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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Island of Dr. Moreau
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2006
H.G Wells really knew how to write a sci-fi book with insight and style; The Island of Dr. Moreau has tons of both. Truly, Wells was far ahead of his time.

The story starts off with Robert Prendick sailing across the Atlantic, possibly in the Caribbean, heading back to England. The captain of the ship, drunk and out of his mind, has Prendick thrown overboard. Alone, in the ocean, with no chance of survival, Prendick gives up hope and waits to die. Remarkably, a small ship arrives just in time, and they bring Prendick aboard. Among the crew of his rescuers is a small man, covered in fur, with sharp teeth and off-colored eyes. Strange as this man might be, Prendick is to weak to press the crew for an explanation on where this man has come from.

The rescue party takes Prendick to a small island known to most as The Island of Dr. Moreau - the famous chemist/biologist/geneticist (as far as such men existed back in those days). Arriving on the island, Prendick finds this to be a small and not overly amazing place to inhabit while he waits for another ship from England to arrive and take him the rest of the way home. In the meantime, he is to be the good doctors guest, and is attended to by the doctor's odd, grunting, meowling servants.

Prendick eventually discovers that the people inhabiting and working on the island, are in fact animal human hybrids. They were designed to be the best of both worlds: combining human intelligence with the abilities and skills of the animal kingdom. After his frightening discovery, Prendick stumbles into a commune of deformed and mildly crazy half human, half animal men living in the caves and cliffs of the island. These animal-men have a very peculiar religion based on the negation of all things animalistic: thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not eat meat...and so on. All the while, they worship their master and God, Dr. Moreau.

Eventually, all @#$% breaks loose on the island, and Prendick is left to fend for himself against hords of powerful, crazed, and blood thirsty beast-men.

This was a great novel that dives into the questions surrounding human morality, genetic engineering, and the ideas of the soul.

I highly recommend this title.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2004
Although it is less often read than such Wells novels as THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, the basic story of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU is very well known through several extremely loose film adaptations. Pendrick, a British scientist, is shipwrecked--and by chance finds himself on an isolated island where Dr. Moreau and his assistant Montgomery are engaged in a series of experiments. They are attempting to transform animals into manlike beings.
Wells, a social reformer, was a very didactic writer, and his novels reflect his thoughts and theories about humanity. Much of Wells writing concerns (either directly or covertly) social class, but while this exists in MOREAU it is less the basic theme than an undercurrent. At core, the novel concerns the then-newly advanced theory of natural selection--and then works to relate how that theory impacts man's concept of God. Wells often touched upon this, and in several novels he broaches the thought that if mankind evolved "up" it might just as easily evolve "down," but nowhere in his work is this line of thought more clearly and specifically seen than here.
At times Wells' determination to teach his reader can overwhelm; at times it can become so subtle that it is nothing short of absolutely obscure. But in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, Wells achieves a perfect balance of the two extremes, even going so far as to balance the characters in such a way that not even the narrator emerges as entirely sympathetic. It is a remarkable achievement, and in this sense I consider MOREAU possibly the best of Wells work: the novel is as interesting for the story it tells as it is for still very relevant themes it considers.
It is also something of an oddity among Wells work, for while Wells often included elements of horror and savagery in his novels, MOREAU is not so much horrific as it is disturbingly gruesome and occasionally deliberately distasteful. This is not really a book than you can read and then put away: it lingers in your mind in a most unsettling way. Strongly recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon October 26, 2013
As with many of H.G.'s stories, it is a tail told by a narrator. Also at first, you may not notice his slipping in of social underpinnings.

Pendrick, our narrator starts out trying to tell how he was disenshipped and disappeared at sea for a year to turn up alive. His explanation is so fantastic that no one believes him. However after we read his account, we do.

He spent the bulk of his time on an isolated island with the mysterious Dr. Moreau, Moreau's right hand man Montgomery, and a menagerie of unique people. Where did they come from and what are they doing on this island? As the story unfolds, Pendrick realizes he is the next either on the operating table or for supper or maybe something more sinister.

This story has shades of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". However, I can swear that I work with the very same creatures every day. Moreover, I will never look at my cat in the same way.

Somehow, I missed the movie version of this book, so I cannot compare them.
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The mad scientist has been with us since the early 1800s. And while H.G. Wells didn't create the mad scientist stereotype, he certainly gave it a boost in his harrowing novella "The Island of Dr. Moreau" -- beast-men forced to live like humans, a crazy scientist carrying out mad plans, and a bland Englishman stuck in the middle of it.

After he is shipwrecked, the English gentleman Edward Prendick is rescued by a passing boat. The man who saved him, Montgomery, is taking a number of wild animals to a remote deserted island, where the creepy Dr. Moreau does some kind of research on the animals that are brought there. Naturally, Prendick is suspicious of Moreau's activities.

It doesn't take long for him to stumble across the products of Moreau's work -- grotesque hybrids of animal and human, who are surgically turned into humanoids and ordered not to act in animalistic ways. And with the laws of nature being horribly perverted, it's only a matter of time before Dr. Moreau's experiments lash out.

It's pretty obvious from this book that H.G. Wells was nervous about the ramifications of meddling in nature -- be it vivisection, evolutionary degeneration, or even just the idea that scientific progress could be used for horribly evil things. As a result, "The Island of Dr. Moreau" is perhaps his darkest, most horrific book.

The first couple chapters are rather stuffy in the 18th-century style, with Prendrick fussily noting everything that's happened to him. But the creepiness begins to enter once he arrives on the island, and explodes into weird, almost dreamlike scenes once he encounters the Beast Folk, culminating in the slow decay of everything on the island.

Prendrick is also perhaps the weakest link in the book. When the only other humans on the island are.... well, a mad scientist and his sidekick, you need a protagonist who really grips your imagination. But he's honestly kind of bland, to the point where any number of the beastly folk have far more presence and power than he does.

"The Island of Dr. Moreau" is a dark, eerie cautionary tale about science run amuck, and only its bland protagonist keeps it from fully engaging.
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on January 19, 2011
This classic from 1896 is thrilling from the very first page. It begins with three men afloat aboard a dingy after the sinking of their ship. One is the narrator, Edward Prendick, who eventually finds himself on another ship sailing to a nameless and isolated island. The island is populated by strange creatures and an enigmatic leader who he finds to be Dr. Moreau. This name is known to him as a scientist of ill repute run out of London years prior.

Prendick soon learns of Moreau's more recent experiments and the island's animal-turned human population. Wells' imagination provides a terrifying but engrossing menagerie including the Leopard Man, the Hyena-Swine, the Swine Folk, the Ape Man, Bull Men, Horse-Rhinoceros, Wolf-Bear, Ocelot Man, Dog Man and the Monkey Man.

It is at this point that the book finds its meaning as Prendick is introduced to the Law governing the behavior of these beings: "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?"

This intonation creepily delivered by the beast-people raises the moral and ethical question that Moreau never considered, "Should we manipulate science, genetics, and biology?". All Moreau is interested in is 'can we?' without full entertaining the implications and impact of his efforts. In addition to this theme of progressive science, Wells raises the differences between man and animal, class distinctions, and religion as central organizing principle of a society.

This is what makes it a great read. It can be consumed for its thrills and chills or one can analyze it much deeper (or in my case, both). I am glad I finally got around to reading it and believe it would make for a great book club discussion.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon September 11, 2010
As with many of H.G.'s stories, it is a tail told by a narrator. Also at first, you may not notice his slipping in of social underpinnings.

Pendrick, our narrator starts out trying to tell how he was disenshipped and disappeared at sea for a year to turn up alive. His explanation is so fantastic that no one believes him. However after we read his account, we do.

He spent the bulk of his time on an isolated island with the mysterious Dr. Moreau, Moreau's right hand man Montgomery, and a menagerie of unique people. Where did they come from and what are they doing on this island? As the story unfolds, Pendrick realizes he is the next either on the operating table or for supper or maybe something more sinister.

This story has shades of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". However, I can swear that I work with the very same creatures every day. Moreover, I will never look at my cat in the same way.

Somehow, I missed the movie version of this book, so I cannot compare them.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon September 10, 2010
As with many of H.G.'s stories, it is a tail told by a narrator. Also at first, you may not notice his slipping in of social underpinnings.

Pendrick, our narrator starts out trying to tell how he was disenshipped and disappeared at sea for a year to turn up alive. His explanation is so fantastic that no one believes him. However after we read his account, we do.

He spent the bulk of his time on an isolated island with the mysterious Dr. Moreau, Moreau's right hand man Montgomery, and a menagerie of unique people. Where did they come from and what are they doing on this island? As the story unfolds, Pendrick realizes he is the next either on the operating table or for supper or maybe something more sinister.

This story has shades of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". However, I can swear that I work with the very same creatures every day. Moreover, I will never look at my cat in the same way.

Somehow, I missed the movie version of this book, so I cannot compare them.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
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As with many of H.G.'s stories, it is a tail told by a narrator. Also at first, you may not notice his slipping in of social underpinnings.

Pendrick, our narrator starts out trying to tell how he was disenshipped and disappeared at sea for a year to turn up alive. His explanation is so fantastic that no one believes him. However after we read his account, we do.

He spent the bulk of his time on an isolated island with the mysterious Dr. Moreau, Moreau's right hand man Montgomery, and a menagerie of unique people. Where did they come from and what are they doing on this island? As the story unfolds, Pendrick realizes he is the next either on the operating table or for supper or maybe something more sinister.

This story has shades of William Golding's "Lord of the Flies". However, I can swear that I work with the very same creatures every day. Moreover, I will never look at my cat in the same way.

Somehow, I missed the movie version of this book, so I cannot compare them.
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on November 3, 2003
Vivisection is the practice of performing medical experiments on live animals. In The Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells tells the story of a mad doctor who does just that but also does something more. He tries to make them into people!
Robert Prendick ship is wrecked and he is rescued by a man named by Montgomery, who turns out to be a assistant to the infamous Dr. Moreau. Little does Prendick know of the horrors that await him on the island that he is being taken to. on the island he meets the Beast Men: the results of Moreau's grotesque and terrifying experiments. Eventually, the Beast Men rebel against Moreau and Montgomery, killing them and leaving Prendick alone on the isle. One day, he manages to escape and is rescued once again and is brought back to society. People think he is insane and he is permanently scarred from his experience on the Island.
From action packed chases through a tropical jungle, to Prendick contemplating his situation on the island, this book is an extremely good read. It really makes your think how far man should be allowed to meddle with the course of nature. Some other good books by this author would be War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. They are both science fiction novels, like this one.
Ages 12 and up
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on October 4, 2003
I never expected to enjoy this book so much. It didn't really seem like something I would enjoy. I admit that I'm not the biggest fan when it comes to science fiction. I ended up reading "The Island of Dr. Moreau" by H.G. Wells for a fiction class in college. The results were unbelievable, as I ended up really loving it.
Edward Prendick is stranded on an island with a mad scientist, Dr. Moreau, and his assistant, Montgomery, who are performing horrendous and terrible experiments that lead to beast-like creatures that talk and behave like men. As the days go by, Prendick sees horrifying things that he will never be able to forget. This is Edward Prendick's story, and the account that you are about to witness is chilling and unforgettable.
I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed it because it proves to be a book with different layers and hidden meanings. Sure, on the surface it appears as your everyday science fiction novel filled with thrills and excitement. However, there's a deeper meaning behind it all. What is that? Well, I'm not about to divulge that to you! That's part of the fun in reading this. The great thing about this story is that you can still enjoy it even if you don't feel like figuring out Wells' hidden meaning behind it all. It appeals to advanced readers and to those who are not as advanced. There's a little something for everyone.
"The Island of Dr. Moreau" is a very engaging and well-written classic. Wells doesn't hold back when it comes to dishing out deep symbolisym and exciting action. If you're looking for an interesting read, I highly recommend that you check it out. A great story that can be read over and over again.
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