Starting out as a harrowing wartime sea adventure, The Land that Time Forgot ultimately develops into a lost world adventure story
The inadequate boat finally arrived at a precarious landing, the natives, waist-deep in the surf, assisting. I was carried ashore, and while the evening meal was being prepared, I wandered to and fro along the rocky, shattered shore. Bits of surf-harried beach clove the worn granite, or whatever the rocks of Cape Farewell may be composed of, and as I followed the ebbing tide down one of these soft stretches, I saw the thing. Were one to bump into a Bengal tiger in the ravine behind the Bimini Baths, one could be no more surprised than was I to see a perfectly good quart thermos bottle turning and twisting in the surf of Cape Farewell at the southern extremity of Greenland. I rescued it, but I was soaked above the knees doing it; and then I sat down in the sand and opened it, and in the long twilight read the manuscript, neatly written and tightly folded, which was its contents.
You have read the opening paragraph, and if you are an imaginative idiot like myself, you will want to read the rest of it; so
I must disagree, I fear, with all previous reviewers. This tale requires so great a suspension of disbelief as to be ridiculous.
Let's forget about the mixture of creatures from all of Earth's ages, the remarkable excess of predators to prey, the apparent range of human societies that show evolution in action, and the stupidity of the main character in allowing the vessel to accidentally reach this bizarre land.
Instead, consider the heroes' actions when shipwrecked.
A. He dives headfirst from the deck, always a dangerous way to enter unknown water.
B. A lifeboat detaches itself from the sinking vessel to leap into the air, magically emptying itself of water and landing on an even keel.
C. Hero clambers in and immediately rescues a fair maiden, but does he then: search the surrounding sea for oars, a tarpaulin to use as sail or covering, a box of hardtack or bottle of olives, even a wooden bowl with which to bail?
None of these. He spends an hour chafing her extremities, then they all (he, she and the dog) cuddle for warmth, and give no thought whatever to taking any action to save themselves, merely waiting for rescue.
It gets more unlikely from there.
This is the first Burroughs book that I've read and it definitely won't be the last. I remember the film version but the book is a masterpiece of action and adventure. Yes it copies The Lost World but it has enough of its own character and depth to make it well worth reading.
If you're going to sit down and read a book about a lost continent thick with dinosaurs and all manner of other savage beasts as well as humanoids present in different stages of evolution at the same time, its ungenerous to complain of a plot driven by highly (even risibly) unlikely coincidences. And a popular novel written for the American mass market in 1916 isn't likely to be anything other than beastly to the Germans, or just a bit stereotypical when it comes to gender issues, or to take a hierarchical view about the Ascent of Modern Man. Burroughs clearly knew exactly how many pages his readers wanted in a novel and probably (though I'm guessing as I don't know enough about his work) with a shrewd reluctance to use up all his ideas in one book when it had the potential to develop sequels (two in this case). For a reader new to Burroughs, however, it felt like he had set up his best ideas in the first half of the book and then raced to the conclusion, jettisoning characters, scenarios and plot elements with abandon. Including the most endearing character in the book - Nobs the dog, of course. The question is, am I interested enough to seek out the next in the series to see if Nobs returns?
Pure Burroughs at his lovely best. Fast paced, marvelously peopled, and great moral foundation. Never tire of his work.
Very enjoyable and interesting read packed to the brim with action.
Awesome book! I actually started reading this book out of curiousity, not really expecting to enjoy it. I started reading the first page and didn't put it down until I was nearly halfway through the book! It was one of the first e-books that I read on my PDA. Now I am an e-book maniac--I love them.
It's a fairly short read and it only took me two days to read it. I was also surprised of how much adventure was in it. I am a child of the 80's, so reading the old-fashioned writing style was new to me, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.
Highly recommended. This book is the best of the series. The other two books that follow aren't as exciting, but are still worthwhile. Forget the 70's film that was based on this, it doesn't do the book justice.