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An old man tells his grandsons about the world before the Red Death depopulated it.


The Scarlet Plague

London Magazine, 1912, approximately 20,000 words.. Available for free on Project Gutenberg.




An old man, James Howard Smith, walks along deserted railway tracks, long since unused and overgrown; beside him a young, feral boy helps him along. It has been 60 years since the great Red Death wiped out mankind, and the handful of survivors from all walks of life have established their own civilization and their own hierarchy in a savage world. Art, science, and all learning has been lost, and the young descendants of the healthy know nothing of the world that was—nothing but myths and make-believe. The old man is the only one who can convey the wonders of that bygone age, and the horrors of the plague that brought about its end. What future lies in store for the remnants of mankind can only be surmised—their ignorance, barbarity, and ruthlessness the only hopes they have?


Did you know Jack London wrote a post-apocalyptic novel? I didn't! )

Verdict: The Scarlet Plague is a rather dull post-apocalyptic novella, interesting as a historical relic that influenced later writers, but there is not much in the way of story or originality. 5/10.

Also by Jack London: My review of The Call of the Wild.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity: (inverarity)
A laid-back dog from California has to survive in Alaska.


The Call of the Wild

Macmillan, 1903, approximately 32,000 words. Available for free on Project Gutenberg.




Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit...

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London's masterpiece. Based on London's experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.


It's really a barbarian epic starring a dog. )

Verdict: The Call of the Wild is a great book for boys, and I think I read it in elementary school, but I really enjoyed rereading it again. Jack London's prose still reads very smoothly and the story is full of tension and excitement. Probably one of the best "dog" stories I've ever read. 9/10.





My complete list of book reviews.

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