HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Land that Time Forgot
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Publisher: Fall River, republished 2012
Related website: http://www.sterlingpublishing.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 13 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Burroughs, Edgar Rice. The Land that Time Forgot (originally published in 1918; republished in 2012 by Fall River Press, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, 387 Park Ave. S., New York City, NY 10018, a trademark of Barnes and Noble Inc.). It is 1916, during what we now call World War I, and Bowen J. Tyler Jr. is an American passenger with his Airedale Terrier Nobs on a ship sunk in the English Channel by a German U-boat, U-33. He is rescued by a British tugboat with another survivor, Lys La Rue. The tug is also sunk, but its crew manages to capture the submarine when it surfaces. Sabotage to the navigation equipment sends the U-33 astray into the South Pacific and on to Antarctic waters where a large island ringed by cliffs is encountered and identified as Caprona, a land mass first reported by the fictitious Italian explorer Caproni in 1721. The U-boat surfaces into a tropical river teeming with primitive creatures extinct elsewhere. On the shore of a lake the crew builds a palisaded base, dubbed Fort Dinosaur. The British and Germans agree to work together under Tyler, with Bradley, the mate from the tug, as second in command and Von Schoenvorts, the original sub commander, in control of the Germans. The castaways are attacked by a horde of beast men and take prisoner Ahm, a Neanderthal Man or Bo-lu (club men). They learn that the native name for the island is Caspak. Bradley undertakes various explorations. During his absence Lys disappears and the Germans abscond with the submarine. Tyler leaves the other survivors to seek and rescue Lys. A series of adventures ensues among various bands of near-human primitives, each in a different stage of human advancement, as represented by their weaponry: the Sto-lu (“hatchet men”), the Band-lu (spearmen), and the Kro-lu (bowmen). He eventually completes the account of his adventures which he has been writing and casts it out to sea in his thermos.
In The People That Time Forgot, Tyler’s recovered manuscript begins the organization of a rescue expedition put together by Tom Billings, secretary of the Tyler shipbuilding business who attempts to fly over the encircling cliffs of Caprona in an aircraft. The plane is attacked by flying reptiles and crashes in the interior of Caspak. Billings saves a native Galu or fully human girl named Ajor from a large cat and undertakes to accompany her back to her people. In Out of Time’s Abyss, Bradley, who had left Fort Dinosaur on an expedition in the first novel, is captured by a ghost-like creature, which is soon revealed to be a naturally winged human being, belonging to a subgroup of humanity known as the Wieroo, and taken to their island of Oo-oh. There he meets another prisoner, Co-Tan, a member of the Galu, and they plan their escape. Will Tyler ever find Lys? What happens to Billings and Ajor? Can Bradley and Co-Tan survive to make it back to Fort Dinosaur? And where are those Germans? The sequence was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a three-part serial in the issues for September, October, and November of 1918. The complete trilogy was later combined for publication in book form under the title of the first part by A. C. McClurg in June 1924. Beginning with the Ace Books editions of the 1960s, the three segments have usually been issued as separate short novels, but this new edition contains all three novels in the classic Caspak trilogy–The Land that Time Forgot, The People that Time Forgot, and Out of Time’s Abyss–as well as Burroughs’s original map of Caspak and a glossary.
I agree with Mike Ashley who wrote in the Introduction to my edition, “It is just as exciting and enjoyable to read now as it was nearly a hundred years ago.” I seem to recall that Burroughs’s “Tarzan” books that I read had a significant amount of cursing and swearing, but aside from some common euphemisms and a few veiled profanities, there is no bad language in the Caspak stories. Any kind of fantasy literature requires a certain amount of “suspension of belief,” but for Christians the big “suspension of belief” in The Land that Time Forgot series is the presence of general evolution. True Bible believers reject the theory of evolution, but remember that this is fiction, so just imagine “for the sake of argument” what it might be like if this kind of evolution were true. I have only one other warning. Do not buy the Fall River Press paperback edition. Its “perfect binding” is highly imperfect! My copy came completely apart about half-way through. I do not know if the fact that I was reading it on the back porch in hot, summer-like weather had anything to do with it or not, but it was very annoying, especially having to hold individual pages in place. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading the book.