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The Lost World Paperback – May 27, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 616 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Forget the Michael Crichton book (and Spielberg movie) that copied the title. This is the original: the terror-adventure tale of The Lost World. Writing not long after dinosaurs first invaded the popular imagination, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spins a yarn about an expedition of two scientists, a big-game hunter, and a journalist (the narrator) to a volcanic plateau high over the vast Amazon rain forest. The bickering of the professors (a type Doyle knew well from his medical training) serves as witty contrast to the wonders of flora and fauna they encounter, building toward a dramatic moonlit chase scene with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And the character of Professor George E. Challenger is second only to Sherlock Holmes in the outrageous force of his personality: he's a big man with an even bigger ego, and if you can grit your teeth through his racist behavior toward Native Americans, he's a lot of fun. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In 1912, Doyle took his Victorian readers deep into the South American jungles where, high atop a treacherous plateau, a small band of British explorers encountered a terrifying world of prehistoric creatures long thought lost to the sands of time. The adventurers included a young newspaper reporter, Ed Malone; the swashbuckling aristocrat, Lord Roxton; the skeptical scientist, Professor Summerlee; and the brilliant and bombastic Professor Challenger, who leads the party. Doyle unfolds high adventure at its best with fantastic encounters with pterodactyls, stegosaurs and cunning ape -men. Glen McCready's performance captures the time and tone of Doyle's material perfectly without straying into melodrama. He nicely balances Malone's sense of youthful wonder with the professors' scientific pragmatism, while fully exploiting the humor spread strategically throughout, planting numerous chuckles among the thrills. McCready's entertaining reading more than fulfills the author's introductory wish to give one hour of joy to the boy who's half a man, or the man who's half a boy. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141033770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141033778
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (616 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,333,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first read this book when I was in grade school. I happened across it recently 40 years later and fell in love with it all over again. There is something about late Victorian era adventure tales - specifically English ones - that have always appealed to me. Doyle, Kipling, and others with their characters that dash off across the British Empire, etc, etc. While the charaterizations in the book are sexist, racist, and twelve other "ists" as compared with modern thinking, there is a certain classic form and content to the story telling of this era that started my wanderlust as a boy and brought fond memories to an aging man. If you never read Doyle, Welles, Kipling, or Burroughs as an adolescent then you may not want to start now as the books will feel old fashioned and hoplessly out of place in today's world; but if you grew up with these authors they are worth another visit for a glimpse back into a time where adventures ruled, the guy always got the girl, and the characters had simple and clear values and beliefs (albeit often narrow minded and bigoted).
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Format: Kindle Edition
Outside of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation is the scientist and adventurer George Edward Challenger. Professor Challenger starred in three novels and two short stories, beginning with The Lost World, first published in 1912. Edward Malone, a journalist of athletic build but timid demeanor, seeks an interview with Challenger, hoping the eccentric misanthrope might provide some good copy for his paper. Though at first Challenger is hostile to the reporter out of a general hatred for those of his profession, he soon takes a liking to the young man. The relationship between the two characters is very similar to that between Holmes and Watson, except that Challenger is a bigger jerk than Holmes and a far less intriguing character. Challenger reveals to his newfound confidant that in the Amazon rain forest he has discovered a remote plateau where prehistoric creatures that have long been thought extinct still thrive. When Challenger makes his findings public before a meeting of the Zoological Institute, he is confronted by doubters. To test the veracity of his claims, an expedition is hastily organized, consisting of Dr. Summerlee, a rival scientist; Lord John Roxton, an aristocratic sportsman, and Malone, who volunteers for the journey in hopes not only of finding a good story but also of adding some much-needed adventure to his life.

Malone is the narrator of the tale, and most of the book is written in the form of letters sent back to his newspaper. This makes for an awkward construction, as it becomes clear that at the end of every chapter Malone is going to be safe in camp scribbling his account, while some overly convenient method will be contrived for an Indian to carry off his letter to the civilized world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There was a time when I read mostly classics. As I grew older my tastes changed, so now I am more attracted to modern speculative fiction and romance novels.
But it’s never to late to resurrect good, old habits. And what is the better book for that then the predecessor of Jurassic Park?

LIKES

* Written in a form of a journal and a series of letters, The Lost World adds a personal touch to the story. A lot of time I felt like the narrator, journalist Ed Malone, is talking to me.

* Professor Challenger was over-confident, sometimes rude in his directness and very stubborn. If I have met professor Challenger in real life, I would have labeled him as a jerk and tried to ignore him. But I like these kind of characters in novels, they keep the story interesting.

We traveled entirely by compass, and once or twice there were differences of opinion between Challenger and the two Indians, when, to quote the Professor’s indignant words, the whole party agreed to “trust the fallacious instincts of undeveloped savages rather than the highest product of modern European culture.”

* Dinosaurs! They are like dragons, but they actually existed. I don’t know why am I attracted to the stories about these cold-blooded, savage, lizardly creatures, but I am fascinated by their habits and by the facts that something so majestic existed on our planet.

* Beautiful descriptions of nature and wildlife.

DISLIKES

* Illustrations are missing. Original paperback (and hopefully other editions) had a lot of drawings that accompanied the story. Sadly, this free ebook version has none. I love it when journal type books have illustrations, so I was very disappointed they were not included.

* Unrushed pace.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"I have wrought my simple plan
If I bring one hour of joy
To the boy who's half a man
or the man who's half a boy".
--Arthur Conan Doyle
Sure, the man has wrought it already with the Sherlock Holmes adventures (specially the short stories, although some of the novels are superb too) and he does it again with professor Challenger's adventures and the quest for a lost world where dinosaurs are still alive.
Sure, the story might be stronger in the last century (oops, sorry, the century before that) because the characters and the storyline have become adventure stereotypes. And besides, for an english reader it must've seemed very likely to find anything in South America, from dinosaurs to an extraterrestial civilization. Besides there's some subtle cultural racism in the story. But, hey, those are not writing flaws, art also gets old. And only the masterpieces as this become remembered classics.
As for the plot, I leave it for you to discover. I wouldn't want to spoil any of the twists. But you'll very likely have a lot of fun. Besides the excitment of the journey I was laughing out loud at some parts, specially with dr. Challenger, the real star of the novel.
That's all, folks!
Excuse my english!
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