Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reflections: The Lost World

Adam C. Zern opines on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World:

"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."


  1. I think I'm going to have to read this one now. Interesting that you picked that one of his, when most people would have picked up Sherlock first.

  2. The "incessant and obnoxious" cataloging you sight is just what folks had before 'google.' Different time. Different style of writing. In their day, each book was considered "cutting edge." And now we think . . . what is cutting edge?