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Classics Illustrated (#12) The Island of Doctor Moreau

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One of H.G. Wells’ most visionary tales, The Island of Dr. Moreau relates the disturbing tale of Prendick, a shipwrecked naturalist who unwittingly discovers a horrific scientific and social experiment that is creating a blurred race of hideous creatures, half-human and half-best. Terrifying and spellbinding, Wells’ masterpiece warns of the catastrophe that could result wh One of H.G. Wells’ most visionary tales, The Island of Dr. Moreau relates the disturbing tale of Prendick, a shipwrecked naturalist who unwittingly discovers a horrific scientific and social experiment that is creating a blurred race of hideous creatures, half-human and half-best. Terrifying and spellbinding, Wells’ masterpiece warns of the catastrophe that could result when man recklessly tampers with nature. Eric Vincent’s artwork vividly summons up the nightmarish life in Dr. Moreau’s tortured world.


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One of H.G. Wells’ most visionary tales, The Island of Dr. Moreau relates the disturbing tale of Prendick, a shipwrecked naturalist who unwittingly discovers a horrific scientific and social experiment that is creating a blurred race of hideous creatures, half-human and half-best. Terrifying and spellbinding, Wells’ masterpiece warns of the catastrophe that could result wh One of H.G. Wells’ most visionary tales, The Island of Dr. Moreau relates the disturbing tale of Prendick, a shipwrecked naturalist who unwittingly discovers a horrific scientific and social experiment that is creating a blurred race of hideous creatures, half-human and half-best. Terrifying and spellbinding, Wells’ masterpiece warns of the catastrophe that could result when man recklessly tampers with nature. Eric Vincent’s artwork vividly summons up the nightmarish life in Dr. Moreau’s tortured world.

30 review for Classics Illustrated (#12) The Island of Doctor Moreau

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    Welcoming the body horror genre, paired with a classical mad scientists´ approach towards progressive research methods and creating special forms of new life, Wells shows how secret living biological weapons programs were done in the good, old, elitist days. Luckily, science has evolved and today´s resident evil style chimeras are much more sophisticated and produced in hidden secret professional public private partnership military industrial complex hives. Wells puts a lot in this short one, hu Welcoming the body horror genre, paired with a classical mad scientists´ approach towards progressive research methods and creating special forms of new life, Wells shows how secret living biological weapons programs were done in the good, old, elitist days. Luckily, science has evolved and today´s resident evil style chimeras are much more sophisticated and produced in hidden secret professional public private partnership military industrial complex hives. Wells puts a lot in this short one, human nature, ethics of science, evolution, culture, tradition, genetics, epigenetic, torture medicine, ironic innuendos towards the ideological waves of his time I may be just imagining or not understanding, some really good shock and wtf moments, and in general a realistic and early view on what genetic engineering will have still hidden in the cards held by tentacles, fingers, and whatever one doesn´t want to think of in detail. As I always tend to say, who controls biotechnology and nanotechnology in the future will rule earth, it´s comparable to guns, agriculture, writing, engines, etc. States without the key technologies will fade away and be forgotten in future history just as stone age tribes, sitting on dead, devasted earth while the new superpowers will first mine the solar system and later the rest of the galaxy. Hopefully, they will send subsidies and development aid to their primitive predecessors on the once blue planet. One could also see this as an allegory of how modern people of these days tended to look at animals and indigenous people, how all that racism and colonial megalomania provided the ground for fascism and white supremacy, and what weird dudes the people in the 19th and beginning 20th century must have been. Today they would be commuting between the psychiatric hospitals, prisons, and extremist groups´ and parties´ meetings. A few years ago I would have cited some of my favorite sci-fi authors or created some fictional news quotes, but thanks to CRISPR, biotechnology, and general technological singularity with many departments needed to play flying spaghetti monster, the science articles and research is coming closer and closer to a mixture of these old ideas and my beloved Resident evil series. It´s going to come, it will be done, and I will want to be or have a modified…hm. Eagle, bear, bonobo… Tricky, I ought choose wisely, because it might take a few months or even years to switch species, gender, age, personality, etc. again. Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    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 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 by the name of Prendick ends up on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean and meets the infamous Dr. Moreau and his assistant. Dr. Moreau is known for having practiced vivisection experiments some years before in London and, as a result, was excluded from the scientific community. Prendick later discovers that Moreau has been carrying on with his experiments and has created some monstrous beasts, while trying to turn animals into some wretched semblance of human beings. This discovery is planted and built up with some amount of suspense right from the first pages until it is fully exposed around the middle of the novel, in the chapter entitled “Doctor Moreau Explains”. The second part of the book is a nail-biting account of the catastrophic series of events that follow the dreadful discovery. Obviously, “The Island of Dr. Moreau” is in the same vein as Gustav Meyrink’s The Golem or Shelley’s Frankenstein (it can also evoke earlier figures like Shakespeare’s Prospero and Caliban in The Tempest, or even Shylock’s most famous lines in The Merchant of Venice). It is about the hubris of men attempting to imitate God and create a human being with the help of science. The result is invariably dreadful and deadly. Wells original treatment of this theme rests upon the idea of vivisectional experiments carried on animals in an isolate place: mammals are surgically and chemically modified to look and behave as much as humans as they possibly can. But the mental distress caused by this novel lies of the fact that these attempts are always cruel, disastrous and abortive. The Isserley of Under the Skin is a distant relative of Moreau's creatures. In some way, this book presages WWII’s Nazi’s “scientific” testings or even today's plausible out-of-line genetic engineering initiatives. Wells closes the book with these words: “the manufacture of monsters - an perhaps even quasi-human monsters - is within the possibilities of vivisection.” But, more deeply, perhaps, the horror lies in the fact that this fiction shows how feeble and unreal our human values are (including religious ones), and how easily men can fall back below animality.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This was my first time reading this classic sci-fi morality tale, and it wasn't exactly what I expected. <--not in a bad way I thought it was going to be this Island where Dr. Moreau was splicing and dicing genes and coming up with human-animal hybrids. And then this new guy was going to come along and find out what he was up to and they would talk science. And the new guy would say, This is a bad idea!, and Moreau would say, Nah, it's all good!, and then some shit would happen and the new guy wo This was my first time reading this classic sci-fi morality tale, and it wasn't exactly what I expected. <--not in a bad way I thought it was going to be this Island where Dr. Moreau was splicing and dicing genes and coming up with human-animal hybrids. And then this new guy was going to come along and find out what he was up to and they would talk science. And the new guy would say, This is a bad idea!, and Moreau would say, Nah, it's all good!, and then some shit would happen and the new guy would run off, and Moreau would live on his creepy island with his critters. I don't know why I thought it would end well for Moreau other than he had an island named after him. So, he was not doing any genetic splicing. He was chopping up live animals and...well, it really doesn't make any sense. But he was using vivisection to come up with man-like animals. It was gross, to say the least. I mean, you don't get details, but there's this panther that keeps screaming and moaning and keeping the new guy awake and...*shudders* Ok. So the new guy's name is Edward Prendick. <--dick. heh. He finds himself shipwrecked, then rescued by a boat with a passenger named Montgomery on it. Montgomery takes pity on Ed and nurses him back to health. Once he's up and about, he notices that Montgomery's manservant is a bit odd. Something wasn't right, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Still, the guy saved his life, so there's no need to bring it up. Or so he thinks. Never ignore red flags in your friends, kids. At some point, the Captain of the ship (who is a bit of an ass) takes a serious dislike to Edward. And he's already freaked the fuck out by Montgomery and his weird servant. So, when the time comes to drop them (and the animals they were transporting) off on The Island of Dr. Moreau, the Captain tells our hero he's got to go, too. But for some reason, Montgomery is hesitant about bringing him to the island. However, once Edward is set afloat on a dingy with a canteen of water and no chance of survival, Montgomery reluctantly decides to let him tag along. This is a whole part of the story I was unaware existed. But it does go a long way to explaining what the hell a normal guy was doing on this freakshow of an island. I think everyone can kind of guess the basic gist of what happens next. Edward slowly realizes he's trapped on this hunk of sand with a mad scientist and the ticking time bombs he created. And just how Moreau did it remains unexplained, because there's just no way that you can stitch together a few parts and come up with a humanoid animal that can gargle out words. This begs another relevant question. We know where he got the animals from, but where the hell do the human parts come from?! I decided it was best to just let that whole train of thought go because I just know the answer wasn't going to be anything I'd like. And how does society work on this strange island? Well, the doctor keeps his creations in line with the help of a made-up religion, because he's no dummy. And also with the threat of painful punishments, because he's sadistic. Moreau is an absolute peach of a man and you feel terrible when not everything works out the way he thinks it will. <--I'm kidding, of course. Because like most ideas that come from people playing god, things eventually go tits up and his monsters turn on him. It's kind of funny. There's quite a bit that happens after the good doctor gets dethroned and a lot of it is excellent food for thought. Or at least, it would have been back in the day. This was one of the better sci-fi classics that I've read because while the science doesn't hold up, the ethical and moral questions still do.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    "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 "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 and civilization and the unguarded impetus towards chaos inherent in us all. Or it’s a fun book about a guy stuck on an island with beast people. The character of Dr. Moreau himself can be seen as an extension of Dr. Frankenstein, willfully toying with the mysteries of creation for his own scientific curiosity and blithely uncaring about his experiments until he is forced to deal with it. In this sense, Wells’ work is fundamentally tied to modern writing about the morality and ethics of genetics and with the integrity of our science and technology and how it affects nature. Published a couple of years before Joseph Conrad’s brilliant Heart of Darkness, this also provokes thought about the intellectual climate of the end of the 1800s to lead such talented writers towards these questions. Sometimes this can be painfully dated and the language is in that stilted Victorian prose, and there are some gaps in the plot, but this is a seminal work that should be read for fans of speculative fiction. *** 2021 Reread - This is so damn twisted I may need to reread every year just to keep myself grounded. Classic. Classic. Science Fiction. The House of Pain. No I'm not about to jump around (or maybe I will!) but this time I paid close attention to the nefarious Moreau, and he was quite the mad scientist. No, really, evil guy. Wells was actually responding to a theme in scientific discussion of his day, going back as far the 1870s about the morality of vivisection and Darwinian philosophy and this could be a very early precursor to genetic ethics. Moreau's soliloquy to Prendig about his cruelty and how he casually casts aside the people he has created in whom he finds disappointment had a sexual-sadistic undertone to it that was frightening and I'm surprised at my earlier self for not making note of that before. Moreau was not the absent minded professor, so engrossed in his own ideas as to be oblivious to the harm he was causing, HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT PAIN HE CAUSED, and just didn't care. Did Mr. Mengele read Wells? A MUST read for fans of the genre, especially foundational SF.

  5. 4 out of 5

    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 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 tradition of a kind of pre-catastrophe Frankenstein, Doctor Moreau himself answers the question without any doubt: "I asked a question, devised some method of getting an answer, and got - a fresh question. Was this possible, or that possible? You cannot imagine what this means to an investigator, what an intellectual passion grows upon him. [...] To this day, I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter." While Wells leaves it to Moreau's creatures to punish him for this detached attitude, I am reminded of a real scientist who reflected upon the question himself, and understood the ethical dilemma of unrestrained science. When Oppenheimer quoted the "Bhagadvad Gita" to express his pain over his contribution to the development of the atomic bomb, he illustrated the path towards responsible science: "I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds!" The need to understand the consequences of scientific curiosity is the implicit message. Only if we manage to act responsibly with our inventions, hope in the future will be possible. Interestingly, Wells ends his story with the notion of hope, not because there is any reason for it, but because it is not possible to live without it. This closes the circle of Pandora's box, opened out of curiosity, unleashing all the terrors of the world, but leaving hope for humankind to be able to bear its fate. Apart from the obvious question of science and ethics, I found another story line in the short novel equally interesting. What makes us human? Main character Prendick paraphrases Descartes' idea when he notes: "He was a human then[...] for he could talk." Being able to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas certainly makes us human, and it makes us storytelling animals, readers, Goodreads users. Over and over again, we repeat our stories, we reread them and re-interpret them, and I find it almost heart-breaking to follow the Beast Men's ritualistic repetition of the story they commit to - The Law, told with authority, transmitted as a poem to recite. It evokes the development of Margaret Atwood's Crakers, who also need religious origin stories and powerful poetical words to become fully human. Her MaddAddam develops the idea of humanity as a community based on mythical storytelling to perfection, but Wells reflected on the same theme, as did Oppenheimer, when he chose to quote a timeless Indian classic to express his feelings of distress regarding the creation of modern horror. Looking around my house on this typical Swedish sunless summer day, I can only agree with the definition of humanity as a bunch of voracious story consumers: My eldest son is on the living room sofa, reading Zola's "Germinal", and I am vaguely jealous that he gets to do it for the FIRST time. The magic of it! My middle child is on his bed, reading a fabulous golden hardback version of Star Wars, the trilogy, and the story behind this reading adventure is well worth reflecting on: he found it in a bookstore, and begged me to buy it, despite the fact that he had already seen the movies, and we have as a rule that you read first and watch then. But since he DIDN'T KNOW there was a (thick!) novel, he asked for permission to reverse the procedure. Verdict on his part: so much more detail in the book! My youngest child is at the kitchen table with a pile of books that she seems to be reading simultaneously: She is in the middle of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and well into the fourth or fifth of "Anne of Green Gables". Oh, to be going back to Avonlea with her. Another memory of childhood reading bliss! So, I can hear my Middle School students pointing out that I am digressing from the digression right now, but my point is that "The Island of Doctor Moreau" brought it back to me why I read in the first place, why it makes me feel happy even when the content of the book scares and worries me. There is something unifying, peaceful and fulfilling in sharing books over cultural, generational and language borders, and it gives me hope for the future, even in times of violence. I will let Prendick have the last words, since he inspired this digression: "There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope. I hope, or I could not live."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    "There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope. I hope, or I could not live." Unique, peculiar and interesting science fiction story by H.G.Wells with elements of horror. The book is highly atmospherical and if you love books that are set on an island, around the sea and castaway stories, which I always adore for summertime, this a great read. "There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope. I hope, or I could not live." Unique, peculiar and interesting science fiction story by H.G.Wells with elements of horror. The book is highly atmospherical and if you love books that are set on an island, around the sea and castaway stories, which I always adore for summertime, this a great read. The horror element is present in an ambiance of dread of torture of animals, so adamant advocates of animal rights and more sensitive, empathetic individuals could be highly disturbed. The premise of the scientist with God complex, wanting to create with his knowledge something unique, disregarding moral and ethical norms, is a theme seen in Wells's work in The Invisible Man and, more so, in the work of other authors, in Frankenstein and The Golem. Dr. Monreau values only his scientific curiosity, and he is ready to ignore all possible destructive consequences of his experiments and that kind of ignorance can lead only to ruin. This sets a question relevant for the debate also in the modern world; is scientific progress more important than core ideals, and what are things that we can and cannot sacrifice for the advancement of science. Fiction yet again warns us of the grave danger of urge for the progress of reason and technology, disregarding both emotions and morality. “You cannot imagine what this means to an investigator, what an intellectual passion grows upon him. [...] To this day, I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter." Dr. Moreau is a biologist that uses vivisection, a long and highly painful procedure, to turn animals into creatures that have both human and animal characteristics. Dr. Moreau's creatures are ultimately his (view spoiler)[demise and death (hide spoiler)] , which enacts the drama of the creature turning against a creator. He wants to bend biology, the inherent order of nature to his own will, a quest set for ultimate failure. As dr. Frankenstein, dr. Moreau has no morality, love, nor compassion regarding formed creatures, and his authority among them is established through fear and terror. In light of a God complex, he wants to be worshiped among his creatures and establishes a religion with a set of rules that go against animal nature and forces them to be civilized. Dr. Monreau wants to be worshiped and adored not based on the relationship he forms with them, but fear of the terror of punishment in form of torture. “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?" Here we can find a critique of religion, setting a form of rules going against human biology, such as overly strict rules of sexuality, that are again and again set to fail in reality, exactly as Dr. Monreau's religion for animal creatures was set for demise. The book can be used as a starting point for discussion about differences in human and animal mode of life and being. In analytical psychology, animals are considered to be symbols of primordial urges and uncontrollable drives of unconsciousness, representing both primal sexuality and aggressiveness. But Jung, also noted that animals can represent the sublime and divine side of the human psyche, believing that animals are much more in contact with the secret order of nature and absolute knowledge of the collective unconscious. In some sense, the development of human cognition and consciousness makes men disconnect with instincts and intuition, and enables humanity to be more vile and cruel but they don't act only on instincts and urges as their violence can be premeditated and intentional. When Prendick, the main character found trapped in the horror of dr. Moreau's island eventually returns to civilized society he finds himself greatly changed, with newfound paranoia of changed perception from an encounter with animal men hybrids, in which there is always a notion in his consciousness of deeply rooted animal characteristics in humans, and ongoing danger or shredding him into pieces. Is the tendency to give animals human features only compensation of fear of dealing with our own everpresent animalistic urges, ones that cannot be civilized and eradicated? The writing of this book is direct, straightforward, resembling the Vernian style of writing adventures. The only critique I have is that I was hoping for more in-depth biological explanations of scientific experiments of dr. Moreau and that lack of details left me dissatisfied. But overall, this original book is great for further discussion relevant in the modern world prone to the idealization of science.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    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 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 finds himself intensely weirded out by the other inhabitants of the island, frightening man-animals created by Dr. Moreau. Moreau captures the island's animals and painfully turns them into half-men, then forces them to live by strict standards that he believes will overcome their bestial natures. Moreau's primary commandment is that they cannot eat meat. This is, of course, a recipe for suspense and horror, for how can one expect Leopard Men or Puma Men to curb their need for meat, when the humans conducting the experiments cannot curb their own bestial natures? It simply can't be done. Prendick finds himself becoming a participant, although not entirely willingly, in Moreau's society of vivisection. And once the animals finally rebel, as we know they must, he becomes the last man on the island, watching the tortured animals return to their natures and throw off Moreau's pseudo-society. Even now, one hundred and thirteen years after it was written, The Island of Dr. Moreau is spooky enough to work as an effective horror/sci-fi story, but its still relevant thematic depth is what makes Moreau essential to anyone who loves books. Genetics (eugenics), animal experimentation, psychology, colonization, imperialism, patriarchy, scientific chauvinism, religion, and ethical imposition are seriously and intelligently explored. Wells' implied conclusions may be unsettling at times, but The Island of Dr. Moreau will make you think. China Mieville says that Moreau is "a kind of fantasy echo of Shakespeare’s The Tempest." Could there be higher praise than that?

  8. 5 out of 5

    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 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 explore them. The Island of Dr. Moreau, perhaps the greatest and most disturbing of his “scientific romances,” is an example of his uncompromising art at its best. The plot is straightforward. The shipwrecked Edward Prendick ends up on an island presided over by the once notorious but now discredited surgeon Dr. Moreau, who has dedicated his life to transforming animals into humans by a series of painful operations. His more successful failures (all his works are failures) have formed a society on the other side of the island, where—with the doctor’s help--they have created an ethical system that “men” like them should follow, and a religion too, in which above all else Dr. Moreau and his laboratory (the House of Pain) are both reverenced and feared. The book has many themes, the most obvious of which are the morality of both animal experimentation (or “vivisection,” as it was called in Well’s time) and the use of pain in experimentation, but also touches upon the twin processes of evolution and degeneration, the nature of religion, the character of a man who would play God, and—yes—even the character of God himself and the deplorable semi-human beings that he “creates.” This last theme is perhaps the reason why an older Wells once referred to this book as “an exercise in youthful blasphemy.” To give you an idea, here is a bit of the most blasphemous portion of the book, in which Dr. Moreau explains himself to Prendick: “So for twenty years altogether — counting nine years in England — I have been going on; and there is still something in everything I do that defeats me, makes me dissatisfied, challenges me to further effort. Sometimes I rise above my level, sometimes I fall below it; but always I fall short of the things I dream...These creatures of mine seemed strange and uncanny to you so soon as you began to observe them; but to me, just after I make them, they seem to be indisputably human beings. It’s afterwards, as I observe them, that the persuasion fades. First one animal trait, then another, creeps to the surface and stares out at me. But I will conquer yet! Each time I dip a living creature into the bath of burning pain, I say, ‘This time I will burn out all the animal; this time I will make a rational creature of my own!...They go. I turn them out when I begin to feel the beast in them, and presently they wander there. They all dread this house and me. There is a kind of travesty of humanity over there...There’s something they call the Law. Sing hymns about ‘all thine.’ They build themselves their dens, gather fruit, and pull herbs — marry even. But I can see through it all, see into their very souls, and see there nothing but the souls of beasts, beasts that perish, anger and the lusts to live and gratify themselves. — Yet they’re odd; complex, like everything else alive. There is a kind of upward striving in them, part vanity, part waste sexual emotion, part waste curiosity. It only mocks me….And now,” said he, standing up after a long gap of silence, during which we had each pursued our own thoughts, “what do you think? Are you in fear of me still?”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I've just finished reading H.G. Well's "The Island of Doctor Moreau" and presently I shall begin my review. This is one of those books that I honestly figured I was guaranteed to love. I mean, let's combine early science fiction and horror (always fun), a classic author whose work I have enjoyed in the past (The Invisible Man is a gem of a read) and I remember seeing the movie from the 1930s when I was younger and I loved it. What's not to love? Sadly I can presently answer that question. The ans I've just finished reading H.G. Well's "The Island of Doctor Moreau" and presently I shall begin my review. This is one of those books that I honestly figured I was guaranteed to love. I mean, let's combine early science fiction and horror (always fun), a classic author whose work I have enjoyed in the past (The Invisible Man is a gem of a read) and I remember seeing the movie from the 1930s when I was younger and I loved it. What's not to love? Sadly I can presently answer that question. The answer: damn near everything. Wells creates a horrific situation and tells it in the most boring way imaginable. It isn't exciting, which it obviously wants to be. It isn't particularly scary. The characters are not memorable. I found myself growing increasingly bored. In fact, presently there is nothing about the book that I can honestly say I liked. It's one of those rare books where the film is better (and if you're familiar with that god awful adaptation staring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer… I'd honestly put the book and that film on the same level). It's interesting to me that this book was published the year before Dracula. In many ways it feels like a more modern novel, what with it's expounding on scientific theories and the more "action" oriented plot (though the action is very boring), but when I consider the two presently, Dracula succeeded in every way this book fails. It was thought provoking, scary and gripped me from start to finish. This book is only around 130 pages and it felt like a chore. In closing: I debated on my rating. Part of me felt like I had to give it two out of five stars because of how influential it is and its classic status… but I decided against that. I've stated before that my ratings are my own and I do not let others influence them. I can appreciate the historic significance of something without liking it (for example The Great Gatsby or Northanger Abby) and I can't in good conscience give this book even an "okay" rating. I frankly hated it. Thus I shall presently give it the dreaded 1/5 stars. Oh, did you find my use of the word "presently" throughout the review annoying? Then I highly suggest that you do not read this book. My final complaint: that damn word is used so many times in this book. On one occasion it was used three times in two pages. Even though I was reading a physical copy, I pulled up Project Gutenberg and did a search for it. It's used 49 times and I remind you it's only about 130 pages long. My only suggestion is to turn it into a drinking game, as that will at least help you forget that you're reading the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    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 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 the wind end well? If you want to complete your list of sci-fi classics, be sure to check this out. If you are hoping for some super-creepy, scary, blood-chillingly dark adventures, I am thinking you might be a bit let down. Not for everyone, but if you like speculative fiction based on weird science, this will be right up your alley!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells (1866–1946) Edward Prendick is an Englishman with a scientific education who survives a shipwreck in the southern Pacific Ocean. A passing ship called Ipecacuanha takes him aboard and a man named Montgomery revives him. Prendick also meets a grotesque bestial native named M'ling who appears to be Montgomery's manservant. The ship is transporting a number of animals which The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau is an 1896 science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells (1866–1946) Edward Prendick is an Englishman with a scientific education who survives a shipwreck in the southern Pacific Ocean. A passing ship called Ipecacuanha takes him aboard and a man named Montgomery revives him. Prendick also meets a grotesque bestial native named M'ling who appears to be Montgomery's manservant. The ship is transporting a number of animals which belong to Montgomery. As they approach the island which is Montgomery's destination, the captain demands Prendick leave the ship with Montgomery. Montgomery explains that he will not be able to host Prendick on the island. Despite this, the captain leaves Prendick in a dinghy and sails away. Seeing that the captain has abandoned Prendick, Montgomery takes pity and rescues him. As ships rarely pass the island, Prendick will be housed in an outer room of an enclosed compound. The island belongs to Dr. Moreau. Prendick remembers that he has heard of Moreau, formerly an eminent physiologist in London whose gruesome experiments in vivisection had been publicly exposed, and who fled England as a result of his exposure. The next day, Moreau begins working on a puma. Prendick gathers that Moreau is performing a painful experiment on the animal and its anguished cries drive Prendick out into the jungle. While he wanders, he comes upon a group of people who seem human but have an unmistakable resemblance to swine. As he walks back to the enclosure, he suddenly realises he is being followed by a figure in the jungle. He panics and flees, and the figure gives chase. As his pursuer bears down on him, Prendick manages to stun him with a stone and observes that the pursuer is a monstrous hybrid of animal and man. When Prendick 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. .... تاریخ نخستین خوانش سال 1997میلادی عنوان: ج‍زی‍ره‌ دک‍ت‍ر م‍ورو؛ نویسنده: اچ‌.ج‍ی‌ ول‍ز‏‫؛ م‍ت‍رج‍م‌ ع‍ل‍ی‌ ال‍س‍ت‍ی‌؛ تهران، رفعت، 1375؛ در 150ص؛ شابک9649076301؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، دبیر، 1389؛ در 151ص؛ شابک9789642621965؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 19م فهرست: (مقدمه؛ در قایق لیدی وین؛ سرگردان، چهره ی عجیب؛ در عرشه کشتی؛ پیاده شدن در جزیره؛ ملوان ابلیس گونه؛ در قفل شده؛ نعره پوما؛ هیولایی در جنگل؛ فریادهای یک انسان؛ شکار یک انسان،-؛ یک مذاکره دوستانه؛ دکتر مورو توصیه میدهد؛ در مورد جمعیت حیوانات؛ چگونه اهالی حیوانگونه جزیره مزه خون را چشیدند؛ یک بلای ناگهانی؛ پیدا کردن مورو؛ مرخصی ابدی مونتگمری در ساحل؛ تنها با اهالی حیوانگونه جزیره، برگشتن آدم نماها به حالت اول)؛ عنوان: ج‍زی‍ره‌ ی دک‍ت‍ر م‍ورو؛ نویسنده: اچ‌.ج‍ی‌ ول‍ز‏‫؛ م‍ت‍رج‍م‌ محمدامین عسکری؛ ویراستار شهریار وقفی‌پور؛ تهران، نشر سیب سرخ، 1399؛ در188ص؛ شابک9786227240481؛ داستان علمی و خیال انگیز «جزیره دکتر مورو» را نویسنده ی «بریتانیا»، روانشاد «اچ.جی ولز» در سال 1896میلادی نگاشته اند؛ این رمان، داستان زندگی مردی به نام «ادوارد پرندیک» را بازگو می‌کند؛ مردی که از یک کشتی غرق شده، با یک قایق نجات پیدا کرده، و خود را در جزیره «دکتر مورو» می‌یابد، «دکتر مورو» در آن جزیره، از شکافتن جانوران زنده موجوداتی نیمه‌ انسان و نیمه‌ حیوان (حیوانات آدم نما) می‌آفریند؛ این کتاب به سوژه های فلسفی، همانند: درد، ستم، مسئولیت اخلاقی، هویت انسان، و تقابل انسان با طبیعت، می‌پردازد، «جزیره دکتر مورو» یکی از نخستین نمونه‌ های رمان‌های علمی و خیال انگیز است و از بهترین آثار نویسنده شمرده می‌شود، از روی این رمان تا کنون اقتباس‌های بسیاری در رسانه‌ ها شده است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    This 1896 sci-fi novel is one of H.G. Wells' best known works. In addition to having been printed in multiple editions since 1896, it has also been adapted for film several times. Charles Laughton, Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando have all had their turns at starring in movies based on the novel. Of these, only the 1932 Charles Laughton version, The Island of Lost Souls, has achieved widespread acclaim. The 1996 John Frankenheimer film with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer was widely panned by criti This 1896 sci-fi novel is one of H.G. Wells' best known works. In addition to having been printed in multiple editions since 1896, it has also been adapted for film several times. Charles Laughton, Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando have all had their turns at starring in movies based on the novel. Of these, only the 1932 Charles Laughton version, The Island of Lost Souls, has achieved widespread acclaim. The 1996 John Frankenheimer film with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer was widely panned by critics and audiences. After his experiences making this movie, Frankenheimer said words to the effect that Val Kilmer was the most seriously disturbed individual with whom he had ever worked. There have also been lower budget movies, silent movies and radio adaptations. Part of the reason movies based on the book have been difficult to make maybe that instead of writing a straight forward sci-fi adventure or horror tale, Wells delved deeply into philosophical issues. He explored such things as human nature and identify, interference with the natural world and God's order of things, the existence and nature of God and pain and cruelty. Wells later called the book "...an exercise in youthful blasphemy." Unfortunately Wells did not mature and outgrow it. Instead he became a prominent British opponent of Christianity and other religions . In his book, GOD THE INVISIBLE KING, he rejected traditional organized religion accepting a "...renascent or modern religion ... neither atheist nor Buddhist nor Mohammedan or Christian ..." If all of this sounds a bit dull, it is in places. Fortunately it is basically a good story. However, if you want a more exciting, fun read based upon a somewhat similar idea, you may want to try The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs. True it contains what some critics have called some of his worst writing. Others like it. Whichever, it is an exciting adventure which refuses to roll over and die despite what some think of Burroughs' prose.

  13. 5 out of 5

    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 “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 hybrid beings resembling humans by way of vivisection on animals, a work judged by critics at the time as too blasphemous and too disturbing to warrant publication. Hey, why not take such harsh reaction as a great reason to read this short novel sooner rather than later. Let me tell you folks, The Island of Doctor Moreau is one humdinger of an adventure story to keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to last, with elements of Frankenstein, The Fugitive, Lost and Survivor. The entire novel is a written account of events as recorded by Edward Prendick, an Englishman educated in biology at university. Young Prendick survives days on a dingy following a shipwreck and is picked up by another ship scheduled to make a first stop at an obscure Pacific island. While onboard, Prendick is brought back to health by a passenger with a background in medicine, a man by the name of Montgomery. Turns out this gruff, one-time Londoner is joined by his strange, bestial servant, M'ling. And Montgomery also has a host of animals aboard. The frequently drunk Captain doesn't like the grotesque M'ling or the animals on his ship and lashes out at Montgomery. Prendick tells the Captain to "shut up" - a huge mistake he confesses in retrospect. When they near the island, the Captain forces Prendick off his ship and back on his dingy. Montgomery takes pity on the naturalist and brings him along to his island. Prendick eventually meets Doctor Moreau and becomes, by degrees, more aware of the many horrifying experiments conducted over the course of years in island isolation. And many are the questions raised by those experiments and the underlying methods and ideas concocted by Doctor Moreau. The most obvious question pertains to the very act of dissecting live animals for the purposes of experimentation. Nowadays, of course, we oppose such practice but back when the novel was written vivisection was still a hotly debated topic. However, we still debate related biological issues such as gene splicing which is a specific example of the longstanding concerns hovering around the dangers of science. Prendick’s interactions with such diverse creatures as Leopard Man, Saint Bernard Dog Man, Ape Man, Swine Woman, Silvery Hairy Man and a Bear-Bull cry out for our reflection on the differences between savagery and humanity, nature and civilization, order and chaos, freedom and control. And what about Doctor Moreau's explanation on how the experience of pain, a characteristic of our animal nature, has held humans back in their development, how, in order to become less animal and more fully human, pain must be transcended? Recall the popularity in England in the late nineteenth century of the philosophy of utilitarianism as articulated by such thinkers as John Stewart Mill, a philosophy placing a premium on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was very much in the public mind and H.G. Wells certainly took Darwin seriously. Among other aspects, The Island of Doctor Moreau is aligned with Darwinian theory respecting how humans are different not in kind from animals but only in degree. In keeping with the animal nature in man, H.G. Wells forces Edward Prendick to deal with those base qualities even before stepping foot on Doctor Moreau’s island. There’s the crisis in the dingy where Prendick and two other men are dying of thirst and hunger. The drawing of lots is proposed to determine who will die so two may live. Prendick refuses to participate, brandishing a knife to ward off attack. The other two men draw lots and when the stronger seaman loses he refuses to abide by the rules. The two grapple and tumble overboard to their death. A second foreshadow: that drunken captain declares himself the law and master ruling over all on his ship. If he says Prendick is to leave his ship then Prendick will leave his ship, even if it means the certain death of the young man – no question of humanity, decency or ethics comes into play. Control of the Beast Men on the island centers around Pavlov-style conditioned reflex reinforcement. Obey the law and act more like humans or it is back to the House of Pain, that is, Doctor Moreau's operating table. Also added into the mix to enforce control and human-like behavior is chant and prayer. One can imagine the reaction to the novel from pious nineteenth century religious folk. In order to assert his own control and order, at one point Prendick even appeals to the existence of Moreau's second body in the sky looking down on the Beast Men once the doctor's physical body is dead. The philosophical dimensions of the tale go on and on and on. Fast-paced adventure and a slew of lively probing questions along the way. There are many excellent reasons why this classic work is included as part of SF Masterworks. H.G. Wells, 1866-1946

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    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 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. Well maybe not everyone will do that but enough people will go on to become crazed vivisectionists that we should ban dairy and suede right now and also Kellog’s cornflakes as they contain lanolin which comes from wool bearing animals like lamas or alpacas or goats. It can be tough being a Vegan and avoiding things you may not realise you should avoid but it is all good if it prevents you from going to an isolated island in the South Pacific and creating a race of horrible Beast people by vivisection. I asked my friends what they thought of this book as we all had to read it and here is what they say. My scientist friend said she was reading along and all the time saying “this could not be done” “they would all have died within 15 minutes because of infection” “he would be struck off” “this could possibly be done but only now, not in 1895” and “you cannot hypnotise an animal into learning language however rudimentary, this book is silly”. So she thought this book brought science into disrepute. My friend who is doing religion thought it was pretty cool though. He said that Dr Moreau = God and H G Wells was therefore able to attack God without mercy. Dr Moreau is called a mad experimenter, creating the race of Beast People in horribly painful operations and not caring about their lives afterwards, except to tell them about some random Law which they must follow or they will die. And that is exactly what God did, according to the Bible, according to HG Wells, according to my friend. Wow, some pretty deep thoughts there. I will stick to my Vegan interpretation and say that in my opinion this book says you should not eat meat or dairy or any animal products but you do not have to wear sandals as they now do very stylish Vegan shoes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    William2

    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 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, the last time I checked there were 370 million native English speakers, and another 1.7 billion who use it as a lingua franca. I’ll say this much for the novella, the onset of suspense is far subtler than Frankenstein, which I recently reread. Frankenstein moves relatively quickly to a kind of full-bore hysteria and remains there for the duration. Here, the building of suspense is more gradual and then it modulates as the danger falls and rises once more. Commendable too is the novella’s compressed action and vivid description. ”Colour vanished from the world, the tree tops rose against the luminous blue sky in inky silhouette.” Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness seems the only peer I might cite. And like both Heart of Darkness and Frankenstein it is a Chinese-box narrative—a story within a story. The novella must be read as a product of its time, like Frankenstein. The reprehensible science here is vivisection between species. It’s a given of the narrative that such exchanges of tissue can occur. So swallow the Kool-Aid, and allow Wells his conceit. Frankenstein was about vivisection, too, and it first appeared in 1818. This novella was published in June 1895, which tells us something about how long these erroneous ideas of monster creation were popular with the general public. (Now we’ve got CRISPR and scads of far, far more horrifying technologies. The Chinese, it’s reported, are creating supermen, and so on.) Dr. Moreau is a part of our SF heritage. The prose is on the whole quite wonderful. The end is heartbreakingly sad and moving, especially if one loves animals and nature.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    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 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, damnit! Snip, snip, cut, cut... SEE? All better now. :) Grrrrrr, growl... but I have to admit I like the monkey man. Reminds me of some in-laws. :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This story was even more disturbing and intriguing the second time around.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I had read “The Island of Doctor Moreau” years ago, and while I remember the broad strokes of the story, I was fuzzy on the details, as this classic of horror/sci-fi is more of a novella than a novel, I figured it could make a quick book to read during a busy weekend. A man named Prendick is the sole survivor of a shipwreck, but the boat that rescues him is an odd one: it carries a strange collection of wild animals, in the care of man named Montgomery, who heavily hints at a disgraced past in Lo I had read “The Island of Doctor Moreau” years ago, and while I remember the broad strokes of the story, I was fuzzy on the details, as this classic of horror/sci-fi is more of a novella than a novel, I figured it could make a quick book to read during a busy weekend. A man named Prendick is the sole survivor of a shipwreck, but the boat that rescues him is an odd one: it carries a strange collection of wild animals, in the care of man named Montgomery, who heavily hints at a disgraced past in London. Prendick finds himself stranded with Montgomery and his odd menagerie on a small island, inhabited only by the strange Doctor Moreau, and even stranger creatures that aren’t quite human, but not quite animals either. Prendick soon realizes those creatures are the grotesque results of Moreau’s experiments, and that they struggle not to give in to their most animalistic instincts. I had completely forgotten how violent and bloody this book is, especially considering it was published in 1896. Anyone who has a hard time reading about violence towards animals should steer clear of this one! While those details made Prendick’s story unpleasant, I found myself frustrated with the book for other reasons. We never really understand the sinister Doctor’s ultimate goal with his strange vivisection experiments. Is creating those bizarre creatures an end in and of itself, or did he seek to accomplish a bigger end game? We also never really know what the event that caused Montgomery’s downfall actually is, as Victorian quaintness forces Wells to simply hint coyly at events and deed too terrible to speak – yet where is that quaintness when it comes to describing Prendick’s disgust at the sight of the Beast Folk? I do not plan of doing a deep analysis of the book and the context in which it was written, but it does reek of white colonialist elitism, and of course the violence against animals is atrocious to read. While these elements did not age well, the fundamental idea of the thin line between human and animal remains something we ponder to this day. No to mention the unethical scientific experiments and discovery at the cost of untold suffering… There is a lot to unearth with a book like this one, and in some ways, it is Wells’ nod to “Frankenstein” – as it is a story of scientific curiosity gone terribly wrong. My biggest issue with this book is actually that it felt rushed: I wanted to know more about Moreau, his past and his terrible work, more about Prendick and the how’s and why’s of him ending up there, more about the Beast Folk and how they came to be organized in that lose social structure they created. An extra hundred pages would have improved this book greatly. A good, important but gory book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tom Quinn

    Something buried deep in my unconscious memory came alive and I barked, "Not to go on all fours, that is the law!" at my toddler, which reminded me it had been a long time since I read this sci-fi classic. Revisited in 2020 and was impressed with how exciting and thought-provoking this is still today. Forgive it a slow beginning and a weak conclusion - this comes alive in a big way in the height of Act Two. 4 stars! Something buried deep in my unconscious memory came alive and I barked, "Not to go on all fours, that is the law!" at my toddler, which reminded me it had been a long time since I read this sci-fi classic. Revisited in 2020 and was impressed with how exciting and thought-provoking this is still today. Forgive it a slow beginning and a weak conclusion - this comes alive in a big way in the height of Act Two. 4 stars!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    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 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 out the window? And aren't we responsible for effects of our experiments? For Wells a man studying nature becomes as merciless as Nature is itself. But in the end on the island it is pure instinct that defeats reason. Moreau is an extremely ambiguous figure, whether he is a demiurge, an omnipotent maker and creator bending the laws of nature to his caprices, mercilessly enforcing the law set for the human-like beings to keep them in obedience? Or is he an instrument of an absolute evolutionary process? He is not completely blind, he is aware that each of the created beings will sooner or later respond to the atavistic call proper to his inner nature and need. Who is he then? The novel was written in the last years of the nineteenth century and really humanity did not have to wait too long for terrible medical experiments, vivisection and other atrocities that make your flesh creep.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “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 “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 of Dr. Moreau begins with a brief introduction by "Charles Edward Prendick" – nephew of the novel’s protagonist Edward Prendick – explaining the background of his uncle’s first hand account of his shipwreck and the uncle's records of the time he spent on this mysterious island. From then on the first person narrative is switched to the original Edward Prendick and Charles is never heard from again. So basically what we have here is a precursor to the “found footage” trope often used in modern movies like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity etc. As a literary device this it seems to have gone out of fashion, nowadays we even get first person narratives written in the present tense which does not make sense when you think about it, but makes perfect sense if you just accept it as the author’s chosen narrative technique. Basically, Edward Prendick is shipwrecked, rescued by an associate of Dr. Moreau and taken to a mysterious island where he finds a bunch of man-beasts living there. How did they come to be? Well, there is a scientist living there, the creatures worship him, and he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic, so all that should be fairly indicative! Prendick spends about a year on this island until one day “the fit hits the shan”. That is all the synopsis you need I think. This book is what I would call “sci-fi horror”, it is probably Wells’ most horrific book, with all the vivisections, gore, and violence. In my previous reviews of H.G. Wells’ books I mentioned that he pioneered at least three standard sci-fi tropes: time traveling, alien invasion and genetic engineering. That last one is a reference to The Island of Dr. Moreau of course, but back then I have not reread this book yet and I forgot an important detail. There is no genetic engineering in this book! Animals are turned into imitations of men by Dr. Moreau through the process of vivisection, chemical injections, blood transfusion and brain surgery. It is a little like cutting and pasting in word processing I think. If “Frankensteining” was a verb you can probably apply it to mad Moreau’s process. I find the science in this book is less convincing than Wells’ The War of The Worlds, The Time Machine and The Invisible Man. It is hard to believe Moreau is able to create intelligence or sentience through brain surgery and his technique of replacing and grafting limbs to animals seems more likely to make a mess than an anthropomorphized creature able to run around. The pain he depicts is convincing and disturbing, though. Characterization is a little thin in this book, the human characters are fairly two dimensional, even Doc Moreau is your standard issue cranky and obsessive mad scientist. That said some of the “manimals” are quite adorable, like the dog-man who is loyal to Prendick to the last and a little sloth-like creature that Wells describes as repulsive but still sounds pretty cute to me. Wells is clearly against men playing God, slicing and dicing animals just to see what happen. All in the name of science and progress, of course, morals can get in the backseat and keep quiet. This short novel is very fast-paced; if you are inattentive for a few seconds you are likely to miss some important plot points. That should not be much of an issue though as there is never a dull moment in the book. The Beastie Boys fighting for their right. The Island of Dr. Moreau is well worth a read, of course, H.G. Wells always is.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Axl Oswaldo

    Victorian novel no. 1 I’d like to start my review by saying that this was definitely a good reading to kick off Victober with. My second Victober, my favorite season of the year so far because of my love for reading classics, and mainly Victorian novels, to be honest with you. Besides, I wouldn’t like to rule out the possibility of reading at least four Victorian books this month, so let’s make it happen. I remember when I read my first Wells (The Time Machine) a few months ago, and despite the fa Victorian novel no. 1 I’d like to start my review by saying that this was definitely a good reading to kick off Victober with. My second Victober, my favorite season of the year so far because of my love for reading classics, and mainly Victorian novels, to be honest with you. Besides, I wouldn’t like to rule out the possibility of reading at least four Victorian books this month, so let’s make it happen. I remember when I read my first Wells (The Time Machine) a few months ago, and despite the fact that the story wasn’t what I had expected, it was definitely a good start to Wells novels. Now, I can tell The Island of Doctor Moreau has been a much better experience than my last one, and from my point of view, it also would be a perfect way to start reading a Wells work. Whatever you decide, please, go and read this author if you’ve never tried it. I promise you won’t regret it. The Island of Doctor Moreau was a compelling and intriguing novel with a constant ominous and gloomy atmosphere throughout the whole story. Our narrator and main character, Edward Prendick, is a shipwrecked sailor who is rescued by a boat and left on an island. Here, Dr. Moreau is keeping a secret whose consequences could be devastating. In addition, this novel has a quite enjoyable narrative and good developed main characters, such as Prendick and Montgomery, whom our narrator met when he was being rescued. Overall, I enjoyed the whole story very much and I can’t help but recommend this book to all of you people – especially if you are into reading Victorian novels, of course. “There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope. I hope, or I could not live.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    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 '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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    W

    Seems it was quite a controversial and provocative book in its day. Dr.Moreau creates hybrid creatures through the vivisection of animals. It deals with the issues of the misuse of science,the lack of ethics and cruelty. But personally,I didn't find it memorable. The storytelling didn't grab my interest. Vivisection did,however,remind me of all those poor frogs,I was forced to dissect in Biology class. Seems it was quite a controversial and provocative book in its day. Dr.Moreau creates hybrid creatures through the vivisection of animals. It deals with the issues of the misuse of science,the lack of ethics and cruelty. But personally,I didn't find it memorable. The storytelling didn't grab my interest. Vivisection did,however,remind me of all those poor frogs,I was forced to dissect in Biology class.

  25. 4 out of 5

    E. G.

    Biographical Note Introduction & Note, by Margaret Atwood Further Reading Note on the Text --The Island of Doctor Moreau Notes

  26. 4 out of 5

    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 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 details of an animal suffering - yes, this book is partly a comment on vivisection. Dr Moreau's reasonings, especially on the subject of pain, showed that his mind was crooked in some way (sociopath? narcissist a bit? I don't know). The island and it's creatures (created by Moreau) was quite interesting; another lonely island out of the way of the usual ship routes, mildly volcanilly active. The story was very flowing and the afterword... one could clearly see why Prendick, our teller here, was so profoundly changed that he could only live a solitary life close to nature where he could wandering to feel calmer - and after his experiences, calm was what he needed. A great book that still carries its message well today, quite likely better understood now, especially when it comes to darker sides of science (and those who pratice it). Uneasy maybe, but I still think I will read it again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    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 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 cross-breeding right now to introduce even more wondrous deviations and half-breeds to the planet, twice as splendorous as the cloned sheep and spliced deer-penguin hybrids being created in underground labs by Evil Docktors and their hunchback locums. Nature is a language, can’t you read?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jon 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. 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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    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 (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 co-founders of the "science-fiction" genre*, in which the latest advances in that field are elegantly enfolded into thrilling or sometimes philosophical fictional narratives. (So in other words, think of him much more as the spiritual godfather of Michael Crichton than Isaac Asimov.) And indeed, his early-career masterpiece The Island of Dr Moreau contains not a single fantastical element at all, but is rather a chilling extrapolation of what was happening at the time in the real world of medicine, starting as these Victorian novels often do with a shipwreck in the middle of an ocean, and of our everyman hero (a gentleman named Prendick) getting picked up by a mysterious ship out in the South Seas somewhere. Taken back to the remote tropical island where his rescuers are heading, he is there introduced to our eponymous doctor, a creepy former London surgeon who was disbarred from his profession for shady ethical practices. And sure enough, it's no coincidence that Moreau happens to be on this remote island, and is having his nutso alcoholic nihilist assistant run around the various nearby islands and acquire as many exotic animals as possible; turns out that he has continued his formerly banned research here, a truly horrific series of experiments that has him seeing if he can somehow turn an animal into a fully rational human, through an elaborate series of delicate surgeries and psychological conditioning. Needless to say, he hasn't exactly succeeded yet, leaving the three humans on an island full of snarling, retarded man-beasts; to protect themselves, Moreau and the assistant have established among the beasts what they call "The Law," a combination of rational rules and religious dogma that keep the human/animal hybrids just barely civilized and not in a constant state of violent bloodlust. The majority of the book, then, concerns Prendick's time on the island and the ways that this delicate peace of course starts quickly falling apart; I'll leave the actual plotline itself as unspoken as possible, in that this 112-year-old story is actually still thrillingly surprising. The argument for it being a classic: Like many of the books reviewed here as part of the CCLaP 100, there is a strong argument for The Island of Dr Moreau being a classic based on its historical, trailblazing aspects; it's one of a handful of books, after all, to singlehandedly kick off the entire genre of science-fiction (now with millions of fans and which generates billions of dollars a year in revenue), not to mention such speculative tech writers as the aforementioned Crichton, Tom Clancey and more. But on top of this, though, this particular book is important too because it's held up so well over the decades, certainly much better than almost all of its Victorian fantastical counterparts; as its many fans will tell you, it still has the power to shock and disturb, and deals with issues like genetic engineering and the ethical role of doctors that are surprisingly relevant to this day. If you're going to pick any of the pseudo-science-babble books of the late 1800s to designate as a must-read, fans say, best to pick a book like this, not only as historically relevant as the others but simply a much more entertaining modern read. The argument against: A weak argument today at best; like many other Victorian fantastical tales, I suppose you can argue that Dr Moreau is too flippant and garish a tale, too focused on pleasing a lurid, mainstream crowd. But then that gets us into the whole subject of whether the forefathers of the various modern artistic genres out there even deserve to be recognized as the authors of "classics," people such as Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and the aforementioned Jules Verne; and I think most intelligent people at this point in history would say that these are indeed authors worthy of "classic" status, making this not really much of an argument at all. My verdict: Ah, how nice to again come across a book whose "classic" status seems to not be questioned by very many people at all; it happens so rarely, after all, much more rarely than you would think for a series of book reviews all centered around so-called classics. And indeed, it was a sincere and pleasant surprise to read Dr Moreau for the first time (I haven't even seen any of the movie versions) and discover just how legitimately scary and gross and great it was to modern eyes, after a year now of such badly dated 1800s prose like is found in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (to mention one infamous example). Now that I've sampled both, I can definitively state that Wells was a much better writer than Verne, and that his titles can hold up in a canon list without necessarily the Roger-Marin-style asterisk that so many other Victorian genre authors need. That said, please be aware that this is a surprisingly disgusting book, one that deals with such then-current hot topics as vivisection (or the act of cutting open animals while still alive, in order to figure out how their insides work); but then again, it also gets you thinking about all kinds of interesting ethical questions still relevant to current society, like whether the animalistic part of our brains can ever be truly tamed and controlled (another hot topic among Victorians), and if the torture and slaughter of animals can ever be a morally justifiable action. It not only gets an enthusiastic yes from me today, but I can even declare it better than a lot of the contemporary genre novels I've read in the last year. Highly recommended. Is it a classic? Oh my, yes *And by the way, it's no surprise that Wells ended up as one of the founders of science-fiction; he was actually a dual student of biology and sociology at university, who pursued not only creative writing as a lucrative hobby at the same time but also the visual arts as well. In fact, Wells was much, much more well-known when alive as a brilliant political analyst, socialist activist, and a forefather of "futurism:" among other accomplishments, in the 1910s he predicted the outbreak of World War I, in the '20s predicted that the war's destruction would pave the way for the rise of fascism, in the '30s predicted that fascism would culminate in another world war right around 1940, and in the '40s called for the creation of what we now know as Wikipedia (which he called the "World Brain"). Oh yeah, and he was a founding member of both the League of Nations and the United Nations, and incidentally was the inventor of the world's very first miniature war-game ("Little Wars," in 1913). What a surprisingly fascinating guy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leo .

    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. 👍🐯 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. 👍🐯

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