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The Lost World
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Lost World

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The Lost World
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Thorndike Press: (1912)
Large Print Perennial Bestsellers
ISBN: 0-7862-6183-8
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 3, 2004
Being an account of the recent amazing adventures of Professor E. Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Mr. Ed Malone of the Daily Gazette
While perhaps best known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also wrote in a variety of other genres. The Lost World, the first book in his series featuring the indomitable Professor George Edward Challenger is an excellent example of one of Doyle's non-Holmes books. The Lost World is a science fiction story that is comparable to the 'other worldly' works of Jules Verne, H. Ryder Haggard, and H.G. Wells. In this memorable story, Doyle details the adventures of Challenger and his band of hearty explorers as they travel to an uncharted plateau in South America that is inhabited by dinosaurs and vicious proto-humans.

The story starts out innocently enough when Edward Dunn Malone, a hard hitting journalist, sets out to interview Professor Challenger. Before long, he finds himself tagging along with Challenger's team, which includes Professor Summerlee who thinks that Challenger's claims are hogwash, and the big game hunter, Lord John Roxton, who is serving as the groups guide. Challenger is determined to prove that dinosaurs do indeed still roam the Earth, while Summerlee is out to prove him wrong. Malone, for his troubles, get to serve as referee. The closer they get to their goal, the greater the dangers are that they are faced with. Their problems only mount once they find the lost land for which they searched, for once there, they find themselves trapped in a prehistoric world from which there might be no escape!

The Lost World is a fast paced adventure story that is impossible to put down. Challenger is Holmes' equal in every fashion. Both are intelligent, eccentric and egocentric, and yet Doyle managed to make both characters totally unique. This story is narrated by Malone, and it is filled with arresting descriptions of the flora and fauna that the adventurers encounter along their way. Doyle has created a believable prehistoric world, and a plausible, although not very scientific, premise for why the lost world is, well, lost. Originally published in 1912, modern readers may find sections of this book dated and unpolitically correct. Rather than detract from the book, I feel that these anachronisms only serve to enliven the book and to help create a more 'other worldly' feel to the story.

In addition to The Lost World, Doyle wrote four other books featuring Professor Challenger: The Poison Belt, The Land of Mist, The Disintegration Machine, and When the World Screamed. These imaginative adventure stories set the standard for modern day science fiction stories, and they served as the basis of The Lost World television series. The Lost World is not only entertaining, but it will also fire your imagination and make you wonder; "What if?"


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