➮ [Read] ➪ The Scarlet Plague By Jack London ➺ – Horse-zine.co.uk


The Scarlet Plague quotes The Scarlet Plague, litcharts The Scarlet Plague, symbolism The Scarlet Plague, summary shmoop The Scarlet Plague, The Scarlet Plague 234e679a 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 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


10 thoughts on “The Scarlet Plague

  1. says:

    The Scarlet Plague , Sunlanders, Master of Mystry, Jack LondonThe Scarlet Plague is a post apocalyptic fiction novel written by Jack London and originally published in London Magazine in 1912 The story takes place in 2073, sixty years after an uncontrollable epidemic, the Red Death, has depopulated the planet James Smith is one of the survivors of the era before the scarlet plague hit and is still left alive in the San Francisco area, and he travels with his grandsons Edwin, Hoo Hoo, and Hare Lip His grandsons are young and live as primeval hunter gatherers in a heavily depopulated world Their intellect is limited, as are their language abilities Edwin asks Smith, whom they call Granser , to tell them of the disease alternately referred to as scarlet plague, scarlet death, or red death 1972 1350 224 1370 20 1388 159 9789641720423 2073 1912


  2. says:

    2.5 Some will fight, some will rule, some will pray and all the rest will toil and suffer sore while on their bleeding carcasses is reared again, and yet again, without end, the amazing beauty and surpassing wonder of the civilized state Please take my rating with a grain of salt It is mostly due to the fact that, being The Scarlet Plague the perfect epitome of the classic imagery we all have, nowadays, of a post apocalyptic world, I felt that the book had nothing new to say to me Of course, having being written in 1912, whoever read it then or even just a few decades ago must have been able to perceive it rather differently The writing style and the fact that almost the whole story is recounted as an oral narrative, are the two elements capable of making the novella distinguishable to my eyes, at least Bill the Chauffeur s and Vesta s episode, though, again, not new to our ears, is probably one of the most evidently thought provoking parts of the story, and the only on which my mind actually dwelt a bit longer Also the author s and the old man s reflections on language can be counted among the interesting bits The one conclusion I can draw out of this is that my beloved London has written far better things.


  3. says:

    I had trouble reading this and believing that Jack London wrote this one hundred years ago I kept expecting to discover this was a different Jack London, one who wrote in the late 1950s or 1960s This was far too evolved to be something written by a man in 1912 However, it supposedly is Jack London it really is, but I can t seem to rid myself of the doubt So with that in mindWow, this story is perfectly told A tight, fun read about the end of civilization London s futuristic view of the world is pretty amazing He predicts that in 2013, there would be 8 billion people Today s world population is 7.175 billion Considering the number of people who died in the wars from last century, I d say London had it right Or, as my daughter suggested, someone helped him with him math A plague hits the world in 2013 and reduces the population down to under one thousand people scattered throughout the world The story of the plague is only told as a memory, since London s story follows an old man, the last survivor of the apocalypse, as he tells his grandchildren about the fall of civilization.The grandchildren are basically savages, having been raised with little knowledge of the previous world It is my only complaint about the book I do think we would regress a bit, if this happened, but I don t think it would happen so quickly Maybe the truth is that we would, and I just don t like to think about it Looking at New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, it is believable given the actions of many of the people during those troubled times.The story is too short, a little than an hour s read But I enjoyed every bit of it It was ten times better than Cormac McCarthy s The Road But then again, London was willing to use the full range of our language, including a rich vocabulary, names, and even gasp punctuation You see, Jack London understood that his job as a writer was towrite And write he did Don t miss this short book It is free at feedbooks in several ebook formats Enjoy


  4. says:

    Every once in a while I dip into something outside of my normal genre and in the public domain This short book caught my eye due to the other books by the author.It is some time in the future A primitive grandfather and his two wild grandchildren are forraging for food or accurately eating crabs as this is the only food available to them A grizzly bear wanders around The picture is of remote wasteland, hopelessness and destitution The grandchildren aren t really interested in the tales of their elderly relation, they are akin to savages, but as he insists on telling them, they half heartedly listen to the story.Grandpa returns to the past when the Scarlet Plague swept the planet destroying billions of people and bringing modern civilisation to its knees He recounts the gruesome deterioration of the many as the few with some kind of immunity struggled to survive The decisions that had to be made as each person realised they had succumbed and perhaps only had minutes left to live.Although this account is short and simple, the author does a good job in drawing the reader in I found it difficult to put down and read it through in an hour The whole premise of the story reminds us that as a race we are completely out of control We have no power to determine events and we don t know at all what will happen in the future We could easily be wiped out in a nuclear holocaust or killed off slowly as antibiotics become reistant or even as this book suggests be afflicted with a deadly plague that kills within minutes What a scary thought we think of ourselves as being so enlightened, progressive and powerful but the reality is that we are totally powerless and at the mercy of the elements.It was interesting for me that even writing from a non religious standpoint, the author highlights that in times like this when people are dropping like flies, it is each man for himself I did not go to the groceryman s assistance The time for such acts had already passed Civilization was crumbling, and it was each for himself.We can try to deny it, but we are all inherently selfish due to indwelling sin in our hearts.There are some people scratching their heads at this point in my review Of course, all of the above would be true, if God was not orchestrating events It is a great relief to me, as a Christian, that He is in total control and that none of the things suggested even in sci fi can happen without His approval and direction We are really fragile, small, weak and helpless in all manner of things, but God is not and He knows exactly what will happen and when How the atheist copes with the uncertainties of life and death I have no idea I m just very thankful that I m not in that camp.Worth reading if you are secure in the knowledge that it won t happen unless God wills it There is no bad language, some violence which isn t especially graphic and no sexual content.


  5. says:

    This tale is very distant from the universe that I associate to Jack London It s a very interesting dystopia in which mankind was almost completely anihilated by a plague and the surviving population has regressed to a primitive state of civilization.I thought 60 years was a far too short a period to allow certain events to take place, but in a general way I liked it, specially considering it was written in 1912.


  6. says:

    Did you know that Jack London wrote a post apocalyptic novel I didn t The Scarlet Death broke out in San Francisco The first death came on a Monday morning By Thursday they were dying like flies in Oakland and San Francisco They died everywhere in their beds, at their work, walking along the street It was on Tuesday that I saw my first death Miss Collbran, one of my students, sitting right there before my eyes, in my lecture room I noticed her face while I was talking It had suddenly turned scarlet I ceased speaking and could only look at her, for the first fear of the plague was already on all of us and we knew that it had come The young women screamed and ran out of the room So did the young men run out, all but two Miss Collbran s convulsions were very mild and lasted less than a minute One of the young men fetched her a glass of water She drank only a little of it, and cried out My feet All sensation has left them After a minute she said, I have no feet I am unaware that I have any feet And my knees are cold I can scarcely feel that I have knees I was expecting a nifty adventure in the tradition of H.G Wells or Edgar Rice Burroughs after reading The Call of the Wild, but The Scarlet Plague, written in 1912, seems to be from a later stage in Jack London s career when, according to Wikipedia, he was often just churning out stories to pay for upgrades on his ranch It rather shows that dialog, above, is hardly realistic, and London s imagined plague, striking in 2013, shows little imagination, and his futuristic world even less.This wasn t a bad story, it just wasn t particularly exciting or original, and I doubt it was very original even in 1912 There isn t much tension, because it s all narrated by an old man, once a Professor of English Literature at UC Berkeley, telling his savage grandchildren how the plague came over 60 years earlier His incurious grandsons rudely complain and call him names whenever he uses words they re not familiar with.It is an interesting early entry in the post apocalyptic sub genre, and while I could compare it to any number of later global plague novels, if I had to guess which modern author was most heavily influenced by it, I d say Cormac McCarthy, with his surprisingly similar and equally tedious novel The Road, which like The Scarlet Plague shows little concern about the science of the disease that ended civilization or the details of the world, but is centered on one survivor trying to keep the fire alive The fact that both novels end on the California coast also seems an interesting coincidence.That said, you might want to read this for historical reasons if you are into post apocalyptic novels, but I don t think it was one of London s best.


  7. says:

    This was a well hidden little gem, to me at any rate It s hard to believe that Jack London wrote this at the beginning of the last century I didn t know that he had written this futuristic novel It is so very believable and depressingly scary His theme is the downfall of civilization as we know it, following the Scarlet Plague The few survivors, man and beast, become feral A grandfather, a rare survivor and former academic, reminisces to his grandsons, some appreciative than others, about the old days.I was reminded of Ray Bradbury s Fahrenheit 451 whilst reading this, also Hemingway s Old Man and the Sea ie relationship between grandfather and his grandson Edwin in The S.P It is rather beautifully written I read it on Kindle Supposedly 310 pages long, it seemed much shorter than that I gave 4 to Fahrenheit so I givethis 5 for accessibility.Interesting that the few human survivors all appear to be Aryan.


  8. says:

    Atypical story choices abound I appreciate knowing who is the narrator telling the story to whom However, the boys are dense cruel primitives, so why does this telling matter What is the goal and where is the tension Humanity s race has run Consider the reverse of this, like when Savannah and the Wildboys are keen to preserve what little knowledge the children possess in, Beyond Thunderdome, it gives a sense of desperation and feels like things matter Skip this.


  9. says:

    By the time Jack London released his post apocalyptic novel The Scarlet Plague in 1912, the author was 36 years old just four years shy of his premature passing in 1916 and yet had already managed to cram in incident and adventure into those three dozen years than most folks do in their lifetime Since his birth in San Francisco in 1876, he had worked on a sealing schooner, done a stint as an oyster pirate, participated in the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897 , played the part of a war correspondent in the Russo Japanese War 1904 , operated a ranch, been married twice, and had released over 100 short stories and a dozen novels, including, of course, The Call of the Wild 1903 , The Sea Wolf 1904 , White Fang 1906 and Martin Eden 1909 But many fans may not realize that London also created in the fantasy and sci fi genres as well, in books such as Before Adam 1907 , The Iron Heel 1908 , The Star Rover 1915 , and the book in question This reader had not read any London since high school a very long time ago , and had never read any of his works dealing with the fantastic, and am thus happy to report that The Scarlet Plague was a charming pleasure to take in The short novel, London s 13th out of an eventual 23, originally appeared in the May June 1912 issues of London Magazine the world s oldest literary periodical, dating back to 1732 , made its first book appearance as a Macmillan hardcover in 1915, and was reprinted in the 2 49 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine As for me, I happened to read its latest incarnation, from Dover Publications, which reproduces the Macmillan hardcover complete with its over two dozen illustrations by one Gordon Grant The book is part of Dover s current Doomsday Classics series of post apocalyptic fiction I had previously enjoyed Fritz Leiber s The Night of the Long Knives and Margaret St Clair s Sign of the Labrys from this same collection of books.In The Scarlet Plague, the year is 2073, and most of mankind has been killed off by the pandemic of the title, which had struck in 201360 years earlier On the desolate Cliff House beach near San Francisco, a long bearded, 87 year old man wearing a goatskin sits with his three grandchildren and tells them the story probably for the umpteenth time of what the world had been like in the olden days, and his own experiences during them We learn that the old man s name was once James Howard Smith although his three semibarbaric grandsons, Edwin, Hoo Hoo and Hare Lip, only refer to him as Granser and that he had been a professor of English lit at UC Berkeley, in the days before the plague had struck London s short novel is primarily taken up by Smith s narrative, which is interrupted on occasion by one of the boys having to shoo away the wild wolves threatening their goat herd, or when the kids laugh in derision at Granser s big words and his tears of mournful nostalgia Thus, we hear of the disease s onset, its symptoms and rapid course how not a single nation in the world seemed to have been spared learn of the riots that had ensued, and of Smith s emigration to the countryside with a small band of his fellow academics witness Smith s three years of solitary living in Yosemite, and see what happened when he later returned to the completely overgrown Bay Area It is a marvelously exciting and colorful story, told by the world s oldest living survivor to an audience of mocking simpletons.By necessity, The Scarlet Plague is a simply written affair, being, in essence, the attempts of a once learned man to make his illiterate, borderline savage descendants comprehend what had gone before Thus, his painstaking efforts to teach them numbers greater than 10, and to make them understand the concept of germs, which the kids just cannot wrap their minds around, germs being invisible to the naked eye Time and again, one of the boys will tell Granser to talk sensible and cut the gabble, especially when the old man uses such impossible words as scarlet and education and when he speaks in language such as this, in describing the Cliff House beach Where four million people disported themselves, the wild wolves roam today, and the savage progeny of our loins, with prehistoric weapons, defend themselves against the fanged despoilers Think of it And all because of the Scarlet Death And although Smith does keep his narrative simple for the reader s ears, at least , the kids can t help but snicker in contempt, especially when Granser starts quoting various writers that he recalls A little research on the reader s part will reveal that those quotes come from Rudyard Kipling and the poets George Sterling and William Bliss Carman What with the book s cleanly written style and brief length, it is one that most readers will probably gobble down in a sitting or two, pulled in both by the action of its first half and the blighted desolation of its second.As a predictor, London s track record here is perhaps 50 50 He was correct in foreseeing how devastating an incurable pandemic could be he sadly did not live to witness the worldwide flu pandemic of 1918 20, which killed 75 million , and his guesstimate of 8 billion as the worldwide population in 2010 was not terribly off the correct mark of 6.9 billion Unfortunately, his stated figure of 17 million as New York City s population in 2013, the year of the plague, is than double the actual figure, while his emphasis on the dirigible as the only means of air transport in 2013 comes off as than a little quaint in today s Jet Age Interestingly, when Smith finally discovers some other survivors after his sojourn in Yosemite, it is in Glen Ellen, CAthe same locale where London was building his Wolf House mansion, only to have it calamitously burn to the ground before he could move in, in 1913.And, ohif I may confess to another minor problem that I had with London s book here, it is that I was left with a feeling of wanting a feeling that London could have easily doubled the length of his novel by amplifying on Smith s adventures both during the actual plague and in the decades afterward Still, there is a certain virtue in compactness and conciseness, and The Scarlet Plague certainly is a model of economical storytelling To be fair, I don t think that Edwin, Hoo Hoo and Hare Lip could possibly have sat still for another chapter s worth And there is surely no harm in leaving one s audience wanting , right As a matter of fact, I enjoyed this one so much that I hope to soon read London s first novel in the field of the fantastic, the pre history outing Before Adam Stay tuned By the way, this review originally appeared on the FanLit website at a perfect destination for all fans of Jack London.


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