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The Island of Dr. Moreau (Dover Thrift Editions)

50 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486290270
ISBN-10: 0486290271
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Considered one of the fathers of science fiction, H. G. Wells (1866–1946) brought enormous inventiveness and an underlying social vision and moral concern to his strange tales and bizarre imaginings. A student of Darwinian biology, he formed his romantic conceptions of the scientific world at an early age.
This novel, one of his first forays into the science fiction genre, concerns a mad surgeon-turned-vivisectionist who, in his laboratory on a remote island, performs ghoulish experiments in an attempt to transform animals into men, with monstrous results. It is one of Wells' earliest and most sinister personifications of the scientific quest to control and manipulate the natural world, and, ultimately, human nature itself.
First published in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau has intrigued and horrified readers for generations. It will gain legions of new fans in this inexpensive Dover edition.

About the Author

A pioneer of science fiction, H. G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote thrilling adventures about time travel, space exploration, alien invasion, and scientific experiments gone awry. His tales of obsession, revelation, and discovery remain compellingly readable and relevant.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (January 12, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486290271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486290270
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael Legg on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is less known than Wells' other works like The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, but in many ways it exceeds these other, more popular works. This novel is a story essentially about the nature of humanity. What is it that makes us people? What, exactly, separates man from the beasts? Wells' insidious Dr. Moreau is the perfect character to explore these questions as he has no conscience. As you read this book you find yourself identifying more with the "beasts" than with the Dr. or his assistant; and you find yourself wondering whether or not the noble beasts are in fact more human than the human characters. This work is decades before its' time; as today genetic research and animal rights are garnering more attention and headlines. I believe Wells was somehow able to see these issues decades ago when he wrote this story; and it remains one of the most salient writings on the topic to date. I heartily endorse this book for any fan of science fiction. Enjoy!
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Gary Johnson on November 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review is for the Dover Thrift Edition of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

The price is certainly attractive for this edition of H.G. Wells' classic short novel (just $2). However, you should be aware that this edition is missing the Introduction. Someone at Dover made a big mistake. The Introduction is part of the novel and it contains important information.

However, I'm guessing someone at Dover saw the Introduction ends with the name "Charles Edward Prendick" (as author of the introduction) and decided this wasn't written by H.G. Wells so it's expendable in a bare-bones edition. Not so fast. The introduction was indeed written by Wells. It's in the first person, with Charles Edward Prendick as the "I". Then for the remainder of the novel, Charles' uncle Edward is the narrator and central character.

Big mistake, Dover. This is supposedly an "unabridged" edition. However, the first two pages (the introduction) are missing. I did a quick search on Amazon of other editions of this novel, and all listings that have Amazon's LOOK INSIDE! feature include the introduction.

Wells novel: 5 stars, absolutely great!
Dover Thrift Edition: 1 star, unacceptable.

Avoid this edition.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adam E. Silbestein on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This novella is interesting as a piece of science fiction, the genre of which H.G. Wells is sometimes called the father. It was written a few decades after Darwin presented his theory of evolution. The concept of evolution produced a lot of anxiety among intellectuals of the time, including Wells, who looks at the implications of the theory here. He puts the narrator, Prendick, on a secret island populated by Moreau's man-beast creations. The events which follow continually blur the line between man and animal, just as evolution forces man to see itself in the context of other species. Oh yeah, the novella, like any good sci-fi book, is suspenseful, and a little scary. And it's not very long, so you'll have plenty of time to read all your other books too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on February 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is one of a relatively small number of stories that could all be considered prototypes of the "mad scientist" subgenre of the science fiction genre. (Some of the others are "Frankenstein", by Mary Shelley, "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea", by Jules Verne, and "Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde", by Robert Louis Stevenson.) As such, there are many elements of the story that to a modern reader may seem trite and overused; what is necessary for the reader to understand is that these concepts were NOT trite and overused at the time; this is one of the writers who CREATED these concepts, which are so powerful that they've been copied by later writers until they seem downright hackneyed. If a modern writer had written this story, I'd rate it two or three stars for a fairly competent style, by no higher because it adds nothing new to the genre. But as it is, it's one of the originals, and is worth reading if for no other purpose than to be able to see the references back to it in later novels, such as "Jurassic Park", by Michael Crichton.
If you're bored with the "mad scientist" subgenre, you probably needn't read this book. But if you're at all curious to see one of the books that originated the concept, this is an excellent early example of the idea. And if you are a fan of the genre, this book is definitely a must-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
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The Island of Dr. Moreau (Dover Thrift Editions)
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