The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

“The Land That Time Forgot” and “The People That Time Forgot” originally were titled “The Lost U-Boat” and “Cor-sva-Jo.” The titles were changed by Ray Long of Blue Book, where they were first published as serial novellas in 1918. The books were reissued under their separate titles in 1982.

The three books trace the adventures of Bowen J. Tyler, Jr., Tom Billings, and Bradley in the land of Caspak, the interior of the uncharted island of Caprona, somewhere near the South Pole, during the summer of 1916. During these adventures, they discover and battle men and beasts representing several stages of evolutionary development. On Caspak, most individuals (both human and beast) evolve from eggs deposited in warm southern pools. These become tadpolelike creatures, some of which eventually take to land and begin an evolutionary journey requiring centuries to complete. The “humans” that survive move through stages of physical development, becoming less apelike and using more sophisticated weapons, progressing northward to more highly developed tribes when the evolutionary clock “calls” them “to rise.” A few women achieve full reproductive powers (rather than depositing eggs), making them highly prized and, in the cases of Ajor and Co-Tan, catalysts for the intrigues of the plot.

The Land That Time Forgot begins as an unnamed narrator uncovers a fantastic manuscript in a bottle, written by Tyler, who recounts his experiences on Caprona. On his way to the French ambulance service, Tyler’s ship is sunk by a German U-boat. After...

(The entire section is 651 words.)