1896


The Island of Dr. Moreau: A dark fable of mad science and Beast Men

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells’ 1896 novel is dark, disturbing and thought-provoking. Coming just several decades after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), it tells the tale of a man named Edward Prendick who gets shipwrecked on a remote island, subsequently encountering a sinister figure named Dr. Moreau, who he discovers conducts vivisections of animals, combining various creatures to make subhuman beasts who he then loses interest in and releases to roam the island. Some of these Beast Men have banded together and recite a Law that rules their actions:
Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Ar... Read More

Heart of the World: Action-packed and exciting

Heart of the World by H. Rider Haggard

Although I had previously read and hugely enjoyed no fewer than 40 novels by H. Rider Haggard, I yet felt a trifle nervous before beginning the author's Heart of the World. I had recently finished Haggard's truly excellent novel of 1893, Montezuma's Daughter — a novel that deals with the downfall of the Aztec empire in the early 16th century — and was concerned that Heart of the World, which I knew to be still another story dealing with the Aztecs, would necessarily be repetitive. As it turns out, however, I needn't have worried. Despite the Aztec backdrop, the two novels are as dissimilar as can be; whereas the first deals with an Englishman witnessing the Indian conflicts with Cortes from 1519 - 1521 and the fall of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, Heart of the World takes place a good three centuri... Read More

The Wizard: A wonder-filled entertainment

The Wizard by H. Rider Haggard

Free Kindle version.

The Wizard, H. Rider Haggard's 21st novel out of an eventual 58, was initially released as a serial in a publication called The African Review and then in its complete form in the October 29, 1896 Arrowsmith's Christmas Annual for Boys. It was the third of four African novels that Haggard wrote from 1895-97, the others being Black Heart and White Heart, Swallow and Elissa, all of which I can highly recommend, by the way, especially Swallow.

The Wizard tells the story of Thomas Owen, a British missionary who ventures into the wilds of south central Africa to bring the Good Word to a tribe called the Amasuka, or the Children of... Read More

The Well at the World’s End: Important piece of fantasy literature history

The Well at the World's End by William Morris

Notes: Because the copyright has expired, you can get The Well at the World's End for free on the Kindle at Amazon or at Project Gutenberg. Make sure you have the entire book. Some publishers have divided it into two installments.

William Morris, a textile artist, was enamored of medieval chivalric romances, so The Well at the World's End, published in 1896, is his contribution to that dying literary genre. Thus, you’ll find heroic knights on quests, damsels in distress, and scary beasts to slay. The novel is even written in archaic language. What’s different and no... Read More