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Literature / The Land That Time Forgot

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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. The three segments are now usually issued as separate short novels beginning with the Ace Books editions of the 1960s. The sequels are titled The People That Time Forgot and Out of Time's Abyss.

Though 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.

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 a sequel, The People That Time Forgot, as well as an adaptation of another Burroughs novel, At the Earth's Core.

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.

In 2016, comic book studio American Mythology Production produced the The Land That Time Forgot, which was touted as a sequel to the original books. This was followed by a never-completed tie-in series, See-ta the Savage, in 2018.

The Land That Time Forgot trilogy provides examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Weiroos, whose culture revolves around raiding the Galu tribe for women, who are kept as breeding slaves, and murderous intercine squabbles over power, prestige, and access to breeding slaves.
  • 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.
  • Dumb Dinos: The dinosaurs are of the standard violent, feral variety.
  • Evolutionary Levels: In Caprona, each individual begins as a tadpole-like creature and slowly evolves over its lifetime until it reaches its proper niche where it stops. The one exception are the humans at the peak of this ladder, some of whom have reproduced the normal way.
  • Frazetta Man: The lower ranks of the Capronan Human Subspecies are distinctive examples of that pulp-borne category of ape-men.
  • Human Subspecies: Caprona is home to seven different strains of humanity, consisting of a sextet that embody the Evolutionary Levels from Frazetta Man to modern human, and a parasitic ofshoot race.
    • The Alu are the bottom tier of the human ladder on Caprona; a small and feral race of bipedal, non-brachiating primates with no verbal language and no grasp of technology.
    • The Bo-lu are more advanced than the Alu, having grasped at least the basic concept of using clubs. Their womenfolk no longer have hairy faces, although the rest of their bodies are still covered in fur.
    • The Sto-lu are mostly Neanderthal-like, but slightly more primitive, with a distinctly ape-like arm-length. They have mastered fire and primitive stone tools, favoring the use of stone hatchets, and speak a language of single-syllable words.
    • The Band-lu resemble Cro-magnons, and have mastered a language of two-syllable words.
    • The Kro-lu are a higher breed than the Band-lu, having progressed to an agrarian lifestyle. They are also known as the Bow People, for they have learned the art of ranged weapons.
    • The Galu are the most advanced race on Caprona, physically resembling modern-day humans and with a Bronze Age level of technology.
    • The Wieroo are a parasitic species of monstrous bat-winged flying men with Psychic Powers. A One-Gender Race consisting entirely of males, they reproduce by abducting Galu women and keeping them as sex slaves.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): The People That Time Forgot, Out Of Times Abyss