Doyle published The Lost World well after both killing off and reviving Sherlock Holmes. He wrote about Professor Challenger and Holmes concurrently for about fourteen years, and continued to write Professor Challenger stories for a few years after the last Holmes story.

Doyle always had a kind of CSI-esque "five seconds in the future" attitude toward science in the Holmes stories, and toward the end of that series more speculative elements were included. These remind me of the center-stage speculative elements of the Professor Challenger stories (though not as spiritualist), which leads me to wonder:

Do the original Doylian texts give any indication that Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger occupy the same fictional world?

  • 3
    There are plenty of non-canon works by other authors in which Holmes and Challenger both appear, including at least one (Jules Castier's "The Footprints on the Ceiling") written during Doyle's lifetime. Hypothetically, would out-of-universe commentary by Doyle on such stories be enough to answer this question?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 16, 2017 at 0:34
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    @Randal'Thor I'm not interested in non-Doylian texts, but I'd accept Doylian commentary if it's accompanied by an analysis of how his claims match up to the text of the stories themselves.
    – BESW
    Apr 16, 2017 at 0:40
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    I was under impression they were supposed to be both in "real world", so I don't see why the default assumption is that they don't?
    – DVK
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:15
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    @DVK Because there isn't a default assumption that all fiction that's set in a "real world" shares that setting (which is fictional despite its claims, otherwise Sherlock Holmes would Actually Exist and Dr. Watson rather than Conan Doyle would be the author of his stories) with all other fiction set in a "real world."
    – BESW
    Apr 16, 2017 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


I'd argue that they aren't connected. Not because of direct textual evidence, but because of a lack of it.

Challenger makes the entire world shake and scream; d uring one of his stories, everyone dies for an hour or two. These are noticeable things - you'd expect them to be mentioned in Holmes stories.

That's not to say that they couldn't take place in the same world. But I'd expect there to be some kind of mention if they did.

  • "When the World Screamed" was published a year after the last Holmes story first appeared in print.
    – BESW
    Dec 11, 2017 at 2:36
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    That doesn't have much to do with when it was set.
    – Peritract
    Dec 11, 2017 at 6:22
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    Your claim seems to hinge on Doyle failing to mention in 1927 an event which he wouldn't write until 1928. That seems like it'd require some more solid support than you're currently giving us. This suggestion would benefit from more evidence that Challenger's exploits were (a) noteworthy enough to be mentioned in stories about a man who took little notice of astronomy, politics, botany, or geology, and (b) took place both in-universe and in real life within a time frame that would make it reasonable for Doyle to reference them in Holmes stories.
    – BESW
    Dec 11, 2017 at 6:42
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    I can't disagree that if no elements of Sherlock Holmes show up in The Lost World , than you can't support a claim that they occupy the same world. If Doyle wanted us to believe that they did, he would have made this clear. Mar 1, 2018 at 21:17

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