Monday, August 29, 2011

Booknote: The Lost World and Other Stories, 12 Books, 12 Months Challenge, Book 10

I am moving along with the challenge. I did finish another book, which will be #11, but I have yet to write the review. I will likely post that review later in the week. And I am in the middle of reading the last one. So, I am basically on the final stretch. It looks like I am going to cut it close, but I will get done on time if all goes well.

Here is the review as I posted it on my GoodReads page:

The Lost World and Other StoriesThe Lost World and Other Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went between giving this two and three stars. I settled for three, for in the end I like the concept. It turns out I had read this before years ago; I was probably a teenager when I did it, so remembering back to those days was interesting.

This particular edition collects the Professor Challenger stories written by Conan Doyle. The Lost World is likely the most well-known, and it has been the basis (loosely or otherwise) of other works from Indiana Jones to Crichton's Jurassic Park. If you enjoy those works, you will likely enjoy this book. However, I will say this book is closer in feel and appeal to the works of writes like Jules Verne (for instance, Journey to the Center of the Earth), H.G. Wells, and H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines). If you enjoy those writers, you will like this book.

The novel is kind of slow in the beginning, so it took me a while to get into it. Once you get into the adventure itself, it moves along like any other adventure yarn. Professor Challenger is quite the obnoxious genius. Brilliant, but not like Sherlock Holmes in terms of personality. This may irritate some readers, but overall, Challenger is a strong character readers will enjoy. I know I did, and I even had a small smile of amusement or two as I read. More irritating to me was the idea of Malone, the reporter, who goes on the expedition with Challenger to impress a woman (and I will not say more of that woman to avoid potential spoilers). I suppose it does show a certain Victorian ideal, of the man going into the wilderness to conquer something and put his name on it, but Conan Doyle could have left her out and the story would have been fine.

So, this is a pretty good book, but it is not a great one. I personally prefer H. Rider Haggard's works for this kind of tale, but this is a good example of the science fiction, or science romance, genre, and thus it is worth reading.

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