The Lost World and Other Stories
2 journalers for this copy...
" With a new Introduction by Cedric Watts, M.A., Ph.D., Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.
These lively, varied and thought-provoking science-fiction stories (from the era of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells) are linked by their imposing central character, the pugnaciously adventurous and outrageous Professor Challenger. The Lost World (forebear of Jurassic Park) vividly depicts a perilous region in which the explorers confront creatures from the prehistoric era. The Poison Belt presents an eerie doomsday scenario, while The Disintegration Machine satirically comments on scientific cynicism. In When the World Screamed, the planet responds violently to an experimental incursion. The strangest item is The Land of Mist, which seeks to reconcile science with spiritualism.
This memorable collection provides imaginative entertainment, entrancing escapism and bold provocation. "
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The Lost World
Setting aside all the irking beliefs of the era about white man's superiority, gentle heritage, inferiority of women, man's supremacy on nature and so on, this is a very entertaining story, Jules Verne-style. Everything is over the top, but the opening and closing chapters have an amazing comedy quality, starring the unique Professor Challenger, while the intermediate chapters offer a unique adventure due to the nice combination of the four heroes and the clever handling of the author for the narration, having Edward Malone narrating the whole story. A very nice fantasy and adventure novel. I wish Arthus Conan Doyle would continue along the same tracks but...
The Poison Belt
This is a dystopian story à la H.G. Wells, on a quite different and more melancholic tone. The quartet" meets again, but the circumstances offer no leeway for much action. Edward Malone narrates the developments and contemplates on the situation along with his dear friends, offering lots of food for thought. An interesting read, but very different to the Lost World.
The Land of Mist
What a disappointment! And where do I start? Narration point swifts to the author rather than Malone here. The author kills Professor Summerlee, kills Mrs Challenger who we met on the two previous stories, introduces Challenger's daughter Enid, Lord John Roxton makes only a quick appearance, while Edward Malone gets a keen interest on spiritualism and falls in love with Enid. I don't really write spoilers here, because one can easily see where everything goes. Professor Challenger appears only at the start and the end of the book to serve as an excuse for the skeleton plot. In reality there is no plot, the whole story is a pretext for Arthur Conan Doyle to stand on his shoe box and preach the readers about spiritualism. The novel feels like a losely linked series of lectures, séances, biased opinions and spiritualistic meetings, where the same persons come and go. By far the worst story of the book and maybe of all things Doyle ever wrote!
The Disintegration Machine
This is the fifth and last story with Professor Challenger. I don't know why the editors decided to place it before the When the World Screamed. It is a very short, entertaining story, where the author re-established the Professor closer to the character we met on the Lost World. It is a decent, quick read, but nothing extraordinary.
When the World Screamed
This is a short story with a sharp end, Professor Challenger takes the role of a (mad or genious?) scientist and inventor rather than of an explorer per ce, but here comes again his great belief on his self, his snobbism, irony and intolerance for others, the comedy (for the reader) element that we loved on the Lost World, of course along with his amazing intelligence and errorless instict. A minor fact, but by a turn of phrase, Mrs Challenger seems to be alive again too? This story isn't great, but it's entertaining non the less.
The Lost World 9/10
The Poison Belt 7/10
The Land of Mist 3/10
The Disintegration Machine 6/10
When the World Screamed 7/10
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First Sentence: 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 centered upon his own silly self.