The Lost World (Arthur Conan Doyle)

From Academic Kids

The Lost World is a 1912 novel 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.

The characters of Ed Malone and Lord John Roxton are inspired by the journalist Edmund Dene Morel and the diplomat Roger Casement, leaders of the Congo Free State reform campaign, that Conan Doyle supported.

The novel has been reprinted in several formats in several languages. A paperback edition was issued in Holicong, Pennsylvania by Wildside Press in 2004 with ISBN 0809594358. It is also often reprinted within collected works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The novel has been adapted to film many times, the first time in 1925. This version was directed by Merian C. Cooper and featured pioneering stop motion special effects by Willis O'Brien; this version has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

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 series.

The name was reused by Michael Crichton's 1995 novel The Lost World, a sequel to Jurassic Park, and in its film adaptation, The Lost World: Jurassic Park. At least two similarly named TV shows, Land of the Lost and Lost, nod to this source material.

Ed Malone is sent to interview Professor Challenger, a notable task as Challenger has assaulted some four or five other journalists who have come to speak with him on his discovery of dinosaurs in South America. The discovery has been thus far ridiculed by the mainstream, but Challenger, after also assaulting Malone, convinces him of its veracity and invites him on an expedition to the Amazon to gather more evidence. Two other characters are also invited, 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 in South America. They reach the plateau with the aid of Indian guides, who are superstitiously scared of the area, and trickle away by the time the expedition reaches its goal, with the exception of two Indians. One of these Indians (actually half Spanish, half Indian), Gomez, is the brother of a man that Roxton killed when he was fighting slavery the last time he was in South America. When the expedition manages to get onto the plateau Gomez traps them there by destroying their bridge. The other Indian, Zombo, is loyal and remains at the base of the plateau to help his employers if they can get back down.

After exploring the terrain and having a few misadventures in which the expedition nearly misses being killed by dinosaurs, they discover that there are also two humanoid species living on the plateau. One is a race of ape-like creatures, and the other is a tribe of actual humans. It is theorized by the two scientists that it was easier in the past to get onto the plateau, which explains why the post-jurassic species are there. At any rate, the two species are constantly fighting each other, and Challenger and Summerlee are captured by the ape-men. Roxton and Malone, when they realise this, go out to find and rescue the professors, and find them just in time to keep the ape-men from pushing them off the side of the plateau, a fall which would be mortal. They then flee the ape-men and join up with the human tribe. Under their leadership, the tribe defeats the ape-men and achieves superiority over the plateau. The expedition then discovers that the caves which the tribe lives in have tunnels leading off the plateau, unknown by the human tribe. The expedition must sneak out, as the tribe wishes them to remanin. They return to England, and bring with them a Pterodactyl, which promptly escapes when showcased and is dismissed as some sort of bird by the public, as no one gets a good look at it.

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