Book blog

1000 before 30 #3: The Scarlet Plague – by Jack London

Another classic, this time set in a post-apocalyptic California. Everyone worthwhile has been wiped out after a mysterious disease swept throughout the world in the year 2013.

Now just 60 years later, the primitive, pathetic shadow of the human race still survives in tribes.

In this book, the oldest man alive tells the story of how the plague ended civilization as he knew it to his grandchildren. Although the concept was great, the execution of this short story was terrible. I mean, this man who was supposedly a university professor just a few decades ago let his grandchild be called Hare-Lip. Really? Nothing could be less believable. I get how this was mean to be pure darwinism, shown especially when the children trick the elderly grandad into eating invisible ‘crab’ that they caught. But it just conveyed the general thought that if humanity is so easily undone, what is the point of it in the first place?

I can understand why the survivors would want to move on with their lives, but nothing of the abandoned cities are mentioned. Surely if they had survived the outbreak, the next generation of survivers would have sufficient curiosity to travel back and explore the empty streets of what once was civilisation?

Definitely food for thought and fuel for an argument fire on the intrinsic what-ifs presented by the now-classic American apocalypse scenario.

Favourite quote: “Imagine, my grandsons, people, thicker than the salmon-run you have seen on the Sacramento river, pouring out of the cities by millions, madly over the country, in vain attempt to escape the ubiquitous death. You see, they carried the germs with them.”

This is the latest in a series of books reviewed for my 1000 books before 30 series (see full explanation here). This also marks almost the end of January, an abysmal month for my reading schedule.

Although I am catching up with the books that I have already read this year in these posts, please feel free to share your recommendations for other books and thoughts on this one in the comments box below!

Featured image: Creative commons photo courtesy of Doug88888

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