Written Gems discussion

In February 2019: The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells!

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message 1: by William (new)

William Hahn | 46 comments Mod
With sincere apologies for the way Life Happened in the past few months, we will resume our book discussion group on February 20th. Our next Written Gem focuses on a classic in every sense of the word, one of the many picks we could make by the seminal sci-fi/fantasy author H.G. Wells.

You can get a free copy of this tale at the Gutenberg Project:

It's not long, just a novella (the Zon says 139 pages. We epic fantasy authors sniff and say "certainly but what about AFTER the Prologue!"). And you can get it for 99 cents there in several guises.

So start reading it now and be prepared for the discussion of things dark and deep in writing. Come February 20th you'll be basking on a tropical island with us, wondering if your definition of "human" is all it's cracked up to be. I'll post again around the start of the month to remind you.

For this discussion, there's no avoiding an exploration of the video media that has made use of Wells' theme, so feel free to mention and compare to later movies made about the tale, as well as other stories you remember where the line between bro and beast is crossed. But we are purists, so be sure to read the tale first. Yes, there will be a quiz.

Next month, The Island of Doctor Moreau!

message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris Adams (chrisladams) | 89 comments Mod
Real quick -- I'm just very much enjoying this novel. I read it as a kid before I'd developed any sense of prose -- whether it is good or bad. So it'd been decades since I read it, and I have to say, I'm enjoying this second go-round even more than I thought I would. Wells has an extraordinary way with words.

Rather than read the novel this time, I came upon this wonderful audio version read by Steve Parker. It's really just a fantastic job of narration. I highly recommend sampling it, even if you're already reading it.


message 3: by William (new)

William Hahn | 46 comments Mod
Thanks Chris! I really want to hear this.

message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Adams (chrisladams) | 89 comments Mod
The Island of Dr. Moreau!

I finished the audio version of this on the way in this morning. Outstanding. The story itself I could but vaguely recall, it having been decades since I'd read it. The movie, also, I recalled but dimly as it was over 20 years ago since I saw it (it was the Brando, Kilmer version).

Whatever Prendick is, he's no Mary Sue. In his character I feel Wells created a very believable hero, whose shoes most all might imagine themselves filling. He's frightened and admits so. He comes up short in areas (carpentry, for one) and doesn't strive to hide it. Instead, he curses his lack of knowledge, and bides his time (that being all he can do in certain instances). I like those kind of honest faults in a character. Not every hero is Tarzan.

Of Wells' prose--I simply can't speak highly enough of it. It's completely remarkable, and creative. One of my favorite lines was: "The water ended on the fourth day, and we were already thinking strange things and saying them with our eyes."

And I loved the "Little Thinks" and "Big Thinks".

: ( )

One can guess Wells might have drawn inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but I can also see where Edgar Rice Burroughs might have drawn inspiration from Wells for his The Monster Men, which also takes place on an island where a deranged man dabbles at playing God, and his Synthetic Men of Mars (which does, as well).

I'm no scholar of such things, but one can see where the cascading threads of inspiration might be innumerable. It would be interesting to see what others have to say about the long-term effect of this work of Wells (which hasn't always been received as fondly as it was by myself).

message 5: by Gilbert (new)

Gilbert Stack (gilbertmstack) | 90 comments Mod
Thanks for giving the link to Mary Sue. I've always wondered about that term.

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