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Editorial Reviews

H.G. Wells's classic horror story centers around monster-making. As the tale begins, the nephew of Edward Prendick is narrating from an account written by his uncle as a old man. While in the prime of life, the shipwrecked Prendick was saved from death by Dr. Moreau, an expatriate living on a deserted island who was attempting, by surgical experiments, to humanize animals. Through Prebble's narrative mastery the character of Prendick evolves with the events he describes. The opening chapter is performed in a dry, weary voice. As Prendick describes the animals' agony and the misshapen results of the "man-making," Prebble reads in a shadowy, intense tone, conveying events too horrible and unbelievable to describe. Prebble's narration makes the story visual and visceral.

Publisher's Summary

Written by H.G. Wells, the great visionary author, this legendary novel is both timeless and thought provoking. Listeners will thrill to this chilling masterpiece as man boldly takes evolution into his own hands for the first time. Dr. Moreau, a scientist expelled from his homeland for his cruel experiments, continues his transplantations on a small South Pacific island, creating hideous creatures with manlike intelligence. When the island’s human/beasts revolt, the true consequences of his genetic meddling emerge. This stunning novel introduces listeners to the potential perils and gains of scientific discovery. H.G. Wells, author of the science fiction novels The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Island of Dr. Moreau, remains the standard by which modern fantasy authors are judged.

Public Domain (P)1996 Recorded Books

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An Oldie but a Goodie

I have to admit, this book actually exceeded my expectations. The narrator did a great job setting the tone of the story's era and bringing the classic Victorian masterpiece to life. If you are a fan of the HP Lovecraft audio books, I think you will enjoy these as well.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Good narration, disturbing tale

This is one of HG Wells' more disturbing tales. I can't say I'm really in love with it, like I am with "War of the Worlds" or "The Invisible Man" (or some of his short stories like "The Truth about Pyecraft" or "In the Abyss"). Dr Moreau isn't a deliberate sadist, he just doesn't care; under his knife, animals not only suffer terrible physical agonies; they suffer a complete corruption and destruction of their essential nature. I found it more depressing even than the bleak vision of "The Time Machine."

That said, Simon Prebble does an excellent job with the narration.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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A classic for a good reason

I read this in high school, but the rereading with audible was a lot of fun. The story made me think about fate vs choice, animal vs human. it was also surprisingly funny. Narrator was excellent at conveying both the pathos of the animal men and the silliness of the upper class Englishmen trying to be gods.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking and engrossing.

If you could sum up The Island of Dr. Moreau in three words, what would they be?

Thought Provoking
Engrossing
Real

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Island of Dr. Moreau?

[spoiler] When Prindig first came into the hut with the law giver reading the law.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Dr. Moreau was explaining his philosophy behind what he was doing. It made sense, and yet you knew how horrible and unnatural it was, like many modern medical practices.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Who will decide The Law?

Any additional comments?

HG Wells embedded so much meaning and realism in this story that it was hard to set aside. I am still thinking about it.
Simon Prebble's narration is extraordinary. He breathes even more life into each of these characters, which I love. Yet, he doesn't over act or try to dramatize the story. His presentation is just right.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Haunting story

Would you listen to The Island of Dr. Moreau again? Why?

I'd definitely listen again - its a bit too dry to be my go-to sci-fi book, but the descriptions are haunting to imagine, both of the people and the non. I actually enjoyed that no character in this story was good, redeemable, or even sympathetic, and that the author never attempts to portray them as such. The narrator does a good job with pacing and with setting the scene you're meant to be engrossed in.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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this story is so cool

The narrator was awesome and the story is really cool! I was forced to read this for school but I ended up really loving it!!

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Dr Jekyl, I presume?

A powerful novel in it's day (1896) and still great fantasy/sci-fi...even if the science is a bit dated, it's still fun. On an island in the Pacific Ocean, the evil Moreau conducts grizzly experiments while the able assistant drinks himself into oblivion and the newcomer watches this queer drama. This would make a great movie---wait, there have been five made of this plot/theme. I'll go find one and watch it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Science in the Dock

Though seeing a perplexing antagonism between God as Creator and God as Redeemer—what he called an “Outward” as opposed to an “Inmost” deity—and therefore unable to accept any orthodox faith, H. G. Wells nevertheless professed “a profound belief in a personal and intimate God”.

Putting aside his cosmic quibbles (doesn’t the seeming antagonism suggest a God who, as He Himself says, has thoughts far above our own?) I believe he did believe. Otherwise he could not have written this book, perhaps the best case for Christianity—or at least for religious faith—ever penned by a sincere agnostic theist.

The “Law” that governs the bestial inhabitants of Dr. Moreau’s island—rules that serve the best interests of the leaders, not the led—is an inverted mockery of the Law handed down to Moses. Their faith in Moreau’s immortality and their credulity at the promise of his resurrection make him a feeble imitation of Christ. And why not? After all, this is the story of a man playing at God; re-engineering His creation for ends that are never explained. As Edward Prendick, our castaway narrator observes:

“…he was so irresponsible, so utterly careless. His curiosity, his mad, aimless investigations drove him on…”

And Moreau himself admits:

“To this day, I have never troubled about the ethics of the thing. The study of nature makes a man, at last, as remorseless as nature.”

Prendick describes the results of this unbalanced approach to scientific method as, “…these horrible caricatures of my maker’s image…”

Of course, the whole thing would be a waste of time if Wells didn’t understand what he was about as a writer. But he did, serving up a scenario that seemed impossible in his day—though hardly so now—according to his “new system of ideas”. These were to make everything in the story completely familiar and realistic to the reader—everything except the invisible man, the invasion from Mars or the doctor’s vivisected abominations. The result is an utterly gripping story, one that holds your attention even though, from page one, you know our narrator makes it through alright.

Of course, Simon Prebble deserves a generous share of the credit here, serving it all up with his usual superbly modulated style. Every character, even Moreau’s misshapen creations, have individual voices. And Kudos to Audible for making this a recent Daily Deal.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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AN APOCRYPHAL STORY

The Island of Dr. Moreau is an apocryphal story; i.e. it raises many human’ issues—like morality, ethics, meaning of life, and the boundaries of civilization. The original story is mired in 1896’ science but the story remains relevant for 21st century cloning and genetic manipulation. Wells envisions a brilliant physiologist who finds a way to meld the physiological characteristics of man with beast. This extraordinary feat is not technically revealed, which diminishes the sense of suspended belief, but the idea opens a Pandora’s Box of evil that is only mitigated by hope.

Ray Kurzweil suggests the future of human beings will involve a merger of human’ DNA and micro-technology. The Island of Dr. Moreau may be re-titled “The Island of Dr. Anonymous” with island earth populated by “humanimals” and “humotics”. Like Well’s hero, Edward Prendick, surviving humans may leave island earth if they want to remain “only” human. The fable of Pandora explains that “hope”, the politics of the possible, is all that is left at the bottom of the box.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

The latest movie helps the reader...

This is one case in which the film adaptation really helped me enjoy the book more. It would have been more difficult to imagine the images described without that reference. Also, I enjoyed the constant religious themes, the descriptions of the beast people and humans being like them inherently. The imagery of Dr. Moreau being the "law giver" and the beast people questioning the existence of the law without the "law giver" being earthly present. Was worth a credit I think.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful