Title: The Lost World
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Page Count/Review Word Count: 280
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s depiction of an area of the South American rainforest that still harbours prehistoric life is legendary. The writer, best-known for his Sherlock Holmes stories, also dabbled in science fiction and medical writing, and although in his later life he wasted a large amount of time dabbling with the occult and the spiritual, that didn’t affect his prolific productivity.
The Lost World is similar in premise to the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, and I can’t help but wonder where to draw the line between imitation and plagiarism. Professor Challenger, an imposing old man based on the real-life figure of William Rutherford, discovers a lost world, which is populated by prehistoric life.
The Professor is joined by journalist Ed Malone, fellow scientist Professor Summerlee and the adventurous Lord John Roxton. Together, the party travels to the place where Challenger found evidence of the lost world, and what they find there is astonishing.
Interestingly, Professor Challenger returned in a number of other Conan Doyles novels, including The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist, the latter of which is about the supernatural and comes about as a result of Conan Doyle’s spurious spiritual beliefs. He’s a good character – bull-headed, entertaining, intellectual and aggressive, all at the same time. You’ll like him.
In all seriousness, this book is phenomenal – as good as, or even better than, the Sherlock Holmes stories. I strongly recommend you buy a copy and check it out – just beware of the dinosaurs and don’t get caught by the missing links.