Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ultimate Camping Trip: Conan Doyle's Lost World novel

The Ultimate Camping Expedition: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s the Lost World

I have wrought my simple plan
If I give one hour of joy
To the boy who’s half a man
Or the man who’s half a boy.
-Sir Arthur

Put me alone, sir, and with my back to the wall. G.E.C. is happiest then.—Professor George Edward Challenger

The Ultimate Camping Trip.

You have to credit the ingenuity of the story: an acclaimed scientist is denounced a fraud for speaking of his secret location, which holds the living secrets of history.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the country doctor with the slow practice who created Sherlock Holmes, set out to write a Boy’s Adventure that a creative girl could spin off into an all-female team nonetheless. The races of the people in the story could be updated, as could the knowledge, in places we’ve furthered our understanding of paleontology. Much like the mysteries in which Arthur formed his clues backwards from his solutions, here the good doc takes the most popular scientific fossils and debates of his times---still, imagine, Darwin’s ideas are really about a generation old---dinosaurs and strange creatures of his imagination merge in a land where speculations become the thing that wants you for lunch!

Best of all, each of the four main characters---every speaker---maintains distinctive patterns of thoughts and actions---interacting vividly with one another. If you ever enjoyed Silver Age Stan Lee comics---the Fantastic Four and Avengers and their ilk---if you ever relished the way Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes of those days meet and begin fighting each other, simply because their personalities clash, or because one believes the other’s lying---I can tell you, that method of teams of skills, strengths, and squabbles plays out in Lost World’s main characters.

Try to appreciate these chapters each coming out in the British magazine, spread throughout the weeks, each letter of lost Malone’s risked on whatever means of reaching civilization he can manage as fortunes shift. Imagine being excited to read this, pitching in with some of your friends to get each magazine as it comes out, so as not to miss what happens next.

Dinosaurs were the cutting edge idea of science in 1912, and while the farthest reaches of land on Earth are being staked out at great risk to explorer’s lives, there’s still a hope to go be part of something no one’s ever seen. If you’ve ever played in the woods outside, it’s sheer genius, you know, to cross a fallen tree as high above the ground below as you can imagine, into a world where you camp at the edge of impossible sights no one else will ever see.

Through a series of tips, Ed Malone, reporter, arranges an interview with a zoologist who hates the press, so he goes about things as carefully as possible…and ends up tackled onto the sidewalk. But this doesn’t stop him from going back up to hear out his strange new friend.

Described with a massive beard, a huge head and torso, on a surprisingly short and stocky body, Challenger bellows, threatens, and growls, but decides Malone is all right.

So, he insults him but can’t resist his curiosity; and so, Professor Challenger shows Malone “a bone the size of a bean to compare to one six inches long, thicker than my thumb.”

A very large, a very strong, and, by all analogy, a very fierce animal…(that) has not come under the notice of science.”

A traveler named Maple White, an American from Detroit, died in a village visited by Professor Challenger. His sketches of what lay beyond in the land upon the plateau, a vision of animals thought long vanished…but what became of Maple White?` What fears guard the frontier of knowledge there---what secrets of the history of life?

Join me tomorrow...just across the fallen beech tree.

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