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The "Island of Doctor Moreau"


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H.G. Wells was a professional writer and journalist, who published more than a hundred books, including novels, histories, essays and programmes for world regeneration. Wells's prophetic imagination was first displayed in pioneering works of science fiction, but later he became an apostle of socialism, science and progress. His controversial views on sexual equality and the shape of a truly developed nation remain directly relevant to our world today. He was, in Bertrand Russell's words, 'an important liberator of thought and action'. Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poety, fiction and non-fiction. She has received numerous awards and several honorary degrees and has been published in more than thirty languages. Patrick Parrinder has written on H.G. Wells, science fiction, James Joyce and the history of the English novel. Since 1986 he has been Professor of English at the University of Reading. Steven McLean is Secretary of the H.G. Wells Society. He recently completed his PhD on H.G. Wells at the University of Sheffield.


Gr 7 Up-This excellent video is the sixth in a series by Globalstage Productions which has as its mission to travel the world filming the best in children's theater. The adapted script, based on the H.G. Wells' science fiction classic, is faithful to the original except for the creative ending and the framework which allows the shipwrecked character, Pendick, to tell the story as a flashback while being questioned by doctors in the mental institution where he has ended up after being rescued from the island. The play is preceded and followed by a somewhat pedantic discourse by the host, Dr. Elizabeth McHamer. She and her "nephew," Preston, arrive in Seattle by ferry and proceed to the Taproot Theater where the production was filmed before a live audience. The talented cast of male and female actors play multiple roles and do an exceptional job of portraying the "beast-people" of Dr. Moreau's creation. After being hounded out of London, Dr. Moreau has fled to a deserted island where he hopes to have the freedom to conduct unorthodox animal experiments which will create human beings from animals through surgery. The resulting creatures, which can walk upright and speak, but whose intelligence is limited, cause Moreau to believe he is nearing success. The untimely arrival of Pendick changes everything, and the island soon erupts in violence and death. The plot raises many ethical and philosophical questions. How do we define what is human? What separates man from beast? Is it moral to conduct experiments on animals? Does man have the right to play God? The current debate regarding bioengineering adds to the potential for discussion and will increase the video's usefulness for high school humanities classes. The profound themes and occasional violent scenes will limit its use with younger students.-Jerry Beth Shannon, Ropes I.S.D., Ropesville, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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