The Lost World and The Poison Belt (MIT Press / Radium Age)
A heart-stopping adventure tale featuring a brilliant scientist—one as insufferably pompous as Doyle’s most famous character—and his unlikely trio, and its apocalyptic sequel.
In 1912, the creator of Sherlock Holmes introduced his readers to yet another genius adventurer, Professor Challenger, who in his very first outing would journey to South America in search of . . . an isolated plateau crawling with iguanodons and ape-men! A smash hit, Doyle’s proto-science fiction thriller would be adapted twice by Hollywood filmmakers, and it would go on to influence everything from Jurassic Park to the TV show Land of the Lost. Its 1913 sequel, The Poison Belt, finds Challenger and his dino-hunting comrades trapped in an oxygenated chamber as the entire planet passes through a lethal ether cloud.
Joshua Glenn is a consulting semiotician and editor of the websites HiLobrow and Semiovox. The first to describe 1900–1935 as science fiction’s “Radium Age,” he is editor of the MIT Press’s series of reissued proto-sf stories from that period. He is coauthor and coeditor of various books including the family activities guide Unbored (2012), The Adventurer’s Glossary (2021), and Lost Objects (2022). In the 1990s, he published the indie intellectual journal Hermenaut.
Conor Reid is a podcaster and writer from Ireland. He has published widely on popular fiction and science, including The Science and Fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs (2018). He is the Head of Podcasts at HeadStuff Media as well as the host and producer of his own critically acclaimed literature podcast, Words to That Effect. The podcast, which has been performed live in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, tells stories of the fiction that shapes popular culture.
Praise for The Lost World and The Poison Belt (MIT Press / Radium Age)
"Doyle’s Professor Challenger series made the planet and its processes strange again. . . . The strength of Doyle’s science fiction lies in its facilitation of an encounter between the reader and the biosphere they inhabit. . . . [and The Lost World] presents a playful meta-reflection on the genre that gives it its name. . . . Anticipates the windswept tableaux vivants of Jeff VanderMeer’s and Chen Qiufan’s contemporary climate fiction."
—The Los Angeles Review of Books
In Praise of the Radium Age Series:
“Joshua Glenn’s admirable Radium Age series [is] devoted to early- 20th-century science fiction and fantasy.”
—The Washington Post
“Long live the Radium Age.”
—The Los Angeles Times
“It’s an attractive crusade. […] Glenn’s project is well suited to providing an organizing principle for an SF reprint line, to the point where I’m a little surprised that I can’t think of other similarly high-profile examples of reprint-as-critical-advocacy. ”
—The Los Angeles Review of Books
“Neglected classics of early 20th-century sci-fi in spiffily designed paperback editions.”
—The Financial Times
“New editions of a host of under-discussed classics of the genre.”
“Shows that ‘proto-sf’ was being published much more widely, alongside other kinds of fiction, in a world before it emerged as a genre and became ghettoised.”
“A huge effort to help define a new era of science fiction.”
“An excellent start at showcasing the strange wonders offered by the Radium Age.”