them to make an animal-human, and I was imagining the book might lead to Prendick eventually getting captured and turned into a puma-man, and then maybe he would lead the other animal-people in a revolt against Moreau.half.
Yes, that is why having seen film adaptions prior to reading this diminished the enjoyment for me. It would have been much better not knowing that the experiments were not on people, not knowing whether or notPendrick might fall victim. It sure would have made the novel a lot scarier.

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Old 10-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #26
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I don't know. I enjoy stories from the first person perspective. They have a way of putting you in a ringside seat to that person's view and their emotional response. I'm not saying all stories should be written in that manner, but after all—isn't variety the canary that got away?
Nothing wrong with first person, but first person when the author directly states it's a recollection of events and they give where the author is now after the story is concluded just removes a lot of suspense for me and Wells does this a lot.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:19 PM   #27
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Nothing wrong with first person, but first person when the author directly states it's a recollection of events and they give where the author is now after the story is concluded just removes a lot of suspense for me and Wells does this a lot.
1) I've seen authors give advice to avoid the type of recollective story-telling that is so common in Wells, but I enjoy occasionally reading a story that is told in this way.

2) Why does my spell-checker insist that "recollective" is a misspelling?
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:37 PM   #28
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:40 PM   #29
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Thanks, Nyssa, and have a Happy Halloween!
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Old 10-29-2011, 05:43 PM   #30
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Thanks, Nyssa, and have a Happy Halloween!
Thank you. Happy Halloween to you as well.
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