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The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau

Written by H.G. Wells

Narrated by Jonathan Kent


The Island of Doctor Moreau

Written by H.G. Wells

Narrated by Jonathan Kent

ratings:
4/5 (73 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 24, 2009
ISBN:
9781400181148
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

The Island of Dr. Moreau follows a shipwreck survivor to an island on which animals are being transformed into human-like creatures, both physically and socially, by the cold and calculating Dr. Moreau. When it was first published in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau shocked and horrified most of its audience as well as reviewers. H. G. Wells effectively employs disturbing elements to explore both the implications of evolutionary theory and to satirize modern society's religious institutions and its pride in its "civilization"-all through a story filled with suspense and adventure.



As with the other early "scientific romances" that initiated Wells's literary career, The Island of Dr. Moreau successfully integrates serious ideas into a story driven not only by fast-paced action but also by the author's gift for placing the fantastic parts of the story in the realistically depicted world of his audience. Thus, Wells offered the growing field of science fiction an important model as well as one of its most highly regarded examples.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 24, 2009
ISBN:
9781400181148
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


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Reviews

What people think about The Island of Doctor Moreau

3.8
73 ratings / 97 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I found this to be quite a fun read. That's a great compliment since I'm not really a fan of science fiction. However, I thought I'd give this story a go since I had previously found The Invisible Man, by the same author, very entertaining, In The Island of Dr. Moreau, a man named Prendick, ends up on an island inhabited by only two other men, one of who is a doctor intent on making animals into humans by vivisection. The results of his experimentation abound on the island as well as a rule of order known as The Law. Circumstances happen which change the status quo. It's interesting to follow along on this man-animal continuum to see how everything plays out and to learn if there us any chance that Prendick would make it off of this strange island alive.
  • (4/5)
    Classed as "scientific romance" at the time, this is on the surface an adventure novel. The protagonist Prendick survives a shipwreck and finds himself on an island filled with curious creatures. Pendrick, like Wells himself, studied biology under Darwinist Thomas Huxley, and this forms the scientific backdrop. Like Lord of the Flies, The Island of Dr. Moreau has many layers. There's an underlying mockery of organized religion, a blurring of lines between human and inhuman, suggestions of a link between ethnicity and culture. The characters are flawed and malleable, changing with their environment. Their interaction represents the base around which the story revolves.A couple of possible influences, suggested by Margaret Atwood in her 2005 introduction, are The Tempest and Treasure Island. If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy Atwood's own MaddAddam Trilogy.
  • (4/5)
    This was a good book. It was pretty interesting, but there were a few parts where the story lagged and I found my mind wandering. This is my third Wells book, and I honestly found it not to be as good as the other two I've read so far (The Time Machine and The First Men in the Moon).
  • (3/5)
    Boring and forgettable.
  • (3/5)
    Another short novel by Wells with an over the top social commentary. On a secluded island in the Pacific, Dr. Moreau experiments on animals through physical and brain surgery in an attempt to make them human (or at least more human). Although he has some success, the story shows us how after time, all of the beast return to a state of being beasts. I think the purpose of the story is to show us the dangers of letting science get out of control. Also, it shows us how maybe we should enjoy the way we are and not always be looking to make things "better".
  • (4/5)
    Even though the science behind Moreau's animal experimentation will seem ridiculous from a 21st century perspective, Wells's 1896 horror sci-fi still has the power to terrify. We can mentally substitute the possibility of modern day gene and cloning experimentation as a current day proxy and the increased awareness and appreciation of animal rights adds an extra layer of chills to the mix.I listened to the 2011 Recorded Books/Audible Audio edition read by Simon Prebble which was very well done.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book I'm certain I've read by H.G. Wells. His writing is not exceptional. But when I had done with the book I had much the same feeling as when I have awoken from a very bad dream. It is a hard book to get out of your head, but I'm not really sure what it is about.
  • (3/5)
    "You cannot imagine the strange colourless delight of these intellectual desires. The thing before you is no longer an animal, a fellow-creature, but a problem."Edward Prendrick is rescued after being shipwrecked, but unfortunately gets on the captain's bad side and abandoned on a remote island where Doctor Moreau and his assistant Montgomery conduct their experiments away from the disapproval of the scientific establishment.The dated style stopped me from empathising with any of the characters and only the screams of the leopard on the operating table drew me in towards them. I think I have read at least one story based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and they did a much better job of getting the readers to empathise.
  • (4/5)
    This is a harrowing memoir of a castaway's time on a small island off South America, inhabited by a mad scientist and his creations. Inspired in part I would guess by Frankenstein, it raises some of the same questions as to the ethics of experimentation, and the philosophical notion of personhood, though in this case on the boundary between the human and the animal, as opposed to the living and the dead.In its turn, it must have been an inspiration for Jurassic Park in some of its peripheral details, though again, that raises a different set of ethical questions and doesn't tread into the territory of the man-beasts of Dr Moreau. Though the plausibility of the science aspect of this novel suffers slightly from it being written quite a while ago, it is quite possible to see how similar ends could be brought about in the future with the wacky misuse of genetic engineering.I really enjoyed this novel, and despite it being relatively short (160 pages), it is complete in its plot and makes for a page-turning read. A really good introduction to H G Wells, and a clever and exciting novel, though some people will find it too creepy to enjoy.
  • (3/5)
    I vaguely knew what this book was about and I knew I wouldn't really care for it so I avoided reading it for a long time. However, the audiobook was available from my library as a free download and it was on the 1001 list so I decided to give it a try.A survivor of a ship wreck, Edward Prendrick, is picked up by a ship which is returning with supplies to the Island of Doctor Moreau. On board is Dr. Montgomery who assists Moreau and he restores Prendrick to consciousness. When the ship reaches the island the captain refuses to take Prendrick any further so he is forced on Moreau and Montgomery. Prendrick learns that Moreau creates human animal hybrids by performing vivisection (i.e. surgery while the animal is conscious) on various animals. Prendrick is sickened by this but, given his circumstances, he is unable to interfere. He wonders if he will ever leave the island or will he go insane as Moreau and Montgomery seem to have done.Very disturbing subject matter. I suppose Wells meant it to be as antivivisectionism was quite a movement in the late 1800s.
  • (4/5)
    This is a clever and disturbing story. I found it reminiscent of Lord of the Flies but almost in reverse. The description of the hybrid beast-men is graphic enough to be unpleasant, yet the creatures still retain enough humanity to be sympathetic. A thought provoking read.
  • (4/5)
    The use of vivisection (experimentation on live animals) to create animal-human hybrids and the consequence of this. Not my favourite Wells. Book looks at our ability to create our own destruction and the inevitable degeneration of 'beasts' when not supervised by white men.
  • (4/5)
    This was a good book. It was pretty interesting, but there were a few parts where the story lagged and I found my mind wandering. This is my third Wells book, and I honestly found it not to be as good as the other two I've read so far (The Time Machine and The First Men in the Moon).
  • (2/5)
    I didn't enjoy this book.

    But then, much like Lord of the Flies, I don't think it's a book you're supposed to enjoy.

    Suffice to say, I'm prepared to acknowledge that this probably was not the best book to start with on my foray into Well's writing.

    I thought it would be more appealing to me but it's more or less a white guy getting shipwrecked on an island plus the usual white scientist goes mad with power, island becomes a microcosm of the world, and so on, and so on.

    And I have to admit that it's getting difficult for me to read books that are as cold, as clinical and as masculine as this one is. It doesn't feel like a novel it just feels like a really long allegory.

    Of course this book is one of many written by Wells that has made a huge contribution to science fiction, but this book just isn't my thing. Doesn't mean I'm not willing to read other books by Wells, I just didn't like it.
  • (4/5)
    Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • (4/5)
    '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.
  • (3/5)
    Fairly predictable, but a thrilling read none the less.
  • (4/5)
    Very well written but just not my kind of story. Too creepy! I had to watch some silly TV for a while after finishing to prevent myself from having nightmares!
  • (5/5)
    I don't know if H.G. Wells was an atheist or not, but if this was the only writing he had left behind, I would have thought he was.

    Slow start, but the last 25% of the book more than makes up for it. A fabulous parody of the Christian creation myth and the myth of Jesus.

    EXCELLENT.
  • (5/5)
    What if we're all just man-beasts?
  • (4/5)
    I don't think this is Wells' best book, although perhaps if the plot had been a surprise to me instead of already familiar, I might have rated it higher. Still, Wells is a compelling writer always, and I admire his straightforward style from a time when many writers seemed to tie themselves in knots just to get out a sentence. Wells feels more "modern" because of that. This one is a bit more grotesque than the others of Wells' novels I have read, although still not as scary as War of the Worlds. Once again, Wells proves himself an originator of tropes that now seem like cliches: mad scientist on an isolated island, conducting extreme experiments just because he can. The story does have its weaknesses. For being in the title, Moreau could have been a more well-rounded character, and it might have been more exciting if he had not died off-screen. This might be dismissed as mere pulp fiction, but Wells' writing is smarter than that. Here are two examples where it rises above: the genuinely creepy scene with Pendrick sitting in the dark among the manimals, all chanting, "Are we not men?" And the end, where Pendrick, returned to civilization, looks at the people all around him and can't help but seeing the beasts hidden within."Read" as an audiobook (2015).
  • (3/5)
    Much better than the movie - although that could be said of many works. But the novel is more about the moral issues around science "at any cost" and man's place in the animal kingdom than about a horror story about a man being changed into an animal (at least in the Michael York version I saw, which completely misses the point).
    A man is stranded on an island where a scientist is changing animals into people. Predictably, the animals transgress and revolt bringing about the death of the scientist. They revert to their animal selves and the man escapes back to "civilization".
  • (3/5)
    Another one for my SF/F class. I'm not sure what I'm going to write about for this one: Wells wrote with such clarity that it feels like everything is completely obvious. I don't find his work the most gripping stuff around, but I do enjoy reading it -- partly because of that sense of clarity: he knows exactly what he wants to say, and says it.There is something dispassionate about all his work, to me, but I can appreciate his ideas.
  • (3/5)
    This story does not need me to review it, so I'll put some of my thoughts and impressions here instead. It is about a scientist who has no qualms about inflicting horrific pain on animals and for some mystifying reason thinks they would be better in the shape of humans. I believe the pointlessness of it all was what I didn't get, but then, I suppose that shows the madness of the doctor. Another thing which annoyed me, was that the storyteller seemed to be upset about it all for weird reasons. He kept going on about the abomination of the creatures because they weren't human. The abomination was that they were not allowed to be the beautiful creatures they were created to be. Even supposing it to be all medically possible, WHY would anyone want to do that? Animals are created perfectly for their function, and their function is necessary, so the abomination lies in not allowing them to be what they are, not in the fact that they could not be what the doctor was trying to twist them into. Also, his terror when they began reverting to animals again was off. I would have been happy to have them all be animals again, without the torment of mind and body. Much simpler to live with, I would think.
  • (5/5)
    I was extremely surprised at how much I liked this book. Other reviews say it better than I do, so I'll just throw in my recommendation.
  • (3/5)
    OK, but it read a little to much like a book for teenage boys for my own personal taste.

    Also, it doesn't seem so out there any more. The vivisection--yuck--but the trying to combine animals and add humanness to animals sounds like something people are TRULY working on. Gene therapy, growing body parts on pigs (I feel like something like this has happened?), using a finger to make a new thumb, genetically modified foods, etc etc are all real things to us. When this book came out I imagine it was a lot more shocking--though not necessarily less scary.
  • (4/5)
    The use of vivisection (experimentation on live animals) to create animal-human hybrids and the consequence of this. Not my favourite Wells. Book looks at our ability to create our own destruction and the inevitable degeneration of 'beasts' when not supervised by white men.
  • (4/5)
    In it's entirety, The Island of Dr. Moreau definitely kept my interest. But I don't think I would have rated it as highly as I have if it weren't for the last chapter (CH. 22: The Man Alone). I just fell for how aptly Wells was able to capture the results of Prendick's "adventure." Also, the very basis for the story, is infinitely intriguing. What really makes these 'beasts' monsters? The experiments, the pain, or the simple fact of the yoke of humanity being cast upon them? And, depending on your perspective, who is the real monster? The animalistic traits of the creations or the person trying so grotesquely to suppress/change them? As we see with Prendick, it's a bit more relative in a moment of human peril than most of us would tend to think. His monsters are formed by what's unknown to what seems the most dangerous at present. But the idea of monsters isn't extinguished in the escaping, they simply live on in new ways.
  • (5/5)
    I really don't know why I keep thinking that Wells' stories aren't any good. Before much reading time had passed I was talking to the Spouse about how much more plausible and realistic the story was than I thought it was going to be. And also, his structure is good, how he brings the reader in, how information is revealed, how our narrator changes his opinion as he understands more. The story never went where I expected it to, either.

    Who anticipates being surprised by a hundred year old story that's been adapted to film I don't know how many times? An interesting read, entertaining, but also, one that doesn't raise issues and try to pass off easy answers.

    Personal copy.
  • (3/5)
    Pure unadulterated paranoia and gore. Pretty fucking scary.