Mizumi's Reviews > The Lost World & Other Stories

The Lost World & Other Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
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's review
Jun 01, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own, older-books, classics
Read in June, 2011

I must confess I bought this book initially because I went 'Lost World = dinosaurs = little fangirl in me screaming'. Yes, I can be very shallow. However, after reading Sherlock Holmes, I discovered a) I really enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing and b) this book is also by him. The choice of what to read next was very easily made.
Since these are five stories in one volume, I'll comment on each story, because I feel like it.

'The Lost World' was probably my favourite, as it was also the most imaginative, setting up this plateau and with it, a whole new, small-scaled world of its own, set within the world as we know it. I love that. I also loved the fact it was set up like letters written on the spot. It's told in the past tense, but you still don't know what will happen in the future, as the letter ends and Malone has no idea at that point either what's going to happen, unlike the other stories that have foreshadowing. (On a completely random note, I was highly amused by Malone's sketches of the plateau, with some kind of weird stick figure and the note 'here we saw great elk'.) Overall, the story kind of reminded me of 'Journey to the Center of the Earth', but I found it more satisfying, as we got to see much more of the eventual new world.
I did find the whole notion of 'us humans are superior/us western, civilized humans are superior' quite irksome though, and how the only woman with lines in the whole book turned out to be such a, well, bitch. Okay, it was pretty clear in the beginning that Gladys didn't really seem to like Malone as much as he liked her, but still. Bitch.

'The Poison Belt' I read late at night just before going to bed, which is not such a good idea. It was all very eerie and sad, especially that one old lady who survived and was all 'but what will happen to my shares and my income'. Poor thing. And then (view spoiler)

'Land of Mist' was the odd one out here, focusing on spiritualism and departing from the first person viewpoint. Instead, we get some kind of bird eye's view of different characters (with a nice dash of dry remarks too, with the letters from people who, regardless of their intelligence of the subject, had not yet learnt how to spell. HEY THERE INTERNET). So that was an interesting change. It was a bit over the top to me in the end, though, but I thought it was very thought-provoking at some points. I loved this viewpoint that it doesn't matter whose religion is the 'right one', as long as you live as a good person, and that even organized churches don't always do good. Whoa.
Also, where was Enid in 'The Poison Belt'? Considering all the trouble Challenger went through to save his wife, you'd think he'd be concerned about his daughter, too, even if she was away from home. Eh, especially if she was away from home. Anyway, I thought she was a nice addition, though once again, the ending kind of threw me off.

'The Disintegration Machine' was by far the shortest story, but I enjoyed it in a very twisted way. (view spoiler)

Finally, 'When the world screamed'. I think this was my least favourite, although it was kind of funny to see Malone through someone else's subjective point of view (also, how on Earth do they get from Edward to Ted? Or Ned, or whatever it was Enid called him). This went a little too far with the science, although I'm not sure how the layers of the Earth were perceived at the time of the novel, so maybe that's just my modern mind speaking. The titular event took a while, and though it was a good moment, it's kind of sad it's the title. You're just waiting for the world to eh, scream.

Overall, I give the volume four stars, balancing the stories I really liked with the ones I liked to a lesser degree. Also, I suck at doing decent reviews if I'm not being graded for it, but psh, let me keep these things for my own reference.
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Reading Progress

05/27/2011 page 166
36.0% "So that was 'The Lost World'~ I really liked it, although that 'us humans are superior, take that ancient beasts' thing I felt a little awkward about. Also, Gladys is a bitch. Only woman with lines in the whole story and she's a bitch XD;"
05/29/2011 page 229
50.0% "Aaaand that was 'The Poison Belt'. Which is not a good idea to read right before you go to sleep. SPOILERS I feel kind of cruel for wishing that it had been a permanent thing, not just a coma. It felt a little... convenient. BUT OH WELL probably better than 'the whole world is dead, GOOD LUCK'. Also, I hope they did get back to that old lady who's probably scared shitless everyone is NOT dead."
06/01/2011 page 340
74.0% "50 more pages of Land of Mist left. Well this is... different. No more Malone first person pov, into spiritualism, and for a while, women who do stuff!"

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