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The Island of Dr. Moreau (Bantam Classics) Reprint Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 537 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0553214321
ISBN-10: 0553214322
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror. Or, as H. G. Wells himself wrote about this story, "The Island of Dr. Moreau is an exercise in youthful blasphemy. Now and then, though I rarely admit it, the universe projects itself towards me in a hideous grimace. It grimaced that time, and I did my best to express my vision of the aimless torture in creation." This colorful tale by the author of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds lit a firestorm of controversy at the time of its publication in 1896. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1
In The Dingey Of The "Lady Vain."

I DO not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the "Lady Vain." As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The longboat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days after by H. M. gunboat "Myrtle," and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible "Medusa" case. But I have to add to the published story of the "Lady Vain" another, possibly as horrible and far stranger. It has hitherto been supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished, but this is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion: I was one of the four men.
But in the first place I must state that there never were four men in the dingey,--the number was three. Constans, who was "seen by the captain to jump into the gig," luckily for us and unluckily for himself did not reach us. He came down out of the tangle of ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small rope caught his heel as he let go, and he hung for a moment head downward, and then fell and struck a block or spar floating in the water. We pulled towards him, but he never came up.
Daily News, March 17, 1887.
I say lucky for us he did not reach us, and I might almost say luckily for himself; for we had only a small breaker of water and some soddened ship's biscuits with us, so sudden had been the alarm, so unprepared the ship for any disaster. We thought the people on the launch would be better provisioned (though it seems they were not), and we tried to hail them. They could not have heard us, and the next morning when the drizzle cleared,-- which was not until past midday,--we could see nothing of them. We could not stand up to look about us, because of the pitching of the boat. The two other men who had escaped so far with me were a man named Helmar, a passenger like myself, and a seaman whose name I don't know,-- a short sturdy man, with a stammer.
We drifted famishing, and, after our water had come to an end, tormented by an intolerable thirst, for eight days altogether. After the second day the sea subsided slowly to a glassy calm. It is quite impossible for the ordinary reader to imagine those eight days. He has not, luckily for himself, anything in his memory to imagine with. After the first day we said little to one another, and lay in our places in the boat and stared at the horizon, or watched, with eyes that grew larger and more haggard every day, the misery and weakness gaining upon our companions. The sun became pitiless. The water ended on the fourth day, and we were already thinking strange things and saying them with our eyes; but it was, I think, the sixth before Helmar gave voice to the thing we had all been thinking. I remember our voices were dry and thin, so that we bent towards one another and spared our words. I stood out against it with all my might, was rather for scuttling the boat and perishing together among the sharks that followed us; but when Helmar said that if his proposal was accepted we should have drink, the sailor came round to him.
I would not draw lots however, and in the night the sailor whispered to Helmar again and again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp-knife in my hand, though I doubt if I had the stuff in me to fight; and in the morning I agreed to Helmar's proposal, and we handed halfpence to find the odd man. The lot fell upon the sailor; but he was the strongest of us and would not abide by it, and attacked Helmar with his hands. They grappled together and almost stood up. I crawled along the boat to them, intending to help Helmar by grasping the sailor's leg; but the sailor stumbled with the swaying of the boat, and the two fell upon the gunwale and rolled overboard together. They sank like stones. I remember laughing at that, and wondering why I laughed. The laugh caught me suddenly like a thing from without.
I lay across one of the thwarts for I know not how long, thinking that if I had the strength I would drink sea-water and madden myself to die quickly. And even as I lay there I saw, with no more interest than if it had been a picture, a sail come up towards me over the sky-line. My mind must have been wandering, and yet I remember all that happened, quite distinctly. I remember how my head swayed with the seas, and the horizon with the sail above it danced up and down; but I also remember as distinctly that I had a persuasion that I was dead, and that I thought what a jest it was that they should come too late by such a little to catch me in my body.
For an endless period, as it seemed to me, I lay with my head on the thwart watching the schooner (she was a little ship, schooner-rigged fore and aft) come up out of the sea. She kept tacking to and fro in a widening compass, for she was sailing dead into the wind. It never entered my head to attempt to attract attention, and I do not remember anything distinctly after the sight of her side until I found myself in a little cabin aft. There's a dim half-memory of being lifted up to the gangway, and of a big red countenance covered with freckles and surrounded with red hair staring at me over the bulwarks. I also had a disconnected impression of a dark face, with extraordinary eyes, close to mine; but that I thought was a nightmare, until I met it again. I fancy I recollect some stuff being poured in between my teeth; and that is all.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics; Reprint edition (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553214322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553214321
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although it is less often read than such Wells novels as THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, the basic story of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU is very well known through several extremely loose film adaptations. Pendrick, a British scientist, is shipwrecked--and by chance finds himself on an isolated island where Dr. Moreau and his assistant Montgomery are engaged in a series of experiments. They are attempting to transform animals into manlike beings.

Wells, a social reformer, was a very didactic writer, and his novels reflect his thoughts and theories about humanity. Much of Wells writing concerns (either directly or covertly) social class, but while this exists in MOREAU it is less the basic theme than an undercurrent. At core, the novel concerns the then-newly advanced theory of natural selection--and then works to relate how that theory impacts man's concept of God. Wells often touched upon this, and in several novels he broaches the thought that if mankind evolved "up" it might just as easily evolve "down," but nowhere in his work is this line of thought more clearly and specifically seen than here.

At times Wells' determination to teach his reader can overwhelm; at times it can become so subtle that it is nothing short of absolutely obscure. But in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, Wells achieves a perfect balance of the two extremes, even going so far as to balance the characters in such a way that not even the narrator emerges as entirely sympathetic. It is a remarkable achievement, and in this sense I consider MOREAU possibly the best of Wells work: the novel is as interesting for the story it tells as it is for still very relevant themes it considers.
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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.
3 Comments 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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By A Customer on November 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Admittedly, Anne's House of Dreams IS a pretty good book. Anne and Gilbert finally get married (FINALLY, after we've been waiting for the last four books) and go to Four Winds Harbor to spread their wings. They live in a cute little "house o' dreams" (hence the title) and meet all sorts of new people: Captian Jim, Miss Cornelia, Leslie, Owen Ford, etc., who are all, by the way, wonderfully characterized, as is L.M. Montgomery's signature.
The only real problems that I had with this book was that it had lost the flair of the other "Anne" books, and wasn't quite ready for the mischevious tinge that the following books, which are mainly about the Blythe children, bring with them. Like I said, kind of a bridge between the real Anne books and the books about her kids. I also missed the presence of the Avonlea people like Marilla, Diana, Mrs. Lynde, and so on. But for the most part, it met my expectations. You've got to remember that it had some pretty high standards that it's predecessors had set to live up to.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'll always have a special place for the earlier books, especially 'Anne of the Island', but nothing is unmatched to 'Anne's House of Dreams'.

I always have a certain problem when reading Anne books. Although I enjoy the plot and characters, I resent the melancholy, wistful feel to it everytime Anne goes into a new chapter of her life. There was the last chapter of the first book; 'A Bend in The Road', where the simple description and mood of the scene was so heart-wrenching that I almost cried. 'Anne of Avonlea' was just as sentimental as the previous book, with Anne realizing she cannot turn back time to when she was eleven. We, as readers feel the impact too. We have come to love each and every one character in Avonlea and we cannot stand to watch the years go by and be forced accept that the people are changing. 'Anne of the Island' cured that depressing tone slightly by bringing in cheerful college life but still retained the usual Avonlea village scenes into it. A romance brewing between Gilbert and Anne also helped distract readers from getting too upset about Anne growing up and leaving her childhood days forever. But nevertheless the proposal scene at the last chapter brought up those suppressed feelings out once again and left us smiling a bittersweet smile at the closing descriptions of the book.

But in 'Anne's House of Dreams', we are introduced to a whole new atmosphere. No longer is Anne running dreamily into magical forests and delighting in fairy brooks, listening to the whispers of the trees or playacting as a Fair Maiden with her childhood friends. The fairy-tale, static forests of Avonlea are replaced with a vast sea, salty breezes and spicy scents of seagrass in the air.
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