Is it SF?

Is The Island of Dr. Moreau SF? Undoubtedly it is. Although it may not fit all three of our in-class definitions completely, the novel contains within it a plethora of SF elements. For example, the advanced techniques which Moreau uses to successfully create his Beast Men is a central aspect of the novel with clear roots in SF. Although we may not be privy to the exact way he operates, the fact remains that Moreau employs a working form of vivisection, a “scientific” endeavor. The employment of vivisection acts as a scientific novum which brings about a certain change – in Darko Suvin’s terms, this makes it SF. The novum does indeed go along with cognitive norms of the time, further cementing the “SF-ness” of the story

Some may argue that the novel should fall under the genre of fantasy, however such a way of thinking would be fallacious. The world clearly exists in the realm of what was at the time, reasonable science, and no magical or fantastical events occur in a clearly “unscientific” manner. Although the novel may be  apparently “less” SF than other novels on this blog, one would be hard pressed to present a convincing and thorough argument against The Island of Dr. Moreau.



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