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The Island of Doctor Moreau and Other Stories

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The Island of Doctor Moreau and Other Stories

H. G. Wells

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“Each time I dip a living creature into the bath of burning pain, I say: this time I will burn out all the animal, this time I will make a rational creature of my own!” declares Doctor Moreau to hapless narrator Edward Prendick. Moreau’s highly controversial methods and ambitions conflict with the religious, moral and scientific norms of his day and Wells later called ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’ “a youthful exercise in blasphemy”. Today his vivid depictions of the Beast People still strike modern readers with an uncanny glimpse of the animal in the human, while the behaviour of humans leave us wondering who is the most monstrous after all. This volume unites four of Wells’ liveliest and most engaging tales of the strange evolution and behaviour of animals – including human beings. ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’ is followed by three fantastic yet chillingly plausible short stories of human-animal encounters. ‘The Empire of the Ants’ is a darkly humorous account of intelligent Amazonian ants threatening to displace humans as “the lords of the future and masters of the earth”. In ‘The Sea Raiders’, the south coast of England is terrorized by an unwelcome visit from deep-sea predator Haploteuthis ferox, while ‘Aepyornis Island’ provides a marooned egg collector with an unusual companion. Dr Emily Alder is Lecturer in Literature and Culture at Edinburgh Napier University. AUTHOR: H. G. Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) is famously often referred to as ‘the father of science fiction’ but Wells’s phenomenal imagination ranged far and wide and included works of comic social realism. Such is Wells’s facility with story-telling that well over a century after their publication, that his stories are as fresh and compelling to us today as they would have been when his initial readers first turned their pages, often in astonishment and frequently in amusement.

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