The exploration of the Lost World begins with a first expedition into the jungle. Let’s see what unknown or extinct animals the researchers encounter!
The exploration of unknown territories is a classic motif of numerous adventure novels. Especially at the turn of the 20th century, many of the best-known novels of the genre appeared until the 1940s. Scientists ventured into unknown territory. Often they went to Africa, South America or Asia. They were accompanied by hardened adventurers, youthful assistants and sometimes even a woman. The conditions were different, of course. Today, social and political conditions are indeed vastly different. Most novels of the time must therefore be read with a critical eye. Nevertheless, they still fascinate. Why?
The allure of the unknown
Sure, going on daring ventures together with an adventurer still has its appeal today. The heroes and heroines leave their stable environment to face unknown challenges and dangers. Various risks have to be considered: loss of money or property. Loss of social reputation or loss of physical or mental health. In extreme cases, there is also the threat of loss of life. As an adventurer, you rise above this and face the danger – for fame, money, research, other people or, of course, for the English crown!
Multiple dangers loom: Travel by air or sea can be dangerous. Hostile deserts, arctic ice and deadly jungles welcome people to hostile environments. Of course, dangerous animals threaten, sometimes even supernatural forces. Also from many humans one has to expect bad things. At least hostility threatens and if one has bad luck even cannibalism.
Depending on how pronounced all this is, we move in the genre of the classic adventure novel á la Karl May or in the limitless possibilities of the pulpy dime novel. Many well-known authors are somewhere in between with well-known works: H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne,…
I must admit, as a reader it is still interesting today to put yourself in the time when you did not know every corner of the earth. When new territory in the rainforest had to be opened up and mapped, when new cultures were discovered. There’s a certain pioneering spirit about these stories. I like that so much could be put into the unknown. Of course, if readers have only rough knowledge of the Amazon, or none at all, there’s a lot to tell them.
Reading with critical glasses
I have already mentioned this: The political and social conditions were completely different. Fortunately, the position of women has changed drastically. Technological and scientific progress has now illuminated every corner of the earth. The legacy of colonialism in the form of racism, Western arrogance and unstable states is unfortunately still present.
It’s obvious that the old adventure stories were written in a different environment, and views from that time inevitably flow into them. Whether you still need to read it today is probably debatable. I certainly still want to read it, but I also have a critical attitude towards it. When the expedition leader condescends to the local relief workers, insults them or does even worse to them, that is not fiction. That corresponded to reality and often still does today. When researchers meet “natives” full of fascination and ponder about race or even skull characteristics, then resistance rightly arises today. One could continue the list for a long time. The important thing is that there is an awareness of the problem in the first place.
Personally, I always enjoy reading stories by Jules Verne and co. But it’s also the adventure aspect that makes the story so engaging. I think it’s important to keep a critical distance where necessary. Of course, this is a double-edged sword: part of the story is the encounter with the different. It is an important theme to discover and describe the new and unknown. From this point of view, adventure literature can contribute to an understanding of how stereotypes are created and why they catch on so easily.
Who would have thought that the old adventure novel can still give so much besides entertainment? In any case, the expedition into the jungle promises to be challenging.
The expedition team
Enough of the classification, let’s get to the fun part. My jungle is growing and it’s time to fill it with life. First, a squad ventures into the jungle for the expedition, which consists of a colorful mix.
There is, of course, a British lord who pays for the whole affair. He is probably an experienced big game hunter and promises himself wealth, fame or simply something exotic in front of the shotgun from discoveries in the jungle.
The group is led by an intrepid adventurer. Perhaps he is American. He is a ladies’ man and never at a loss for a dry wit. With his machete he makes his way through the jungle and takes on giant snakes if necessary.
The quirky explorer is the man who knows all the flora and fauna of the known earth by heart and provides instant assessments of newly discovered things. He likes to be naïve and inspired by a sincere spirit of research. When it comes down to it, to everyone’s surprise, he can also energetically help himself – alternatively, he is good at running or hiding.
Also, the token woman. She is a researcher who is not taken seriously. She is someone’s wife or there is some other reason why she has to be there. Of course she tends to annoy at least one of the team and turn our adventurer’s head. If there are deadly dangers, then she will definitely survive.
Finally, the loudmouth. He’s a daredevil who’s seen it all and doesn’t need any explanations. Armed and eager to fight, he would prefer to solve everything by force. He is a demanding guy, who condescends to women and underestimates people and animals. Most likely he will not survive the expedition and probably the others will not even mind.
The miniatures are all from the “Safari into Danger” set from Pulp Figures. I didn’t rebuild anything at all and glued the figures to body disks as bases to match the rest of the figures in the project. This is my first Pulp Figures set and I am absolutely pleased. Minimal cleaning required, nice poses and overall a worthy look. I added some additional jungle flair to the bases.
Undoubtedly, I will expand the collection. From Pulp Figures there are still some sets, for which I have many ideas. Maybe there will be more explorers, maybe some soldiers or mercenaries. Surely archaeologists and trophy collectors will show up in the jungle. Maybe you will also meet cannibals? It remains exciting. Let’s go on an expedition into the jungle!