The Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells


An embarrassing confession: when I think of H. G. Wells, I don't immediately think of anything from the books he wrote. I free associate to a few things -- his long relationship with Rebecca West and the son they had together, though he was married to another woman; a book I read earlier this year, The Map of Time (Felix J. Palma), in which Wells is a main character and there's time traveling and people trying to kill Wells and Bram Stoker and other people to alter the ways of the world (a book I did not like overmuch); and one very special episode of The Simpsons. 

Yes, that's right: before now, the closest read of an H.G. Wells tale I've had was through the filter of a cartoon's Halloween special. "The Island of Doctor Hibbert" aired in season 14 (2002); the episode, it turns out, takes a rather cheerier view of Wells's tale, with Springfield residents happily becoming, for instance, walrus-human hybrids. Although rather violent, Wells's book is at once a gripping adventure and a cautionary tale for those seeking to "civilize" nature.