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About the Author
H.G. WELLS: H.G. Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was a storied English author prolific in many genres. He wrote dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often referred to as the "father of science fiction."
During his own lifetime, however, he was most prominent as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. A futurist, he wrote a number of utopian works and foresaw the advent of airplanes, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the internet. His science fiction imagined time travel, alien invasion, invisibility, and biological engineering. Brian Aldiss referred to Wells as the "Shakespeare of science fiction”. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.
He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political, and he wrote little science fiction, while he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Novels like Kipps and The History of Mr. Polly, which describe lower-middle-class life, led to the suggestion that he was a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole.
BILL SIENKIEWICZ: Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced sin-KEV-itch) is an Eisner-winning, Emmy-nominated artist best known for revamping the style of comic and graphic novel illustration from 1980 onward, most notably with Marvel Comics' Elektra: Assassin and his acclaimed graphic novel Stray Toasters, earning him an international reputation and cult status across media industries.
Sienkiewicz, born Boleslav Felix Robert Sienkiewicz, is descended from the Nobel Prize-winning Polish novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz. He grew up in rural New Jersey, taught himself anatomy to better his sketches and worked construction to put himself through the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts in Newark, New Jersey.
He created groundbreaking movie promotional art for The Dark Knight, The Grinch, Unforgiven and the hit video game Resident Evil.
His work has graced the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; galleries in Paris, Barcelona and Tuscany; Spain's famed La Semana Negra (The Black Week) Festival; advertising campaigns for Nike, MTV and Nissan; posters for The Green Mile and 2006 Winter Olympics; and magazines such as Entertainment Weekly and Spin.
Books include Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix and Santa: My Life & Times (An Illustrated Autobiography). CD covers include The Very Beast of Dio, Bruce Cockburn's The Charity Of Night, The RZA's Bobby Digital In Stereo, EPMD's Business As Usual and Sold Out: A Threevening With Kevin Smith. With longtime friend and mentor Neal Adams, Sienkiewicz also designed multimedia stage productions for Roger Waters' 2006 Dark Side of the Moon tour.
A classically-trained painter, Sienkiewicz's renderings incorporate abstract and expressionist influences and any combination of oil painting, acrylics, watercolor, mixed-media, collage and mimeograph previously unheard of in comics. His work has garnered numerous accolades most notably a 2004 Eisner Award for DC Comics' The Sandman: Endless Nights, and 1995 and 1996 Emmy Award nominations for production and character design on the PBS children's TV series Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? Elektra: Assassin swept the top comic illustration awards in the U.S., Europe and Italy, respectively, with a 1987 Kirby Award, 1986 Yellow Kid Award, and 1986 Gran Guigiri Award.
GUILLERMO DEL TORO: Guillermo del Toro (born October 9, 1964) is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has shifted between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror films The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and more mainstream American action films, such as the vampire superhero action film Blade II (2002), the supernatural superhero film Hellboy (2004), its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and the science fiction monster film Pacific Rim (2013).
His 2017 fantasy film The Shape of Water received critical acclaim and won a Golden Lion at the 74th Venice International Film Festival as well as the Academy Award for Best Picture. Del Toro also received an Academy Award for Best Director for the film, as well as the Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Critics' Choice Award, and Directors Guild of America Award.
Del Toro's work is characterised by a strong connection to fairy tales and horror, with an effort to infuse visual or poetic beauty. He has had a lifelong fascination with monsters, which he considers symbols of great power.
Del Toro is known for his use of insectile and religious imagery, the themes of Catholicism and celebrating imperfection, underworld and clockwork motifs, practical special effects, dominant amber lighting, and his frequent collaborations with actors Ron Perlman and Doug Jones.
Date of Birth:September 21, 1866
Date of Death:August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:London, England
Education:Normal School of Science, London, England
Read an Excerpt
I. 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.
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.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction H.G. Wells: A Brief Chronology A Note on the Text
The Island of Doctor Moreau
Appendix A: Wells on Wells
Appendix B: Wells on Moreau and Science Fiction
- From Arthur H. Lawrence, “The Romance of the Scientist: An Interview with Mr. H.G. Wells” (1897)
- From H.G. Wells, “Preface,” The Works of H.G. Wells, Vol. 2 (1924)
- From H.G. Wells, “Preface,” The Scientific Romances of H.G. Wells (1933)
Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews
- Chalmers Mitchell, Saturday Review (11 April 1896)
- Letter from H.G. Wells replying to Chalmers Mitchell, Saturday Review (1 November 1896)
- [R.H. Hutton], Spectator (11 April 1896)
- Manchester Guardian (14 April 1896)
- The Guardian (3 June 1896)
- The Times (17 June 1896)
- The Review of Reviews (July–December 1895)
Appendix D: Evolution and Struggle I: Classical Darwinism
- From Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam (1850)
- From Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859, 1872)
- From Thomas H. Huxley, Man’s Place in Nature (1863)
- From Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)
- From Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)
- From H.G. Wells, Text–Book of Biology (1893)
- From H.G. Wells, “The Rediscovery of the Unique” (1891)
- From H.G. Wells, “The Mind in Animals” (1894)
Appendix E: Evolution and Struggle II: Later Huxley and Wells
- From Thomas H. Huxley, “The Struggle for Existence in Human Society” (February 1888)
- From Thomas H. Huxley, “An Apologetic Irenicon” (November 1892)
- From Thomas H. Huxley, “Evolution and Ethics” (1893, 1894)
- From H.G. Wells, “Bio–Optimism” (29 August 1895)
- From H.G. Wells, “Human Evolution, an Artificial Process” (October 1896)
- From H.G. Wells, “The Acquired Factor” (9 January 1897)
- From H.G. Wells, “Morals and Civilization” (February 1897)
- From H.G. Wells, “Human Evolution: Mr. Wells Replies” (April 1897)
Appendix F: Degeneration and Madness
- From Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)
- From H.G. Wells, “The Problem of the Birth Supply” (1903)
- From H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia (1905)
- From Gina Lombroso–Ferrero, Criminal Man According to the Classification of Cesare Lombroso (1911)
- From Cesare Lombroso, Crime: Its Causes and Remedies (1899)
- From William James, Psychology: The Briefer Course (1892)
- From Jacques–Joseph Moreau, La Psychologie Morbide (1859)
- From Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895, 1896)
- From H.G. Wells, The Croquet Player (1936)
Appendix G: The Vivisection Controversy
- From Claude Bernard, Report on the Progress and Development of General Physiology in France (1867)
- From Michael Foster, Claude Bernard (1899)
- From Claude Bernard, An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine (1865)
- From George Hoggan (and R.H. Hutton), Letter, The Spectator (1875)
- From R.H. Hutton’s Testimony in Report of the Royal Commission on the Practice of Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific Purposes (1876)
- From Dr. Emanuel Klein’s Testimony in Report of the Royal Commission on the Practice of Subjecting Live Animals to Experiments for Scientific Purposes (1876)
- From Frances Power Cobbe, Life of Frances Power Cobbe. By Herself (1894)
- From H.G. Wells, Text–Book of Biology (1893)
- From H.G. Wells, “Popular Feeling and the Advancement of Science. Anti–Vivisection” (1928)
Appendix H: Wells Explains: Two Essays Relating to Moreau’s Argument
- From H.G. Wells, “The Province of Pain” (February 1894)
- From H.G. Wells, “The Limits of Individual Plasticity” (19 January 1895)
Appendix I: “The Terrible Medusa Case”: An Historical Source for Prendick’s Shipwreck (1818)
Appendix J: Wells’s First Draft of Moreau
Reading Group Guide
1. At the time The Island of Dr. Moreau was published, Wells had gained success with The Time Machine. However, critics felt the plot of Dr. Moreau was just as unbelievable as that of The Time Machine. While time travel is, and always was, pure science fiction, the late 1800s did see many medical breakthroughs. Why would it be so hard for Wells’s audience to believe in biological engineering?
2. In the Foreword, Peter Straub speaks of the text being “at war with itself,” with the result that the narrative is tense and multi-layered. Do you agree with this assessment?
3. Notice the many stylesof language throughout the novel: Prendick’s continual misreading of sounds and explanations, the Beast Folk’s slurring speech, Moreau’s bumbling excuse for his experiments, and so on. How does Wells use these variations in language? Is his use of variations a comment on society or merely a literary device to further the plot?
4. Consider the strange litany the Beast Folk recite in chapter 12. What is Wells saying about religion? Is this strange religion positive or negative, and if positive, whom does it benefit the creatures or their master?
5. Look at the three men in the novel. Compare Prendick’s mannerisms with those of Montgomery and Moreau throughout the book. What do each man's mannerisms say about him? Do the mannerisms help or hinder each man throughout the action?
6. Wells was an educated man and studied under the famous scientist T. H. Huxley. Both men fully supported Darwin’s theory of evolution. Why, then, did Wells write a novel that seems to view science, and scientific experimentation, as a threat to society?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A chilling tale of science gone horribly wrong, it's easy to see why this has become a classic.
A horrific tale of scientific genius and madness. Dr. Moreau, while a brilliant mind, has no regard for other creatures and their sufferings. A man with a "god complex" who finally gets what he deserves. H.G. Wells was truly a man ahead of his time. Written in 1896, I can only imagine how the readers of that era responded to this grizzly tale. Contains a lot of animal and human abuse. It was difficult to read at truly gave me nightmares. Although a brilliant literary work, it is not one I will ever reread.
HG Wells delivers again, I love his ability to write a short novel that grips the attention.
This was my first exposure to Wells's writing, and it was deliciously creepy! Following a shipwreck, Predrick finds himself on a remote island where renowned scientist Dr. Moreau has established his experimental labs. Dr. Moreau's life's work is based on vivisection; he is essentially a true "mad scientist" who through surgery and training attempts to make a variety of animals like humans. Is it possible for him to surgically remove the true essence of these creatures? Prendrick is not so sure... Considering the fact that the horror contained this novel was written over 100 years ago, and continues to be relevant today, if not more so, is a testament to the foresight and talent of the author. Thematic metaphors are present throughout the novel, providing commentary on everything from natural evolution, to playing God, to good vs. evil.
Like the best of Wells's work, this is a morality piece, an adventure into the heart of what is humanity. However, it isn't always terribly interesting, and a lot of the action hasn't translated well into the present. Still, the conclusion, and the animals' eventual retrogression, makes the story relevant in its own way.
The book develops well, the main character uncovers clues as to whats going on, jumps to reasonable, but invalid, conclusions, and the reader is drawn in. Everything seems reasonable and develops properly. As events unfold, the tone becomes suspenseful and perhaps a bit of horror. The book plays with mans dominance over nature and some of the morals, Dr. Moreau was outcast for his work, and finds his own way to continue, with consequences.
A very quick read, but highly recommended. Considering this novel was originally published in 1896, the forsight of H.G. Wells is absolutely amazing. The fear that Edward feels when he hears the animal screams coming from behind the locked door, the panick of being lost in the woods, all of it is felt first hand thanks to Wells' magnificent writing.
When I was a lad I found many scientific romances such as "The Island of Dr. Moreau" rather interesting and enchanting. All these years later, reading Moreau, now I find the storytelling manner rather naive even if it still entertains quite a bit. The story didn't really begin to engage me until perhaps a quarter of the way through, or more, and then I became much more caught up in the story. This isn't a bad book by any means, it just isn't the sort of thing that entertains a middle-aged me like it would have a 12 year old me. There are, however, some interesting adult issues to consider when reading this book, regarding the morality of man and scientific research. This is a cautionary tale with rather timeless issues.
Edward Prendick¿s ship sinks and he is picked up by Montgomery, a passenger on another ship. When they reach Montgomery¿s destination ¿ an island in the middle of the Pacific ¿ the ship¿s captain refuses to take Prendick any further. Luckily, Montgomery eventually relents and brings Prendick onto the island as his guest. There he meets Dr. Moreau and a slew of unusual creatures. Unlike most 19th century literature, I find Wells exceedingly readable and fun. His characters are realistic and memorable, as are his scientific ideas. Perhaps still not my favorite of Wells¿s (I¿m not sure you can beat The Time Machine) but an excellent story nonetheless. Highly recommended.
This was a good book. It was pretty interesting, but there were a few parts where the story lagged and I found my mind wandering. This is my third Wells book, and I honestly found it not to be as good as the other two I've read so far (The Time Machine and The First Men in the Moon).
You can be rest assured that there are no inclusive resorts on the island of Dr. Moreau. And the residents can be rather ornery and out of sorts no matter how much you might tip them. Surprisingly, this is the first Wells novel I've read. It kept me turning pages even though it wasn't as compelling as I wished it to be. Interesting social commentary.
I found this a rather compelling novella-length story. If you suspend judgments about 19th century biological theories, it's an exciting adventure story with a lot more atmosphere than I expected. There is also a great deal of social commentary. I can't help but wonder how the Victorian readers reacted to the body shots on the effects of a class system, the unflattering parodies of religion, and the warnings about equating pure scientific advances with true progress. The issues he touched upon are, perhaps, even more pertinent today than they were then.I think this would make a fascinating Book Club read¿quick, yet raising questions ranging from colonialism to cloning.
A horrific story that must have terrified many readers in 1896; even now it is unsettling in parts. It shows how the author was ahead of his time in his presentation of scientific and moral issues. A good read.
A little too grizzly for my tastes...the narrator of the story does nothing to garner my sympathies and all in all it was not a book that made me want to keep turning the pages...
That Wells was a visionary, and one of the most far-sighted and innovative writers of imaginative literature the human race has ever produced¿ well, everyone says that, and it¿s a bit of a cliche. What¿s worth knowing about his stuff (and a lot of critics seem to underplay this) is that lots of his books are just REALLY GOOD FUN - and folks, this is a fine example. For a novel written more than a hundred and ten years ago it goes at a cracking pace: by just five pages in, the characters are stranded at sea, starving and drawing lots over who¿s going to be cannibalized -- and, amazingly, the book never really lets up from there. It¿s like a fever hallucination full of vivisection and mutants and horror, filtered through a contagious atmosphere of shimmering jungle heat. The ideas are great, sure, but the real triumph, it seems to me, is in how sure-footedly punchy and unpretentious the writing is: it¿s wild and mad and deliriously evocative, but in its understated way it¿s also real, it¿s fierce, and it¿s all over-and-out in just a hair under two hundred pages, without ever having lost its initial intensity. This was the second time I¿ve read the book now and - like malaria - I fully expect to face bouts of reading it again and again every so often for the rest of my life. All I can say is, lucky me. And if you haven¿t read The Island of Doctor Moreau yet, lucky /you/.
The last paragraph is my life
An entertaining novel; a classic; difficult to rate, as it was written in a very different age from today, yet written by one of the earliest writers of science fiction.
A bit disappointed with this particular publication of the book only because the description is very deceiving in that it mentions appended footnotes, annotations, and seven appendecies none of which appear in this volume. I'm a collector of books who enjoys when a publisher makes an effort of providing a volume with footnotes, annotations and an appendix or two explaining the text and background of the writing providing insights that might otherwise be missed. Having purchased this particular edition for this, based on the description, it was, to say the least, a bit of a let down to discover none of this was part and parcel of the work. All this aside, the book is nicely printed, the fonts and layout are visually very pleasing to the eye making this a nicely produced piece of literature.