In The Lost World, the first in a series of books to feature the bold Professor Challenger—a character many critics consider one of the most finely drawn in science fiction—Challenger and his party embark on an expedition to a remote Amazonian plateau where, as the good professor puts it, “the ordinary laws of Nature are suspended” and numerous prehistoric creatures and ape-men have survived. “Just as Sherlock Holmes set the standard—and in some sense established the formula—for the detective story . . . , so too has The Lost World set the standard and the formula for fantasy-adventure stories . . . ,” Michael Crichton writes in his Introduction. “The tone and techniques that Conan Doyle first refined in The Lost World have become standard narrative procedures in popular entertainment of the present day.”
About the Author
Michael Crichton’s novels include The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, and Timeline; he is also the creator of the television series ER. He lives in Los Angeles.
Date of Birth:May 22, 1859
Date of Death:July 7, 1930
Place of Birth:Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of Death:Crowborough, Sussex, England
Education:Edinburgh University, B.M., 1881; M.D., 1885
Read an Excerpt
"There Are Heroisms All Round Us"
Mr. Hungerton, her father, really was the most tactless person upon earth-a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely centred upon his own silly self. If anything could have driven me from Gladys, it would have been the thought of such a father-in-law. I am convinced that he really believed in his heart that I came round to the Chestnuts three days a week for the pleasure of his company, and very especially to hear his views upon bimetallism-a subject upon which he was by way of being an authority.
For an hour or more that evening I listened to his monotonous chirrup about bad money driving out good, the token value of silver, the depreciation of the rupee, and the true standards of exchange.
"Suppose," he cried, with feeble violence, "that all the debts in the world were called up simultaneously and immediate payment insisted upon. What, under our present conditions, would happen then?"
I gave the self-evident answer that I should be a ruined man, upon which he jumped from his chair, reproved me for my habitual levity, which made it impossible for him to discuss any reasonable subject in my presence, and bounced off out of the room to dress for a Masonic meeting.
At last I was alone with Gladys, and the moment of fate had come! All that evening I had felt like the soldier who awaits the signal which will send him on a forlorn hope, hope of victory and fear of repulse alternating in his mind.
She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers outlined against the red curtain. How beautiful she was! And yet how aloof! We had been friends, quite good friends; but never could I get beyond the same comradeship which I might have established with one of my fellow-reporters upon the Gazette-perfectly frank, perfectly kindly, and perfectly unsexual. My instincts are all against a woman being too frank and at her ease with me. It is no compliment to a man. Where the real sex feeling begins, timidity and distrust are its companions, heritage from old wicked days when love and violence went often hand in hand. The bent head, the averted eye, the faltering voice, the wincing figure-these, and not the unshrinking gaze and frank reply, are the true signals of passion. Even in my short life I had learned as much as that-or had inherited it in that race-memory which we call instinct.
Gladys was full of every womanly quality. Some judged her to be cold and hard, but such a thought was treason. That delicately-bronzed skin, almost Oriental in its colouring, that raven hair, the large liquid eyes, the full but exquisite lips-all the stigmata of passion were there. But I was sadly conscious that up to now I had never found the secret of drawing it forth. However, come what might, I should have done with suspense and bring matters to a head to-night. She could but refuse me, and better be a repulsed lover than an accepted brother.
So far my thoughts had carried me, and I was about to break the long and uneasy silence when two critical dark eyes looked round at me, and the proud head was shaken in smiling reproof.
"I have a presentiment that you are going to propose, Ned. I do wish you wouldn't, for things are so much nicer as they are."
I drew my chair a little nearer.
"Now, how did you know that I was going to propose?" I asked, in genuine wonder.
"Don't women always know? Do you suppose any woman in the world was ever taken unawares? But, oh, Ned, our friendship has been so good and so pleasant! What a pity to spoil it! Don't you feel how splendid it is that a young man and a young woman should be able to talk face to face as we have talked?"
"I don't know, Gladys. You see, I can talk face to face with-with the station-master." I can't imagine how that official came into the matter, but in he trotted and set us both laughing. "That does not satisfy me in the least. I want my arms round you and your head on my breast, and, oh, Gladys, I want--"
She had sprung from her chair as she saw signs that I proposed to demonstrate some of my wants.
"You've spoiled everything, Ned," she said. "It's all so beautiful and natural until this kind of thing comes in. It is such a pity. Why can't you control yourself?"
"I didn't invent it," I pleaded. "It's nature. It's love."
"Well, perhaps if both love it may be different. I have never felt it."
"But you must-you, with your beauty, with your soul! Oh, Gladys, you were made for love! You must love!"
"One must wait till it comes."
"But why can't you love me, Gladys? Is it my appearance, or what?"
She did unbend a little. She put forward a hand-such a gracious, stooping attitude it was-and she pressed back my head. Then she looked into my upturned face with a very wistful smile.
"No, it isn't that," she said at last. "You're not a conceited boy by nature, and so I can safely tell you that it is not that. It's deeper."
She nodded severely.
"What can I do to mend it? Do sit down and talk it over. No, really I won't, if you'll only sit down!"
She looked at me with a wondering distrust which was much more to my mind than her whole-hearted confidence. How primitive and bestial it looks when you put it down in black and white! And perhaps after all it is only a feeling peculiar to myself. Anyhow, she sat down.
"Now tell me what's amiss with me."
"I'm in love with somebody else," said she.
It was my turn to jump out of my chair.
"It's nobody in particular," she explained, laughing at the expression of my face, "only an ideal. I've never met the kind of man I mean."
"Tell me about him. What does he look like?"
"Oh, he might look very much like you."
"How dear of you to say that! Well, what is it that he does that I don't do? Just say the word-teetotal, vegetarian, aeronaut, Theosophist, Superman-I'll have a try at it, Gladys, if you will only give me an idea what would please you."
She laughed at the elasticity of my character. "Well, in the first place, I don't think my ideal would speak like that," said she. "He would be a harder, sterner man, not so ready to adopt himself to a silly girl's whim. But above all he must be a man who could do, who could act, who would look Death in the face and have no fear of him-a man of great deeds and strange experiences. It is never a man that I should love, but always the glories he had won, for they would be reflected upon me. Think of Richard Burton! When I read his wife's life of him I could so understand her love. And Lady Stanley! Did you ever read the wonderful last chapter of that book about her husband? 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, honoured by all the world as the inspirer of noble deeds."
She looked so beautiful in her enthusiasm that I nearly brought down the whole level of the interview. I gripped myself hard, and went on with the argument.
"We can't all be Stanleys and Burtons," said I. "Besides, we don't get the chance-at least, I never had the chance. If I did I should try to take it."
"But chances are all around you. It is the mark of the kind of man I mean that he makes his own chances. You can't hold him back. I've never met him, and yet I seem to know him so well. 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. Look at that young Frenchman who went up last week in a balloon. It was blowing a gale of wind, but because he was announced to go he insisted on starting. The wind blew him one thousand five hundred miles in twenty-four hours, and he fell in the middle of Russia. That was the kind of man I mean. Think of the woman he loved, and how other women must have envied her! That's what I should like-to be envied for my man."
"I'd have done it to please you."
"But you shouldn't do it merely to please me. You should do it because you can't help it, because it's natural to you-because the man in you is crying out for heroic expression. Now, when you described the Wigan coal explosion last month, could you not have gone down and helped those people, in spite of the choke-damp."
"You never said so."
"There was nothing worth bucking about."
"I didn't know." She looked at me with rather more interest. "That was brave of you."
"I had to. If you want to write good copy you must be where the things are."
"What a prosaic motive! It seems to take all the romance out of it. But still, whatever your motive, I am glad that you went down that mine." She gave me her hand, but with such sweetness and dignity that I could only stoop and kiss it. "I dare say I am merely a foolish woman with a young girl's fancies. And yet it is so real with me, so entirely part of my very self, that I cannot help acting upon it. If I marry, I do want to marry a famous man."
"Why should you not?" I cried. "It is women like you who brace men up. Give me a chance and see if I will take it! Besides, as you say, men ought to make their own chances, and not wait until they are given. Look at Clive-just a clerk, and he conquered India. By George! I'll do something in the world yet!"
She laughed at my sudden Irish effervescence.
"Why not?" she said. "You have everything a man could have-youth, health, strength, education, energy. I was sorry you spoke. And now I am glad-so glad-if it wakens these thoughts in you."
"And if I do--?"
Her hand rested like warm velvet upon my lips.
"Not another word, sir. You should have been at the office for evening duty half an hour ago, only I hadn't the heart to remind you. Some day, perhaps, when you have won your place in the world, we shall talk it over again."
And so it was that I found myself that foggy November evening pursuing the Camberwell tram with my heart glowing within me, and with the eager determination that not another day should elapse before I should find some deed which was worthy of my lady. But who in all this wide world could ever have imagined the incredible shape which that deed was to take, or the strange steps by which I was led to the doing of it?
And, after all, this opening chapter will seem to the reader to have nothing to do with my narrative; and yet there would have been no narrative without it, for it is only when a man goes out into the world with the thought that there are heroisms all round him, and with the desire all alive in his heart to follow any which may come within sight of him, that he breaks away as I did from the life he knows, and ventures forth into the wonderful mystic twilight land where lie the great adventures and the great rewards. Behold me, then, at the office of the Daily Gazette, on the staff of which I was a most insignificant unit, with the settled determination that very night, if possible, to find the quest which should be worthy of my Gladys! Was it hardness, was it selfishness, that she should ask me to risk my life for her own glorification? Such thoughts may come to middle age, but never to ardent three-and-twenty in the fever of his first love.
"Try Your Luck with
I always liked McArdle, the crabbed old, round-backed, red-headed news editor, and I rather hoped that he liked me. Of course, Beaumont was the real boss, but he lived in the rarefied atmosphere of some Olympian height from which he could distinguish nothing smaller than an international crisis or a split in the Cabinet. Sometimes we saw him passing in lonely majesty to his inner sanctum with his eyes staring vaguely and his mind hovering over the Balkans or the Persian Gulf. He was above and beyond us. But McArdle was his first lieutenant, and it was he that we knew. The old man nodded as I entered the room, and he pushed his spectacles far up on his bald forehead.
"Well, Mr. Malone, from all I hear, you seem to be doing very well," said he, in his kindly Scotch accent.
I thanked him.
"The colliery explosion was excellent. So was the Southwark fire. You have the true descreeptive touch. What did you want to see me about?"
"To ask a favour."
He looked alarmed and his eyes shunned mine.
"Tut! tut! What is it?"
"Do you think, sir, that you could possibly send me on some mission for the paper? I would do my best to put it through and get you some good copy."
"What sort of a meesion had you in your mind, Mr. Malone?"
"Well, sir, anything that had adventure and danger in it. I would really do my very best. The more difficult it was the better it would suit me."
"You seem very anxious to lose your life."
"To justify my life, sir."
"Dear me, Mr. Malone, this is very-very exalted. I'm afraid the day for this sort of thing is rather past. The expense of the 'special meesion' business hardly justifies the result, and, of course, in any case it would only be an experienced man with a name that would command public confidence who would get such an order. The big blank spaces in the map are all being filled in, and there's no room for romance anywhere. Wait a bit, though!" he added, with a sudden smile upon his face. "Talking of the blank spaces of the map gives me an idea. What about exposing a fraud-a modern Munchausen-and making him rideeculous? You could show him up as the liar that he is! Eh, man, it would be fine. How does it appeal to you?"
Table of Contents
|1||There Are Heroisms All Round Us||9|
|2||Try Your Luck with Professor Challenger||19|
|3||He is a Perfectly Impossible Person||31|
|4||It's Just the Very Biggest Thing in the World||44|
|6||I Was the Flail of the Lord||93|
|7||Tomorrow We Disappear Into the Unknown||109|
|8||The Outlying Pickets of the New World||126|
|9||Who Could Have Foreseen It?||148|
|10||The Most Wonderful Things Have Happened||186|
|11||For Once I Was the Hero||210|
|12||It Was Dreadful in the Forest||237|
|13||A Sight I Shall Never Forget||263|
|14||Those Were the Real Conquests||288|
|15||Our Eyes Have Seen Great Wonders||313|
|16||A Procession! A Procession!||341|
What People are Saying About This
Theologists delve for dinosaurs in dust, and all they find are bare bones: but Conan Doyle, in a timeless tale, brings those bones to life. No explorer can match the thrills of the way readers discover The Lost World today.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There's little I can say about this novel that hasn't already been said. Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, but if people know him for anything else it is for this, The Lost World, the first true dinosaur adventure novel. The characters are fantastic and memorable. Professor Challenger the braggart, swaggering know-it-all who does ultimately know what he's talking about, suave hunter-adventurer Lord Roxton, who just needs a whip and he'll be a precursor to Indiana Jones, and finally greenhorn reporter Edward Malone, from whose point of view the tale is told. The book takes a while getting to the titular plateau but getting there is half the fun, and when they do finally arrive there's dinosaur attacks, ape-men, all that good stuff. If you like adventure stories and/or dinosaur stories then this is certainly a book to pick up.
This book deserves to be remembered as one of the archetypal pulp action adventures.
This is THE best book I have ever read. From the first page to the end I could not put it down. You should buy this book.
A recommended read by a friend, I started the book out of obligation. Wow, am I ever glad I got the nudge. This is the foundation for many of our modern day dinasaur stories/movies. It was quite slow to start, but when it hooked you, watch out. You see it, feel it, live it. Story telling at its best.
This book is the coolest old book I've ever read! It draws you in and you can't stop. Challenger is a great character! At times the conversation between Challenger and Malone struck me as very 'Holmes and Watson' like! You can tell who the author is when you read 'elementary fact'! It also happened to expand my vocabulary!
I must say for a book that is older and less modern its great. the first few pages are a drag but the story picks up soon after. The adventure of the story is originally intended to impress the main charecters wife but soon after the exposition is started this means little to him. By the end of the story you almost forget what the true journy was intended for. If you want to learn more pick up a copy and READ!!!!!!!!!
This is a good science fiction book that asks you to put aside 'common sense' in order to take up the adventure of wild proportions. The unlikeliness of the idea itself only makes the adventure more exciting and relatable. Fully recommended.
I have always enjoyed Doyle¿s writing style and was pleased to find The Lost World is every bit as good as some of the authors other works. The development and personal insights into the main characters grew with each chapter leading to a brilliant ending. The descriptions of the plateau has the perfect combination of scientific mumbo-jumbo and everyday layman visuals which brought to life the flora and fauna the group was traveling through. The animals were fantastic and yet real in their appearance and the logical ways the animals should behave. However, the Indians and the Ape Men steal the show. It was sad to think the travelers would corrupt the natural progress of civilization and evolution so easily. Yet history could have happened in the way described in this book. The smallest thing can change the course of history and the largest can have no affect in the long term. I truly enjoyed this book and wish it would never stop. Then again, the short simplicity of it, is part of its appeal. Not many authors can pack so much into such a small quantity of pages and turn out a gem like this. A quick weekend read for anyone who likes adventure with multiple engaging challenges to be overcome.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created a classic dinosaur adventure story when he wrote The Lost World in 1912. The tale's narrator, Ned Malone is a newspaper reporter who joins an expedition to the wilds of the Amazon to impress his girlfriend. However, he scarcely anticipates the dangers he will confront when the expedition's leader, zoology professor George Challenger takes them to a plateau filled with dinosaurs and ape men. Doyle's human characters are described much more richly than Michael Crichton's minimally interesting protagonists in Jurassic Park (1990), so the story hinges as much on Challenger's eccentricities as it does on dinosaur attacks or Ned Malone's quest for validation of his masculine bravado. A weakness is the lack of female characters worthy of more than passing note. Ned's fickle and heartless girlfriend makes only brief and displeasing appearances at the beginning and end of the tale. Crichton does no better with females. Thomas Hopp's Dinosaur Wars, published in 2000, does a much better take on genders, giving equal weight to a young male/female pair who brave the dangers of dinosaurs loose in modern-day Montana. It seems that even dinosaur fiction has evolved over the years.
For those readers who have read multiple literary works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it can be said that this is one of, if not, the best book he has written. The book, simply put, is full of action and challenges many ideas relevant at the time of its publishment. Mr. Malone of the Gazette, has been sent on a life mission to put himself in danger for his love, Gladys. He, by fortune or chance, entangles himself with the dangerous but brillant Professor Challenger. Later, the expedition travels to a plateau in South America, here the group of four men and the Natives reach an isolated area that has maintained the life of lost species. Much to my surprise, the book wasn't just dinosaurs eat a bunch of men; it was the strugle between species. Watson of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' becomes Mr. Malone of 'The Lost World'. This book's diction isn't terribly difficult but might not be as enjoyable for the younger readers. However, anyone can read this book and get some entertainment out of it for this book has Science fiction and fantasy all in one. The descriptiveness of the book is perfect, not to many and just enough to create a climatic effect. The book undoubtly is exciting and would make a great passtime novel.
I've long been a fan of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes canon, but I had not read any of his other works. So it was a great pleasure to dive into this book and find, in Professor Challenger, as interesting a character as the inimitable detective.For anyone unfortunate enough to have watched the awful travesties that the TV and movie industries have made of this terrific adventure tale, put aside the cartoon caricatures and bountifully bosomed savage jungle queens that pranced across the screen. This book is the real thing, and far better than any film depiction.For one thing, Conan Doyle tells the tale with a wry humor that is deliberate and charming. He takes Victorian stereotypes and stands them on their heads. From the the lovelorn swain whose beloved urges him to go out and do manly deeds for her, and the hidebound scientist who insists that what he's seeing must be rationally explained away, to the boisterous joy that Challenger takes in immodestly demonstrating his superiority to everyone around him; the book is a joyful romp through both Victorian London and a prehistoric jungle.I can't wait to get my hands on the other books starring the brawny and brainy professor.
I'm a big fan of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, but I didn't realize he'd written a series of science fiction stories as well. This is the first of his Professor Challenger books, and it's thoroughly delightful to read. I won't spoil the plot, but will say there are interesting creatures, vicious battles, and raucous scientific debates aplenty. I'll probably end up reading this one aloud to the kids and may even look for one of the film versions of the story. It's a lot of fun.
I'll be honest, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World took me forever to read, and it's not that long of a book. Part of the problem is the edition that I bought, a Dover Thrift Edition, because they use small, compact type to get as much text on a page as possible to cut down on the book size, thereby keeping the price lower. The other problem is that Conan Doyle's story is wordy. Very wordy. But, it is also part of the charm of the story. He's taken his four main characters and made them into such caricatures of themselves that they seem almost comical: Professor Challenger, the gruff, overly-charismatic leader of the expedition; Professor Summerlee, the skeptical intellectual who needs physical proof of Challenger's outrageous claims of living, prehistoric life; Lord John Roxton, the sportsman who is looking for his next big adventure; and the narrator, reporter Edward Malone, who is trying to win the hand of the woman he loves by becoming the man of adventure her overly-romantic self seems to be looking for. Filled with adventure and peril at every turn, the story did take some time to get moving, but once the adventurers found themselves in the lost world, the story really takes off and is a non-stop thrill ride.The whole idea of the book is that Professor Challenger says that he has been to a 'lost world' in South America where dinosaurs still live. Naturally, he is laughed out of the scientific community, but eventually he finds a group of explorers who are willing to go with him, either to prove him wrong and a fraud or to partake in the adventure of a lifetime. Once they finally reach the plateau where the lost world is, they find themselves in the midst of both dinosaurs and mammals that have been lost thought extinct, as well as in the middle of a civil war between a tribe of Indian 'natives' and a nation of ape-men.I've read a lot of reviews that go on about how wordy the story is and how it doesn't really seem to hold up so much for our time. Well, it was written almost 100 years ago, and I think if you take it in the context for when it was written, it stands up very well and is actually quite an enjoyable book to read. Yes, some of it seems rather outdated, but at the time was probably quite the thrilling idea of a book. Taken for what it is, I really enjoyed the book and will probably look for more of the Professor Challenger books.
A seemingly mad professor (Challenger) comes to London claiming to have found, in the heart of the Amazon, a wild and disturbing place that time hasn't touched. There, he claims, live dinosaurs, and other prehistoric creatures. Intent to verify (or more likely, falsify) his claims, a party sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. Our hero, a young reporter, intent on impressing a young lady; a rival scientist who seeks to completely discredit Challenger; and an adventurer for whom even the safari has lost its allure. When they arrive, they find more than they bargained for.The premise is intriguing enough, and the characters are fun, if mostly caricatures. The book progresses at a maddeningly slow pace for the modern reader, with too much explanation, review and ejaculation. "The Lost World" has not aged all that well: the racism is jarring and the style makes even the most exciting parts almost boring. Read a different Arthur Conan Doyle, or a different adventure story!
The first, I think, non-Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle book I have read and I was not disappointed even without Dr Watson narrating the story. It is a fast paced old fashioned ripping yarn of an adventure story of one scientist out to prove to the world that his theories of finding prehistoric animals on a plateau not yet visited by man (or at least western man with cameras and notebooks) are not a load of 'poppycock'.Full of larger than life characters this book is narrated by the journalist Edward Malone who, to prove his adventurous spirit to the woman he loves, convinces Professor Challenger to take him along on a journey to South America to prove his claims of a 'Lost World' are true. Together with another scientist, Professor Summerlee, and an altogether more-english than English adventurer Lord John Roxton they find the plateau, their proof and trouble as they escape death from dinosaurs, capture, execution and finally escape. A great story and the start of of a series of books starring the great, intelligent, agressive and short tempered Professor Challenger. I will definitely be looking out for the next books starring him.
I'd read Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels and had no idea that he was the author of this one until I stumbled across it on DailyLit. Very entertaining and fun, with the usual pitfalls of some unfortuante racist language due to the time in which it was written. Doyle knows how to tell a clean story without using extra words, even when he was world-building. Good stuff.
Could not put it down and it has excellent life lessons for young men...and good to think on for older ones
I bought this but somehow the contents inside is actually sherlock Holmes novel... I don't know what happened. Nook glitch?
Like his Sherlock Holmes stories ACD knows how to set the stage for mystery and adventure. Delightful read and memorable characters who reflect the values of the late 19th century.
Older writing style and many editing mistakes but none of it detracts from a excellent story of a classic adventure. If you have never read this original story and only seen some of the poor movies, do yourself a favor and read this!
I can't get this to downlod!