23. november 2012

In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

Wells is one of those authors who explored the vast space outside known realms and at the same time dug into the questions of inner laws that rule the societies. One thing he managed to convince me, is that some lines aren’t meant to be crossed. In at least two of his superb works.
The Island of Doctor Moreau is a tale of many themes and motifs. I understand it mainly as a tale of frustrated, “mad” scientist, who is banished from the native country because of his idea of mocking the nature itself and having the god-complex. Moreau managed to create the world in which he is the creator and the ruler of all beings. He did everything to create a new civilization, where even laws appear to work as they have to. But things have their inner necessities. As such, “stubborn beast-flesh” (1) can’t become human. That line, as story tells us, isn’t meant to be broken.
Another work and even harder argument: The country of the blind addresses the argument how the borders of our language are necessarily also the borders of our world. Nunez had come and sought new possibilities in a place, where everyone is blind. What at first seems an advantage, soon becomes the dividing line that cannot be crossed. And through each day that he seems to assimilate into their order, he just cannot stop using words that have no meaning to his new hosts: “There is no such word as SEE … Cease this folly…” (2). Ultimately he, at the pressure of losing his eyes, recognizes this border, raises his white flag and leaves.
Wells convinced me that one has to do a lot of thinking before he/she walks down the path to the terra incognita. Rules that apply to our kind of thinking not necessarily apply everywhere. And when this comes from “The Father of Science Fiction" (3), the lesson is even more important.

(1) H. G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau, eBooks@Adelaide, University of Adelaide, last updated Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 12:25; http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wells/hg/w45is/index.html, page 129

(2) H. G. Wells, The country of the blind, in The Door and the Wall, and other stories, eBooks@Adelaide, University of Adelaide, Last updated Tue Aug 24 14:41:54 2010; http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wells/hg/w45td/index.html, page 118

(3) Adam Charles Roberts (2000), "The History of Science Fiction": Page 48 in Science Fiction, Routledge found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells
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