Sunday, June 18, 2006

06.22 The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

the lost world
The Lost World. Being an account of the recent amazing adventures of Professor George E. Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Mr. E.D. Malone of the "Daily Gazette" (1912) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Paperback, Puffin, 264pp.

Considering how much I like Conan Doyle, I can't believe that I have never read this book over the years. It is definitely a boys adventure kind of book that I would put up there with the likes of the Island of Dr. Moreau by Wells.

The story begins with Malone, the journalist being rebuffed as a suitor to a young woman in the city of London. She tells him that she could never be with anyone who is not a great adventurer. Upon his return to his newspaper, the wizened old editor tells him that he should go visit Professor Challenger. The zoologist has just returned from the Amazon with a tale of adventure that no one will believe.

After a particularly contentious meeting of the scientific society, a small group is put together to go investigate the claims made by Professor Challenger. There is a hunter/adventurer, another skeptical professor, and our hero, the journalist.

The group finally arrives at a huge cliff after a long journey up the Orinoco. They follow the cliff for several days before finally returning to their original starting spot. It turns out that a giant section of land has been uplifted into the sky, making it nigh impossible to reach. Finally they manage to reach the top of the lost world, but are stuck there. Fantastic creatures await.

After several weeks of high adventure and near death the small group finally manages to escape. They return to a highly skeptical London society and must prove that, in fact, they have found a Lost World!

A great little adventure read and well worth it for both adults and kids.


Olman Feelyus said...

You should reread the Island of Dr. Moreau. It's definitely not a boys adventure book. It's dark and pessimistic, about the frontiers of science and the morality of power.

Lantzvillager said...

Very true. Moreau confronts questions of eugenics, Darwinism and human nature in a way that this novel does not. Fundamentally, they are similar in that the protagonist is an observer of science and open to the wonders that he encounters. The tone of The Lost World is much lighter.