I tell yer: assuming someone’s identity? It ain’t all gravy.

Apologies for lately bloglack, but last weekend I made a grisly discovery: turns out that, before (heh!) his life-plans were suddenly and fundamentally changed by yours truly [see ‘THE ENTHOVEN IS DEAD’, right], unbeknownst to me the Enthoven happened to be having a problem with, of all things, one of his /fangs/. Imagine my surprise on Saturday morning, when I found myself in a cab at six am on my way to a hospital for an appointment to have one of ‘is WISDOM TEETH REMOVED.

Got to say, you humans have got some grand surgical facilities on your planet. The staff at Homerton Hospital, Hackney, were a model of efficiency and solicitousness. So great was their efficiency, however, that by the time I thought to protest at what was going on I’d already been sedated and anaesthetized: I awoke on a trolley, with only a row of neat sutures to mark the spot where latterly had been one of the back-fangs I’d grown to mimic the Enthoven’s wonky jawline. I don’t know what they did with the tooth. I was worried fer a while: separated from the rest of me, it was only a matter of time before it stopped looking like a tooth and returned to its natural, undifferentiated, blancmange-like state. But, figuring more enquiries would only incriminate me, I quit the scene as soon as the nurse allowed me – and the last few days I’ve been stuck waiting for the stitches to grow out, the bruises to fade, the swelling to subside and (yeah) yer impressively powerful human /drugs/ to wear off.

On the plus side, bein’ under the weather gave me a chance to catch up on some quality human READING, this time in the shape of the quite gobsmackingly good THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, by H. G. WELLS.

That Wells was a visionary, and one of the most far-sighted and innovative writers of imaginative literature the human race has ever produced… well, everyone says that, and it’s a bit of a cliche. What’s worth knowing about his stuff (and a lot of critics seem to underplay this) is that lots of his books are just REALLY GOOD FUN – and folks, THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU is a fine example. For a novel written more than a hundred and ten years ago it goes at a cracking pace: by just five pages in the characters are stranded at sea, starving and drawing lots over who’s going to be cannibalized – and, amazingly, the book never really lets up from there. It’s like a fever-dream of vivisection and mutants and horror, all filtered through a contagious atmosphere of shimmering jungle heat. The ideas are great, sure, but the real triumph, it seems to me, is in how sure-footedly punchy and unpretentious the writing is: it’s wild and mad and deliriously evocative, but in its understated way it’s also REAL, it’s fierce, and it’s all over-and-out in just a hair under two hundred pages, without ever having lost its initial intensity. It’s the second time I’ve read this now and – like malaria – I fully expect to face bouts of reading it again and again every so often for the rest of my life. All I can say is, lucky me. And if you haven’t read THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU yet, lucky /you/.

For further details of this and other d&mn fine books, check the Enthoven’s LibraryThing profile.


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