Friday, October 14, 2016


The Scarlet Plague
Jack London, Gordon Grant (Illustrator)
Dover Publications December 16th, 2016
ISBN 9780486802817
128 Pages

Once the red rash appears, it is too late. The victims die within hours, their rapidly decomposing bodies spreading the disease in the dust. Art, science, and learning die with them while the few survivors degenerate into feral clans. This story takes place in 2073, sixty years after the great pandemic of 2013. A former professor of literature―now a dirty old man in goatskin―tells his incredulous and uncomprehending grandsons, "I am the last man who was alive in the days of the plague and who knows the wonders of that far-off time. We, who mastered the planet―its earth, and sea, and sky―and who were as very gods, now live in primitive savagery."

Jack London's The Scarlet Plague, which originally appeared in The London Magazine in 1912, ranks among the earliest works of post-apocalyptic fiction. This pioneering science-fiction novella, like many of the master storyteller's other tales, explores the thin line between civilization and barbarism. Recounted with humor, suspense, and pathos, London's harrowing vision of the future raises compelling questions about social class, knowledge, and human nature.

Having been published over 100 years ago, it blew my mind how Jack London's creativeness was spot on in creating a sci-fi novel that could have been written by any author in today's society. I gave this book 4 stars having to take one away due to an error in the plot that had to do with the way people were perishing in the beginning of the book, though further into the story the explanation of the dead bodies did not correlate with the aforementioned way of death. Other than that flaw the story is genius. London is deeply intuitive regarding the way society will  eventually re-establish itself. Therefore, that being my favorite part of the story.

Whereas, this tale is significantly more than just sci-fi. It is told by an exceedingly older emotional man named Granger, who was one of the few who survived the plague in 2013. I felt sad for Granger, who is a gentle soul, he is constantly tormented and disrespected by the heathen children that herd goats. Scarlet Plague is an important classic that takes a deep look into humanity and survival, making you think if your morals would stand up under severe conditions.

My question to you is would you try to preserve an important instrument of our culture if the world was ending for the next possible inhabitants to find? What?


Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self-educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent time in the Klondike during the Gold Rush and at various times was an oyster pirate, a seaman, a sealer, and a hobo. His first work was published in 1898. From there he went on to write such American classics as Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf, and White Fang.

“Thank you, Netgalley & Dover, for letting me give an honest review”

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