The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)

The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)

infobox Book |
name = The Lost World
orig title =
translator =

image_caption = Cover of the first edition of "The Lost World"
author = Arthur Conan Doyle
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series = Professor Challenger
genre = Science fiction novel
publisher = Hodder & Stoughton
release_date = 1912
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 320
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by = The Poison Belt

"The Lost World" is a novel released in 1912 by Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. Interestingly, for a seminal work of dinosaur-related fiction, the animals only occupy a small portion of the narrative. Much more time is devoted to a war between early human hominids and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures.

Plot summary

Edward Malone, a reporter for the London Gazette, goes to his news editor, McArdle, to get a dangerous and adventurous mission to impress the woman he loves, Gladys White. He is sent to interview Professor Edward Challenger, who has assaulted four or five other journalists, to determine if his claims about his trip to South America are true. After assaulting Malone, Challenger reveals his discovery of dinosaurs in South America. After having been ridiculed for years, he invites Malone on a trip to prove his story, along with Professor Summerlee, another scientist qualified to examine any evidence, and Lord John Roxton, an adventurer who knows the Amazon and several years previous to the action in the book helped end slavery by rubber barons in South America. They reach the plateau with the aid of Indian guides, who are superstitiously scared of the area. One of these Indians, Gomez, is the brother of a man that Roxton killed the last time he was in South America. When the expedition manages to get onto the plateau, Gomez destroys their bridge, trapping them. Their "devoted negro" Zambo remains at the base, but is unable to prevent the rest of the Indians from leaving.

Deciding to investigate the lost world, they are attacked by pterodactyls at a swamp, and Roxton finds some blue clay to which he takes a great degree of interest. After exploring the terrain and having a few misadventures in which the expedition narrowly misses being killed by dinosaurs, Challenger, Summerlee, and Roxton are captured by a race of ape-men. While in their village, they find out there are also a race of humans inhabiting the other side of the plateau who the ape-men are constantly at war with. Roxton manages to escape and team up with Malone to mount to a rescue. They arrive just in time to prevent the executions of the Professors and several other humans, who take them to the human tribe. With their help, they defeat the ape-men, taking control of the whole plateau.

After witnessing the power of their guns, the human tribe does not want the expedition to leave, and tries to keep them there. However, the team finally discovers a tunnel that leads to the outside, where they meet up with Zambo and a large rescue party. Upon returning to England, they present their report, which many dismiss like they did Challenger's original story. Having planned ahead, Challenger shows them a live Pterodactyl as proof, which then escapes and flies out into the ocean. When the four of them have dinner, Roxton shows them why he was so interested in the blue clay. It contains diamonds, about £200,000 worth, to be split between them. Challenger opens a private museum, Sumerlee retires to categorize fossils, and Roxton plans to go back to the lost world. Malone returns to his love, Gladys, only to find out that she married a clerk while he was away. With nothing keeping him in London, he volunteers to be part of Roxton's second trip.

Creatures outside the plateau

*Jararaca, a highly aggressive venomous snake



Non-Dinosauria Reptiles


Other prehistoric animals included





Allusions/references from other works

In 1915, the Russian scientist Vladimir Obruchev produced his own version of the "lost world" theme in the novel "Plutonia", which places the dinosaurs and other Jurassic species in a fictional underground area of Russian Siberia.

Author Greg Bear set his 1998 novel "Dinosaur Summer" in Doyle's Lost World.

A 1994 release for the Forgotten Futures role-playing game was based on and includes the full text of the Professor Challenger novels and stories.

Doyle's title was reused by Michael Crichton in his 1995 novel "The Lost World", a sequel to "Jurassic Park". (Its film adaptation, "", followed suit.) At least two similarly named TV shows, "Land of the Lost" and "Lost", nod to this source material.

One of the Neopets plots, "Journey to The Lost Isle" is based on this book, with Roxton A. Colchester III, Hugo & Lillian Fairweather, and Werther as the adventurers, with Captain Rourke and Scrap as the guides.

It should be noted that the idea of prehistoric animals surviving into the present day was not new, but had already been introduced by Jules Verne in "Journey to the Center of the Earth". In that book, published in 1864, the creatures live under the earth in and around a subterranean sea.

The book was adapted as Czech comics by Vlastislav Toman/Jiří Veškrna (1970, 24 pages), in the end of 80.t's followed by sequel The Second Expedition (Vlastislav Toman/František Koblík, 26 pages) (reprinted together in Velká kniha Komiksů, ISBN 80-7257-658-5).

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

The characters of Ed Malone and Lord John Roxton are said to have been inspired by the journalist E. D. Morel and the diplomat Roger Casement, leaders of the Congo Free State reform campaign, that Conan Doyle supported. However, the character of Malone has more in common with Arthur Conan Doyle's friend, Bertram Fletcher Robinson (1870-1907). Fletcher Robinson acted as the 'Assistant Plot Producer' to The Hound of the Baskervilles and also contributed an important element to the plot of The Adventure of the Norwood Builder (1903). Like Malone, Fletcher Robinson was raised in the West Country, became an accomplished rugby player, a London-based journalist and loved a woman called Gladys. []

The setting for The Lost World is believed to have been inspired by reports of Percy Harrison Fawcett's expedition to the borderland between Venezuela and Brazil, in a mountain called Monte Roraima.

The book has several scientific inaccuracies. For example, the "Allosaurus" that attacks the camp is described as being as large as a horse, whereas in life "Allosaurus" was much bigger. Inaccurate size measurements are also given to the "Iguanodon" and "Phorusrhacos".

Following the stereotypes of the time in which the book was written, the dinosaurs are described often as extremely stupid; For example, at some point an Iguanodon pulls down the tree in which it is feeding, being injured and frightened in the process . This idea is generally omitted in the modern film versions.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The novel has been adapted to film many times, the first time in 1925, with screen legend Wallace Beery as Professor Challenger. This version was directed by Harry O. Hoyt and featured pioneering stop motion special effects by Willis O'Brien (an invaluable warmup for his work on the original King Kong directed by Merian C. Cooper). This version has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

In the spring of 1944 there was a radio drama adaptation of "The Lost World", written by John Dickson Carr and serialised by the BBC. [Carr, John Dickson, "The Many-sided Conan Doyle" in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Poison Belt Together with "The Disintegration Machine" and "When the World Screamed", Berkley Medallion Books, April 1966 (2nd printing, October 1969), p. 12.] Alien Voices also did a "radio drama" of "The Lost World" for audio cassette. Voice actors included Leonard Nimoy.

The novel was also adapted to film in 1960, 1992 and 1998. A sequel to the 1992 film, "Return to the Lost World", was also released that year. The novel also inspired a 2001 television mini-series, starring Bob Hoskins and Peter Falk, and a 1999 cable television adaptation that led to television series that ran for three seasons from 1999.

A 1999 television movie based on "Journey to the Center of the Earth" contained several aspects from "The Lost World"; a war between a tribe of primitive humans and a tribe of "missing links". However, the "missing links" in this adaptation were not ape-men, but rather reptilian humanoids, called "Soroids" by the human tribe.

The 2002 animated adventure Dinosaur Island (2002 film) is an attempt to blend the original story with the popular reality series format, and was written by John Loy, writer of similar shows such as The Land Before Time.

In 2005 a direct-to-video Leigh Scott film was released by The Asylum Home Entertainment. Called "King of the Lost World" it stars Bruce Boxleitner, Jeff Denton, Rhett Giles, and Steve Railsback. It was written by David Michael Latt and Carlos de los Rios and it is billed as a "modern retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fantasy action-adventure classic" which is itself described as "the epic story that inspired "King Kong" and "Jurassic Park"."

At least two of the characters in Michael Crichton's novel "The Lost World" mention a palaeontologist called John Roxton. However, Crichton's Roxton, who is never seen, is something of an idiot, wrongly identifying one dinosaur and publishing a report stating that the braincase of "Tyrannosaurus rex" is the same as that of a frog's and thus possesses a visual system attuned strictly to movement.


External links

* []
* [ The Lost World] The Lost World ebook from Virginia University E-Text Center
* [ The Lost World] ebook in Tomeraider format for free.
* [ The Lost World] - Guyana inspiration for novel
* [ "The Lost World"] , online at [ Ye Olde Library]
* [ The Lost World (1925)] available for free download from Internet Archive.

* [ The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle] Background of novel including the inspiration for Roxton and Malone
* [ Forgotten Futures III - George E. Challenger's Mysterious World]
* [ The Lost World] is the most comprehensive site dedicated to the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela and Monte Roraima where "The Lost World" is set

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Lost World (1925 film) — Infobox Film name = The Lost World caption = 1925 poster director = Harry Hoyt producer = Jamie White (executive) Earl Hudson (unc) writer = Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (novel) Marion Fairfax (screenplay) starring = Bessie Love Lewis Stone Wallace… …   Wikipedia

  • The Lost World (novel) — Infobox Book name = The Lost World title orig = translator = image caption = First edition cover author = Michael Crichton cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre = Science fiction, Techno thriller publisher =… …   Wikipedia

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World — Infobox Television show name = The Lost World caption = Logo format = Adventure Science Fiction Fantasy camera = picture format = SDTV audio format = runtime = 44 minutes (approx.) creator = developer = executive producer = Greg Coote Jeffery… …   Wikipedia

  • Lost World — may refer to:In literature: *Lost World (genre), a literary genre * The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle), a 1912 novel by Arthur Conan Doyle * The Lost World (novel), a 1995 novel by Michael Crichton * The Lost World (Randall Jarrell), a poetry… …   Wikipedia

  • Lost World (genre) — The Lost World literary genre is a fantasy or science fiction genre that involves the discovery of a new world out of time, place, or both. It began as a subgenre of the late Victorian imperial romance and remains popular to this day. The genre… …   Wikipedia

  • The Chronicles of Amber — is group of novels that comprise a fantasy series written by Roger Zelazny. The main series consists of two story arcs, each five novels in length. Additionally, there are a number of Amber short stories and other works. The Amber stories take… …   Wikipedia

  • Lost lands — are continents, islands or other regions believed by some to have existed during prehistory, but to have since disappeared as a result of catastrophic geological phenomena or slowly rising sea levels since the end of the last Ice Age. Lost lands …   Wikipedia

  • The Adventure of the Second Stain — The Adventure of the Second Stain, one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes .ynopsisLord Bellinger, the Prime… …   Wikipedia

  • The Club Dumas —   Cover of Random House edition …   Wikipedia

  • The Adventure of the Naval Treaty — The Adventure of the Naval Treaty, one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes .ynopsisDr. Watson receives a letter,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”