on July 22, 2013
For no apparent reason I had overlooked reading this book, written by one of my favorite authors. I have only read his Sherlock Holmes series (over and over, I might add) and was pleasantly surprised by The Lost World.
Professor Challenger is a ridiculed scientist with a tenacious narcissistic streak a mile wide. A young newsman trying to make a mark for himself by casting in his lot with the professor. Together with a big game hunter and a skeptical scientist (a foil to Challenger) they travel to South America to find a Jurassic plateu hidden in the Amazon. Adventure, dinosaurs, ape men, and a petulant girlfriend all appear in due order. Well worth the read, and holds up well despite the various movie treatments.
Now to the illustrations. These are not worth the additional cost. I'm not even sure what they are supposed to be, as most of them seem to have zero relevance to the text and are NOT Doyle's original drawings. They appear to be stylized (read: software manipulated) stock photos as far as I can tell, but the quality is so poor that it is impossible to be certain. On the other hand, the text formatting of this illustrated version is quite good.
Very enjoyable read, from a fascinating period of history when adventure could still be found in far away places.
on September 10, 2013
Lost World proves that Conon Doyle was way more than a one-trick author. The characters, the action, and the contemporary science of this book make a very worthwhile read. While the values embraced by the characters may not match those popular now, the book must be taken in the context of its time, and that it provides a window into the perspectives of a former generation only increases its value. The scientific content of the book was a surprise to me, both the objective science itself and the endless bickering between the two scientist protagonists. The description of the Lost World was excellent, and although one could perhaps pick holes in the sustainability of it, the author deserves some slack to write a good story. This is a true classic almost to the level of the Holmes series, and proves Conon Doyle's greatness, that he didn't simply "get lucky" with one good idea. Indeed this book makes it clear why he tried, unsuccessfully, to kill Holmes off to free himself to pursue newer ideas.
Edward Malone, reporter for the Daily Gazette, finds himself caught up in the claims of the eccentric Professor G. E. Challenger to have found a South American plateau where dinosaurs still live. Malone volunteers for a fact-finding mission, along with the dubious Professor Summerlee and the fearless big game hunter Lord John Roxton. The band voyages to South America, journeys to the plateau, and finds it filled with plants and animals for many different epochs. Finding themselves marooned on the plateau, the team faces many dangers and adventures.
While somewhat dated, this book is well written and exciting to read. As a matter of fact, part of the book’s charm is its pre-Great War feel. If you like adventure stories, Arthur Conan Doyle, or big game hunters, then this book is for you!
on February 26, 2013
Well what more could be said of a book written by such a famous writer. It must be considered by now as one of the classic in the genre that would gave similar offspring books related to Jurassic periods or the likes. I enjoy reading it tremendously even if I had one way or another heard or seen the story in film. Nothing really could replace the evocative descriptions of exotic landscapes, mysterious sounds and an unpredictable plot all in words that stimulate the imagination and the need to read further until the middle of the night. A must have in any decent library or in our Digital age in a eLibrary of a Kindle or tablet like devices...
on August 21, 2004
This book is vastly entertaining. The characters are enjoyable, the plot is great, and I especially love the illustrations throughout the book. This book is the epitome of adventure and intrigue. Read it.
on September 22, 2010
Overlooked by many because of the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, The Lost World is the original dinosaur story and my personal favorite of Conan Doyle's writings. This edition is nice because it limits the amount of "fluff" (introductions, prefaces, appendices, &c.) that most reprints of classic works come with nowadays.
on March 16, 2007
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Just like his contemporary, H.G. Wells, Conan Doyle was fascinated not only with the life of the mind but with life itself. His scientific protagonist, Professor George Edward Challenger, is part genius, part insufferable boor, part explorer, and part skeptic, an exemplar of early twentieth century man, a pure product of the Edwardian Age, when all things were still possible.
Born in the year of the "Titanic," THE LOST WORLD (1912) is a stop-time photograph of a culture on the edge of cataclysmic change. Somewhat quaint with its references to "electric broughams" and the like, THE LOST WORLD predates The Great War by only two years, and gives us a vision of Imperial Britain when it still ruled the Earth. Cocksure of their own infallibility, the characters of THE LOST WORLD are catapulted back in time to face an untamed natural world in which they find themselves reduced from world-conquerors to mere denizens of a wholly different universe, forced to live only by their wits and wiles.
The values espoused in THE LOST WORLD are rather alien to us nowadays. While it is true that Professor Challenger refers to "race" in the late Nineteenth Century fashion of referencing "the Anglo-Saxon race" this does not mean, as some reviewers have posited, that Conan Doyle was a "racist." The imposition of early 21st Century values on early 20th Century thinking is dangerous and can lead to some ill-placed criticisms being levied against those contemporary thinkers---and, after all, our Political Correctness is as much a fad of thought as was their Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism died when the so-called "superior races" slaughtered each other in two World Wars. Conan Doyle had yet to see the Battle of Verdun, and probably only dimly grasped the nearness of Hiroshima and Auschwitz to his own time. As a matter of fact, his Edwardian Age was the tail end of what was probably the greatest single century of human endeavor and progress, a world in which optimism, rationalism and science reigned supreme. There was no unsolvable problem. This reviewer had to wonder if, in making Professor Challenger such a weird specimen (he is described as a sheer genius, but possessing a huge head and a gnomish, hairy body) he wasn't poking a bit of critical fun at his complacent fellow countrymen.
THE LOST WORLD is the great-granddaddy of all prehistoric monster movies. The line of descent from THE LOST WORLD's isolated South American plateau, the dinosaur-ridden Maple White Land, to KING KONG's frightening Skull Island, to Michael Crichton's feral biotech nightmare JURASSIC PARK is direct and absolutely unmistakeable, and includes GODZILLA, GORGO, and THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS among its innumerable progeny.
This is a book, as the Dedication makes clear, to "the Men in all Boys and the Boy in Every Man," sheer fun, in other words. Having the tale told to us ten thousand times in the last century does not detract from Arthur Conan Doyle's well-told and dramatically-imagined story, even though THE LOST WORLD is a somewhat obscure work, often referenced but rarely read nowadays.
First principles remain first principles for very good reasons, and if you are seeking a well-written and colorful adventure story (or if you just want to see where Spielberg got it all from onscreen), THE LOST WORLD comes very highly recommended.
on October 7, 2013
a little old fashioned but exciting. i felt sorry for the young man who did all he could to impress his ladylove only to find a new life.
on October 5, 2002
I highly recommend Alien Voices "The Lost World"! I already have several Alien Voices recordings and I've enjoyed listening to every one of them. I am a big Star Trek fan and it's fun to listen to Trek actors doing something completely different from what they did on their respective shows. Also, the sound effects are highly believable and the actors bring Challenger and the other characters to life as the story unfolds. If you like Sci-Fi, but don't have time to read, I would recommend any of the Alien Voices stories on CD audio or cassette, because they make for great listening anytime!
This is a fascinating novel, almost more from an anthropological point of view than a literary one. The novel follows in the footsteps of H. Rider Haggard and Jules Verne and H. G. Wells in providing a ripping yarn. Fantasy and SF has come a long way since 1912, the date of THE LOST WORLD's publication, but this still manages to be a highly entertaining tale.
The book shows its age. The anthropology is pre-Evans-Pritchard, who managed to dismantle the notion of "primitive" peoples to show the internal and substantial logic driving the thought of so-called primitive peoples. The world view is intensely patriarhical, with the four men investigating the lost plateau viewing everything through an Edwardian filter.
Just a few examples of the white paternalism through which all of the characters view the world. Gladys, the object of the affection of Malone, the book's narrator, states bluntly that she would only marry a man who had gained great fame (it apparently being something that she could not herself consider achieving). The pterodactyls were described as being exceptionally patriarchal, with the males perched upon high, overlooking the females and the young that they cared for. Another small group of dinosaurs were described as no less than a nuclear family, with mother, father, and brood of young. Throughout the story is the stock faithful negro, given no less than the name of Zambo, who apparently has any desires of his own, apart from the desire to serve and please his masters. The attitudes of the four explorers to Zambo is very much that of humans towards a pet dog. When the explorers meet Indians on the plateau, the virtually worship their white delivers, and they have a strong sense of private property (which in most anthropological studies are shown to arise with agricultural societies, not in herding and hunter/gatherer societies). There is also the disdain of other racial groups, especially those who are ethnically mixed; the most villanous character in the book is, not unexpectedly, a "half-breed." In other words, wherever you go, there you are. That is, wherever they go, they find perfect representations of Edwardian British society.
Despite all this, and despite the rather stilted prose in which the book is written, the book is a lot of fun. It is not only the romantic adventure story that is appealing, but the now-quaint portrait of upper class British society in the last days before the First World War. All in all this is not a great novel, but it is for all that a most enjoyable one.