The Lost Race Check Guide

Jessica Amanda Salmonson

The ‘Lost World’ or ‘Lost Race’ genre was one of the most popular genres of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s Lost Race Check Guide is the ultimate checklist for collectors. Titles are listed by author.

Collecting Lost Race Novels

Jessica Amanda Salmonson, • The Journal of the Independent Online Booksellers Association • November 8, 2002

The basis of the past popularity of Lost Race novels were the novels of H. Rider Haggard, whose excellence in such classic novels as Allan Quatermain and She hundreds of lesser talents recognized as worthy of imitation.
Of course, Haggard didn’t invent the idea of lost races, which was abroad from antiquity, in cultural myths about submerged former inhabitants of conquered regions, in utopians and Swiftian satires of distant island cultures, in speculations on the whereabouts of Israel’s lost tribes, in the continuous and widespread expectation that Amazons and similar exotic societies thrived beyond the limits of the known world. Columbus, then the Conquistadors, watched soberly for ...


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What people are saying

"In this drive-in, fly-out mechanical mayhem that our modern world has become, who in his right mind gives a thought to Incan cities still flourishing in the high Andes, or to the existence of a medieval stronghold somewhere amid the shifting sands of the Sahara? And who, with a thread of scientific sophistication, would wonder if a mighty civilization did await discovery in the earth's interior? Nonsense! Obsolete romantic drivel—And yet there is present an increasing eagerness to forsake sophistication and training in order to find, or be carried off to, overlooked "Edens" of adventure, romance, and archaeological wonder. Readers of Extrapolation know that the "lost-race" novel is, categorically, an example of off-trail fantasy which borders on science fiction. It has been and is one of the major frameworks through which utopian schemes are promulgated. H. Rider Haggard set the trend, invented the props, and proved the marketability of the lost race romance." ~ Stuart A. Teitler

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The Lost Race Check Guide

Introduction and Acknowledgements

copyright © 2000 by Jessica Amanda Salmonson

For purposes of this checklist, a Lost Race is one that is discovered in some region of the Earth at a point in time after they (or their high culture) was believed to be extinct (hence the discovery in medieval times of a lingering Bronze Age culture would be included; or discovery in the future of ancient Atlanteans would be included). A Lost Race is also an evolved or devolved race of humans; a hidden alternate form of humanity, including those that have become hybridized with animals & possess a unique culture (but excluding Dr. Moreau type single-generation scientific creations). Included are previously unknown races, advanced or primitive, having any element beyond the strictly rational. A grey area is thoroughly nonfantastic aboriginal peoples encountered by Victorian explorers for whom such encounters were a very real commonplace. Only where imaginary elements intrude sufficiently are these included.

There is not universal agreement as to what constitutes a Lost Race fantasy. Some readers might wish to include stories of individual survivors of extinct races found in suspended animation from a super-technological past, revived mummies, or thawed from ice. These are mostly excluded here with a few exceptions, such as when there are multiple members of the past race revived or there is some aspect of revival of culture as well. Members of ancient races who find their way into the present by reincarnation or mind transference or physical time travel are excluded. Likewise, tales of moderns who travel back in time by occult or scientific means to interact with extinct races or cultures are excluded. Fairies are excluded even though in many stories they are not cute elementals but human-like, powerful immortals. Even though traditional tales of the fairy folk as a kind of celtic super-race are undoubtedly connected to the development of the Lost Race genre, inclusion in a checklist of lost race tales per se would expand the list too massively into an only tangential area.

The Lost Race Check Guide is a collection of over 1500 titles. There's a lot to explore and discover. Here's a quick preview of 10 titles that Jessica has tagged as excellent:

Atkins, Frank [writing as Frank Aubrey]. THE DEVIL TREE OF EL DORADO: A Novel. Ln: Hutchinson, 1896; NY: New Amsterdam [1897]. Loosely a sequel to A Queen of Atlantis. Mythical El Dorado found on crest of Roraima, populated by non-Indian race. Excellent & very weird, with creepy illustrations.

Brebner, Percy James. THE KNIGHTS OF THE SILVER STAR . NY: Fenno, 1907. Survival of medieval knight culture in a lost valley of Turkey. Excellent tale. See also Brebner's pseudonym, Christian Lys.

Collins, Gilbert. THE VALLEY OF EYES UNSEEN . Ln: Duckworth [1923]. Greeks from the time of Alexander the Great still in Tibetan Himalayas have developed into giants with advanced science. Excellent.

Cornell, Fred C. A RIP VAN WINKLE OF THE KALAHARI & Other Tales of Southwest Africa. An excellent collection of fantasies including the supernatural title story about a man who trapped in a vast pit that hides the existence of Phoenicians ruled by an immortal priestess.

Ganpat. HARILEK . Edinburgh & Ln: Blackwood, 1923; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1923. Nordics & classical Greeks in Central Asia. Excellent.

Haggard, H. Rider. SHE: A History of Adventure SHE: A History of Adventure. NY: Harper's Franklin Square Library, 24 December 1886, pirated edition in wraps; Ln: Longmans Green, 1887. Central to the whole literature.

Hall, Owen [pseud of James Davis]. "EUREKA." Ln: Chatto & Windus, 1899. Alexandrian Greek survival in Australian outback. One of the finer books of its kind, unfortunately very rare.

Mundy, Talbot. OM, THE SECRET OF ABHOR VALLEY . Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1924; Ln: Hutchinson, 1924. With new introduction: San Diego: Point Loma, 1980; wraps. Hidden valley in northern India. Excellent.

Nelson, Arthur A. WINGS OF DANGER, A Novel . NY: McBride, 1915; serialized in Adventure January thru April, 1915, as THE ADVENTURERS. Viking culture lingers in East Africa. Excellent.

Saville, Frank. BEYOND THE GREAT SOUTH WALL, A Secret of the Antarctic. Ln: Sampson Low, 1899; NY: New Amsterdam, 1901; NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1902; NY: Arno, 1978. Conquered Maya went to Antarctica with treasure & settled in a warmed country but died out; their acheological remains are found. Also, Tyrannosaurus. Excellent.