Imperial Ecologies and Extinction in H. G. Wells’s Island Stories

  • Jade Munslow OngEmail author


This chapter analyzes how two of H. G. Wells’s island stories, “Aepyornis Island” from The Stolen Bacillus (1894), and The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), expose the extirpative consequences of human, animal, and plant colonization in the context of the British Empire. In both texts, humans, human-animal hybrids, previously extinct and non-native species colonize island locations, dramatically transforming their ecological structures. These new nightmare environments allow evolutionarily “inferior” creatures such as the extinct Aepyornis and medically manufactured Beast People to threaten human domination. Reading Wells’s fiction as examples of anti-Robinsonades that are grounded in the realities of Victorian colonial expansion, and in dialogue with scientific writings by Wells and Charles Darwin, this chapter shows how Wells questions scientific and imperialist narratives of development by presenting extinction as a possibility for all forms of life.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SalfordSalfordUK

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