Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Rate this book
Librarian note: An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found here.

Ranked among the classic novels of the English language and the inspiration for several unforgettable movies, this early work of H. G. Wells was greeted in 1896 by howls of protest from reviewers, who found it horrifying and blasphemous. They wanted to know more about the wondrous possibilities of science shown in his first book, The Time Machine, not its potential for misuse and terror. In The Island of Dr. Moreau, a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.

While this riveting tale was intended to be a commentary on evolution, divine creation, and the tension between human nature and culture, modern readers familiar with genetic engineering will marvel at Wells’s prediction of the ethical issues raised by producing “smarter” human beings or bringing back extinct species. These levels of interpretation add a richness to Prendick’s adventures on Dr. Moreau’s island of lost souls without distracting from what is still a rip-roaring good read.

160 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1896

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

H.G. Wells

4,387 books9,647 followers
Herbert George Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, to study biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science. Wells earned his bachelor of science and doctor of science degrees at the University of London. After marrying his cousin, Isabel, Wells began to supplement his teaching salary with short stories and freelance articles, then books, including The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

Wells created a mild scandal when he divorced his cousin to marry one of his best students, Amy Catherine Robbins. Although his second marriage was lasting and produced two sons, Wells was an unabashed advocate of free (as opposed to "indiscriminate") love. He continued to openly have extra-marital liaisons, most famously with Margaret Sanger, and a ten-year relationship with the author Rebecca West, who had one of his two out-of-wedlock children. A one-time member of the Fabian Society, Wells sought active change. His 100 books included many novels, as well as nonfiction, such as A Modern Utopia (1905), The Outline of History (1920), A Short History of the World (1922), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), and The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind (1932). One of his booklets was Crux Ansata, An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Although Wells toyed briefly with the idea of a "divine will" in his book, God the Invisible King (1917), it was a temporary aberration. Wells used his international fame to promote his favorite causes, including the prevention of war, and was received by government officials around the world. He is best-remembered as an early writer of science fiction and futurism.

He was also an outspoken socialist. Wells and Jules Verne are each sometimes referred to as "The Fathers of Science Fiction". D. 1946.

More: http://philosopedia.org/index.php/H._...





Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
25,290 (21%)
4 stars
45,515 (39%)
3 stars
36,064 (30%)
2 stars
8,037 (6%)
1 star
1,710 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,214 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,846 followers
October 10, 2021
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:
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book934 followers
February 11, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Anne.
4,056 reviews69.5k followers
August 27, 2023
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.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 27, 2021
"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.

Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,321 followers
November 1, 2017
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."
Profile Image for Adina .
889 reviews3,528 followers
February 1, 2022
Read 2016

I am giving this book four stars for the prophetic quality and not for its value as classic horror story. I read quite a few horror classics for my project to go through the history of sci fi/fantasy. I am not too impressed by the genre but I appreciate the effort, considering the period is was written.

The plot in a few words. After his boat sinks, Mr. Prendick finds himself stranded on an island together with two mysterious men, one being Mr. Moreau and a number of strange humanoids. The MC realizes that Mr. Moreau makes vivisections on different species of animals and humanizes them.
Mr. Moreau imposes to the creatures a series of laws in order to keep them in control, one of them being not to eat meat, a rule difficult to obey for carnivores. Another problem is that, in time, the creatures regain their animal appearance and instincts and their human part regresses. As a result, the rules become harder and harder to keep and some start to kill.

I had to see beyond the science part as it is obvious that these experiments were impossible back then, with the knowledge they had. However, I believe the book has a deeper message regarding the ethic of science and experiments on animals which is something I can relate to and relevant also in the present. Moreover, it feels like the book makes a case against colonization and forced religion.
Profile Image for Lea.
119 reviews443 followers
June 5, 2021
"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 , 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.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,710 followers
August 16, 2011
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?
Profile Image for Baba.
3,616 reviews985 followers
October 11, 2022
SF Masterworks (2010- series) #90:
This, now deemed a classic story, narrated by shipwreck survivor Edward Prendick, of his rescue, and then time stranded on the Island of Doctor Moreau, is interesting enough without the monsters. It's pretty neat the way Wells' uses this story to highlight the issues around vivisection and Darwinism which were big news at the time of publication. For me, the book reads much more like a horror, where we're being shown that the worse monster might be man himself. For the literati, this was the earliest example of the science fiction 'uplift' motif, where a more advanced race abuses another less advanced race. Overall this has aged a lot better say, than Wells' The Invisible Man and is such a great concept, proven by the multiple adaptations made of it! 6 out of 12.

2020 read
Profile Image for Luís.
1,941 reviews605 followers
March 20, 2023
Edward Prendick "fails" on Doctor Moreau's Island. He quickly realizes that creatures from the doctor's experimentation populate it—Half-beast, half-man, or animals that take themselves for men.
That's an absolute lack of intrigue, very little suspense, short format but almost too long.
Lack of visuals, not horrified, barely taken aback, can be horrible and visionary in 1896. Still, I read it recently and have already read much more violent, powerful, and addicting. In short, a story without natural relief and genuine attraction. The site is good because it was original and premonitory, leaving me cold. I read with my twenty-first-century standards, and the result is final—soft and uninteresting for entertainment and reflection. My faith is not qualified to judge, and especially interested in the historical side of art and writing.
The reflection on humanity and animal experimentation is hardly sketching; this book has little left.
In short, it is read-only because it is a famous book that "must" has read. (If you are interested in this kind of reading. For others, I will spare you an almost painful experience).
Profile Image for Tim.
477 reviews656 followers
August 22, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
August 14, 2020

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?”
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
May 3, 2019
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!
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,128 followers
September 27, 2018
En tan sólo cinco años, H.G. Wells escribió este libro, "El Hombre Invisible", "La Guerra de los Mundos" y "La Máquina del Tiempo", lo que demuestra la potencia creadora de la que era capaz este gran autor a la hora de sentarse a escribir.
Cada una de estas novelas son innovadoras, brillantes, futuristas. Contemporáneo de Julio Verne y tan inteligente como el escritor francés, se hizo famoso por sus libros de anticipación científica acompañados de una aventura bien llevada de mano de la literatura.
Pero lo que distancia un poco a Wells de Verne es que sus novelas tienen un trasfondo, plantean dicotomías o denuncian los potenciales peligros que sabemos generar los seres humanos.
Es también importante destacar que estas novelas terminan siendo un pequeño estudio sociológico de la humanidad. Cualquiera de las cuatro novelas tienen esos detalles. En "La Guerra de los Mundos" podemos reemplazar fácilmente a los marcianos por países que invaden y lo destruyen todo (ver las fotos de las tropas nazis invadiendo a Polonia en 1939 tiene el mismo efecto horroroso que la de las naves alienígenas de largas patas caminando por nuestro planeta en esa novela).
Si nos detenemos en "La Máquina del Tiempo" nos encontraremos con otro náufrago como el de este libro, pero atrapado en el tiempo, y ¿qué encuentra? que el planeta en el futuro sólo está poblado por dos razas: Los Eloi y los Morlock. Los primeros son los que disfrutan de las bondades del planeta y la vida mientras que los otros son oscuros seres que viven en las cavernas, apartados de todo sistema humano y social. Eso claramente nos muestra que hay una historia detrás de esa historia. Y no se trata solamente de la dicotomía Eloi/Morlocks, sino en marcar las graves diferencias sociales que existían en la Inglaterra de su época.
Y si recordamos la historia de "El Hombre Invisible", Wells nos dice que no es tan divertido ser invisible. Es más bien un sufrimiento. Griffin, el personaje principal es un científico que en su afán de lograr la invisibilidad pasará las de Caín y experimentará las peores vicisitudes posibles que su nueva condición de invisibilidad le da, dejándolo al borde del paroxismo.
Yendo a "La Isla del Dr. Moreau", nuevamente descubrimos parte de los argumentos planteados en algunas de las otras novelas. Nos cuenta que los peligros de los avances científicos pueden ser letales si se los utiliza en forma errónea. Una cosa es querer mejorar la calidad de vida de los seres o buscar la cura de los males que nos aquejan y otra muy distinta es "experimentar" persiguiendo algo con obsesión y ceguera.
Moreau quiere "humanizar" a los animales a partir de la vivisección y allí reside su error, por eso nos preguntamos: ¿para qué?, ¿con qué objeto?. Él intenta explicarlo cuando dice "Esta vez acabaré por completo con el animal, esta vez haré una criatura racional de mi propia invención."
Nuevamente pregunto: ¿era necesario? Moreau queda a mitad de camino entre Víctor Frankenstein y Dios. Altera la naturaleza de los animales para llevarlos a la condición humana en pos de una civilización artificial, de una nueva especie. Edward Prendick intenta razonar esto cuando descubre que está sólo a merced de tantas criaturas extrañas y hombres bestia en su propio hábitat pero ajenos a su lógica condición animal.
Para llegar a conseguir criaturas como "hombres-leopardo", "osos-toros", hienas-cerdo" y otras aberraciones, Moreau parte de animales normales mediante una dolorosísima vivisección de laboratorio para que estos puedan comenzar a humanizarse, hablar dentro de lo que su capacidad les permita e incluso caminar en dos patas.
Wells, con maestría, nos advierte que eso es peligroso, que no se puede alterar lo natural, no significa ninguna mejora ni para los animales ni para los hombres.
Pendrick lo afirma en un momento con todas las letras: Los animales pueden ser muy astutos y feroces, pero sólo el hombre es capaz de mentir y tiene razón.
Los animales no mienten, no matan por matar, no destruyen su propio medio ambiente para estar más cómodos, los animales no discriminan, no abandonan a sus seres queridos.
A veces, escucho a ciertas personas mofarse de otras que están haciendo algo indebido exclamando cosas como "¡mira lo que está haciendo tipo, cómo puede ser tan animal!" Cuán equivocados están.
¡Es tanto lo que a los seres humanos nos queda todavía por aprender de los animales!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews42 followers
September 28, 2021
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
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,768 reviews194 followers
September 14, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,215 reviews9,888 followers
August 10, 2017
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.

Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,376 reviews12k followers
November 7, 2018

“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
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews196 followers
September 15, 2021
"Los animales pueden ser muy astutos y feroces, pero sólo un hombre es capaz de mentir"

"Anteriormente, aquellos Monstruos habían sido bestias, con sus instintos perfectamente adaptados al entorno, y eran felices como cualquier ser vivo. Ahora habían topado con los grilletes de la humanidad y vivían en constante temor, atormentados por una Ley que no acertaban a comprender"

Una obra que puede resaltar por lo grotesco y la crueldad, Pero en realidad retrata una parte oscura de la ciencia(en el contexto de la época" presenta una analogía y plantea una critica social a la humanidad, y el adoctrinamiento del "poderoso" usando el miedo como principal herramienta.
Ademas nos plantea una interrogante: ¿Sería favorable que el animal se pareciera mas al ser humano. O por el contrario, tendríamos una mejor sociedad si nos pareciésemos un poco mas a los animales ?
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews653 followers
June 13, 2022
An animal may be ferocious and cunning enough, but it takes a real man to tell a lie.

My days I devote to reading and experiments in chemistry, and I spend many of the clear nights in the study of astronomy. There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. 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’m getting ready to read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, so I thought I should re-read the original novel to hopefully better appreciate the retelling.

The plot of The Island of Doctor Moreau is pretty simple. Edward Prendick is narrating a story he lived through several years earlier. In 1887, he escaped a shipwreck and was rescued by a boat traveling to an island. On the island, he met Doctor Moreau, a biologist conducting unnatural experiments on animals ….

The Island of Doctor Moreau is not my favorite H.G. Wells by any stretch. The ‘science’ used by Doctor Moreau is unconvincing, and works better as a metaphor for genetic engineering. And the pacing of the story is a bit off. Still, H.G. Wells is one of the titans of science fiction for a reason. The Island of Doctor Moreau is a dark novel about the dangers of science gone too far, and the hubris of scientists who believe they can and should wield the power of creation. As is true of so many of H.G. Wells’s books, its influence can be seen in so many other works, from the general vibe of Heart of Darkness to a thematic and spiritual inheritor like Jurassic Park. Certainly worth reading if you never have. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Recommended.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
January 30, 2019
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. :)
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,536 reviews43 followers
July 21, 2018
This story was even more disturbing and intriguing the second time around.
Profile Image for Daren.
1,328 reviews4,398 followers
April 22, 2023
Well known by most, it is my first reading of The Island of Doctor Moreau, written by HG Wells in 1896. Honestly I think it has aged well, over 125 years old. I suspect even if most haven't read the novel, they will have seen one or other of the films from 1977 or 1996, both of which I have seen parts without being overly taken.

The plot is simple - a shipwrecked man, Edward Prendick, is alone in a small boat when he is rescued by a larger ship conveying a man with an array of animals in cages, to a remote and uncharted island in the Pacific. The captain is unwilling to take him further, so he joins the man, Montgomery, on the island where he meets Dr Moreau. He has a vague memory of the name from London, and finally places him as doctor who was caught experimenting in vivisection. The island, of course, is populated with the results of his experimentation - monstrous hybrid beasts with human features, and the ability to speak and learn.
Control is maintained through laws, which the animals learn, including not eating meat and not walking on all fours. The carnivorous animals struggle with this, and display regression over time back towards their animal genetics.

The theme of ethics is addressed throughout, there are aspects of religion with Dr Moreau's god complex and the laws presented in a similar way to the commandments.

A quick read which held my interest. Probably 3.5 stars, rounded up.
Profile Image for William2.
758 reviews3,080 followers
June 19, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
1,016 reviews1,179 followers
November 9, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Elena Rodríguez.
678 reviews304 followers
February 14, 2023
-Suya es la Casa del Dolor.
-Suya es la Mano que crea
-Suya es la Mano que hiere.
-Suya es la Mano que cura.”

Tercera obra que leo de H.G Wells y la verdad es que no me ha decepcionado. A decir verdad, yo conocía esta historia a través de un episodio de los Simpson de Halloween y no fue hasta hace un par de años que me enteré que estaba basado en esta novela. Sí, me falta un poco de cultura general, lo sé, pero bueno, qué le vamos a hacer.

-“No caminarás a cuatro patas; esa es la Ley. ¿Acaso no somos Hombres?
-No comerás carne ni pescado; esa es la Ley. ¿Acaso no somos Hombres?
-No cazarás a otros Hombres; esa es la Ley. ¿Acaso no somos Hombres?”

Antes dije que no me ha decepcionado leer esta historia, al contrario, me gustó mucho, tanto como el Hombre Invisible. Si es cierto que aguardaba una serie de reticencias con esta novela entre las que pensaba que fuese igual que dicho episodio de la serie, que fuese un relato demasiado denso o que me mi estado de ánimo actual influyese en la novela. Sin embargo, contra todo pronostico ha sido un éxito.

“Creo que es allí, en las vastas y eternas leyes de la materia, y no en las preocupaciones, en los pecados y en los problemas cotidianos de los hombres donde lo que en nosotros pueda haber de superior al animal debe buscar el sosiego y la esperanza. Sin esa ilusión, no podría vivir”.

Los personajes son lo que más destaco, al ser un relato no tienen tanta profundidad, pero me ha gustado mucho sus formas de ser sobre todo del doctor Moreau, creo que es el que más me ha gustado y como tiene las ideas tan retorcidas pero solidas en su cabeza.

En conclusión, me ha sorprendido para bien y siento que lo releeré en un futuro.

“Oí que lo llamaba Moureau, y en aquel momento no caí en la cuenta”.

Profile Image for Tom Quinn.
552 reviews165 followers
December 22, 2020
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!
Profile Image for Uhtred.
271 reviews15 followers
July 19, 2022
Herbert George Wells is one of the most deranged minds on the panorama of world writers. In a positive sense of course. He is one of the greatest visionaries I have known and one of the greatest imaginers of fantastic stories. Books like The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, Star Begotten, The Flying Man, The Stolen Bacillus, are milestones (or should be) of every young person who starts his or her reading career. His books always have a great "philosophical" content and encourage readers to ask questions about Humanity, progress, the nature of men, society and countless other points of observation and reflection. This is also the case with this book, which in my opinion is very current even today.
We are in 1888 and Edward Prendick is found on a lifeboat drifting off a volcanic island that was considered uninhabited to all. Prendick remembers nothing of what happened after the wreck of the ship he was traveling with, which took place a year earlier. But among the papers he has with him there is also a long manuscript, a truly incredible story, which is easy to think of as just his invention. But is it really so? Or is it all true? Prendick says that after his ship was wrecked he was on a small lifeboat, just waiting to die, when instead he was rescued by a merchant ship with a load of exotic animals, under the command of John Davis, a violent alcoholic. Montgomery, a young doctor and his assistant, a somewhat strange man, with a very black face and eyes that shine in the dark, helped Prendick to recover a little. Prendick soon finds himself immersed in an intolerable atmosphere: the countless caged animals scream day and night, the merchant is full of garbage, Davis' dogs snarl fiercely against Montgomery's assistant, the Captain is always drunk and angry. Montgomery become friend of Prendick and when the ship stops on the island where it has to unload the animals and Montgomery, the doctor agrees to welcome Prendick on that remote island even if his superior, the mysterious Dr. Moreau, is against this decision. Montgomery and Moreau argue for a long time and there is something strange in the air. Prendick immediately realizes that an extreme and illegal scientific experiment is underway on the island. And with disturbing implications. Very disturbing. And with the plot I stop here, because spoiling a book like this would be a crime.
Know that there is a great scientific plausibility in Wells' narrative; there is a "mad scientist" who wants to make animals almost human thanks to extreme surgical interventions that even induce behavioral changes. The plot is totalizing: it absorbs you 100%. But then you must also think: what defines a human being? What sets it apart from animals? How has evolution over the millennia really worked? And these are just some of the questions the reader could (and should) ask themselves. The story is disturbing, and these questions, when combined with the horror and violence of the plot, create an unrepeatable mix. Absolutely to read.
Profile Image for Agnieszka.
258 reviews932 followers
January 29, 2018

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.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,214 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.