The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Originally published in The Strand magazine, the same magazine that published Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. It ran in serial form from April until November 1912. It was brought out after that in novel form by Hodder & Stoughton .

The Lost World is a great starting point for our search into..well…Lost World’s really! Misty jungles, dinosaurs, horrible hairy ape men!

Here is a link to the article on Wikipedia.

If you would like to read the novel itself here’s a link to an HTML version at

Also a link to the Project Gutenberg page for The Lost World with the epub version for your Kobo.

Here’s the blurb I wrote about the book on Goodreads if you’re looking for a little more info.

The Lost World, by Arthur Conan Doyle is a perfect example of a ripping tale. It features quite a few of the character types, and plot devices that we expect from the genre. Let’s have a look at a few of them.

We have “The Professor/Scholar”. In this case we have both Professor Challenger, and Professor Summerlee filling this role as adversaries that come to terms with each other in the end.

Then we have “The Big Game Hunter/Explorer” in the person of Lord John Roxton. He is the tough that protects the group from harm during their exploits.

In Ned Malone we are shown what I would call “The Athlete” who ends up as a supporting member, even though he is the main character and narrator of the story.

There is the supporting cast, with the usual mix of loyal retainers, and the secret bad guys. As is typical to the genre, in The Lost World they are taken from a non-European people. The bad guys, true to form, manage to cause havoc at a point that is critical to the survival of our heroes.

The reader is shown some classic plot devices. We have extinct life, dinosaurs, and half ape men trapped in centuries or millenia of seclusion in the cone of an extinct volcano. The ape men are there solely to capture and menace our intrepid party, and to prey on the “good” primitives, a race of backward Indian villagers. The Indians, with the help of our heroes, manage to clear out and exterminate all of the ape men in the end… with the exception of the few that they keep around as servants.

To round it all off one of the party, the hunter Roxton, notices a blue clay that lurks in a volcanic vent, that just happens to remind him of the area around Kimberly…where the diamond mines are. Low and behold the blue clay is…you guessed it…full of diamonds of great size…thus financing future trips to the lost world.

Oh sure, you can say “what pitiful stuff” and you might be right, but I love it. I love the potential embodied in the stories.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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