A classic of science fiction and a dark meditation on Darwinian thought in the late Victorian period, The Island of Doctor Moreau explores the possibility of civilization as a constraint imposed on savage human nature. The protagonist, Edward Prendick, finds himself stranded on an island with the notorious Doctor Moreau, whose experiments on the island’s humans and animals result in unspeakable horrors. The critical introduction to this Broadview Edition gives particular emphasis to Wells's hostility towards religion as well as his thorough knowledge of the Darwinian thought of his time. Appendices provide passages from Darwin and Huxley related to Wells's early writing; in addition, excerpts from other writers illustrate late-nineteenth-century anxieties about social degeneration.
A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror. Or, as H. G. Wells himself wrote about this story, "The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy. Now and then, though I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, and I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation." This colorful tale by the author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds lit a firestorm of controversy at the time of its publication in 1896.