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The Island of Doctor Moreau

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  83,202 ratings  ·  3,608 reviews
Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for mis ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Bantam Classics (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)
Nat Note that the Introduction is not the type you get in some editions of books where it is someone other than the author critically analysing the work.…moreNote that the Introduction is not the type you get in some editions of books where it is someone other than the author critically analysing the work. The Introduction in this book is part of the novel - written by H.G. Wells.

Keeping this in mind, I would say "definitely read it". (less)

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3.72  · 
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Raeleen Lemay
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*finally read the book*

This was awesome! This book was like some sort of weird mashup between Lord of the Flies and Frankenstein, with a little dash of Sweet Tooth. Sounds weird, but.... well, this book was definitely weird, but I love weird! I read this book because of how heavily it influences the third season of Orphan Black (aka my fave show), so reading it with that in mind was really interesting. The book is about a man who is stranded on an island where Dr Moreau has been messing around w
...more
Lisa
H.G. Wells is undoubtedly an exceptional human being!

Apart from the fact that "The Island of Doctor Moreau" is clearly part of the Victorian science fiction tradition, it contains all elements of a timeless study of the human condition, as well as a reflection on issues that are more worrying now than they were in the 19th century.

Do scientists have to follow ethical rules, or are they entitled to indulge in experiments that satisfy their curiosity, regardless of the consequences? In the traditi
...more
Brad
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SciFi and/or Horror Geeks
Shelves: mieville50, sci-fi
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
Lyn
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it
"Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

Not to eat Flesh or Fish; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"

H.G. Wells 1896 novella The Island of Dr. Moreau may have been a science fiction / fantasy precursor of William Golding’s 1954 classic Lord of the Flies. Both works explore the theme of the fragility of humanity
...more
Bill  Kerwin

Popular historian and utopian novelist H.G. Wells is sometimes thought of as the “anti-Gibbon”: whereas Edward Gibbon devoted himself to studying a culture’s “decline and fall”, H.G. Well’s celebrates the march of progress, showing how our culture, despite many obvious setbacks, moves on toward greater and greater achievements. But Wells, although an optimist by nature, was also a gifted literary artist, and when he seized upon an idea with disquieting implications, he did not hesitate to explor
...more
Matthew
3 to 3.5 stars

A quick classic! Good, but not great.

It feels like this was Wells’ treatise on science playing God thinly veiled in a story. It is about 2/3 textbook dissertation about the possibilities and ramifications of body modification/species merge. The other 1/3 is the actual story of action and mayhem on Dr. Moreau’s island. Many times this story made me think about Frankenstein. I mean, are there any stories of mad scientist creators where their insane experiments that throw caution to t
...more
Leonard Gaya
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book stems from an idea that is at the same time thought-provoking, insane and very tangible. That is probably the reason why it is so scary. It is a classic of the victorian era, but for some reason probably not as famous as many other fictions of the “gothic” movement and indeed not as well known as a few other novels by H.G. Wells (such as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man or The War of the Worlds). But it definitely deserves to be read again today.

The plot is rather simple: a castaway
...more
Glenn Russell


“Before, they had been beasts, their instincts fitly adapted to their surroundings, and happy as living things may be. Now they stumbled in the shackles of humanity, lived in a fear that never died, fretted by a law they could not understand; their mock-human existence, begun in an agony, was one long internal struggle, one long dread of Moreau.” - H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau is H.G. Wells’ 1896 classic tale of a mad scientist creating nearly two hundred h
...more
Paul Bryant
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
I think Vegans will like this book because they would say this is what happens if you start to eat dairy and wear leather, suede, pearls, silk or fur. Eventually you will think nothing of eating pepperoni pizza and monkey brains. And from eating animals it will be a short step to thinking it’s okay to experiment on them for better cosmetics. And from that it’s only natural that you will end up creating a horrible race of Beast People by vivisection on an isolated island in the South Pacific. Wel ...more
Bradley
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pain and savagery. Mostly pain. This is the Island of Doctor Moreau. :)

I admit I was kinda caught up on LIKING the whole idea of man-beasts or beast-men more than the execution here. As an old SF tale, it reads more like the dark side of Darwin meets the dark side of Victorian mores. Are we not beasts? Where's our civilization now? lol

But in point of fact... it's all about the pain. I think Wells was in a lot of pain as he wrote this. It's igore the pain this, ignore the pain that, be a MAN, dam
...more
William2
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Margaret Atwood reminds us in her introduction here of just how beloved The Island Of Dr. Moreau was by the inimitable Jorge Luis Borges, who called it an “atrocious miracle.” “Speaking of Wells’s early tales—The Island Of Dr. Moreau among them—he said ‘I think they will be incorporated, like the fables of Theseus or Ahasuerus, into the general memory of the species and even transcend the fame of their creator or the extinction of the language in which they were written.’” Just for the record, t ...more
Apatt
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-80s-sf
“Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?"
“Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
“Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
“Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
“Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?”
"You gotta fight for your right to paaaaarty!"


Sorry for a spoiler so early on but yes, The Beastie Boys are to be found on the unnamed – but titular – Island of Dr. Moreau. Sort of.

Interestingly The Island
...more
Agnieszka
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I’ve decided to catch up some classics this year and H.G.Wells with The Island of Dr Moreau was my first choice. Rather successful I think. It worked for me on different levels. Less as horror story obviously more as a trigger to ponder about some valid and timeless questions.

How far can we go to satisfy our curiosity, do scientists to achieve their goal should be deaf to suffering of the objects of their studies, can we throw all the compassion and empathy and ethic and morals and scrupules o
...more
Edward
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biographical Note
Introduction & Note, by Margaret Atwood
Further Reading
Note on the Text


--The Island of Doctor Moreau

Notes
Quirkyreader
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story was even more disturbing and intriguing the second time around.
Jason Pettus
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
(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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I started this in early August, but it took me a while to finish it. One of the reasons is it's a profoundly unsettling book. I'm a scientist by training, and I take the ethics of science pretty personally. Dr. Moreau crosses so many ethical/moral lines in his experimentation, it's not even funny. Some things just should not be done, even if it's to advance scientific knowledge. I am also a inveterate lover of animals, and I felt a horrible rage at the way Dr. Moreau was torturing animals. I fee ...more
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Buddy-read with the Bitchin' Kristin.

Set to commence October 1...



Look at me, getting all classic in my spooktober this year... (for those of you new to this, I am a HUGE Halloween fan. The month of October in Ninjalandia is dedicated to all those things which go bump in the night - and day.)



W, is for Wells

3 Stars

Okay, so I am officially the worst buddy-reader ever, Kristin hasn’t even started this yet! However, owing to the insanity that is spooktober, and the fact that I am starting another b
...more
7jane
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
'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
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
Jolene
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There is - though I do not know how there is or why there is - a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven."

4.5 stars. This was a quick yet engrossing read. Think Frankenstein meets Lord of the Flies. I found it incredibly sad, but with important and fascinating commentary regarding the implications of science and religion on humanity and morality. Overall, this story certainly gives the reader a lot to 'dissect.' See what I did there? I'll show myself out.
Leo .
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be able to write about these concepts before anybody else was talking about it. Genetics. Mutation. What imagination Wells had. It must have been mesmerizing to have read this book when it first came into print. We see so much of this now in films and TV shows. Super hero's and Agents of Shield. X-men etc. DARPA springs to mind. Trans Humanism.

Anyhow, Wells was one of the pioneers in the fantasy "fiction" genre. I say fiction loosely. 👍🐯
Tracey
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Amber
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooksiown
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
Luís C.
Edward Prendick "fails" on the island of Doctor Moreau. Very quickly, he realizes that it is populated by creatures stemming from the experimentation of the doctor. A half-beast half-man, or beasts who take themselves for men.
Actual lack of intrigue, very limited suspense, short format but almost too long.
Lack of visual, not horrified, barely stunned, may be horrible and visionary in 1896, but I have already read much more violent, more powerful and more addictive. In short, a narrative without
...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
H.G. Wells truly could see into the future...this book is truly a foreshadowing of some of the bioethical debates going on right now. But the question to my GR friends is: what is more bestial...beasts who must follow 'The Law' or men who put beasts into that position? It seems to me that is a question that still echoes into our age.
Kaethe Douglas
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
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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6,834 followers
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 scho ...more
“I hope, or I could not live.” 111 likes
“I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world” 70 likes
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