When the World Screamed was a story written about Professor Challenger by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Liberty magazine, 25 February – 3 March 1928.
Professor Challenger, with the help of Mr Edward Malone and Mr Peerless Jones, drills into the earth until he reaches the mantle, convinced that it is a sentient being, akin to an echinus, and that by doing so he will be the first person to alert it to mankind's presence. He awakens the giant creature, which then proceeds to destroy his excavation, covering the spectators with a noxious liquid in the process.
This short story is a part of the "Challenger series", a collection of stories about the wealthy eccentric adventurer Professor Challenger.
Edward Malone, the narrator of The Lost World, the novel in which Challenger first appeared, described his first meeting with the character: His appearance made me gasp. I was prepared for something strange, but not for so overpowering a personality as this.
It was his size, which took one's breath away – his size and his imposing presence.
His head was enormous, the largest I have ever seen upon a human being. I am sure that his top hat, had I ventured to don it, would have slipped over me entirely and rested on my shoulders. He had the face and beard, which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former florid, the latter so black as almost to have a suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest.
The hair was peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were blue-grey under great black tufts, very clear, very critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other parts of him which appeared above the table, save for two enormous hands covered with long black hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling voice made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger.
He was also a pretentious and self-righteous scientific jack-of-all-trades. Although considered by Malone's editor, Mr McArdle, to be "just a homicidal megalomaniac with a turn for science", his ingenuity could be counted upon to solve any problem or get out of any unsavoury situation, and be sure to offend and insult several other people in the process.
Challenger was, in many ways, rude, crude, and without social conscience or inhibition. Yet he was a man capable of great loyalty and his love of his wife was all encompassing.
Like Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger was based on a real person — in this case, a professor of physiology named William Rutherford, who had lectured at the University of Edinburgh while Conan Doyle studied medicine there.
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