46 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conan Doyle Smiles
Professor George E. Challenger, noted scientist, says dinosaurs are still alive, and he knows where to find them. The scientific community says he's a madman or a fraud, or both. Challenger's only evidence is a bunch of blurry photographs. Fellow scientists say the photos are obviously doctored and the newspapers call it a fantasy. Boiling with rage, Challenger goes into...
Published on January 4, 2001 by M
25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some random thoughts about "Lost World":
1.) This is an okay book, neither as good as it's fans claim, nor as bad as its detractors say.
2.)It is, however, a lousy sequel to "Jurassic Park"; for one thing, it does not follow the obvious plotline Crichton set out at the end of "Jurassic Park" (the dinosaurs escaping to the jungle) for the planned sequel. For another, contrary to what...
Published on January 11, 2001 by James Yanni
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46 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conan Doyle Smiles,
Professor George E. Challenger, noted scientist, says dinosaurs are still alive, and he knows where to find them. The scientific community says he's a madman or a fraud, or both. Challenger's only evidence is a bunch of blurry photographs. Fellow scientists say the photos are obviously doctored and the newspapers call it a fantasy. Boiling with rage, Challenger goes into seclusion. Anyone foolish enough to bring up the tender subject around him is liable to end up in the gutter outside his house, with a few extra lumps for the gutter press.
The only reporter brave, or stupid, enough to face the professor's wrath and get the story is Edward Malone, young, intrepid journalist for the Daily Gazette. At a boisterous scientific meeting, Professor Summerlee, a rival scientist, calls Challenger's bluff. Summerlee will return to South America and prove Challenger wrong. The young journalist volunteers to go along. Lord John Roxton, the famous hunter, can't miss an opportunity to return to the jungle and adds his name to expedition. Professor Challenger is happy they are taking him seriously, even if they don't all believe him. But what will they find in South America? A strange, living time capsule from the Jurassic period filled with pterodactyls and stegosaurs? Or will they only find vast tracks of endless jungles and Challenger's daydreams? Either way there will be danger and adventure for all.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote "The Lost World" in 1912 for the Strand magazine, the same magazine that published his Sherlock Holmes stories. It's a great Edwardian science-fiction adventure, although some may not like the British Imperialism and Darwinian racism. Still, in "The Lost World" Conan Doyle lets his hair down a little. Changing narrators from the earnest Doctor John Watson to the rash reporter Edward Malone makes for a big change. There is a good deal more humor. The students in the scientific meetings are forever yelling out jokes at the expense of nutty Professor Challenger. Affairs of the heart play a big role in Malone's life. He matures from a young swain out to impress his girlfriend to more of a wistful man-of-the-world by the end. It is a very different Conan Doyle than some are used to reading. Different, but just as good, maybe, dare I say it, even better.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A high-adventure, scientific thriller,
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was really a very talented writer, and he had many tales to tell that did not involve the famous Sherlock Holmes. The Lost World is perhaps the best known of his noncanonical stories. He describes a lush, mysterious plateau in the remote Amazonian regions of South America in which creatures thought to have died out eons ago still stalk the earth. Professor Challenger, while possessing some of the confidence and intellect of a Holmes, could not be more different in his passions and boisterous, conceited behavior; it is his contention that a "lost world" does exist. Recruiting a disbelieving zoologist, a famed adventurer, and a fresh, young newspaper man to go with him, the group sets out for the inaccessible reaches of the jungle and manages, after some great effort, to reach the isolated plateau. By an act of treachery by an Indian bearing a grudge against the famed Lord Roxton, their portal of entry is destroyed, leaving them trapped in the mysterious new land they dub Maple White Land after an American who earlier discovered the place but died soon thereafter (but not before encountering Professor Challenger in the Amazon and revealing to him its existence and location). They build a camp and begin investigating the area, quickly discovering unknown forms of plant life and animal life, including dinosaurs and pterodactyls. As if the monstrous reptilian beasts aren't hazard enough for them, they soon find themselves besieged by a vicious race of ape-men, whom they eventually take on in alliance with a separate race of Indians. The newspaperman narrates events in a series of postings he manages to get sent back to London, describing the creatures and their habits. Each man is called upon to distinguish himself through deeds of heroism in order to escape this newly discovered world and return to civilization with the scientific coup of all time.
Conan Doyle's characterizations and descriptions of both man and beast are rich and vibrant. Ironically, the lost world seems much more real than the world of London. The scientific meetings held in front of a number of disbelieving scholars result in great commotions, tempests of defamations and praises, fainting women, and combatant men. When Challenger reveals his proof of the exploits that have been related, untold chaos and zeal follow quickly on the heels of one another. As for the reporter, he made the astounding journey because of a woman--while this part of the story is somewhat silly, it is nevertheless fitting. The woman he loves declares that she can only love a man who has taken great risks and won fame for himself, and this sets our protagonist on as daring an adventure as could be found at any time. It may well be that such compulsions of the heart have led to many great acts and discoveries in history; it is even more probable that such exploits have been rewarded in the predictable way our protagonist's was, the details of which I will endeavor not to disclose here.
All in all, it's a wonderful tale of adventure, cunning, heroics, and scientific achievement. Somewhat surprisingly, there are not that many dinosaurs described in the story. We have a fleeting glimpse of a stegiosaur, but we mostly read of medium-sized dinosaurs such as the "iguanadon." There is no brontosaurus or T-Rex here, which is somewhat disappointing. The jungle action actually centers around the ape-men and Indians, as once again, even amid the prehistoric realm of Jurassic life, we find that humanoids, even of the most primitive type, are the most dangerous, ruthless animals on the earth.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The earliest Lost World tale of dinosaurs in modern times.,
This book is one of a number of Professor Challenger adventures of Sir A. C. Doyle. A noted zoologist (Challenger) has come across evidence that there is a plateau in South America that can be reached from deep in the Amazon rain forest in which prehistoric animals still exist. An expedition of four (Challenger, a sceptical zoologist named Summerlee, a noted hunter (Lord John Roxton), and Edward Malone, a journalist) sets out to verify this report. The arguing and interactions between the academics is interesting in that little seems to have changed in the last 87 years! It should be noted that Doyle isolates the plateau so that there is minimal interaction with the rest of the rain forest (thus, the dinosaurs can't escape). But, why couldn't the ptereodactyls spread out? This story was one of the earliest "Lost World" tales and has been made into a film a number of times. Other stories in this sub-genre owe much to Doyle and Challenger.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Conan Doyle legacy,
Sherlock Holmes was not the first fictional detective but is surely the most famous. "The Lost World" may not have been the first novel of its kind, but as with the incomparable sleuth of 221-B Baker Street, Conan Doyle penned its first memorable novel of the genre; of prehistoric life defying all odds to live on in a virtually inaccessible portion of our planet. How many other writers can claim to have such a profound effect on two different types of literature?
"The Lost World" is a fast-paced and entertaining story of a small expedition to the wilds of the Amazon River Basin and the the dangers the 4 mismatched heroes face from slave traders, the jungle itself, and of course from the prehistoric beasts and ape-men roaming the plateau so dangerous to human habitation. The love interest in this story is negligible but the reader barely notices the absence, as this is an adventure story and not a romance. The main characters are all of a type that would have been familiar to Doyle's Victorian audience, with the egotistical and brilliant Professor Challenger dominating the book. Doyle's humor illustrated within many of Challenger's bombastic pronouncements is a touch that rarely is present in the Sherlock Holmes stories, masterpeices as they are. This is not to say that Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee and Edward Malone are pale shadows by comparison - they just don't think they are always right! Warning: Politically correct readers need not bother - Doyle would not get your stamp of approval, but remember he is writing this novel a hundred or so years ago.
Many books, movies and TV shows owe a great deal to Sir Arthur for his authorship of this book, which I certainly recommend for action, storytelling and a glimpse of the Victorian view of the effect of European civilization upon other worlds.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise from a pile of old books!,
You know you're reading an old book when "flaccid organ" has nothing to do with sex! And what an enjoyable book this one is. Attracted by the pictures of the dinosaurs on the cover, I finally got around to reading it and recommend it to all lovers of adventure stories. Warning: You may need patience to wade through the wordy descriptions, but it's well worth it for the humorous encounters between the two Professors and the conflicts with the prehistoric world. Yes, Doyle reflects the racism of his day towards Indians and blacks, but readers who see his words as time capsules from an earlier time will not have a problem with them.
My only complaint was that the odd, hopping carnivorous dinosaur is never linked to a dinosaur I am familiar with. Iguanadons, pleisiosaurs and even a stegosaurus are mentioned, but no specific name is given the most dangerous of all. Minor complaint, though.
Grab a copy of this book and enjoy a trip to the wilds of South America's rain forest!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, A Sequal thats Worth the Time,
I'm quite skeptical about sequels, especially when the first was simply so clever. I could never have expected The Lost World to be so much different, and yet every bit as good as its predecessor. Perhaps one my favorite aspects of this book is that Crichton takes a risk (which is quite renowned for now) and offers an entirely new breed of dinosaur toward the end, the Chameleon-Raptor mix. The moment I begin to see this being, I envisioned one of the most devastating beasts the World would have ever known. I wish there had been more dealing with this creature throughout the adventure, but I was pleased to see Crichton back off the complex, realistic style he's so fond of and side track down a more creative, "what if" path. This book is not JP and it doesn't read like JP did, but I consider it worth every dime that JP was.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST AND STILL THE BEST!,
Look out Mr. Crichton, the original is still the best. The premise of a lost world in the middle of the Amazon is not only possible but plausible. There areas in the Amazon that man has never stepped foot in and there is no telling what could be found in those areas.
Professor Challenger is an engaging character as he takes his small group of adventurers into the wilds of the Amazon, to confirm to the world that his dicovery of a lost world with Jurassic dinosaurs, is indeed real.
Man eating dinosaurs, ape men, cave men and an entire new world, who wouldn't want to go?
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Micheal Crichton delivers again,
So far, my favorite book is "The Lost World", despite some of it's obvious flaws. Such would include the large number of inconsistancies between Jurrassic Park and this sequel, and obviously the only reason Crichton wrote this was because Universal wanted a sequel for Jurassic Park, but these are easily forgiven over the quality of the work. As opposed to the first Jurassic Park, Crichton takes much more time in his visual descriptions of the actions in this novel, giving a better sense of the passage of time. One would notice that this book is noticably longer than the first. Crichton, like usual, is a master of educating his readers while entertaining them, better than many writers. Of course, one has to mention the often frightening edge-of-your-seat suspence that makes this novel impossible to put down. If you read this book and find yourself still craving knowledge and dinosaur action, I would suggest the novel "Raptor Red" by Robert T. Bakker. This book is also extreemly informative as well as action-packed, however it does not have the real scary edge of The Lost World or Jurassic Park. On the other hand, it is written from the Raptor's perspective, and is a real interesting twist on normal dino stories.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dinos Dinos Everywhere!,
I don't know if the dinosaurs bring out the best in Crichton or what. I've read a few of his books and haven't really cared for them, but I loved Jurassic Park and I really enjoyed this one too. It's a rollicking adventure story that doesn't stop very often. When it does, though, with some long scientific asides, it stops dead.
Crichton sure is capable of writing an exciting tale. I wish he'd do it more often. Lost World has many exciting sequences as various dinosaurs (mostly Tyrannosaurus and Raptors) chase the humans all around the island. The action is breathtaking as, just when you think the humans have solved their problem (or at least are on the road to solving it), things take a turn for the worse. I am not one for hyperbole, but throughout the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up much later than I should, and only turned out the light because it was getting too late and I still had too far to go.
This really isn't much more than an action yarn with some scientific ideas attached to it, though, so don't get the idea that it's really deep. In fact, the scientific ideas are one of the problems with the book. I'm not saying they're not accurate, as I don't know enough about them to make that judgment. However, there are times where Crichton just stops the action dead to go on for a page or two about chaos theory, evolution, or something. These are interesting, but they completely destroy the mood of the book. It's almost like mixing chocolate and shrimp: sure, some people may like it, but for the rest of us who like both but hate them together, it makes the finished product just a little less palatable. Thankfully, the asides don't come at you too much at one time, so once each one stops the ball starts rolling again.
Being an action thriller, the characters aren't that complex. They seem like it at times (such as when they're spouting scientific theories), but they aren't really. Malcolm is scarred by the events in the first book, and there's an interesting sequence where this comes into play. Thankfully for himself and for the others, he snaps out of it fairly quickly. I liked his character, though, because he's a combination of a realist and a cynic. However, he uses his scientific knowledge and his intelligence to get them out of more than one scrape. He's probably the most broadly defined of the bunch. The other members of the expedition have their character hooks too, but they aren't that deeply explored. Crichton spends a lot of time detailing their background, but when events start happening, they're more fodder for these events than anything else. They are distinctive, they just aren't complex.
The villains of the piece, though, are pretty dull and stereotypical. Dodgson is your typical greedy and lazy villain. His specialty is stealing other people's research after it's been tested, because that's easier and more lucrative than doing your own research and possibly going down numerous blind alleys. His allies are the typical nervous bunch, with one person worried that they're doing the wrong thing and the other one worried that they're doing the right thing but that it will go horribly wrong (which it inevitably does). Thankfully, once they get events rolling to their inevitable conclusion, they're pretty much sidelined and we don't hear much about them again until the end.
The plot is kind of a runaround, but I really enjoyed it despite that. There are definitely predictable events in it, such as when a character does something and you know immediately what the consequences of that action are going to be, long before any of the characters do. That does mar things a little bit. But it's easy to look past them because Crichton writes the action so effectively. When characters aren't spouting scientific stuff, I almost held my breath as events happened. Especially effective is the trailer scene, where Malcolm and Sarah have to figure out how to get safely out of a trailer that's being pushed, prodded and smashed by two enraged Tyrannosaurs. It's hard to tell what's going to happen there, or who will survive this sequence. Nobody (with the possible exception of Malcolm) is safe in this book, so there is a lot of tension. I will say that not everybody dies, but there certainly is doubt when certain people are in danger.
I wish Crichton would write more like these. To me, he seems at his best when he's writing scientific action thrillers. I wish there were a way that he could limit the scientific asides, though, as they really slow things down. I don't mind the asides themselves, but I think they could be included better. Still, this is one book that you won't be able to put down. And it has dinosaurs eating people. What could be wrong with that?
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Victorian "Jurassic Park",
Professor Challenger, a protagonist as unique and eccentric as Sherlock Holmes, "challenges" the London Zoological Society to send a team of impartial judges to verify his claims that dinosaurs live on a plateau in the Brazilian rain forest. Professor Summerlee, a staunch foe of Challenger, accepts the challenge. Lord John Roxton, a soldier and big game hunter, agrees to go along, and Edward Malone, a star rugby player and journalist, goes as their scribe.
The world they find is every bit as captivating as Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, and the danger is every bit as exhilarating. The characters are more engaging, and the story contains a good deal of humor as the four strong personalities clash a number of times on a number of levels.
There are no velociraptors to menace the adventurers, who have become hopelessly marooned, but a tribe of ape men serves quite well to provide the danger. It is a pleasure to have the English language used so well in describing the adventures of the four.
"The Lost World" is obviously the inspiration for Crichton's "Jurassic Park." Crichton may have modernized the story, but he certainly didn't improve it. Unfortunately, "The Lost World" reflects the ethnic insensitivity and "classism" of the Victorian Era, but if you can overlook that flaw, you will thoroughly enjoy the story.
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