I’ve really enjoyed Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing in the Sherlock novels, and I love a good old-fashioned adventure story, so I’m surprised it took me this long to end up at The Lost World.
The story begins with Edward Malone, a young reporter, being friend-zoned by his love interest Gladys Hungerton. In order to win her heart, he must do something great with his life. So when the opportunity presents itself to join an expedition to a hidden land in South America, he doesn’t hesitate. Gladys is mainly a framing device and isn’t much part of the central story, but Malone does name a lake full of dangerous primitive creatures after her, which I thought was a bit of a funny dedication. It did seem to fit her personality, though.
She could but refuse me, and better be a repulsed lover than an accepted brother.
Professor Challenger, a stout rage-filled scientist, has been taking a lot of bad publicity for his claims of finding prehistoric life (as well as attacking a few reporters for doubting those claims). His evidence was lost on the trip back, so he has only his word to back him up. To prove his findings, he’s organized another trip back to gather evidence. Edward Malone will accompany him, along with Professor Summerlee, a doubtful scientist, and Lord John Roxton, an adventurer who knows the Amazon. The story is told through Malone’s letters back to his newspaper.
We are, in truth, as far from any human aid as if we were in the moon. If we are to win through, it is only our own qualities which can save us. I have as companions three remarkable men, men of great brain-power and of unshaken courage. There lies our one and only hope.
Coming into this, I was mainly excited for the dinosaurs, but they really didn’t feature all that much. What was here, however, was a fun and surprisingly funny adventure full of really great characters. The most outrageous of the group, Professor Challenger, apparently has a number of novels featuring him, so I look forward to eventually getting to those. His arrogant and pretentious lecturing was a joy to read, and Glen McCready’s narration was just perfect for him.
I found it interesting that Challenger’s photos were disregarded by other scientists in this as not being sufficient proof of prehistoric life, with the perceived ease of doctoring photos, but not even a decade later Arthur Conan Doyle was fooled by the Cottingley Fairies hoax.
I really enjoyed this. A group of men traveling through unknown territory to face ancient beasts? And for science! It scratches the same nerd adventurer itch as Indiana Jones, in a way.