Read The Scarlet Plague by Jack London Online


The story takes place in 2072, sixty years after the scarlet plague has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few people left alive in the San Francisco area, and as he realizes his time grows short, he tries to impart the value of knowledge and wisdom to his grandsons.American society at the time of the plague has become severely stratified and there isThe story takes place in 2072, sixty years after the scarlet plague has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few people left alive in the San Francisco area, and as he realizes his time grows short, he tries to impart the value of knowledge and wisdom to his grandsons.American society at the time of the plague has become severely stratified and there is a large hereditary underclass of servants and "nurses"; and the politcal system has been replaced by a formalized oligarchy. Commercial airship lines exist, as do some airships privately owned by the very rich....

Title : The Scarlet Plague
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594628870
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 80 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Scarlet Plague Reviews

  • Fernando
    2019-04-09 15:44

    Siempre me atrajeron fuertemente los cuentos o novelas apocalípticas o post apocalípticas. He leído algunas como La Guerra de los Mundos de HG Wells, Los huevos fatales de Mijaíl Bulgákov y El eterno Adán de Julio Verne, y me faltan otras como El último hombre de Mary Shelley (a la que busco desesperadamente), La carretera de Cormack McCarthy o el Diario del Año de la Peste de Daniel Defoe.En el caso de esta nouvelle del gran Jack London, es una relectura porque hacía mucho que quería volver a recordar esa historia tan bien narrada por este autor maravilloso.Es increíble la vigencia que tienen algunas de las advertencias que plantea la novela en la narración de un viejo sobreviviente de la peste escarlata, un ex profesor de literatura inglesa llamado James Howard Smith quien 60 años después de la pandemia que extermina prácticamente a toda la humanidad en el año 2013, camina un mundo desolado junto a su nieto Edward y dos amiguitos de este, Jujú y Labio de Liebre.Los niños han crecido en estado primitivo e ignorante, casi prehistórico, puesto que nada conocen de aquel viejo mundo que brillaba antes de que la peste destruyera la vida de millones de seres humanos.Corre el año 2073 y el viejo, ante la insistencia de Edward le cuenta a los otros niños cómo fue que el mundo y de qué manera se desencadenó en la tragedia que sólo dejó unos pocos seres humanos sobre la Tierra, quienes por alguna extraña razón fueron inmunes a la peste escarlata.Como dijera previamente, esta narración es una advertencia que nos remarca que no somos eternos, que somos y seguimos siendo (aunque no lo veamos de esa manera), pequeñas formas de vida y que podríamos desaparecer. Siento que el mensaje también se aplica al uso desmedido de la tecnología, las armas nucleares y la locura de muchos políticos que hoy deberían tomar conciencia de que una mala decisión suya pondría en riesgo el planeta entero.La forma en la que el viejo cuenta cómo el ser humano y los animales se degrada a la forma más salvaje y primitiva de la naturaleza humana realmente espanta por su crudeza. Cuando cuenta cómo los “merodeadores”, que son gente que mata, saquea y roba indiscriminadamente para sobrevivir, lo hace al mejor estilo de lo que vemos hoy en “The Walking Dead”, que nos muestra como la humanidad se transforma en un verdadero “todos contra todos”, sean humanos o zombies.El ser humano no necesita convertirse en zombie para destruir a sus semejantes. Una epidemia como esta que cuenta London, una guerra nuclear o un error de la ciencia o la tecnología puede dejarnos sin nada: sin humanos, sin planeta, sin vida.¿Y qué es lo peor que podemos hacer para que eso suceda? Bueno, precisamente no hacer nada.

  • Simona Bartolotta
    2019-04-02 11:04

    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.

  • Jason Reeser
    2019-03-23 14:46

    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 mind...Wow, 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 more 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 to...write. And write he did. Don't miss this short book. It is free at feedbooks ( in several ebook formats. Enjoy!

  • Carla
    2019-04-08 14:59

    Jack LondonIntelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel.JACK LONDON, The Star Rover

  • Natalie Vellacott
    2019-03-29 11:49

    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 more 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 more 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 more 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.

  • Coos Burton
    2019-04-13 15:57

    Es la primera vez que leo a este autor, y la verdad es que quedé muy satisfecha con este título. Se trata de una novela post apocalíptica (iniciando por ahí, debo admitir que esos temas me suelen dar más miedo que cualquier otro de índole paranormal), en la cual nos encontramos con un anciano que sobrevivió a la peste escarlata, y sus nietos, a los que educa y les cuenta la verdad sobre el mundo antes y durante el caos mortífero que azotó al mundo. Conoceremos las desventuras de alguien que vio a la Muerte Escarlata a los ojos en más de una ocasión, y viviremos duros momentos cargados de muchísima tensión y conmoción. La novela me gustó muchísimo, me angustió durante todo momento, en especial cuando se mencionaba con lujo de detalle todo el efecto de la peste sobre la víctima, me dejaba helada, y me impresionaba muchísimo. Y como plus, la edición en la que lo adquirí es una belleza, creo que de los libros más bonitos que poseo. Contiene unas ilustraciones bellísimas del ilustrador Luis Scafati.

  • Maryam Hosseini
    2019-04-03 11:50

    ،نویسـنده در این داسـتان‌ها آیـنده جهان را پیـش‌بینی می‌کند.و آن را بسیار تاریک و سیاه می‌بیـندمضـمون مشترک همه‌ی داستان‌ها بی‌عـدالتی، نابرابری‌های اجتماعی، پیـشــرفتِ عــلم و نقــشِ آن در جـنـگ‌ها و تسـریعِ ویرانی‌ها و کشــتارهاســت؛.و آرزویش برقراری یک نظام جدید برای برپایی صلحِ جهانی‌ست.راننده موجودی بود بدادا و بدخــلق و نادرست"در حیرت بودم که چرا باید چنــین آدمی زنده بماند و هــزاران هزار نفر در سراسر زمین از طاعون ارغوانی بمیرند،گویا بر خـلافِ تمــامِ مزخــرفات اخــلاقی و فلســفی"...چــیزی که در دنیــا وجود ندارد عــدالت است و بس

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-04-15 12:05

    Uma história escrita em 1915, acerca do fim do mundo a acontecer em 2013. Muito interessante.

  • David
    2019-04-09 07:59

    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.

  • Simona
    2019-04-18 13:59

    La peste scarlatta è un racconto breve, di appena 82 pagine, ma essenziale nella sua trama e nella sua riflessione. È cupo, angoscioso, oscuro, ma anche prolisso, complice il modo in cui il protagonista/narratore racconta la sua storia. È la storia dell'unico uomo sopravvissuto alla peste, una epidemia che ha decimato la razza umana. Siamo in un mondo post apocalittico (molto simile a La strada di McCarthy), dove ci si ciba di cozze e granchi, dove non esiste la luce, dove "la civiltà sta crollando e ognuno pensa a se stesso". È anche un libro, un racconto sulla memoria, sul ricordo e come afferma Ottavio Fatica nella post fazione, "la condanna di chi non rammenta il passato è replicarlo".

  • DNF with Jack Mack
    2019-03-26 15:50

    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.

  • Benjamin Duffy
    2019-04-17 15:00

    So short as to barely even qualify as a novella, The Scarlet Plague still manages to be slow-moving. There's almost no action, as 90% of the book is the aged protagonist rambling on to his four grandsons (all of whom are filthy, illiterate post-apocalyptic savages) about how the world was before and immediately after the titular plague. London commits one of the cardinal sins of speculative fiction - making his characters speak in weird pseudo-futuristic jargon, which always always always just ends up sounding dated and silly, yet he avoids one of the other cardinal sins in that he does not try to make too many specific predictions about future technology. Because of that restraint, the book doesn't feel as quaint or archaic as say, H.G. Wells or Jules Verne or even early Asimov.If this book came out today, I'd probably give it two stars, but in 1912 the idea of ragged survivors struggling in the aftermath of a global plague must have been shocking, mind-blowing stuff. As I read this, I tried to pretend I had never read The Stand, or Refuge, or seen Children of Men or I Am Legend. (Actually, I always kind of like to pretend I didn't see that last one.) And in light of that, remembering that there was no I'm-the-last-man-on-Earth genre until Jack London came along and created it with this book, I had to give it three stars.Plus, I grabbed it for free (public domain) and read it in like 45 minutes. Did I mention it's short?

  • Francisco Campos Lima
    2019-04-17 14:51

    Este livro põe o homem no seu devido lugar. Não somos nós que temos as rédeas deste magnifico cavalo, ainda que por vezes tenhamos essa grave ilusão. Basta um pequeno furacão para tomarmos consciência da nossa fraqueza. No caso desta história um surto de peste foi o suficiente para deitar tudo por terra, quase extinguindo a raça humana. Neste cenário apocalíptico as hierarquias sociais desabam e é a lei do mais forte que prevalece. Longe de repressões sociais e de qualquer tipo de censura, as perversidades das pessoas vêm ao de cima. É um retorno ao "estado de guerra" de que falava Hobbes. Apesar da idade o livro é hoje muito oportuno, neste progresso científico galopante em vivemos é preciso perguntar aquilo que Jack London perguntou subliminarmente: Estará a humanidade pronta para usar tais avanços a seu favor? Onde queremos chegar com eles?Por conseguir entecer todas estas questões com um enredo surpreendente, leva-me as cinco estrelas.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-03-30 10:39

    Histoires des siecles futurs‬‬‬, Jack Londonعنوان: طاعون ارغوانی، نویسنده: جک لندن، مترجم: محمد مجلسی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، دنیای نو، 1388، در 159 ص، شابک: 9789641720423؛ عنوان: طاعون سرخ - شاهکار جک لندن، نویسنده: جک لندن، مترجم: گیو آقاسی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، انتشارات بنگاه آرمان، 1350، در 224 ص؛

  • Doreen Petersen
    2019-04-14 09:51

    I really loved this one! It was short and sweet. Definitely check this one out!

  • Иван Величков
    2019-04-05 13:47

    Покрай рождения ден на Джек Лондон скоростно си препрочетох някой негови произведения, но все не ми остава време да си събера мислите и да изложа бурята от емоции, които ме затиснаха – спомени от детството, новопоявило се разбиране за величието на този човек, новоткритите в произведенията му революционни идеи и много други.Сборникът „Алената чума“ е една чудесна подборка, която ни показва една, хем по-различна, хем съвсем привична страна на писателя. Тук той използва фантастичното в сатирични метафори, граничещи с гротеска, за да ни покаже визията си за заобикалящия го свят. Свят от който е видял много и очевидно му горчи.Да се нарича подборката хорър, е почти толкова смешно, колкото уводните думи в книжката. Дори да допуснем, че в първото произведение има наченки на един неизвестен, почти лъвкрафтовски ужас, все пак трябва да си припомним отношението на автора към религията и тогава става ясно защо е стигнал до подобни крайности в повествованието. А ако някой твърди противното, то не е чел почти нищо от Лондон, извън златотърсаческия му цикъл.Ама стига съм филосовствал, защото започвам да заприличвам на хора, които хич не ме кефят.„Червеното божество“ – В гвадалканарската джунгла, Басет се оказва смъртно болен и оставен на милостта на племе канибали. Докато жрецът го държи при себе си от чисто любопитство, ученият разбира, че племената се кланят на неизвестен космически артефакт. Басет успява да стане единственият цивилизован човек зърнал дивашкия бог и умира с предположението, че това е някаква банка памет от далечна цивилизация.„Когато светът беше млад“ – Вариант на Джек Лондон на историята засегната в произведенията на Стивънсън и Киплинг, както той за явява в пряк текст, но за това трябва да си чел разказа, а и това не е единствената му история за наследствена памет, няма значение.Богат и успял мъж има мрачна и необяснима тайна. Докато през деня е царя на търговската общност, през нощта в него се събужда нещо древно, примитивно и жадуващо лов и простори.„Враг на целия свят“ – Изключително овързан с автобиографични разочарования от света разказ. Един гениален учен, още от младини е преследван от журналисти, колеги и като цяло обществото, от завист и жажда за сензации. След години терзания и период на крайно усамотение, той разработва уред, който може да взривява барута от разстояние и започва кървавото си отмъщение над изродилото се човечество.„Алената чума“ – Не знам дали е първият постапокалиптичен сценарий, но определено е най-ранният който съм чел. За мен е един от върховете в творчеството на автора.След пандемия от изключително вирулентен и смъртоносен вирус човечеството в Америка е редуцирано до едно 20000 души. До две поколение, те вече са оскотели до нивото на бронзовата епоха, въпреки интелигентните оцелели сред тях.Задължително четиво. Новелата е разделена на две сюжетни линии – самата пандемия и последствията.„Силата на силните“ – Чрез социалното разсвитие на едно праисторическо племе, наскоро слязло от дърветата, авторът гради манифест за политическите си виждания. Не напразно този текст е разпространяван между работниците членуващи в американската социалистическа работничаска партия, на която Лондон е бил член почти до смъртта си. Обяснено е като за идиоти. Доста хора трябва да го погледнат.

  • Andrew Leon
    2019-04-13 15:47

    Jack London is a writer I greatly admire, as much (or more) for his work ethic as for anything he ever wrote, though I did love both The Call of the Wild and White Fang when I read them as a teenager. In fact, they started me off on months worth of reading books with animals as central characters. Which I eventually moved away from, because, the farther you got from London, the worse the books got. But I digress...We often think of post-apocalyptic literature as being a new phenomenon but, really, it's not. In its modern iteration, it goes back almost 200 years, all the way to Mary Shelley, but even ancient cultures wrote apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories. With that in mind, London's The Scarlet Plague isn't all the old and isn't all that original in what it does. In fact, there are strong echoes of Shelley's The Last Man in London's book.What it does do that is interesting, though, is that it jumps 100 years ahead of when London wrote it and set that year as the apocalypse but, then, it jumps ahead another 60 years as its setting and has the last survivor of the collapse of civilization telling the story to his grandchildren. In that, we get both the story of the apocalypse and what happens after the apocalypse.Of course, one of the big draws for a book like this is seeing how the author was seeing his projected future. London miss-projected on flight and filled the air with dirigibles rather than airplanes. But he got wireless communication even if he did also keep newspapers. I suppose the downfall of physical print media would have been unfathomable during it's rise at the beginning of the 20th century. Amazingly, he also pegged the world population.There's a section where Smith is trying to explain diseases and germs to his grandchildren. That bit is particularly interesting in light of the current controversy over vaccines. I'm going to hazard a guess and say that London would have been pro-vaccine.It's a fairly short read, so, in that, it's certainly worth it. It took me less than two hours. And you can get it free for the Kindle, so it's hard to lose there, too. Seriously, it's more than worth it just to see the perspective of someone writing about now from 100 years ago. It's not the greatest thing ever, not even great by London standards, but it's good. And better than a lot of drivel coming out today.

  • Amy Rae
    2019-04-16 09:49

    Well, this was certainly a book. It's more interesting as a footnote about Jack London than a story in its own right--did you know that Jack London wrote a post-apocalyptic novel as well as all those damn dog books? Fascinating, huh? No, don't bother reading it, just know that he wrote it.The premise is interesting, and there's a mild tang of zeerust to it, since it's a writer envisioning in 1915 the downfall of humanity in 2013. (We survived the Scarlet Plague, everybody! Pat yourselves on the back.) And the parts that Jack London is usually good at are good: the world has reverted to nature in a very Sara Teasdale sort of way, all the animals are wild again, there's a nice image of a railroad overgrown by vegetation. That shit, and the descriptions of the Scarlet Plague (which sounds genuinely scary), is cool.And then there's the people. I don't know about you, but I don't come to Jack London's writing for the incredible humans, and this book is all about humans. And they're all shitheads who don't respect their elders, which is one of my kneejerk hated themes. And of course the women are really poorly characterized and basically exist as objects--but it's Jack London, so w/e.But the real shitty thing, the thing that keeps me from giving this more than two stars, is the way human devolution is portrayed. This is a story within a story, one being told by a grandfather to his "savage" grandchildren. In London's world, weeds have choked out cultivated crops, wolves have overtaken collies, and the lingua franca of the remaining people is a gabble only barely related to English. Humanity has been bred out of humans, because the "well-bred" had children with the human equivalent of weeds. The youngest generation is repeatedly described as savage and primitive, unable to count past ten (!), and they (and their "savage" progenitor, Chauffeur) repeatedly refer to wives as "squaws."I think the ugliest lines, for me, were these ones:In the midst of our civilization, down in our slums and labor-ghettos, we had bred a race of barbarians, of savages; and now, in the time of our calamity, they turned upon us like the wild beasts they were and destroyed us. And they destroyed themselves as well.If I turn my head and squint, I see what he might be going for--the idea that man, at heart, is a violent, "uncivilized" creature, with sprinklings of nature's indifference to human consciousness--but the way he does it is mired in a language that relies on racist and classist imagery. Other works of his take on similar themes more successfully.It's understandable and easy to contextualize within its time--it was written in 1915--and I can see it being potentially interesting for study. As pleasure reading, which is what I was doing, I think it falls down.(And honestly? It's kind of boring. "Old man tells a story to shithead grandchildren" isn't exactly the world's most interesting frame story, and the time of the Scarlet Plague quickly becomes a blur of "he died and she died and they died.")So now you know that Jack London wrote a short post-apocalyptic novel, and at the time, it might have been pretty unusual stuff. But what he's doing here has since been done better by other writers. I'd give them a try instead. Or honestly? Just go watch some Mad Max. You get the post-apocalypse clans of varying levels of cruelty, but it's a hell of a lot more entertaining, and sometimes Tina Turner is there.

  • Ed Mestre
    2019-04-21 15:02

    On a recent visit to Jack London Square in Oakland, CA I realized I hadn't read any Jack London works since adolescence. So, I checked into it & found one that wasn't in the Call of the Wild mold, a short novella format, with an interesting premise. The Scarlet Plague surprised me in that it's setting is the very familiar cities & locales around me in The San Francisco Bay area, but in the post apocalyptic year of 2072. It is a grandfather telling his rude & savage goatherd grandkids about the pre-apocalypse world & it's demise from the pandemic known as the Scarlet Plague. But the shocker is the plague hits in the summer of 2013 & here I am picking up the book in the spring of 2013. Are we having fun yet?It definitely brought to mind the classic "The Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart written some 4 decades after London's 1912 story. Both take place in the Bay area in a world decimated by a pandemic. I can't help but think that Stewart took the seed of London's novella & fleshed it out into the great sci fi novel that is "The Earth Abides."Part of the fun is not only seeing which predictions London got right (the president is elected by a council of business magnates), but also what he got wrong. In the world of 2012, before the plague, planes can actually fly at 200 mph! And the rich go all over in their dirigibles. Of course computers, much less the internet, are no where in London's sight. So, I guess this is a depressing story that was fun in its way. Better get some more reading done since the summer of 2013 is looming.

  • Shari
    2019-04-12 09:01

    My reading of The Scarlet Plague is quite timely. Set in the year 2013 (!), the story tells about a plague that kills so swiftly and spreads so efficiently that in just a matter of days humanity is nearly wiped out from the face of the earth. The event is narrated by Granser, a professor of literature, who seems to be immune to the plague. Through his story to a group of children he tells of how mankind plummets from its high culture to primitive conditions during and after the coming of the plague. His story is harrowing, saddening. London gave the setting a futuristic feel, with some science that could be convincing at the time he wrote this tale. But what completely touched me in this story is not the science nor the setting but what Granser has personally witnessed in his survival. His meeting with other survivors show that there are things far, far worse than dying of the Scarlet Plague, such as surviving and then only to suffer horribly in the hands of a brutal man. Granser’s efforts, disappointments, and failures in his fight to survive and gain back some semblance of the “civilized” life he had before the plague recur over the narrative. His and the other survivors’ fate gives an ironic perspective to the very things Granser once valued in life.

  • Kevin
    2019-04-14 09:54

    It was slightly jarring to read this in 2013, the year the Scarlet Plague is supposed to wipe out mankind. It reminded me of reading The Stand a few years ago when Swine Flu was all the rage.The storytelling is fairly descriptive and provides an interesting take on post-apocalyptic society. It portrays the resulting society as far more primitive than most other stories in the genre. It was interesting to see London's guesses at the technology existing in 2013. Some of the things he described vaguely enough that it was easy to fill in our own inventions (cellphones) for his technologies (speaking through the air). Although he appears to have drastically underestimated the utility and proliferation of automobiles, nothing that he suggests is too far outside the realm of possibility.I think this story could easily have been expanded upon, especially by examining things from another character's perspective or by taking things into the future even further as man attempts to reconquer the world. As it is though, it's a very enjoyable novella.

  • Bárbara
    2019-04-09 09:06

    3.5 estrellasUn libro post-apocalíptico que se acerca bastante a nuestra realidad. Sorprende la tríada cronológica: 1912, el año en que fue escrito; 2013, el año en que la peste escarlata afectó a la humanidad, y 2072, el año en que se encuentra el narrador de la historia, un abuelo que aún recuerda aquel mundo que sucumbió a la peste.El autor ofrece una visión muy cercana de nuestro mundo, tanto que asusta. Pero no sorprende lo que ocurre en el año 2072: la humanidad, con suerte, es una especie salvaje y cruel, con un pasado sepultado en el olvido.Hay que tener en cuenta que es una novela muy corta, así que es deficiente en un par de aspectos (por ejemplo, no se enfoca en mostrarnos a muchos personajes, así que sólo los hechos mueven la historia y eso resulta demasiado impersonal); sin embargo, la propuesta del autor es interesante y entretiene.Destaco la edición, con unas ilustraciones absolutamente fascinantes.

  • Natalie
    2019-04-13 14:49

    The scarlet plague was a very interesting, creative book. It told the tale of a plague that killed most of the population in 2012, and a survivor (a few decades after), educating his grandsons and telling them about life before and during the plague. It was enjoyable and intruiging to to hear and see our world in a new light, and a new decade. I was surprised to see the grandsons not do basic things like count above ten, or know what restaraunts are, but after thinking about it, I realised it wasn't so surprising. After all, the boys had never been to a school, or done things we would have done. It was very short, It wouldn't be a book that you would continuously read, but an interesting story to hear and see.

  • Dagio_maya
    2019-04-11 11:38

    "Tutto ciò che è fugace si scioglie come la schiuma (...) tutte le opere dell'umanità sul pianeta non erano altro che schiuma" Racconti (pubblicati tra il 1899 ed il 1918) di eventi straordinari dove l'uomo di London esprime un indole malvagia. L'uomo di scienza, in particolare, indaga in modo forsennato i misteri della vita e della morte e per raggiungere i suoi scopi non esistono scrupoli morali.La raccolta comprende:IL MORBO SCARLATTO - 1912LE MILLE MORTI -1899LA RIGENERAZIONEDEL MAGGIORE RATHBONE -1899UN RELITTO DEL PLIOCENE -1901L’OMBRA E IL BALENO- 1903IL NEMICO DEL GENERE UMANO - 1908IL GRANDE SOGNO DI DEBS- 1909GUERRA -1991IL ROSSEGGIANTE- 1918

  • Ahmed
    2019-04-22 12:02

    العالم ما بعد الكارثة..هل يستطيع الناجين من الطاعون اعادة الحضارة البشرية؟واذا عادت هل ستختلف عن الحضارات السابقة؟فكرة الرواية تتلخص في :كم هي هشة الحضارة البشرية!وكم هي متشابهة علي مر الأزمنة!

  • Nick
    2019-03-28 13:05

    London can be a little uneven in his writing, and this is not one of his best. However, the idea is really good and I'm glad he had a crack at the dystopian novel.

  • Carloesse
    2019-03-28 13:46

    Il mondo del futuro post-catastrofe dipinto qui da Jack London anticipa largamente l’ambientazione che farà da scenario in diversi altri libri di fantascienza distopica che ne sono seguiti e che specialmente oggi godono di particolare successo. Il che ne fa senz’altro motivo di interesse e modo di apprezzare le grandi capacità di visione e di narrazione di uno dei grandi padri della letteratura moderna, appartenente all’indiscutibile cerchia dei classici. Qui il racconto è piuttosto breve, e alla fine ne è chiaro l’intento apologetico: anche dopo la catastrofe la razza umana sembra destinata a rifondarsi sulle stesse premesse della società attuale: chi si sente destinato al potere in base alla propria forza, chi in base alla propria intelligenza o furbizia, chi è innvece destinato ad obbedire ed essere sfruttato, credendo supinamente a tutto ciò che gli può essere inculcato perché così destinato dalla sua ignoranza. I tre nipoti del vecchio che narra loro (da ultimo testimone –superstite) di come in pochissimo tempo l’umanità fu annientata da un microrganismo invisibile sembra incarnino già le tre possibilità che la società umana ha sempre creato in ogni luogo del mondo. Il futuro sembra destinato a rigenerare ancora una volta il passato. Da notare che La peste scarlatta, scritto nel primo decennio dello scorso secolo, è ambientato curiosamente proprio ai nostri giorni, nel secondo decennio del nostro secolo.Lo sfruttamento dell’ignoranza e l’interesse delle classi al potere perché le masse vi permangano anche con l’uso della coercizione e della forza è peraltro anche il tema portante dell’altro ancora più breve racconto compreso nello stesso libro (“Un frammento curioso”), proiettato in un futuro ancora più spinto (viene riportato come un frammento storico risalente al XXVI o al XXVII secolo pubblicato nel 4427) dove la classica ripartizione nelle tre classi suddette viene sempre più duramente e iniquamente applicata.Appare quindi chiaro il pessimismo di London, che spinge però a considerare le armi della cultura e della conoscenza come le sole possibili per risollevare il mondo dall’ingiustizia e ineguaglianza cui sembra inevitabilmente predestinato.La lettura è godibile. London, come già detto è un grande scrittore. Ma ben più affascinante, scritto negli stessi anni e con un titolo simile mi è parso il lungo romanzo “La nube purpurea “ di Shiel, ugualmente ambiento dopo una catastrofe distruttiva del mondo e che racconta dell’unico uomo miracolosamente sopravvissuto, unico almeno fino a che non incontra anche una giovane donna…Meno intenti politico-sociali, ma un respiro ben più ampio sotto l’aspetto puramente letterario, nello sviluppo di una storia più complessa, nella descrizione delirante di un mondo in lento disfacimento, della follia che lentamente progredisce nell’uomo lasciato solo, padrone del mondo…3 stelle, ma più allo scrittore che all'opera. Troppo apertamente apologetica per i miei gusti,.

  • Misha
    2019-04-17 10:51

    This is a strange little future dystopian novella by an author better known for his rugged portrayals of people and dogs surviving the Alaskan wilderness. I’m going through a phase of fascination with authors associated with capital “L” Literature who also wrote speculative fiction, e.g., E.M. Forster and his novella “The Machine Stops,” published in 1909 that is eerily evocative of the loneliness of life in the Internet age. Likewise, “The Scarlet Plague” was published in 1912, but envisions a post-apocalyptic 2073 in which a global pandemic has wiped out most of humanity and civilization along with it. The epidemiological disaster itself happens in 2013 and is recounted by an elderly man to his three grandchildren, who have never known anything but a wild, violent world full of predators and hard-scrabble living. London’s vision of a century hence (now our present) is in some ways prescient in that he foresees the inevitable evolution of capitalism toward a system in which the gap between the haves and have-nots has become an insurmountable chasm, and corporations quite literally rule the world through the Board of Magnates. I wondered as I read this whether this novella served as inspiration for the Canadian TV series Continuum and its vision of a future world ruled by a Corporate Congress, which seems especially timely now in the United States given that it appears political interests have become beholden to corporate interests, and there is a demonstrably growing gap between the wealthy and the middle- and lower-classes. In “The Scarlet Plague,” the corporate-dominated class system (which also has some room, if not at the top at least in the upper middle, for the intellectual elite, of which the narrator was a member as a university professor) falls apart when the plague ravages the population in a matter of days. The primary symptom is redness of the face and extremities, followed by a cold, numbing paralysis that spreads over the course of about an hour from the extremities to the heart, thereby killing the patient. It reads like Movie Medicine ™ rather than the way any disease works in the real world, but I’m willing to handwave the medical science since ultimately that's just a MacGuffin.People die so fast that society falls apart. Most of the living flee the cities, which fall prey not only to the plague but to riots, looters and large-scale fires.But it takes a while to get to that. The first third or so of the narration feels like a precursor to McCarthy’s The Road, with the grandfather and one of his grandchildren hunting for food along the ruins of a railroad. The child is painted as nearly feral. Apparently, in the course of three generations, language has been all but lost, and the child is described as speaking a sort of broken pidgin and the grandfather (once an English professor) is mocked for his “nonsensical” speech, or what we’d know as proper English. The initial part of the story is about the grandfather’s sense of isolation. The world has changed and left him behind, nostalgic for the world that was, for the taste of food from a restaurant or for the books he once loved. He also seems nostalgic for the highly stratified class system (which I suppose makes sense because he was a beneficiary), even though he tells the three boys after linking up with the other two on a beach that the ready availability of food led to the enslavement of much of the population by the corporations. In the new world order, it isn’t money or birth or education that defines who rises to the top – it’s literal survival of the fittest, the strongest, the most brutal.The most dramatic and interesting part of the narrative comes when the grandfather tells the tale of the plague striking San Francisco, attempting to ride it out in a university building, and escaping from the city when that plan fails. I suppose the real point of the story is the grandfather’s mourning of the loss of knowledge. In just 60 years, so much of human knowledge has been lost that his grandchildren don’t even know how to count higher beyond 10 – they can’t count any number for which they can’t use their fingers. He tries to teach them, but they reject his attempts as frivolous. The only skills that matter to the boys are the ones needed to procure food – which is much harder to come by than in the grandfather’s youth. While easy access to food enslaved people to the corporations, it also allowed them to engage in more academic and artistic pursuits, or at least for the members of the grandfather’s class. For the lower classes, I don’t know that much changes from one society to another. Life is hard either way. It does raise some interesting questions similar to those tackled by Continuum, namely how much liberty is worth trading for comfort and security, especially when security is an illusion and something as simple as a nasty little microbe could bring it all down?

  • Monica
    2019-03-27 07:39

    No hay duda alguna que London era una grandísimo escritor, especialmente dotado para narrar los idilios y desavenencias por la Naturaleza (y todo lo que ésa palabra abarcaba), por lo tanto muy indicado en lo que es el terreno en ése campo sobre la especulación futura de nuestra sociedad. Y he aquí de dónde se inicia la trama de ‘La peste Escarlata’; mediante el relato, a tres de sus descendientes, del único anciano superviviente de los días previos al Apocalipsis social y tecnológico que comportó un virus mortal a nivel mundial en el 2012. El escenario y cuasi omnipresente terrero ficticio narrativo de la obra, comienza sesenta años después que dicho virus desolara el universo. Partimos con un antiguo profesor que está por los montes y playas salvajes de lo que antiguamente fue uno de los estados de America. Allí el viejo pastura con sus primitivos familiares, intentándoles transmitir su disciplina y modales, y corregirles sus bárbaros hábitos (el hombre sin avance ni conocimiento, vuelve a sacar su origen inherente más temible). Y a partir de entonces les relatará e intentará hacer ver, lo que fueron los días anteriores al cataclismo, haciendo un tour de force para inculcarles los valores y sistemas que les serán útiles para cuando se repueble de la especie e intente el hombre mandar nuevamente sobre la naturaleza (que vemos a través del lógico mensaje de London que siempre acaba venciendo a las debilidades y absurdas aptitudes de los humanos).Y el porqué de su excelencia, más que por su premonición ( si bien, hay que resaltar que el autor acertó la estimación del número de la población mundial para el 2013), es por su sabia reflexión filosófica de la vuelta a los orígenes del individuo humano, que no deja de ser el antaño troglodita vestido (o disfrazado), que asoma cuando las circunstancias se tornan totalmente desapacibles y extremas, dando rienda suelta a su intento de imposición sobre las clases y géneros, su extrema conducta frente a los peligros que no puede enfrentar, en parte por su incapacidad y tendencia a la disgregación de los que consideró en los tiempos civilizados cómo ‘Útil e inútil’, conservando y destruyendo uno y otro. Y es por ende que , lo verdaderamente salvaje y fuerte gana la partida. El hombre queda reducido a la acción en su forma de pensamiento básica, hasta que un día, si llega, avance y vuelva al desarrollo, en algunos campos necesario y que es un bien, hasta que sus malas artes y mezquinad lo reduzcan a la nada y lo puramente salvaje, que no fuerte. London sabe retratar perfectamente la cruda radiografía que podría ser un futuro en retroceso primitivo y tecnológico, la vuelta a los sectarismos y comunidades, con tribus dictatoriales, y líderes, que imponen y desafían a los demás, intentando mostrar su superioridad mediante la crueldad con las razas de la naturaleza, enseñando sus estúpidos trofeos ( lo que antes eran collares con huesos, y en la era moderna fue el despido masivo de empleados, el lanzamiento de mísiles o el exhibicionismo de un Rolls, dependiendo de la escala de cada particular, regresa al maltrato puro, el intento de dominación de géneros y especies, y la muestras de trofeos animales).Y no sólo eso, su narración, aparte del realismo que mencioné,está impregnada de olor, grafismo en esencia, meditación y acción vertiginosa cuando se requiere. Todo en poco más de cien páginas.Pese a no ser redonda en vaticinio, pues sólo el más osado en ése campo de la sci fi podría intentarlo con mayor o menos fortuna, es muy notable en desarrollo lógico y planteamiento futuro de una sociedad avocada al desastre y el comienzo nuevamente.Así pues, ‘La peste escarlata’ es una obra recomendable para todos, que es incapaz que no haga reflexionar, aún sabiéndolo, a la vez que el lector admirará la inteligencia y saber escrito de éste gran maestro.

  • Elena T.
    2019-04-18 13:02

    Anno 2073. Un ragazzo e suo nonno, coperti di pellicce animali, vagano attraverso le profondità dei boschi. Il nonno, in particolare, era conosciuto come capace professore di letteratura presso l'Università della California ma nel 2013 sono improvvisamente comparsi i primi sintomi di una nuova peste che ha iniziato ad uccidere un numero sempre più alto di persone a New York. Gli infetti hanno sviluppato un rash scarlatto e sono andati incontro alla morte anche gli scienziati batteriologici che cercavano il vaccino: non ci è voluto molto prima che i morti diventassero milioni."La peste scarlatta" di Jack London, altro non è che il racconto del professore miracolosamente sopravvissuto insieme ad altri, che adesso costituiscono la sua cerchia famigliare.Pubblicato originariamente nel 1912 tra le pagine del London Magazine, questo romanzo breve è un piccolo gioiellino della letteratura americana. Una visione apocalittica integrata ad una lucida critica della struttura sociale moderna e che di quest'ultima tratta alcuni dei temi portanti: l'integrazione e l'accettazione, la lotta tra classi sociali (vedi dominio tra i clan del romanzo), ripartizioni di beni e ricchezze, fratellanza.Inoltre, Jack London presenta il personaggio del professore come l'eroe, il sopravvissuto. I ragazzi ai quali lui racconta la sua fuga e la sua storia sono nati dopo l'epidemia del 2013 ed hanno quindi una visione del mondo moderno completamente diversa. Addirittura, questi sono scettici e ascoltano i racconti del "nonno" con superficiale interesse: è l'immagine del futuro che non sa comprendere il passato.La comunicazione nel 2073 è pressoché inesistente, tutto è distrutto. Non vi è alcun modo di comunicare tra i Paesi e la società è regredita ad un'esistenza nomade. Regna la violenza e una visione evolutiva della società non è più pensiero dominante per i nuovi nati.Trattando queste tematiche, Jack London propone quindi qualcosa di attualissimo con un linguaggio semplice e non pretenzioso, e la sua "Peste scarlatta" è oggigiorno prezioso oggetto di studi umanistici e scolastici ed un must-have per tutte le librerie casalinghe.[Una rilettura che ho voluto ri-fare sulla spinta di un serial tv che mi sta piacendo molto, The 100, tratto dal libro omonimo e vagamente ispirato a London].