SF CORE Best Lists
- Top 25 Best Science Fiction
- The 'Alternative' Top 25 SF
- Top 100 Best Science Fiction
- Top 50 Best SF Movies
- Best Science Fiction Series
- Best Stand Alone SF
- Best Modern Classic SF
- Underrated Science Fiction
- Best SF by Women
- Best YA Science Fiction
- Best Kids' Science Fiction
SF ERA Best Lists
- Best Science Fiction of 2014
- Best Contemporary SF (2000's)
- Best Modern SF (80's-90's)
- Best New Wave SF (60's-70's)
- Best Classic SF (40's-60's)
- Best Early SF (1890-1930's)
- Best Proto SF (pre-1890)
SF GENRE Best Lists
- Best Hard SF Books
- Best Cyberpunk Books
- Best Space Opera Books
- Best SF Mystery Books
- Best SF Books about Mars
- Best Moon SF Books about Moon
- Best Dystopian Books
- Best Post Apocalyptic SF Books
- Best Alternate History Books
- Best Time Travel Books
- Best Robot Books
- Best A.I. Books
- Best Post-Human Books
- Best Literary SF Books
- Best Books ABOUT SF
OTHER Best Lists
SF Subgenre Guides
- Space Opera
- Hard Science Fiction
- Soft Science Fiction
- Firm Science SF
- Mundane Science Fiction
- Social Science Fiction
- Near-Future Science Fiction
- Age Regression Science Fiction
- Immortality Science Fiction
- Mind Transfer Science Fiction
- Transhumanism Science Fiction
- Robot Science Fiction
- Cybernetic Revolt Science Fiction
- Synthetic Biology Science Fiction
- Retro Futurism
- Dying Astronaut Science Fiction
- First Landings Science Fiction
- First Contact Science Fiction
- Alien Invasion Science Fiction
- Alien Conspiracy Science Fiction
- Shapeshifting Science Fiction
- Dystopian Science Fiction
- Utopian Science Fiction
- World Government Science Fiction
- Alternate History Science Fiction
- Parallel Worlds Science Fiction
- Multiverse Science Fiction
- Time Travel
- Gothic Science Fiction
- Literary Science Fiction
- Recursive Science Fiction
- Comic Science Fiction
- Political Science Fiction
- Religious Science Fiction
- Christian Science Fiction
- Clerical Science Fiction
- Mythological Science Fiction
- Cozy Catastrophe Science Fiction
- Restored Eden Science Fiction
- Dying Earth
- Apocalyptic Science Fiction
- Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
- ESP Science Fiction
- Sports Science Fiction
- Zombie Fiction
- Sci-Fi Horror
- Sci Fi
- Science Fantasy
- Speculative Fiction
- Media Tie-In Science Fiction
- Detective Science Fiction
- Hard Boiled Science Fiction
- Pulp Science Fiction
- Space Western Science Fiction
- Scientific Romance
- Sword and Planet Science Fiction
- Planetary Romance
- Lost Worlds
- Bigger Than Worlds
- Voyages Extraordinaires
- Hollow Earth Science Fiction
- Exotic Ecosystems Science Fiction
- Undersea Science Fiction
- Microbiology Science Fiction
- Astrobiology SF
- Astrosociobiology SF
- Ecological Science Fiction
- Frontier Science Fiction
- Generation Ship Science Fiction
- Colonization Science Fiction
- Terraforming Science Fiction
- World Building Science Fiction
- Hyperspace Science Fiction
- Spunky Heroine
- Erotica Science Fiction
- Gay Science Fiction
Lost Worlds Science Fiction
What is Lost Worlds Science Fiction?
Lost Worlds Science Fiction are stories of adventure with voyages to lost worlds (islands, continents, jungles, and even races). The voyage results in discovery of wonders like dinosaurs or ancient/advanced technologies.
Atlantis is a lost world, Middle-earth is an imaginary world. A lost world exists in an inaccessible place and usually contains a population that has long been isolated from our world. Lost worlds are different than imaginary worlds, which do not have a connection to history or geography.
The Lost Worlds sub-genre is a successor to the Fantastic Voyages sub-genre that was popular in the 18th century. Fantastic Voyages were written in a world that was still being explored, stories of Lost Worlds are written when geographical unknowns are few. In addition, new sciences of geology, anthropology, and archaeology influence the stories of Lost Worlds. As such, Lost Worlds has greater scientific content. The natural successor to the Lost Worlds genre is the Planetary Romance genre, which is what happens when you run out of reasonable "lost worlds" on planet earth and move to the vastness of space.
Hollow Earth is a notable branch of the Lost Worlds sub-genre that postulate isolated places in hollow interior spaces within the Earth, where life can thrive. These Lost World stories are based on a pseudo-geology rather than real science. A Lost Worlds story is one of the exploration and discovery of a lost world--a story of wish fulfillment.
This is a genre that often ties closely to the Fantasy genre, the fantasy equivalent being a lost landscape that lies across the ocean or beyond some impassible landscape feature (jungles, mountains, icelands) and feature strange peoples, races, and magic that's not present on the "known world." The science fiction equivalent is similar, just take out the magic and replace it with advanced technology or remove it entirely and create a per-historic untouched civilization.
You can view the crowd-ranked "Popular" Lost Worlds Science Fiction Books list and vote and/submit entries to it.
Other Features of Lost Worlds Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
Low. While science may be key to discovering a lost world or while the science and technology found in a lost world may be superior to our own, it is not realistic.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
Moderate. Encountering a world that has evolved in isolation from our own is a possibility that opens the door for exploring great social and philosophical ideas. Not all Lost World stories take full advantage of the opportunity and offer only cursory commentary on the differences between the lost world and our own.
- Level of Characterization
Moderate. There are stock characters in Lost Worlds Sci Fi--the hero, the beautiful princess.
- Level of Plot Complexity
Moderate. Plot is of great importance to Lost Worlds Sci Fi because stories of discovery require a strong sequence of events. However, these plots are not inventive and are relatively predictable.
- Level of Violence
PG. There is violence in Lost World stories such as encounters with monsters or the hero defending a beautiful princess. Violence, however, is not graphic and tends to be a plot device rather than a focus.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Lost Worlds isn't for you if...
If you don't like dinosaurs in your Sci Fi. If you prefer Sci Fi that incorporates more hard sciences and less wish fulfillment.
- 1 Journey to the Centre of the Earth
By Jules Verne. An adventure to the centre of the Earth via a volcano and is the first work to incorporate prehistoric animals into a story.
- 2 A Princess of Mars
By Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs takes the pulpy tropes of Lost Worlds and transports them to Mars.
- 3 The Lost World
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A classic example, this novel introduces dinosaurs to the sub-genre.
- 4 Dragonrider series
By Anne McCaffrey. This series takes place on planet Pern, which was colonized by a future Earth and then forgotten.
- 5 Lost Horizon
By James Hilton. A popular success, this novel has philosophical and social commentary and idealized the lost world as a paradise.
- 6 Star Born
By Andre Norton. In this sequel to The Stars are Ours, a world previously colonized by humans is discovered.
- 7 She
By H. Rider Haggard A pioneering work in the Lost Worlds genre, this novel is the story of two men who journey to a legendary lost city. Ideas of imperialism, archaeology, and gender roles are explored. This novel introduces the motif of the beautiful queen who seduces the hero.
- 8 The Bridge of Light
By A. Hyatt Verrill. A precursor to Indian Jones, the plot of this novel is a search for a lost city in South America.
- 9 The Greatest Adventure
By John Taine. An adventure story that starts with an intriguing fossil. A team of unexpected characters discover living dinosaurs in an isolated ecosystem in Antarctica.
- 10 The Land of the Changing Sun
By Will N. Harben. This novel is a classic example of a hollow Earth where the lost civilization is scientifically more advanced than our own.
- Congo (Michael Crichton)
- She (H. Rider Haggard)
- Star Born (Andre Norton)
- Dinosaur Summer (Greg Bear)
- Pym (Mat Johnson)
- Dinotopia (James Gurney)