Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT by Edgar Rice Burroughs

book cover
Original Publication Date: 1918

Genre: fantasy

Topics: lost world, Germanic horde, jungle adventure


Bowen J. Tyler is an American whose ship is sunk by a German U-boat during WWI. Long story short: Tyler, his dog, Nobs, and another survivor of the wreck, Lys La Rou, wind up on the submarine with a mixture of British and German crew, and Tyler is the captain. Their goal is to reach an allied port, but because someone is sabotaging the boat by destroying all their navigational equipment, they get horribly lost and eventually find their way to Caspak, an underground world where prehistoric animals and "lower-kind of human[s]" still exist.

Remember that crazy book I reviewed a few months ago, A Strange Manuscript Found In a Copper Cylinder (review here)? Well, The Land That Time Forgot is kind of like that book--even down to Tyler writing of his experiences and sending the manuscript off in a bottle to be found by a random guy in Greenland--except good. -Ish. It really wasn't what I was expecting at all.

First of all, half of the book has nothing to do with Caspak--it's all about Tyler's experiences on the U-boat trying to get the German and English sailors to work together, all while dealing with mysterious sabotage. I suppose a part of me was wondering when the heck we would get to land, forgotten or otherwise, but honestly I was enjoying the story too much to care. Tyler is REALLY funny, and Nobs is very cute and lovable, and the story is a fun, light sea adventure. Lys La Rou, whom Tyler decides he's in love with 60 seconds after they meet, also kicked ass in this section.

Weirdly, once The Land That Time Forgot moved to Caspak, I started to get bored. It was mainly all hunting this dinosaur, hunting that dinosaur, blah blah blah. Also, most of the humor left the narrative, and Lys started acting really lame. At one point she had an existential crisis where she was all, "Life seems a joke, a cruel, grim joke... You are a comic little figure, hopping from the cradle to the grave." Uhg, really, La Rou? Save it for your painfully ironic music videos.

la roux bulletproof

The funniest part of the Caspak section, though, was when Tyler, who is from San Diego, fought off a group of Neanderthals with his mad martial arts skills, commenting, "Californians, as a rule, are familiar with ju-jutsu." Haha, what? 1. Is he serious? and 2. Why didn't you use ju-jutsu on the Deutschlanders then, Tyler?

So that was pretty silly. The conclusion of The Land That Time Forgot left a lot of threads hanging in an obvious attempt to get me to read the second book in the trilogy, and honestly I was kind of glad to be done with it when it was over. It's definitely not as good as A Princess of Mars (which is the only other Edgar Rice Burroughs book I've read so far); but it was better than I thought it would be, and a really quick read. For the most part The Land That Time Forgot was a good book, even if I did roll my eyes a lot in the second half.

Download The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs at Librivox|Project Gutenberg