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The First 'Lost World'

December 24, 1995

Gone unmentioned amid all the hoopla surrounding the release of Michael Crichton's latest, "The Lost World," is any mention of its illustrious predecessor. It warrants mentioning, as there are some striking similarities between the two books.

In 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a book in which a Professor Challenger leads an expedition to a forgotten plateau in the Amazon where dinosaurs still rule. The book's title? "The Lost World."

That everyone writing about Crichton's book has overlooked one of the great early science fiction novels shows the sorry state of post-literate America. That the author himself seems to have overlooked it shows a lack of grace surprising under the circumstances.

Crichton will probably make more money from his "Lost World" than Doyle ever saw in his lifetime. But Doyle was there first.

CURTIS ARMSTRONG, LOS ANGELES

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