Rereading: THE LOST WORLD By A. Conan Doyle

LostWorldDoyleHaving finished all 6,000 plus pages of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, I found I wanted more A.Conan Doyle, so I loaded this book on my phone as well, and had a fine time reading it. (First edition above.)

While the premise of the story seems impossible now — a volcanic plateau in the Amazon basin of South America cut off from contact with surrounding land for millions of years, where dinosaurs and primitive ape-men have survived to the present day — when the book was published in 1912, it was every bit as plausible as “Jurassic Park.” Air travel had not yet begun except by balloon, and far less was known about the jungles of the Amazon than today. While it’s clearly science fiction, the reader of 1912 would have no trouble suspending disbelief. And Doyle masterfully handles his main characters: young reporter Edward Malone, out to document the story of his life; Professor George Edward Challenger, the irrascible scientist who has made the discovery of HIS life, and is violently angry when no one believes him; Lord John Roxton, veteran of many expeditions and battles in South America; and gloomy Professor Summerlee, sent along by fellow scientists to document the expedition. Each man is introduced and examined in depth before they all begin to explore the jungles and search for the Lost World, so when the action heats up, we feel we know and care about them, warts and all. And there’s plenty of action once they attain the plateau, between dangerous dinosaurs and other beasts, and even more dangerous hominids.

There are some elements of “Great White Hunter” that come across as politically incorrect for today’s reader, but they’re pretty easy to overlook in the bulk of the story, which I found cracking good fun. I think I read this book in my teen years, but remembered very little of it. That made it all the better.

Highly recommended. Moving on to the next Professor Challenger book now, “The Poison Belt.”

3 thoughts on “Rereading: THE LOST WORLD By A. Conan Doyle

  1. Daniel Graves

    I read the Holmes corpus through many years ago but never tried any of Conan Doyle’s other works as anything I ever read about them was so derisive. It’s good to see that you enjoyed the lost world. This may just tempt me to pick it up. Thanks for the recommend!
    Fr. Dan

  2. Rob

    I love The Lost World. I still haven’t gotten around to the other Challenger novels, but I’ll have to move those up the queue. He was an incredibly fun character to read.

  3. Todd Post author

    The second novel, “The Poison Belt” was okay, but not much action and kind of a cheating plot. I may try the third if I find it.

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