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The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells

The Island Of Doctor Moreau (original 1896; edition 2010)

by H.G. Wells

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4,0671081,248 (3.62)1 / 314
Title:The Island Of Doctor Moreau
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:Gollancz (2010), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:genre: science fiction, acquired in 2011, @amazon.co.uk, S.F. Masterworks, read in 2012

Work details

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (1896)

  1. 90
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English (100)  Spanish (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
'What could it all mean? A locked enclosure on a lonely island, a notorious vivisector, and these crippled and distorted men?' This is the actual plot without any details. The details make this a very disturbing story. I forgot just how disturbing.
It is interesting how this was an adventure when I first read it. Not a happy one, but still an adventure before anything else. Now, it is a horror story.

However you choose to see it, it will still be a horrifying account of Prendick's stay on the island.
The strongest and, of course, the most disturbing part of the story is Moreau's explanation of his work. The fact that he talks about it as if pain and suffering don't matter, makes it even worse. Combine that with the sounds of a tortured animal day after day and you'll get it. 'This time I will burn out all the animal.' I felt sorry for most of his subjects, but there is something simply disgusting about pigs and hyenas that sickened me every time they appeared. ( )
  Irena. | Nov 3, 2015 |
Dr. Edward Prendick finds himself on a plane that is crashing into the sea. Luckily, he survives and is eventually found on his little raft by a passing ship. Dr. Angela Montgomery nurses him around and eventually the ship drops all passengers and their cargo at a little know island. There, Prendick is pulled into a world of animal experiments that will push the boundaries of his moral compass.

This story is told as a series of flashbacks. Prendick lies in a hospital bed recounting his tale to his insistent daughter. Prendick is a mathematician who did some classified work during WWII. He’s a Brit who is still highly respected in his field by both the British and the Americans. Too bad his plane went down. He was believed lost to the world by all but Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Moreau. I was a little surprised by how much of a delicate flower Prendick was. He was usually freaking out about something or making rash decisions. He was a right nuisance on the island, even if he was the only one with what society would call normal morals. Still, he was a great character for Dr. Montgomery to stand beside and appear very reasonable and I think this made the story more intriguing. As a reader, it forced me to slow down on making a judgement and to truly consider the merits of the work of Moreau and Montgomery.

I was surprised how few lines and appearances Dr. Moreau had in this story (or, at least, this rendition of it). After all, he is the master mind behind all this. So while we see little of him, his large ego leaves a lasting impression. He’s playing God with his experiments and he doesn’t hesitate to say so.

As a biologist, I have long been both repulsed and fascinated by the experiments in this story. When Prendick first meets a few of these talking experiments, he thinks they are merely odd, deformed people. Later, he mistakenly believes that Moreau took living men and experimented on them, bringing out animal characteristics. Once he finds out the truth, that Moreau took animals and gave them human characteristics, he calms down a little, at first. The final step in the experiment is a pretty gruesome, painful one, requiring the chosen animal to remain awake and aware. Not all those who live through the experiment appreciate the gifts they have been given.

As you might guess, things start to spiral out of control shortly after Prendick arrives on the island. Part of the reason is that he goes mucking about in a very excitable manner. But, then, Montgomery and Moreau don’t treat all the living experiments with respect either. Then there is the basic nature of the experiments and what will out in time. It was like the perfect storm.

And then we quickly come to the ending which was rather anticlimactic for Moreau and a bit drawn out for Montgomery and Prendick. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more from Moreau over all for the entire story and I was definitely a little sad to have his part of the story come to a swift end. After all, he is the reason, the driving force, for this tale, right? But then I enjoyed having more time with Montgomery and Prendick. From the flashbacks, we obviously know that Prendick makes it off the island alive somehow. It was fun to see how that came about.

While I have enjoyed other HG Wells stories, this was my first time listening to a version of his book The Island of Doctor Moreau. I was not disappointed. All the drama associated with the moral conundrums of the tale was there. Also, I enjoyed the divided loyalties of Dr. Montgomery, who was saved by Dr. Moreau back during WWII, who loves the science of their work, but also has questions. Prendick was somewhat of a spazzing butterfly much of the time, but this personality trait went well with his sheltered, well mannered, bookish mathematician air. I look forward to future Mondello Publishing performances.

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher (via the GoodReads Audiobooks Group) in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: The performance all around was pretty worthy. Ms. Boltt had a spot on German accent for Montgomery that I really enjoyed. Posner did a great job as the highly excitable Prendick, sounding disturbed throughout the entire performance. I want to say that Jeff Minnerly had a great disgruntled voice for the ship captain and also a perfect mesh of human and monkey for Monkey Man. Bob De Dea did an awesome Hyena Man. There were plenty of animal sounds (screeches, grunts, cries, hyena laughs, etc.) throughout the performance and my hat’s off to that – well done! There was some exciting music in between scenes that I enjoyed, keeping the scene shifts clear to me as the listener. Most of the sound effects were great. There were a handful that took me an extra second or two to identify, but that is my only little quibble on the performance. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Oct 24, 2015 |
What if we're all just man-beasts? ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Although Wells wrote over fifty novels, most people likely only know him for four – The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and this one, The Island Of Dr Moreau. The edition I read was, as pictured, the SF Masterwork hardback – and it took me less than half a page to spot the introduction was by Adam Roberts. Anyway, the story is relatively straightforward – the narrator’s ship collides with a derelict (until the twentieth century, derelicts were surprisingly common, with several hundred floating around the world’s oceans and seas). The narrator is the only survivor and is picked up by a ship delivering animals to an unnamed island. Also aboard this ship is a man called Montgomery, who lives on the island as assistant to a scientist with a shady past, Moreau. The ship dumps the narrator, Prendrick, on the island with Montgomery, and so Prendrick learns of Moreau’s experiments on animals, making them into “Beast Men”. It’s all a bit handwavey – there’s no explanation of how the Beast Men are made intelligent enough to speak or overcome their animal natures. Of course, it all goes horribly wrong – coincidentally while Prendrick is there, and coincidentally, he’s the only survivor. To be honest, I thought Wells laid it all on a bit thick. Prendrick’s outrage and horror crops up on almost every page, and the Beast Men don’t feel especially nuanced. Not Wells’ best, although the central premise is certainly memorable. ( )
  iansales | May 26, 2015 |
I don't think this is Wells' best book, although perhaps if the plot had been a surprise to me instead of already familiar, I might have rated it higher. Still, Wells is a compelling writer always, and I admire his straightforward style from a time when many writers seemed to tie themselves in knots just to get out a sentence. Wells feels more "modern" because of that.

This one is a bit more grotesque than the others of Wells' novels I have read, although still not as scary as War of the Worlds. Once again, Wells proves himself an originator of tropes that now seem like cliches: mad scientist on an isolated island, conducting extreme experiments just because he can. The story does have its weaknesses. For being in the title, Moreau could have been a more well-rounded character, and it might have been more exciting if he had not died off-screen. This might be dismissed as mere pulp fiction, but Wells' writing is smarter than that. Here are two examples where it rises above: the genuinely creepy scene with Pendrick sitting in the dark among the manimals, all chanting, "Are we not men?" And the end, where Pendrick, returned to civilization, looks at the people all around him and can't help but seeing the beasts hidden within. ( )
1 vote sturlington | Mar 23, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wells, H. G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian WilsonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Michele, RossanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kindt, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLean, StevenNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parrinder, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the Lady Vain."
Das Schreien klang draußen noch lauter. Es war, als hätte aller Schmerz der Welt eine Stimme gefunden. Und doch - hätte ich gewußt, daß im Nebenzimmer solcher Schmerz zugefügt wurde, und wäre er stumm ertragen worden, ich glaube - so habe ich mir seither gedacht -, ich hätte es ganz gut aushalten können. Erst, wenn das Leiden Ausdruck findet und unsere Nerven erbeben macht, quält uns das Mitleid.
[Kapitel 8, letzter Absatz - S. 41 in der Ausgabe Das Neue Berlin 1988]
All diese Geschöpfe trugen trotz ihrer menschlichen Form und trotz der Andeutung von Kleidung in sich, in ihre Bewegungen, in den Ausdruck ihrer Gesichter, in ihr ganzes Wesen hinein verwoben, das unverkennbare Zeichen eines Tiers ...
[Kapitel 9, 15. Absatz - S. 45 in der Ausgabe Das Neue Berlin 1988]
Aber, wie gesagt, ich war zu aufgeregt und - das ist wahr, wenn auch jemand, der die Gefahr nie gekannt hat, vielleicht nicht daran glaubt - zu verzweifelt, um zu sterben.
[Kapitel 13, 1. Absatz - S. 68 in der Ausgabe Das Neue Berlin 1988]
"Bis auf diesen Tag hab' ich mich um die Ethik der Angelegenheit noch nie bekümmert. Das Studium der Natur macht den Menschen schließlich so gewissenlos, wie die Natur selbst ist."
[Zitat Dr. Moreau in Kapitel 14, 28. Absatz - S. 79 in der Ausgabe Das Neue Berlin 1988]
Vorher waren sie Tiere gewesen; ihre Instinkte waren ihrer Umgebung angepaßt, und sie selbst so glücklich, wie lebendige Wesen nur sein können. Jetzt stolperten sie in den Fesseln der Menschlichkeit dahin, lebten in einer Angst, die niemals starb, von einem Gesetz gequält, das sie nicht verstanden; ihre halbmenschliche Existenz begann in Qualen, war ein einziger langer, innerer Kampf, eine einzige lange Furcht vor Moreau - und wozu? Die Nutzlosigkeit regte mich auf.
[Kapitel 17, drittletzter Absatz - S. 102 in der Ausgabe Das Neue Berlin 1988]
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Haiku summary
Doctor Moreau
made animals human
but this goes wrong

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553214322, Mass Market Paperback)

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror. Or, as H. G. Wells himself wrote about this story, "The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy. Now and then, though I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, and I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation." This colorful tale by the author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds lit a firestorm of controversy at the time of its publication in 1896.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:43 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Following a shipwreck, a young naturalist finds himself on an island run by a mad scientist intent on creating a strain of beast men

(summary from another edition)

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10 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014144102X, 0141029153, 0141389397

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100534, 1400111145

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