Radium Age science fiction novel by Jack London: The Scarlet Plague

Jack London’s 1912 science fiction novel The Scarlet Plague, which is part of HiLobrow's Radium Age library, is now available at Amazon.com.

201205081536Jack London’s plague novel, in which the world’s population has been reduced to a few scattered bands of primitive scavengers, has influenced subsequent science-fiction apocalypses and dystopias — from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four to the movies Road Warrior and Idiocracy.

Outside the ruins of San Francisco, a former UC Berkeley professor of literature recounts the chilling sequence of events which led to his current lowly state — a gruesome pandemic which killed nearly every living soul on the planet, in a matter of days. Modern civilization tottered and fell, and a new race of barbarians — the western world's brutalized workers — assumed power everywhere.

Over the space of a few decades, all learning has been lost. Unlike the professor on Gilligan's Island, the narrator is the least useful member of a thriving tribe, whose younger generation (who boast names like Hoo-Hoo and Har-Lip) are mostly descended from a the tribe's brutish founder. He was known only by the title of his former occupation, so the tribe's name is: Chauffeur.

A bleak, at times darkly humorous glimpse into the future by an author best known for red-blooded adventure yarns set in the Klondike Gold Rush.


The Scarlet Plague