Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ten stories about "uplifted" animals with human intelligence

This summer's blockbuster movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the "story of a lab ape named Caesar, uplifted' to human intelligence by scientists, who leads a revolution against humanity," writes Annalee Newitz at io9. "But he's hardly the first brain-augmented creature to question human values." Another noteworthy story about "uplifted" animals with human intelligence:
The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. Wells

Made into several movies during the twentieth century, including one with Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando, this is perhaps the first scientific animal uplift tale — previous tales of talking or humanoid animals generally involved magic or sorcery of some kind. Here the titular mad scientist has created an entire race of human-animal hybrids on a remote island, subjecting them to cruel mistreatment. Eventually the experiment is discovered by a shipwrecked sailor, who lives among Moreau's beast-folk but is terrified to discover that without authoritarian rule they all return to their bestial ways.
Read about the other entries on Newitz's list.

The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of Sjón's top ten island stories.

--Marshal Zeringue