The Lost World

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First edition UK hardcover.

The Lost World is a sci-fi fantasy novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story, a caustic British scientist named Professor Challenger claims to have discovered a vale in South American filled with living prehistoric animals. Challenger is called a fraud by his fellow zoologists, and demands they send a party to evaluate his claim. A small group composed of Professor Summerlee, a scientific peer; Lord John Roxton, an adventurer; and Edward Malone, a reporter trying to prove himself a worthy adventurer to a woman travel to South America only to be met with Challenger who guides them to the hidden valley. There, they do indeed find living, and very deadly, mega-fauna that has long since been extinct elsewhere in the world as well as a dangerous tribe of ape-men. The book chronicles their adventures and near-death-experiences as they get stuck in the valley and try to find a way out.

Status

I don't own this book, but have listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • The idea of a lost glade in which long-since extinct species still live is a wonderful and exciting idea.
  • Professor George Edward Challenger is hilariously condescending to everyone.

Bad

  • The writing style of correspondences being written and read later adds to the realism factor, but takes away a lot of suspense.
  • The book becomes very boring near the end when most of the dangers have been eliminated, and everything becomes merely descriptive.

Ugly

  • A fair amount of the book is racist and sexist implying that Irish people are naturally stubborn, proper women should not be slightly afraid of their husbands, black people are intrinsically dumb, and so-called "savages" naturally prostrate themselves before their white superiors.
  • After committing genocide, the characters are not only remorseless, they are all quite thrilled and proud of themselves.

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