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The Island of Doctor Moreau (Penguin Red…

The Island of Doctor Moreau (Penguin Red Classics) (original 1896; edition 2007)

by H. G. Wells

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,0371041,262 (3.62)1 / 312
Title:The Island of Doctor Moreau (Penguin Red Classics)
Authors:H. G. Wells
Info:London : Penguin, 2007
Collections:Novels & Novellas

Work details

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

  1. 80
    Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Both books share a similar blend of science fiction and horror.
  2. 20
    Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle (allenmichie)
  3. 10
    Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Mad doctor's breeding program on a remote island. What could go wrong?
  4. 10
    The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Bioy Casares uses "The Island of Doctor Moreau" as a model for his own "The Invention of Morel", also set on a island, but a much stranger one...
  5. 10
    Next by Michael Crichton (mcenroeucsb)
  6. 00
    The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (sturlington)
    sturlington: Mad scientists.
  7. 11
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (mcenroeucsb)
  8. 00
    Under the Skin by Michel Faber (HighlandLad)
  9. 11
    Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov (Michael.Rimmer)

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English (99)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
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.

"Read" as an audiobook (2015). ( )
1 vote sturlington | Mar 23, 2015 |
I had an idea of what the book was about, I had either seen a movie or heard about a movie. Like is always the case when I write about a book considered a classic, I have a hard time writing a review. The story starts with the nephew of Edward Prendick telling about his Uncle being lost at sea and found and then later when he died, his nephew found among his papers this account of what happened. This is was a common literary ploy in this time period.

The ship Mr. Prendick was sailing on sank, he escaped on a life raft with two other, who died or killed each other, and he almost died of exposure but was saved, then set adrift again, then saved again. His savior is a man named Montgomery and he has the most unusual attendant, and he is Dr. Moreau’s assistant. Once on the island Prendick is kept in the dark, is stalked by then meets some of the ‘inhabitants’, jumps to the wrong conclusion (which I thought was rather stupid considering what he heard and saw), then is straightened out, then tragedy strikes and he has to survive until he has to escape.

This is a science fiction horror story, the thought crosses my mind that this book exemplifies the saying: Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. The terror that Prendick experiences is conveyed very well by the sparse words and matter of fact of way it’s told. The ethical questions posed by this novel do not detract from a very fine read. ( )
1 vote BellaFoxx | Feb 14, 2015 |
weird but well-written ( )
1 vote anitatally | Feb 3, 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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Average: (3.62)
1 18
1.5 2
2 59
2.5 20
3 281
3.5 112
4 347
4.5 24
5 148


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

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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