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The Lost World

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Book Overview: 

Imagine a strange, tropical place that is almost inaccessible. Time appears to have stood still there. Species of animal and plant life not seen elsewhere on Earth, except in the fossil record, inhabit the place. The lakes heave with the shapes of huge grey bulks moving under the surface. The woods are places where chittering cries move about above your head, as powerful apes move swiftly in the canopy of leaves. Then, a tree splinters nearby, and a dinosaur steps out from his hiding place… and he’s eying YOU.

Jurassic Park? Not quite. The Lost World was an inspiration for Jurassic Park; in fact, a character in J.P. has the same name as one of the chief characters in The Lost World. It also inspired King Kong. But this is the original! Four adventurers go off to find the place shown in a dead man’s sketch book – they find a war between apes and Indians, prowling dinosaurs, a sparkly treasure hidden in the blue clay – they find the Lost World. And because of the treachery of a native guide, their means of escape is destroyed!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Very likely. Had the germs of it arrived from outside upon a meteor? It was hardly conceivable. On the whole, the wisest man was the least dogmatic upon the point. We could not—or at least we had not succeeded up to date in making organic life in our laboratories out of inorganic materials. The gulf between the dead and the living was something which our chemistry could not as yet bridge. But there was a higher and subtler chemistry of Nature, which, working with great forces over long epochs, might well produce results which were impossible for us. There the matter must be left.

This brought the lecturer to the great ladder of animal life, beginning low down in molluscs and feeble sea creatures, then up rung by rung through reptiles and fishes, till at last we came to a kangaroo-rat, a creature which brought forth its young alive, the direct ancestor of all mammals, and presumably, therefore, of everyone in the audience. ("No, no," from a sceptic. . . Read More