Introduction‎ > ‎

6) Wells: Thus Spoke...

In his famous Thus Spoke Zarathustra Nietzsche coins the idea of the "overman" - an individual who is one step higher than a man, humankind being only a bridge between animals and the overman.[1] Ten years after its publication Wells writes The Island of Doctor Moreau and one year later The Invisible Man, in which he investigates the danger of this idea being applied.

In The Island of Dr. Moreau, Moreau tries to put himself in the place of God, to create life and to rule his creatures. His method is repressions, represented by the House of Pain, and personal uninvolvement in his creatures' well-being, as they are just "painful embarrassment"[1] and inferior to him. He despises compassion and liability to pain in the light of some higher purpose.[2] Somehow Wells may have foreseen what is the fate of a nation if it adopts the idea of the overman, and that is destruction. This was what indeed happened to the Nazi Germany under Hitler more than 50 years later.

In The Invisible Man Griffin demands obedience and service from everybody he meets, including even his fellow scientist, Kemp, his only reason being that he possesses one ability that they lack – that he is the overman, in fact. He is quite successful in applying this attitude to serve his own purposes, but he ends up being betrayed by everybody he has used, and his reign of terror finishes when its leader is brutally killed by a raging mob.[3] The end of the novel shows plain enough that however timid people may be, they will never tolerate terror.

As any good science fiction, these novels dig deep into social philosophy and investigate the place of an individual among the new ideas appearing and beginning to shape the world in Wells' time. And as in any good science fiction, his predictions were not fantastic at all.

Works cited:

1) Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, by Friedrich W. Nietzsche. 

2) The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. Wells. 

3) The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells.