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‘Out of the Burning City’
The Scarlet Plague, A Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian Future by Jack London,
In this bleak masterpiece—possibly the most depressing thing I have read—Jack London drew on his first hand knowledge of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and his dusky mind’s eye to predict a future 2012 in which natural resources have been depleted to the point where crabs are a delicacy and the inner cities had bred a class of savage predators who would burn the city that had spawned them at the first opportunity—yes, like watching Deadliest Catch during the Baltimore Riots…
The tale begins in 2072 as an aged man tells his grandchildren about the scarlet plague that took most of humanity in 2012. A glimpse of the post apocalyptic future is had. But the story is predominantly about the staff of a San Francisco University fighting their way out of the burning city against lower class “prowlers” 60 years earlier.
The pace of The Scarlet Plague is much better than the Iron Heel, and the story much more immediate. Below are some select quotes.
“The Savage Progeny of Our Loins”
“We who were yet clean”
“Individuals had to be sacrificed”
“The Crumbling Rotten Timber”
“We had bred a race of barbarians”
“Altogether the most nauseating specimen of filth and degradation”
A hundred years ago Jack London predicted that the civilized Americans of this age of ours would be entirely incapable of fending for themselves, against the readymade savages coughed up by our urban spawning grounds, and that our massive political machine would stand helpless before whatever force capable of shaking the foundations of such an artificial world order.
"Men will increase, and men will fight... Some will fight, some will rule, and some will pray..."
Most fiction flies in the face of these realities. London's work does not, staying true to our heritage.
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CollinsJul 1, 2015

Thanks.

This story shared an interesting plot point with Evelyn Waugh's novel, 'A Handful of Dust.'
responds:Jul 1, 2015

You know Collins, I've been thinking since my review that Cormac McCarthy's The Road, might be heavily indebted to this work of London's.

Thanks for the heads up on the Evelyn Waugh novel.
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