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Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost…

Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places

by J. R. Campbell

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have in recent years developed a taste for 'Ripping Yarns' and have read and enjoyed some of Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger series. This was a good foundation for enjoying these short stories. The writing matches the original stories well and the plots are just as fantastic and still fit the opinions of the time I which they are set. I read them all through one after the other which was probably a mistake as I felt I was suffering a Professor Challenger 'overload' by the time I had finished - one story now and again would have been a better approach. ( )
  CDVicarage | Feb 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A collection of short stories inspired by Professor George Edward Challenger from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Lost World”.

First up, I have never read The Lost World, so I can't really say if the authors in this anthology have captured the spirit of the character or not, I initially didn't think it would be a problem but after struggling with some of these stories, perhaps it was.

I got a sense that some of the authors were trying to imitate the writing style of the original story, but again I'm not sure. For me those stories just came across and cartoonishly flat. That does not mean the collection as a whole was bad, I enjoyed several of the stories, though the ones that seemed to work the best for me were the ones that either focused the least on the Challenger character, or who wrote in a more modern style...I especially liked the ones that mashed up other authors works, such as Lovecraft or H. G. Wells.

Not the strongest collection of stories I've read, many started to blur into each other as they started to feel repetitive but there were standouts such as Out Of The Depths by Andrew J Wilson or Time's Black Gulf by Josh Reynolds just to name two. I would say that this is a good collection to read with time in between each story rather than one after another as that adds to the sense of repetition and the blurring together. ( )
  Kellswitch | Jan 3, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the course of a prolific career that traversed a wide variety of genre, British writer Arthur Conan Doyle created - for me, at least - three singular characters. Over time, those three have achieved varying degrees of popularity and shelf-presence.

I have read all of Doyle's stories of detective Sherlock Holmes, and almost all his stories of Brigadier Etienne Gerard. In contrast, I have read only one of his Professor George Edward Challenger stories ... but what a wonderful story it was! And I am not at all surprised that it provided much of the foundation for “Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places” a collection of short stories inspired by Doyle's brilliant, headstrong and physical academician.

The stories were compiled by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, and I strongly recommend reading their introductions before proceeding to the stories themselves. These intro’s provide a very good background from which many of you will learn something new and useful ... I know I did.

As for the stories themselves, it should be no surprise that some appealed to me more than others ... although the general level is good, and I recommend them all. It’s just that some were less successful for me than others. One of those was Guy Adams’ and James Goss’ “Professor Challenger & the Crimson Wonder,” which is related to us in the form of a series of communications between the story’s characters. It’s not a bad idea ... it worked very well for Lawrence Sanders’ “The Anderson Tapes” ... but here, not so well. Still, though, I was intrigued enough to want to finish the story and find out how it ends .. it was just a little harder getting to that end.

Some stories that appealed to me more were those that captured – even in brief snippets – some of Doyle’s original story, and the exchanges between its characters. There are several with brief exchanges between Challenger and Edward Malone that display thr professors disdain for the ‘dim-wittedness’ of people in general, and the journalist’s public education in particular. Another was Stephen Volk’s “Shug Monkey,” which closes with an exchange between Challenger, Malone and Lord John Roxton that very much captured the spirit of an exchange between those same three characters in “The Lost World” ... a spirit of work to be done and adventures to continue.

More than a century has passed between the publication of these stories and thr novel that inspired them. So it should be no surprise that the passage of time and concurrent development of science and technology is reflected in the vocabulary. I have no problem with that. I also have no problem – welcome it, actually - with the stories including female characters of strength, intelligence and initiative who are allowed to do more than just scold the professor, or wail when said scolding leaves them set atop a high dresser.

My thanks to Campbell and Prepolec for assembling these stories ... and inspiring me to seek out and read the rest of Doyle’s stories of Professor Challenger. I recommend the - both this collection of stories, and the stories that inspired them - to you all.

NOTE: I received a free e-copy of this work through LibraryThing in exchange for a review.
  JeffMcDonald | Sep 25, 2016 |
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor George Edward Challenger has seen a resurgence in popularity. Professor Challenger: New Worlds, Lost Places is the latest addition to the growing body of work based on the belligerent Victorian genius with a big heart and a bigger ego. It’s not a bad anthology, but neither is it raising the bar for new Challenger stories. The problem is that Challenger is a complicated character, and much as writers focus on Sherlock Holmes haughtier superior intellect, there is a tendency to swell upon the abrasive elements of Challenger. I think all the stories merit inclusion in the anthology, but I disagree with the sequence in which the appear. The abrasiveness of Challenger would be far less in the foreground of readers’ perception if the first two stories were ensconced later in the contents. ( )
  goudsward | Aug 19, 2016 |
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did more than just create the character of Sherlock Holmes. He also created Professor George Edward Challenger, a hulking, bombastic man of science (think "bull in a china shop"). He doesn't take any nonsense from anyone, and is not afraid to say so. He also frequently remarks that he is the smartest man in England, which is usually correct. Here is a bunch of brand-new Professor Challenger stories.

An investigation into what looks like a prehistoric man menacing rural England reveals something a lot more horrifying. Challenger and one of his companions, a newspaperman named Malone, find themselves on a derelict sea vessel that is under attack by a real kraken. The British authorities want Challenger to control the beast, and weaponize it, so that it can be used against German ships, an idea that Challenger considers beyond idiotic. A wealthy man serves real dinosaur meat to his dinner party guests, meat that contains a really unique parasite.

There is a trip to the Moon, which has a breathable atmosphere. Challenger and his companions are taken prisoner by the Selenites. There is a tale about growing human brains out of a sort of malleable crystal. It may be able to keep a person alive, but can a person's personality be transferred into the crystal brain?

I totally enjoyed these tales. They are all well done, with enough and weird stuff for anyone. I guess I shall have to read Challenger's most prominent previous appearance, in Doyle's novel "The Lost World." This book is highly recommended. ( )
  plappen | Jul 23, 2016 |
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This original anthology, from the authors and editors who brought you the Gaslight Sherlock Holmes series, sees Challenger and his stalwart companions including the reporter Malone, big game hunter Lord John Roxton and the skeptical colleague Professor Summerlee, travel across space and witness the ravages of time, narrowly eluding a dinosaur's bite only to battle against the invasive red bloom of alien foliage, and then plunge deep into the mysteries hidden within the Earth and reach out to the moon and into the heart of the unknown. Strap yourself in for chills, thrills, and challenges to the unknown in exciting new worlds and lost places with literature's foremost scientific adventurer. Featuring stories by: Simon Kurt Unsworth, Stephen Volk, Guy Adams & James Goss, Lawrence C. Connolly, Mark Morris, Josh Reynolds, John Takis, Wendy N. Wagner, Andrew J. Wilson and J. R. Campbell. With an Introduction by Christopher Roden.… (more)

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