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Literature: The Land That Time Forgot

A fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot is the first of his Caspak trilogy first published in Blue Book Magazine as a three-part serial in the issues for September, October and November of 1918. In June 1924, Chicago based publisher A. C. McClurg combined the complete trilogy for publication in book form, simply known as The Land That Time Forgot. Though the three segments are now usually issued as separate short novels beginning with the Ace Books editions of the 1960s.

The Land That Time Forgot starts out as a harrowing wartime sea adventure taking place during World War I, the story ultimately develops into a Lost World story reminiscent of such novels as Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Though Burroughs added his own twists by postulating an unique biological system for his lost world where slow evolution in the world outside is recapitulated as a matter of individual metamorphosis, presented as a mystery whose explication is gradually worked out over the course of the next two novels, forming a thematic element serving to unite three otherwise rather loosely linked stories.

Under the direction of Kevin Connor, the novel was adapted into a 1975 fantasy/adventure film produced by Britain's Amicus Productions, where it became a sleeper hit, inspiring Amicus to make two more of Burroughs's novels into movie adaptations. All three films were distributed by American International Pictures in the United States. Screenplay written by Michael Moorcock, the cast included Doug McClure, John McEnery, Keith Barron, Susan Penhaligon, Anthony Ainley and Declan Muholland.

In 2009, American independent film studio The Asylum released a science-fiction film based on the aforementioned Burroughs novel and a remake of the 1975 film, promoted under the title Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Land That Time Forgot and released in other countries as Dinosaur Island. Despite the title, the film is a rip-off of Land of the Lost.

The Land That Time Forgot trilogy provides examples of:

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Friedrich von Schoenvorts, the German lieutenant in command of the U-Boat, is also a baron. He commits war crimes and is a Bad Boss to his crew (whipping them for minor offenses). Burroughs uses him as an example of what Bowen Tyler describes as being "the Kaiser Breed," expressing contempt for German nobility.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Tom Billings, in The People That Time Forgot, finds that he's more comfortable on Caspak than he was in the civilized 20th century.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Caprona, aka Caspak, the Land That Time Forgot.
  • I Choose to Stay: Tom Billings at the end of The People That Time Forgot.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Co-Tan's brother An-Tak, who has been imprisoned by the Wieroos for so long that he has become an insane cannibal and tries to eat Bradley.
  • Island of Mystery: The uncharted island of Caprona.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Baron von Schoenvorts drives one of his men to suicide and brutally whips another for a minor offense. Near the end of Out of Time's Abyss, Plesser, the guy he whipped, kills him by stabbing him to death with a bayonet during a battle.
  • Lost World: The Land of the title, an island somewhere in the vicinity of Mysterious Antarctica.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Wieroos are an all-male race of winged humanoids, and they reproduce by kidnapping cavewomen from the interior.
  • Message in a Bottle: The Framing Device is that the book is derived from a manuscript found afloat in the ocean in a thermos flask.
  • Metamorphosis: All the creatures on the island are evolving from one species to another as they move inland and northward.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: The tropical Lost World Caspak is located on a large island in the vicinity of Antartica.
  • Off with His Head!: How Bradley kills He Who Speaks For Luata.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Many of the creatures found on Caspak, including a Tyrannosaurus depicted as an armor-plated dragon that eats its victims with its three-fingered hands.
  • The Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer: Tom Billings, the hero in The People That Time Forgot, adapts to life very easily in the primeval Lost World of Caspak and elects to stay there with the woman he loves.

The 1975 film provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Bowen's dog, Nobs.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In direct contrast to how he is portrayed in the novel, Captain von Schoenvorts is a thoughtful U-Boat officer who treats his men fairly, forbids the killing of survivors after sinking the British ship, and works loyally and faithfully alongside Tyler and Bradley in Caprona. All his villainous traits are ported over to the character of Dietz.
    • A more minor example is Benson. In the novel, Benson has a grudge against the Tyler family, and doublecrosses Bowen aboard the sub early on before being killed. In the film, he's just one of the British crew and a definite good guy who gets killed in a fight with some Sto-Lu warriors.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Von Schoenvorts' second in command Dietz betrays him - and everyone else - at the end.
  • Cool Guns: The Luger Artillery Model is the standard sidearm of most characters. Olson also uses a Bergmann MP18 machine pistol.
  • Death by Adaptation: Pretty much everyone, but particularly Bradley, Whiteley, Sinclair, and Plesser. Other characters such as von Schoenvorts, Dietz and Benson die differently and at different points than they do in the novel, and under entirely different circumstances.
  • Frazetta Man
  • More Dakka: How Olson solves the problem of the plesiosaurus attacking the sub. In fact, this is generally how the characters solve any dinosaur-related problem.
  • Mud Wrestling: A Rare Male Example - Dietz and Olson fight in an oily swamp.
  • Taking Yo U With Me: The dying Bradley blows Dietz away as his last act.

The 1977 film The People That Time Forgot provides examples of:


Godzilla vs. HedorahCreator/American International PicturesPellucidar
Kilmeny of the OrchardLiterature of the 1910sA Little Bush Maid
Jurassic ParkDinosaur MediaLife Before Man
Lamb Among the StarsScience Fiction LiteratureThe Languages of Pao

alternative title(s): The Land That Time Forgot; The People That Time Forgot
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