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The Scarlet Plague

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London
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Known mainly for his tales of adventure, this work of science fiction by Jack London is set in a post-apocalyptic future.

It’s 2072, sixty years after the scarlet plague has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few survivors of the pre-plague era 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. Through his narrative, we learn how the plague spread throughout the world and of the struggles of the handful of survivors it left in its wake.

The Scarlet Plague was originally published in London Magazine in 1912.

First Page:

THE SCARLET PLAGUE

By Jack London

Illustrated By Gordon Grant

1915

THE SCARLET PLAGUE

I

THE way led along upon what had once been the embankment of a railroad. But no train had run upon it for many years. The forest on either side swelled up the slopes of the embankment and crested across it in a green wave of trees and bushes. The trail was as narrow as a man's body, and was no more than a wild animal runway. Occasionally, a piece of rusty iron, showing through the forest mould, advertised that the rail and the ties still remained. In one place, a ten inch tree, bursting through at a connection, had lifted the end of a rail clearly into view. The tie had evidently followed the rail, held to it by the spike long enough for its bed to be filled with gravel and rotten leaves, so that now the crumbling, rotten timber thrust itself up at a curious slant. Old as the road was, it was manifest that it had been of the mono rail type.

An old man and a boy travelled along this runway. They moved slowly, for the old man was very old, a touch of palsy made his movements tremulous, and he leaned heavily upon his staff... Continue reading book >>


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