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The Scarlet Plague

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Author: Jack London
Published: 1915
Language: English
Wordcount: 21,301 / 66 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 86
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,428
Added to site: 2007.06.30 17499

A harrowing vision of a post-apocalyptic future.

Show Excerpt

's toil upon the planet was just so much foam. He domesticated the serviceable animals, destroyed the hostile ones, and cleared the land of its wild vegetation. And then he passed, and the flood of primordial life rolled back again, sweeping his handiwork away--the weeds and the forest inundated his fields, the beasts of prey swept over his flocks, and now there are wolves on the Cliff House beach." He was appalled by the thought. "Where four million people disported themselves, the wild wolves roam to-day, 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--"

The adjective had caught Hare-Lip's ear.

"He's always saying that," he said to Edwin. "What is scarlet?"

"'The scarlet of the maples can shake me like the cry of bugles going by,'" the old man quoted.

"It's red," Edwin answered the question. "And you don't know it because you come from the Chauffeur Tribe. T

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****

Good post apocalyptic story told from the perspective of an old man, who remembers how it used to be.


Great read, a short story about a plague called the Red Death wiping out most of the worlds population. The "what" and "when" is answered by James Smith who tells his the "history" to his "primitive" grandsons, of course his grandsons listen to him like, as if, he is telling them tall tales which is amusing, not that this story is meant to be funny, or is it? no, no, its not meant to be funny but its definitely a good read

Reminds me of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.



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