my favorite scary book

October 27, 2010

On his blog a few days ago Neil Gaiman proposed a new tradition:  giving each other scary books for Halloween.  The suggestion seems to be taking off, and it’s been lots of fun seeing people’s recommendations for what scary books to give.

My recommendation:  The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells.  I read this for the first time in grad school, in a class on Victorian Imperialism, and this just goes to show that you can still have lots of fun while reading for an advanced degree in literature because I decided to read it very late at night, in bed, by candlelight, which is a perfect way to read it.  I could not stop reading.  Fortunately, it’s quite short.

Everybody thinks they know the story because of all the movie versions.  But think on this a moment:  the movie versions all leave out the last quarter or so of the book.  When Moreau is killed and his lab is destroyed — the point when most of the movie versions end, or nearly end?  In the book, Prendick is stuck on the island for almost a year after that.  And things just keep getting worse…


One Response to “my favorite scary book”

  1. Jared Says:

    Oh God, that one. The scene where the main character is stalked by the Leopard-Man left me shaking when I first read it; something that doesn’t often happen to me when reading books. Plus, I do remember the breakout and subsequent death of the Cougar-Woman (a term that kinda takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it), showcasing H.G. Wells’ fixation with lidless eyes… Brrrr.

    As I said earlier, books don’t usually stir such a primal fear reaction from me. The only other one I can think of that has is Congo, by Michael Crichton.

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