Professor Challenger is Arthur Conan Doyle's other eccentric hero. While I loved the Sherlock Holmes stories, I never got around to reading this well-known adventure novel until now. Challenger, along with a rival professor, a big game hunter and the narrator, a young reporter, go to Venezuela to find a plateau where dinosaurs still survive. It is a very enjoyable tale but certainly not up to the best of the Holmes stories. Those into action and those interested in the early origins of science fiction will enjoy this. The 1912 novel does have some ideas and themes that may bother the 21th century reader. The South American Indians are portrayed as inferior, almost as children, and the idea of wiping out an entire race of ape-like sapiens will repulse some. It is probably best to realize and accept the times in which this story was written. However, if you are looking for a rip-roaring adventure yarn, you have found itThe Thousander Club
Adam C. Zern opines . . . "Among all of the classic adventure tales I've read so far, which includes Treasure Island, Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Time Machine, among others, I have liked The Lost World the most. I think its charm lies in its themes, even if they're somewhat subtle. Doyle's interesting insights into the subjects of science, faith, love, and truth make the book meaningful when the moments of grandeur, awe, and danger come. It's not too heavy, however, so the book can be enjoyed even with a somewhat distracted reading.Luckily, The Lost World doesn't fall into the same trap that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea did by needlessly cataloging a myriad of plant and animal life, although the potential for it was there. The film version of Jurassic Park gives me the same feeling as Doyle's book. The new world, the lost world, is full of wonderful creatures and things, but it's also incredibly dangerous. You feel a sense of reverence for these new discoveries, and then something tries to eat you. I could have done without the conflict between the Indians and the ape-men, but that is a minor complaint.Among all the adventure books I've read, I would recommend The Lost World first. It's a quick read but still meaningful. It, thankfully, avoids some of the common weaknesses of other 'classic' adventure stories, like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and its incessant and obnoxious cataloging. The Lost World has also given me an impetus to read some of Doyle's other works, such as his Sherlock Holmes stories, and that's the best compliment I could give." http://thethousanderclub.blogspot.com/Bryn Alissia
This book was ok. It kept me drawn in, and it had a plot that makes you think, but there were too many parts I didn't like. First off, this book has sexist gender roles, that I felt were very insulting, as a woman myself. For example, The main character's crush, Glady's said,"There are heroisms all around us, waiting to be done. It's for men to do them and women to reserve their love as a reward for such men."In another scene the 'hero' Professor Challenger, when infuriated with his wife puts her on a "stool of penance", a seven foot tall marble pillar, from which, for reasons I know not, she could apparently not jump down from. Clearly Challenger is anything but a hero, if that is how he treats his wife. I absolutely hated Challenger, mainly because of that scene. Also, the book had a lot of advanced vocabulary. I don't mean swearing, just big words, that frankly, I had to look up on dictionary.comFurthermore, I didn't like the disrespect the exploration party gave to the native, calling them "Half-Breeds"Last, I wish there was one female character worth imitating, but there isn't.Yodhey
It is truly said that most amazing things in the world often come for free! I got this eBook on Google for free! ( I thank Google for converting all these long lost classic books in eBooks and this is the 3rd classic novel eBook I have read on Google books!).First words that came to my mind when I finished reading this book - "Wow! Fantastic!"Books like these, are no doubt the genesis of all the hollywood adventure movies that people of my generation grew up watching! I salute the imagination and more the reasoning skills of this author, that have made this novel a superb rollercoaster ride to read. It is not just mumbling of all the wild imaginations here, but the author has provided good scientific reasons for such imaginations. Then comes all the entertaining stuff, hairraising descriptions of the encounters with the beasts, the journey beginning with little glimpses of the prehistoric animals and all the events leaving clues about the human races also being present on the pleatau. The author also manages to put in a battle between two different races of humans coming from different times! The most amazing thing is, that we should not forget that this novel first published a 100 years before I am writing the review!! Which also means that the imagination and idea must have been conceived my the author more than a 100 years ago from now...Lastly, Hats off to Sir Arthur Canon Doyle!!Socialbookshelves.com
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's depiction of an area of the South American rainforest that still harbours prehistoric life is legendary. The writer, best-known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, also dabbled in science fiction and medical writing, and although in his later life he wasted a large amount of time dabbling with the occult and the spiritual, that didn't affect his prolific productivity.The Lost World is similar in premise to the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, and I can't help but wonder where to draw the line between imitation and plagiarism. Professor Challenger, an imposing old man based on the real-life figure of William Rutherford, discovers a lost world, which is populated by prehistoric life.The Professor is joined by journalist Ed Malone, fellow scientist Professor Summerlee and the adventurous Lord John Roxton. Together, the party travels to the place where Challenger found evidence of the lost world, and what they find there is astonishing.Interestingly, Professor Challenger returned in a number of other Conan Doyles novels, including The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist, the latter of which is about the supernatural and comes about as a result of Conan Doyle's spurious spiritual beliefs. He's a good character - bull-headed, entertaining, intellectual and aggressive, all at the same time. You'll like him.In all seriousness, this book is phenomenal - as good as, or even better than, the Sherlock Holmes stories. I strongly recommend you buy a copy and check it out - just beware of the dinosaurs and don't get caught by the missing links.Mike (the Paladin)
I preferred Challenger to Holmes and dug up all the Challenger stories when I was younger. I agree with the "blurb" forget the newer story by this name and read this one. Great "high adventure" you don't seem to see anymore.Be aware that this is an older book and like others of its era it is NOT PC. There are words used in the text that were acceptable then and are not acceptable now. If you are aware of this and can read the book without it bothering you then you'll find that the book is well written (if you like Conan Doyle that is...it's still him after all). English gentlemen exploring a plateau where time has "stalled" (yah, I could have said "time stood still" but you know...its been done). Of course they end stranded on said plateau, have many adventures (not listed here lest I spoil the book for you). Professor Challenger has been laughed at, ridiculed, and insulted for years over his original report that he'd discovered dinosaurs in South America...he's also assaulted several reporters over it. So, he ends up leading this expedition. Will they survive? Will they find great scientific truths? Will they discover great riches? Will they get home alive?Their English, what do you think?:)Travis
I had no clue that Conan- Doyle had written anything besides Sherlock Holmes, when I found this book and was blown away.Professor Challenger is not quite the anti-Holmes, as he's a genius himself, but unlike Holmes, Challenger is an arrogant, short tempered, loud genius.When he and the young reporter that becomes his 'Watson' discover hints of a secret land in South America, they assemble an expedition and end up trapped in a world of dinosaurs.While dealing with this turn of the century Jurassic Park, they must find a way home, stay alive and deal with the fact that there may be other people in the 'Lost World'.A great adventure novel full of daring do and a clever sense of humor. This is the best of the Challenger stories.Linda
When professor Challenger claims he has discovered a plateau in the Amazon, upon which there are extinct animals from the jurassic era, he is met with critique and ridicule. So he decides to prove his point and explore the area again, this time with another scientist, Professor Summerlee, an adventurer, Lord John Roxton, and a reporter with an urge to do something heroic to win his beloved Gladys, Edward Malone, the narrator of the story. When finally managing to find a way to get onto the plateau, the team is baffled beyond belief.This is a real, old-fashioned adventure, with many interesting and thrilling moments and encounters with history. Doyle's characters complete each other well and especially Challenger is a real blast. Unfortunately, from a feminist perspective, there is a major flaw. There are only men exploring and discovering, and the only woman in the story, not even one of the adventurers, is a greedy one without a sensible bone in her body. Another disturbing flaw is the racist descriptions of the people serving as guides for the party. But, after having been considerably irritated by these things, I tried to put the context in relation to it's time, and the people's ignorance of these matters back then. The views of this book are not uncommon among literature of the early 1900's.How would a world function without interference of human beings? How would an isolated, prospering world, without experiences of human beings, react to four persons intruding on them?They were the intruders, and not even the top of the food-chain. These are topics examined in an interesting way by the author of the Sherlock Holmes series, Arthur Conan Doyle, as early as the year 1912, and there is probably a reason why Michael Crichton named his "Jurassic Park" - sequel "The lost world".F.R.
It’s hard to think of another long departed author, whose name is so well known to the general public, who would be so disappointed by his reputation. Conan Doyle of course saw himself as a great historical novelist, in his dreams that’s how he would have liked to have been remembered (probably he’d also have liked to be known for his spiritual writings). Instead he has an albatross smoking a pipe hung around his neck, in the form of Sherlock Holmes.Of course after Holmes (as Mike states so correctly below) the best known of his works would be ‘The Lost World’. Until now I’ve not read any of Conan Doyle’s non-Holmes works, but on the evidence of this (and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, say), he was a superb adventure writer.‘The Lost World’ is a rollicking boy’s own yarn. Professor Challenger leads an expedition of a fellow academic, a journalist and a gentleman adventure, to an Amazonian land where dinosaur still exist. It’s a superbly plotted tale which kept me gripped to the end.From a more liberal twenty-first century perspective, there are some problems. The ever faithful black servant must surely have seemed something of an anachronism even in Conan Doyle’s own life-time. While the fact our four heroes help massacre the less advanced tribe on the plateau does – even with the author bending so that he can touch his heels to hammer home the glory of battle – echo the most troubling parts of colonialism. But perhaps, now, we can see the title in two ways. It’s not just about dinosaurs, but a window to a lost world of post-Victorian attitudes which have now – thankfully – vanished.Dave
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World" is a classic adventure story first published in 1912. It is the story of a scientific expedition that is sent to determine if the reported findings of prehistoric life still existing in a remote area of South America are true. Professor Challenger is the one defending his findings, Professor Summerlee is the skeptic, and there are two unbiased observers: the guide, Lord John Roxton, and a reporter Ned Malone, who also servers as the Narrator of the story. This story has the feel of a Jules Verne's adventure. This book is certainly showing some of its age. The opening of the book, in which we learn of Ned Malone's motivation, certainly comes across as dated and sexist. In it the woman of his dreams tells him "There are heroisms all round us waiting to be done. It's for men to do them, and for women to reserve their love as a reward for such men... That's what I should like - to be envied for my man." Much later in the book, we have the scientific expedition deciding to try to wipe out a race of previously unknown ape-men, hardly something a scientist would contemplate in this day and age, and I doubt it would have been even when this book was first published. Yet despite these and other flaws, I did enjoy reading this book. The characters were eccentric and entertaining, and I was compelled to keep reading to find out what would happen to them. This book was tied for 9th on August Derleth's Arkham Survey of `Basic SF Titles', but it really is more of an Adventure novel than a Science Fiction novel.Justin
Where to begin with this one. The meat of the story itself would get a Four Star rating from me, if it wasn't for the Two Star characters. So I will average it to a Three Star book.The Story : We spend about the first third of the book listening to Prof. Challenger throw a tantrum about how nobody believes his story about the Plateau nobody but him has seen. The First Third! Was this long of a tantrum necessary? I say no, but some may disagree. It really served no purpose other than to further my feeling that Challenger is not a good character (More on that later). Once we finally get underway with our four member expedition to the secret plateau, the book is fantastic. Everything I hoped it would be. Excitement, challenges to overcome, and dinosaurs! The boy in me is very pleased. Our Plateau adventure takes most of the rest of the book ending in an exciting escape from the plateau, and then we spend several chapters back in a very anticlimactic zoology conference where London gets to see a live Pterodactyl. Doyle could have obtained the same effect he was going for with the first third of his novel in a much shorter span and been able to focus more on the awesomeness of the Plateau. It was fun, a world long gone all of a sudden isn't. A world where living Dinosaurs still live, I would pay money to go there!And through this whole process, our characters didn't learn or grow. I'm not disappointed, see my reviews on Moby Dick and Gulliver's Travels, but it could have been so much better had Sir Conan Arthur Doyle focused on the subject of the book, and developed characters that could be likable.The Characters : As I stated above, the characters were not very likable. Some I very much wanted to like, but in the end could not. None of these characters grew or learned from their experience.Professor Challenger : The supposed main character (Although I would argue it was Malone) was an egotistical, rude, angry, ugly little man who acted like a kindergartner who was no longer allowed nap time. He was highly prideful to the extent of thinking he, and only he, was special enough to figure out the events, and when it came right down to it, he was a bafoon. He would have killed everyone should he have got his way of exiting the plateau. He was demeaning. He was rude. He was pedantic. He was argumentative for the sake of wanting to be an ass to someone whom he wanted nothing more than to demean. He was not a likable character, in any way for me. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park(author Michael Crichton) was similar I think, but in a much better way. I actually liked Ian Malcolm, and the sequel that focused on his character. I will not be reading any of the sequels that involve Challenger, I know Doyle wrote several. Maybe the one where they go back to the Plateau once I forget that I don't like Challenger, my least favorite character of the story.Professor Summerlee : I didn't really dislike this character, but i didn't care for him either. He was just there, and a fairly useless character. His main role in the story was to argue with Challenger (See my feelings on challenger.) He could have been expanded and made to put Challenger in his place a time or two. I would have loved this character then. But he was destined to be background noise to Challengers bafoonery.Sir John Roxton : Here is a character I really wanted to like. Indiana Jones, Crocodile Dundee, Dr Alan Grant and every other boys dream of adventurer in one. But it turns out he is nothing more than a cold blooded killer. He did not need to kill Gomez, there was nothing more the half-breed could do. It was revenge and spite and that didn't sit to well with me. Otherwise he was a likable guy.Edward Malone : I liked this character all the way until the end. He was a pitiful puppy dog to his wondrous Gladys. Gladys, the epitome of a woman not worth the time. Selfish to a flaw and extremely flighty. Malone went on this adventure to try and woo her back. My hope was that when he got back to London and met up with her that he would realize that she just isn't worth his time, that he had grown to understand that that type of woman is not worthy of him. But instead he is still wanting to marry her and is heart broken and depressed/angry that she married someone else. And this is why he decides to go back to the plateau. Not because he craves the adventure now that he has a taste of it, but because Gladys isn't available for him to puppy dog too.Zambo : The only character I liked from the beginning to the end. He was loyal and dependable, just as he was meant to be. And yet he was more of a small bit part. I wish he could have been more of the story instead of a "Hows it going down there?" character.All in all it was a great story, but sadly I cannot give it more than three stars, as much as I wish I could have given it more. With all my tantrum throwing aside, i will probably read the story again someday. It was entertaining. I guess I am just disappointed it was not what it could have been.Brian
The things we do for love. The Lost World begins with our hero, Edward Malone, wanting desperately to propose to his ladylove, Gladys, and being thwarted because, as a mere reporter, he isn't adventurous enough for her. Not that she wants adventures herself; she simply wants to bask in reflected glory. It's his determination to prove himself worthy of Gladys that shortly finds him tumbling down a staircase, grappling with the world famous scientist George Edward Challenger.Challenger, a bull of a man, as brilliant as he is supercilious, is also in love -- with himself, to be sure, but more importantly with science. His recent discovery of an American's sketchbook -- a sketchbook that suggests the existence of prehistoric life on a plateau deep in the jungle -- has left him no alternative: he must find that plateau and expose its wonders to the world. Conveniently putting his detractors to shame in the process, naturally.His most vocal and distiguished opponent is Professor Summerlee, who would love nothing more than to show up Challenger as a fraud. Thus, though an older man past his physical prime, he signs on to journey across an ocean and into the deepest heart of the forbidding jungle.As an aide of sorts for Summerlee, Lord John Roxton rounds out the expedition, and he is a natural choice. His muse and his love is adventure itself. Already a world-famous sportsman and traveler, he is also familiar with South America, where he earlier waged his own private war with slave-runners, and the Amazon in particular.But love is a funny thing, and not everyone finds it in quite the way they expected.The Lost World is a delight -- exciting, witty and humorous, and, best of all, gloriously romantic, a tale from a time when its fantastic premise still seemed almost plausible. The irony, of course, is that it carries with it the particular bane of this sort of romance: science and the belief of man's inherent superiority over nature. Reading the story, the title takes on an unintended double meaning, as, once the explorers reach the plateau, all that really matters is how it can be exploited for man's benefit. So add a certain melancholy to the book's charms.That, and a couple of horrific scenes involving a tribe of ape-men who deal with their enemies in a particularly nasty fashion. I like a fantasy with teeth.The Lost World (1960), directed by Irwin Allenhttp://brianmartin.booklikes.com/post...Zelda
Oh, I had forgotten how much I love paragraph-long, physiognomy-based character exposition. I don't find modern writers can lay meaning on a face with quite the zeal of Victorian and fin de siecle writers. Why not add more than one personality trait in just the brow alone? I loved the outset of this novel, but my loyalties were tested by the plot twists. It wasn't enough Darwinism to have a plateau with dinosaurs. And it wasn't enough "What ho" bigotry to have double-crossing Amazon half-breeds and faithful Negro. No, there had to be apemen AND a counter tribe of "smooth limbed," liquid-eyed smart men. Not sufficient for the white men to conquer prehistoric monsters and geologic impossibility just getting there, no, let's watch them conquer their evolutionary forebears. Has there ever been a lost land withOUT diamonds? Really? I'd have to reread The Swiss Family Robinson (and it's thicker than you would imagine), but i'd make a small bet on it. I may have enjoyed this so much just because it was a nice infusion of Doyle who i have not read in over a decade. And SO much shorter than SFR!Werner
Like one of my Goodreads friends, I should say at the outset that my review can't add much to the excellent one already written by another friend, Lady Danielle (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... ). But I'll go ahead and share my perspective anyway, for what it's worth. While I did like the book, my rating for it wasn't quite as high as most of my friends gave it (for reasons I'll indicate below). But it's a good adventure yarn, still appealing on that level even 100 years after it was written, and for anyone seriously interested in the roots of modern science fiction, a must-read. The whole SF theme of juxtaposing the prehistoric with the present-day world derives directly from this novel; Doyle continues to be a serious influence on contemporary genre writers like Crichton, and a host of others in between.Much of the novel's appeal comes from the sheer power and fascination of the concept of being able to directly experience dinosaurs firsthand. In 1912, this idea was completely new; it's less so now, but even so, it retains a lot of its intrinsic excitement. Doyle's treatment mostly builds on this advantage positively; he's a very capable writer in terms of craftsmanship (I don't list him as a favorite for nothing!). His plot is solid and his pacing brisk, with plenty of the jeopardies and challenges that draw readers (including me) to this type of fiction. He peoples the narrative with vividly drawn characters. The most obvious of these is his series character Prof. Challenger, introduced here: too big (physically and in sheer force of personality) to ignore, supremely egotistical, belligerant, and combative, but brilliant, ingenious, and courageous. (Both Doyle's Holmes and Challenger were at least partly based on actual people; the latter on Doyle's medical school professor William Rutherfurd, just as Holmes was on Rutherfurd's colleague Joseph Bell.) But the supporting characters like Lord Roxton and Prof. Summerlee are brought fully to life as well (Roxton is really the most likeable of the group --his character here is vastly different from the arrogant jerk in the very unfaithful made-for-TV movie and series adaptation!). Malone, the narrator and viewpoint character, is less colorful, but he's an Everyman that readers can identify with --and like identifying with, as he proves himself brave and competent in various situations. Being written at a time when literary syntax was no longer as florid and convoluted as it had been in the early and mid-1800s, the prose here is pretty straightforward in style; it won't inhibit any modern reader with a good vocabulary. And the climax of the novel leaves the reader with some of the most arresting mental images I've ever experienced.For me, though, there were factors that kept the book from being a four-star read. That the science is dated wasn't that big a problem for me; we've explored enough of the earth by now to know that the idea of any surviving Jurassic ecosystem is pretty far-fetched, but in 1912 that wasn't the case. (Though he doesn't name the locality, Doyle actually based his physical setting for the titular Lost World on the then-wholly-unexplored high plateau of Roraima in southern Venezuela.) But the author's uncritical Darwinism is more of a challenge to belief; though one can, I suppose, accept Doyle's "ape-men" (which one character calls "missing links") here much as we accept dragons and unicorns in fantasy. One of my Goodreads friends likes Challenger better than Holmes, but I didn't have the same reaction. Indeed, although Challenger's character fascinates, I can't really say that I like him much at all (in real life, I think he'd drive me up the wall quickly if I had to be much in his company). Lady Danielle, in her review, analyzes the patronizing treatment and negative stereotyping of the only black character in the exploring party, Zambo, and I can't improve on her comments there. I'd add that the treatment of the Hispanic-Indian guide Gomez (he's repeatedly referred to or identified as "half-breed") is equally invidious, or more so; Zambo at least is seen as a sympathetic character, while Gomez is a treacherous, homicidal villain. To be sure, some blacks of that day and now (and some whites) exhibit traits like Zambo's, and no doubt some Hispanic-Indians (like some whites) ARE treacherous, homicidal villains. It's the absence of any balance to those portrayals here that gives the impression that we're being invited to view every real-life black, Hispanic or Indian person that way, a kind of racial stereotyping that comes across as a sour note in the read. The racist attitudes are matched by sexist ones; I can't say that the author's portrayal of women is very favorable. That the exploring party is all male is probably to be expected in any writing from this era, but like Verne in Journey to the Center of the Earth (at least in the translation I read), Doyle uses a conversation between the viewpoint character and his romantic interest at the beginning to pound home the point that adventuring is strictly a male preserve. The lady delivers lines like, "There are heroisms all around us waiting to be done. It's for men to do them, and for women to reserve their love as a reward for such men.... That's what I should like --to be envied for my man," and "It is never a man that I should love, but always the glories that he had won, for they would be reflected upon me.... These are the sort of men that a woman could worship with all her soul and yet be the greater, not the less, on account of her love, honored by all the world as the inspirer of noble deeds." (That choking noise in the background is me gagging.) And finally, there's no strong message here that speaks to any truth about the human condition, nor any ideas that make you seriously think.The negatives here, though, didn't pull down the positives enough to keep me from liking the book overall. If you can put up with the former, the latter will provide you with some rousing entertainment!Donna
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have said in the past that I don't like classics but this one was written in 1912 and wasn't all flowery language, it just got on with the adventure story. It was hard to read knowing of the modern technology we have these days though. Proving that there was an undiscovered plateau in the middle of South America somewhere, inhabited by prehistoric creatures would be so easy to do these days, with helicopters, mobile phones, digital cameras, GPS, etc. I don't think there is anywhere on the Earth these days that it could possibly take 6 weeks to get to! The characters were fun: two blustering professors, at odds with each other's views and almost coming to blows; a young reporter along for the adventure to impress his possible future wife; and a previous explorer who can help anyone out of a scrape. They get themselves into some situations and somehow get themselves out of them too!I much preferred this version than the Hollywood film version by Michael Crichton. In fact apart from the idea, there isn't really much resemblance between the two.