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The Island of Dr. Moreau

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  54,019 ratings  ·  1,854 reviews
After a collision between two ships in rough seas, the wreck's sole survivor languished for eight days under a merciless sun. With neither food nor drink death seemed certain, but miraculously, Edward Prendick survived. Yet what he would encounter in the days ahead was more horrible and terrifying than death, for the island on which he landed was the home of the infamous D ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Signet (first published 1896)
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Anna Definitely not. The goriest bits are blood, mentions of "open wounds," sever animal cruelty, and the vivisection, which is never described in full,…moreDefinitely not. The goriest bits are blood, mentions of "open wounds," sever animal cruelty, and the vivisection, which is never described in full, only alluded to.

If you read this book for a book club, you might also be interested in the short story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. The short story is very similar to this book and very thrilling with little to no gore involved. You could compare the two stories and the two antagonists quite well, drawing parallels between the main themes of each story and how they related to the time period they were written for. (The Island of Dr. Mareau was originally written as social commentary on the practice of vivisection.)(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brad
Aug 16, 2011 Brad rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi and/or Horror Geeks
Shelves: sci-fi, mieville50
Much creepier than I expected and much smarter, The Island of Dr. Moreau, as with so much of H.G. Wells' science fiction, addressed the ethical pitfalls of a scientific eventuality far too early to be anything other than prophetic, yet it still manages to be more entertaining than preachy.

Edward Prendick finds himself shipwrecked on an island with Doctors Montgomery and Moreau. The former a follower of the latter, who just happens to be a mad vivisectionist. Beyond these scientists, Prendick fi
...more
MJ Nicholls
The Island of Doctor Moreau? Please! Who among us hasn’t gambolled in fields with apecats, badgies, cockpigs, donrets, elephocks, ferrats, gerbats, horsharks, iguanomones, jagutans, kookakeys, llamoles, monkelots, narwhelks, ostringos, pandicoots, quaileeches, rhinilgais, shaardvarks, tigeels, uintapmunks, volemice, wombulls, xanthraffes, yakapes and zebrams? In your back garden (or if you live in a city, in the countryside—a mythical place where grass exists), trillions of micro-organisms are c ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #16: The Island of Dr Moreau, by HG Wells (1896)

The story in a nutshell:
Along with French author Jules Verne, the British HG Wells is considered one of the
...more
Amber
Edward Prendick is marooned at Sea after his ship and crew capsizes over. He is then rescued by a man named Montgomery who spirits him away to an island to transport wild animals there. When Edward sees the inhuman perversions on the island and meets the mad scientist Dr. Moreau, he fears that he would be next under the doctor's knife and tries to escape from the island. Will he survive? Read the Island of Dr. Moreau and find out for yourself.

This is the first book I have ever read by H.G. Wells
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 23, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
This book can make you lose sleep. It is an easy yet a very engaging read. It is engaging because it is disturbing. While reading, I thought I would like to see any of the movie adaptations. After reading, I decided not to look for it. The images in my mind are enough scare for this novel to remain as one of my favorite classic sci-fi masterpiece.

In this book, I learned about vivisection or the surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central ner
...more
Kaethe
I really don't know why I keep thinking that Wells' stories aren't any good. Before much reading time had passed I was talking to the Spouse about how much more plausible and realistic the story was than I thought it was going to be. And also, his structure is good, how he brings the reader in, how information is revealed, how our narrator changes his opinion as he understands more. The story never went where I expected it to, either.

Who anticipates being surprised by a hundred year old story th
...more
Gregor Xane
Many will dismiss Wells' tale as a racist's fever dream, a parable that blames the failings of English imperialism on subjects who were just too beastly to be properly civilized. And it would be easy to do so. Wells was a vocal proponent of Eugenics, and the text of this book does contain passages like the ones I've reproduced below.

First, Moreau tells of how he used the delicate art of vivisection to carve a 'negroid type' out of an ape he had on hand:

“Then I took a gorilla I had; and upon that
...more
Robert
There must be few educated people alive today who are unaware of the theory of evolution of species, even if they do not know the technical details or if they reject it out right. It is difficult in such a society to imagine the startlement, even shock, many people experienced when Darwin's ideas became widespread for the first time. This book is H.G. Wells' reaction to those ideas. Wells studied biology under Huxley, a great Darwin apologist, and makes his protagonist another such student - one ...more
⊱ Irena ⊰
'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 i
...more
Cheryl
The isolation of a remote island, populated with strange hybrids who walk upright and understand language but are more animal-like than human, is a perfect setting for observing human nature.

The menagerie of beasts that have both human and animal characteristics are the life's work of the vivisectionist, Doctor Moreau, scandalized by fellow English scientists and forced to locate on a remote island to continue his research.

The shipwrecked Edward Prendick is rescued by Montgomery, Moreau's assist
...more
Penny
This is not what I'd call an enjoyable book, but it certainly was very good. It makes for uncomfortable reading as you delve deeper into the weird and disturbing world of Dr. Moreau.

Wells is a brilliant story teller and I found myself deeply immersed in this world in which I'd really rather not have been. It was creepy.

The questions of humanity and what it is that makes us human was very interesting. The beast vs the human.

I wouldn't recommend this as light reading but it's a classic for a re
...more
j
This book will always be indelibly associated in my mind with an ailing, bloated Marlon Brandon mumbling through his part as the title character while being followed around by a tiny, identically dressed dwarf. I'm sorry, H.G. Wells, that's just the way it is.

This is a pretty good sci-fi horror story, especially considering it's so old and peppered with casual racism. It's not quite as good as The Time Machine, but it's similar in a lot of ways. What is Wells' obsession with all his books being
...more
Joe Valdez
Feb 11, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Castaways, Beast People, mad scientists
Shelves: sci-fi-general
I read The Island of Dr. Moreau with distant but vivid memories of the 1977 TV movie starring Burt Lancaster and Michael York, and no frame of reference with the infamous 1996 film version starring Marlon Brando and David Thewlis, which I avoided. The novel starts out with a bang but seemed like a draft instead of a novella, with Wells outlining ideas for a future work and not getting around to writing the book yet.

The story is the first-person account of Edward Prendick, sole survivor of the L
...more
Rick F.
The Island of Dr. Moreau is the third HG Wells novel I have read this year. The Time Machine and The Invisible man are the others. I have enjoyed all three so very much, each are so engaging and far far ahead of their time. The Island of Dr. Moreau is very much the achetype of a perennial classic. Why? Simply because it becomes more and more relevent as the medical achievments CATCH UP to his theories! With all the recent advances in gene therapy, cloning ect, what seemed to many in late 19th Ce ...more
Stuart
The Island of Dr. Moreau: A dark fable of mad science and Beast Men
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
H.G. Wells' 1896 novel is dark, disturbing and thought-provoking. Coming just several decades after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), it tells the tale of a man named Edward Prendrick who gets shipwrecked on a remote island, subsequently encountering a sinister figure named Dr. Moreau, who he discovers conducts vivisections of animals, combining various cre
...more
Jim
I was of two minds while reading H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau. On one hand, I thought it was a terrific idea for a story; and I even begin to suspect that this is where Wells excels in his fiction.

On the other hand, his concept of character is too static. There are only three humans in the novel: Edward Prendick (the narrator), Moreau (the mad scientist), and Montgomery (his alcoholic assistant). Moreau is completely static. Montgomery's character is mostly static, until his sympathy
...more
Yousra


رواية مرعبة

لا، بل هي رواية كابوسية لمن هم مثلي ... فأنا أخاف بشدة من الأمور الخاصة بالأمراض التي تشوه من يصاب بها كالجًُذام مثلا أو ما ندر من أمراض تغير شكل المصابين بها وتشوههم، كذلك لم أقو يوما على النظر في الصور الخاصة بضحايا القنابل النووية في هيروشيما ونجازاكي ، ولا أطيق بالمثل ما يتعلق باللعب في الجينات والهندسة الوراثية وكل ما من شأنه التغيير في ما خلقه الله خاصة إذا ما تعلق ذلك بالبشر أو الحيوانات

وأتذكر يوما أرسل لي فيه صديق فيديو ضد التجارب على الحيوان ... وكان فيديو قمئ لا يمكن مشاه
...more
Jacob
March 2010
“Like a lot of Wells’s work, this is an uneasy mixture of progressive and reactionary notions. It makes for one of the great horror stories of all time. A fraught examination of colonialism, science, eugenics, repression, and religion: a kind of fantasy echo of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”
(China Mieville, from Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read)


That’s, um, that’s more than I got out of it.

Oh, don’t get me wrong--I noticed the horror, the examinations o
...more
Frederick
I expected this to be good, but I didn't expect it to be scary. But it is.
I also suspect it had a direct influence on a work of major importance: "Heart Of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad.
I see traces of this in two of George Orwell's novels, written half a century later: ANIMAL FARM and 1984.
Throw in LORD OF THE FLIES and you've got about 75 years' worth of books which take a lot of cues from THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU.
This book is less a warning about science than a warning about man's penchant
...more
Tracey
Do you have a ghoulish fascination for the macabre, the unspeakable, the unusual? and a VERY strong stomach then this book is for you.
The story is fantastical and politically incorrect. Vivisection is always going to be a tricky subject matter. Don't let it put you off reading this.
H.G.Wells is a great writer and his imagination appears boundless. The creatures he has imagined in this book are weird and wonderful a mixture of beasts humanised but will nature win out or will 'The house of pain' e
...more
7jane
Much reviews have been written on this book, so I just say some personal bits.

This was one of those books which has a point hard to get over to continue reading. Some books are just like that to me: a point where a trouble starts, or an argument is had, or something. It's not a long book, but quite intense.

I think the chapter on just hearing the sound of the puma's suffering (it had already suffered during a long sea travel in a too-small cage) was quite distressing - I hate even reading of the
...more
Kelly
Wow! I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. The story is so surreal, and the fact that he can make this scenario remotely plausible in your imagination amazes me. It was fun and easy to read. Perfectly creepy!!
DramaQueen
The Island of Doctor Moreau is the second book I've read from H.G. Wells. After The War of the Worlds, which didn't impress me that much (although I liked the deeper meaning, but read my review on that for more info), I was still quite excited for The Island of Doctor Moreau, but also a bit apprehensive. Was this going to be a disappointment as well?

“The ocean rose up around me, hiding that low, dark patch from my eyes. The daylight, the trailing glory of the sun, went streaming out of the sky,
...more
K4tie
This reads very much like an H.P. Lovecraft tale. Although that isn't really fair because H. G. Wells wrote this way before H.P. Lovecraft. (1890's vs 1930's). So it appears Lovecraft had a muse for his style. Imagine that! If you already knew that bare with me, this is new ground for me. I was completely unprepared for what this story was about because I remember watching the black and white movie years ago, although the contents of the movie that I remember are COMPLETELY incorrect. I remember ...more
Linda
This book was really disturbing, even though I knew what to expect.

The story is about the shipwrecked Prendick, ending up on an unfamiliar island with no name but with a lot going on. There is Montgomery, the man who saves him from dying on the ship, and Dr Moreau, a rather secretive person. Then there are some other "people". At first sight, something seems strange with these abnormal looking men, but Prendick can't figure out what's wrong. As the story unfolds, it turns out the "people" are in
...more
Laura
Free download available at eBooks@Adelaide.

Opening lines:
I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the “Lady Vain.” As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The longboat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days after by H. M. gunboat “Myrtle,” and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible “Medusa” case.


Two movie versions were made based on this boo
...more
Ben Babcock
I am more and more impressed with H.G. Wells. This is the third book of his I've read, and it's by far the best. The first two were The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine , arguably better known than The Island of Dr. Moreau but not, in my opinion, better works of fiction.

As with those other two books, The Island of Dr. Moreau features a first-person erudite British male narrator. Much like the narrator of The War of the Worlds, Edward Prendick finds himself in the middle of an untenable
...more
Chris
I knew the high level concept of this book from allusions in other stories and movies, but I'd never read the original novel. It was a bit different from what I expected.

The writing style is very accessible and fluid while also being jam-packed with very vivid and detailed descriptions as well as some in-depth scientific and moralistic discussions. The first few pages were a little slow, but the rest of the book, except for a paragraph here and there, flew by and kept me very hooked.

The story is
...more
Alex
Okay, Island of Doctor Moreau is rollicking stuff: fast-moving, lurid, fun and, of course, the inspiration for the name of one of our most literate musical groups. (BTW, just think for a moment about what House of Pain were implying by calling themselves that. It's actually a pretty badass name.)

It's also the first Victorian book I've read that tackles Darwin. (I'm sure I'll find others.) Wells seems to get it: Dr. Moreau says, "I never yet heard of a useless thing that was not ground out of exi
...more
Chris

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I am not a huge H.G. Wells fan. I’m just not. I know I should read more of his work, but well.

Anyway, I must admit that if Mondello does anymore live cast version of his books, I’m all in.

It’s true that this audio play version does change the story. It moves the story up to after the Second World War and makes Montgomery a German woman, but these changes work and also make the story more compelling e
...more
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Thrillers & C...: Reading progress 8 3 May 10, 2015 12:48PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Dr Moreau" First Impressions *No Spoilers* 69 203 Oct 09, 2014 10:20AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Dr Moreau" Final Thoughts *Spoilers* 16 89 Aug 12, 2014 07:11PM  
Guardian Newspape...: April: The Island of Dr Moreau 4 14 Apr 22, 2014 10:10AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: "Dr Moreau" The Adaptations *Spoilers* 4 43 Apr 16, 2014 07:11PM  
Hardcopies: The P...: Opinions/Comments? 5 14 Jan 27, 2014 07:06AM  
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In 1866, (Herbert George) H.G. Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government schol ...more
More about H.G. Wells...
The Time Machine The War of the Worlds The Invisible Man The Time Machine/The Invisible Man The First Men in the Moon

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