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The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
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The Island Of Doctor Moreau (original 1896; edition 2010)

by H.G. Wells

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,3271181,142 (3.62)1 / 319
Member:G.vanderHeide
Title:The Island Of Doctor Moreau
Authors:H.G. Wells
Info:Gollancz (2010), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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)

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    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (artturnerjr)
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English (111)  Danish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
This is the first book I'm certain I've read by H.G. Wells. His writing is not exceptional. But when I had done with the book I had much the same feeling as when I have awoken from a very bad dream. It is a hard book to get out of your head, but I'm not really sure what it is about. ( )
  themulhern | May 19, 2016 |
OK, but it read a little to much like a book for teenage boys for my own personal taste.

Also, it doesn't seem so out there any more. The vivisection--yuck--but the trying to combine animals and add humanness to animals sounds like something people are TRULY working on. Gene therapy, growing body parts on pigs (I feel like something like this has happened?), using a finger to make a new thumb, genetically modified foods, etc etc are all real things to us. When this book came out I imagine it was a lot more shocking--though not necessarily less scary. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
not sure I could handle seeing the film with Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando - it may ruin them in my eyes forever ! =(
  frahealee | Apr 3, 2016 |
I was on edge during parts of this,which was an experience I had not previously had in reading a book. So, I remember it as a good one. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman named Edward Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a doctor named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are travelling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque, bestial native named M'ling, who appears to be Montgomery's manservant.

When they arrive on the island, however, both the captain of the ship and Doctor Montgomery refuse to take Prendick with either of them, stranding him between the ship and the island. The crew pushes him back into the lifeboat from which they rescued him. When they see that the ship truly intends to abandon him, the islanders take pity and end up coming back for him. Montgomery introduces him to Doctor Moreau, a cold and precise man who conducts research on the island. After unloading the animals from the boat, they decide to house Prendick in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Prendick is exceedingly curious about what exactly Moreau researches on the island, especially after he locks the inner part of the enclosure without explaining why. Prendick suddenly remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.

The next day, Moreau begins working on a puma, and its anguished cries drive Prendick out into the jungle. As he wanders, he comes upon a group of people who seem human but have an unmistakable resemblance to hogs. As he walks back to the enclosure, he suddenly realizes he is being followed. He panics and flees, and in a desperate attempt of defense he manages to stun his attacker, a monstrous hybrid of animal and man. When he returns to the enclosure and questions Montgomery, Montgomery refuses to be open with him. After failing to get an explanation, Prendick finally gives in and takes a sleeping draught.

Prendick awakes the next morning with the previous night's activities fresh in his mind. Seeing that the inner door has been left unlocked, he walks in to find a humanoid form lying in bandages on the table before he is ejected by a shocked and angry Moreau. He believes that Moreau has been vivisecting humans and that he is the next test subject. He flees into the jungle, where he meets an Ape Man who takes him to a colony of similarly half-human/half-animal creatures. The leader, a large gray thing named the Sayer of the Law, has him recite a strange litany called the Law that involves prohibitions against bestial behaviour and praise for Moreau. Suddenly, Moreau bursts into the colony, and Prendick escapes out the back into the jungle. He makes for the ocean, where he plans to drown himself rather than allow Moreau to experiment on him. Moreau and Montgomery confront him, however, and Moreau explains that the creatures, the Beast Folk, are animals he has vivisected to resemble humans. Prendick goes back to the enclosure, where Moreau explains to him that he has been on the island for eleven years now, striving to make a complete transformation from animal to human. Apparently, his only reason for the pain he inflicts is scientific curiosity. Prendick accepts the explanation as it is and begins life on the island.

One day, as he and Montgomery are walking around the island, they come across a half-eaten rabbit. Eating flesh and tasting blood is one of the strongest prohibitions in the Law, so Montgomery and Moreau become very worried. Moreau calls an assembly of the Beast Men. He identifies the Leopard Man (the same one that chased Prendick the first time he wandered into the jungle) as the transgressor. The Leopard Man flees, but when the group corners him in some undergrowth, Prendick takes pity and shoots him, sparing him a return to Moreau's operating table. Moreau is furious but can do nothing about the situation.

As time passes, Prendick begins to deaden himself to the grotesqueness of the Beast Folk. One day, however, he is shaken out of this stagnation when the puma rips free of its restraints and escapes from the lab. Moreau pursues it, but the two end up killing each other. Montgomery falls apart, and having gotten himself quite drunk, decides to share his alcohol with the Beast Men. Prendick tries to stop him, but Montgomery threatens violence and leaves the enclosure alone with bottle in hand. Later in the night, Prendick hears a commotion outside; he rushes out, and sees that Montgomery appears to have been involved in some scuffle with the Beast Folk. He dies in front of Prendick, who is now the last remaining human on the island. After the death, Prendick notices the sky behind him grow brighter and sees that the enclosure is on fire. He realizes that he had knocked over a lamp while rushing out to find Montgomery and that he has no chance of saving any of the provisions located inside the enclosure. He suddenly decides to flee from the island but notices that Montgomery has burnt the only boats, in order to prevent their return to mankind.

He does not attempt to claim Moreau's vacant throne on the island, but he instead settles for living with the Beast Folk as he attempts to build and provision a raft with which he intends to leave the island. He lives on the island for 10 months after the deaths of Moreau and Montgomery. As the time goes by, the Beast Folk increasingly revert to their original animalistic instincts, beginning to hunt the island's rabbits, returning to walking on all fours and leaving their shared living areas for the wild. They also gradually cease to follow Prendick's instructions and eventually kill his faithful companion, a Beast-Man created from a dog. Luckily for him, eventually a ship inhabited by two corpses drifts onto the beach. Prendick dumps the bodies, gets supplies, and leaves the next morning.

He is picked up by a ship only three days later, but when he tells his story the crew thinks he is mad. To prevent himself from being declared insane, he pretends to have no memory of the year he spent between the first shipwreck and his final rescue. When he gets back to England, however, he finds that he is rigidly uncomfortable around other humans, because he has an irrational suspicion that they are all Beast Folk in danger of sudden and violent reversion to animalism. He contents himself with solitude and the study of chemistry and astronomy, finding peace above in the heavenly bodies.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
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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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First words
"I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the Lady Vain."
Quotations
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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This book is in public domain in the USA and the e-book is available free online ...

 
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 9 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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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014144102X, 0141029153, 0141389397

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2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100534, 1400111145

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