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Before Adam

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
A young man in modern America is terrorized by visions of an earlier, primitive life. Across the enormous chasm of thousands of centuries, his consciousness has become entwined with that of Big-Tooth, an ancestor living at the dawn of humanity. Big-Tooth makes his home in Pleistocene Africa, a ferocious, fascinating younger world torn by incessant conflict between early hu ...more
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Published September 10th 2010 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1906)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jake
Nov 25, 2009 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I happened on this one during a browse session at my local used book dealer. Since I remember loving Call of the Wild , this seemed a no-brainer to try. Furthermore, thanks to the first section of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 , I was also anxious to see another fictional take on prehistoric humans. Both as a Jack London outing, and another dip into literature about prehistoric times, this book paid off.

Before Adam may not be as attractive a story as other Jack London fare. The content reads even mo
...more
Nick
Unexpectedly awesome. The entire thing is on libravox, which is how I listened to it. This is technically a work of science fiction, I suppose. Its premised on an idea of "genetic memory" which Im pretty sure is wholly discredited. The narrator has a genetically imprinted memory of his ancestors, particularly one ancestry: A prehuman ape. But its just a premise to get you into the real story. The story of that ape's life. Its fascinating to read a narration of such a life. The ape is born into a ...more
Beste Bal
Jul 25, 2016 Beste Bal rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Klasiklerin kapaklarının 'klasik' olmak zorunda olmadığını düşünenlerin elinden çıkma kapak tasarımıyla Jack London'ın harrika hayal dünyasının şahane birlikteliği. Epey heyecanlanarak okudum, hatta geç okuduğum bir metin olduğunu da düşünüyorum, oldukça ufuk açıcı bir metin. Martin Eden, hayatımda çok ciddi bir değişimin tetikleyicisiyken Âdem’den Önce de yeni bir kapı araladı algımda.
Chris
Feb 19, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting glimpse into what life was like for primordial man. The story begins with a modern man who is having dreams and nightmares which are of a type so distressing and profound, that they are disabling to his waking life. In these dreams he is embodied in an early evolutive stage of humanity predating homo sapiens—basically a low-intelligence caveman—and through these dreams he relives an entire lifetime of intermittent images and experiences that he later puzzles together into ...more
Charles
Dec 26, 2008 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I have an earlier edition. Not one of London's best but it is pretty decent.
Chris
Jul 02, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always loved London for his naturalistic adventure writing; here, he's applied that to the prehistoric age, the Pleistocene in specific, a time when three separate groups of humanoids exist. First are the Tree People, arboreal humanoids closer to savage apes. Next are the Cave People (the “Folk”), a race on the verge of culture, living both in trees and cave shelters, developing the seeds of language and tools. Last are the Fire People, who have yet to master domestication but whose tools i ...more
George
Feb 23, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Αυτή είναι μόλις η δεύτερη επαφή μου με το έργο του μεγάλου Τζακ Λόντον, μετά το Κάλεσμα της Άγριας Φύσης που διάβασα τον Ιανουάριο του 2013. Δεν είναι και τόσο γνωστό βιβλίο όσο άλλα του, είναι όμως πραγματικά πολύ ωραίο και ιδιαίτερα καλογραμμένο, που με αρκετό ρεαλισμό αναδεικνύει έναν κόσμο μακρινό, έναν κόσμο από τον οποίο προερχόμαστε.

Ένας άντρας στη σύγχρονη Αμερική μας περιγράφει τα οράματα του, οράματα ενός πολύ, μα πολύ μακρινού προγόνου του, του Μεγαλοδόντη, που έζησε στην Αφρική στην
...more
Shaun
Oct 08, 2013 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a short, but sweet, Jack London work.

London is primarily known for Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf, which on one level can be read as adventure stories for children, but they resonate on much deeper levels. Before Adam is a science fiction novel, for lack of a better term, and it too can be read as an adventure story, but again, to do so slights London's talents.

London is dealing with some heavy themes here: the cold and callous nature of evolution, and the ideas of racial
...more
John Montagne
Jul 17, 2012 John Montagne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paleoliterature (some call prehistoric Lit.) at its finest. It remains vague enough to label some of the humanoids, whether they be australopithecus, Cro-Magnon or other unidentified precursor race. Yet defines them enough to get a real sense of 'humans' of the past. Granted, these species did not co-exist (as far as evidence is concerned at this time), but it in no way detracts from the story's historical value. The vehicle used as a transit to the past is interesting, the main character dreams ...more
Clark Smeltzer
Aug 31, 2009 Clark Smeltzer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hesperus Press is a godsend for those looking to find out of print or not so popular titles from major authors. This is one of two Jack London titles I have read from them-the other being "The Red Plague." Read the synopsis (for the Red Plague) and one might assume that Cormac McCarthy gave it a read before writing "The Road." The only problem I have with Hesperus is that they often set a publication date for a particular title and then don't actually publish the title. Can be frustrating. Anyho ...more
Last Ranger
Feb 05, 2014 Last Ranger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In The Forest Primeval---.

Suppose you were having dreams of a previous life. Not just from someone who lived a generation or two ago, but an ancestor that lived thousands of years ago and who was not human. Written by Jack London in the early days of the 20th century, Before Adam was first published 1907 (serialized) in Everybody's Magazine then later, in book form, as a novel. The hero of the story is a modern day man with two personae; in the wake-a-day world the modern man, in the sleeping dr
...more
Reid
Just a simple tale of you and me as cavemen and tree-dwellers, with a modern man "remembering" his ancient alter ego, relating his dreamscapes as a proto-human, competing and evolving with the Tree-dwellers and Fire-men. A lovely perfectly executed turn of the century simple story of man's evolution. This illustrated version is totally recommended. Big-Tooth lives! Long live Big-Tooth.

What else? Why am I tempted to add his grinning smile as a favorite after only 240 illustrated pages? One, becau
...more
Kevin
Jul 10, 2016 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was written just a few years before Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan of the Apes," and I wonder if it helped inspire that classic adventure tale. There are vague similarities, though the Jack London work convincingly uses dreams and racial (or species) memories to convey its version of the noble savage, in this case what it might have been like to live as an Australopithecus in prehistoric times. The work holds up pretty well today in spite of the many discoveries in paleo-anthropology over th ...more
Johnny Waco
This is the grandaddy of prehistoric fiction, with a much tougher edge than later novels that cover similar territory, such as Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear. A young man realizes that the vivid, interlocking dreams that have terrified him since childhood are actually racial memories from a proto-human ape-like species that had advanced to living in caves, communicating with a few rudimentary words, and living in monogamous "marriages." In most ways however, it is still a world "red in tooth and c ...more
Michelle
Read this in elementary and re-read it in high school. Lent it to someone, and never saw it again. Forgot about it until I went on a field trip on Amtrak (picked up train at Jack London Square), and the parents/teachers/chaperones were discussing our favorite London stories. This was my first pick, and I was quite surprised no one, not even the teachers, had heard of it. OK, I think the teacher who was there at the time had heard of it (not sure if the others were there at that moment, so no fai ...more
Marian Allen
May 22, 2011 Marian Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
London, using the science current at the time and a rigorous imagination, has created a pre-linguistic hominid society. London frames the story as a modern man's organization and chronological recounting of atavistic dreams he's had since childhood informed by adult study and contemplation. This enables him to communicate between what he imagines as the pre-human thought process and the modern human one. It's brilliantly done. A compelling read. I wish it weren't over.
Sherif
Oct 08, 2015 Sherif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
رواية جميلة جدا واللي زود جمالها إنها بتستند لأساس علمي ويناقش نظرية التطور بطريقة روائية جميلة وتوضح كيف كان يحدث صراع بين أنواع البشر الأوائل فالأرقي يقضون علي الأدني والبقاء حينئذ للأقوي وكيف أن نوع من الرئيسيات حين يعيش في غير فصيلته يكون وبالا وبلاءا علي هذه الفصيلة ...
الطريقة التي بدأ بها الراوي كتابه هو ما أكسب هذه الرواية متعتها .
Gregory Milliron
Aug 04, 2011 Gregory Milliron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable and brief book. I would have been interested in a little more development at the end, but it could have gone too far. A risky subject to be fictionalized at such a time. I am embarrassed to say that I have never read a Jack London book. I will probably look into the better known novels, later.
Sharon
Oct 18, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack takes us back till we still lived in the trees, and his hero had to fight an even more primitive member of the tribe. Jack London's tales are ageless. He just plain tells great yarns.

Reccommend it highly to anyone who like adventure.
Ecce
İnsansı kimliğimizin sirk hayvanların ki gibi yitirilmesine göz yuman, bunlara çanak tutan ve görmezlikten gelen, para verip eğlencesine ortak olan içinde yaşadığımız hayatla yazar bir benzerlik kurar.
Ivan
Nov 13, 2015 Ivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rollicking adventure of pre-historic man told by a master. I haven't read anything by London in years (decades even) and had quite forgotten the urgency and energy of his prose.
Carol Giles
Jul 13, 2014 Carol Giles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a review. I just loved it. Plain & simple.
Gökhan
Jan 21, 2015 Gökhan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Öylesine yazılmış bir kitap gibi daha çok farklı kitaplara yönelmekte fayda var diye düşünüyorum.
Dan
Jan 02, 2017 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique book.
Turin Turambar
One thing hugely pissed me off about this book (wouldn't really call it a spoiler): the gross misrepresentation of darwinism. I'm a big fan of Jack London, with White Fang, The Seawolf and The Call of the Wild being my favorites. But in this instance he reveald himself to be maddeningly clueless about evolutinary theory - and he should have known better, because the knowledge of his time and even slightly earlier was more than enough to avoid such gross mistakes if you bothered to open some book ...more
Irena
Sep 13, 2012 Irena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Yeap. Jack London. Name sounds catchy, as if I heart it somewhere before. Nope, haven't read anything of him. That's where I left it at, with no intention to read any of his works anytime in the future. Then I was presented with a copy of the book [thankyouthankyouthankyou :D] and it looked like a day's read so why not?

A few pages and I was already sucked in. I loathed sleep because it meant having to continue tomorrow.

Once I was halfway through I earnestly said on the phone: "wow, the langua
...more
Grady Ormsby
Oct 10, 2016 Grady Ormsby added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
After having read Dan Brown’s Inferno, my art history friend said Brown was “mostly right.” After having read Jack London’s Before Adam I am left wondering what paleoanthropologists and geologists might say. The novel is a classic of speculative fiction. The main character is a hominid Australopithecine. The setting is the swamps, plains and forests of the Mid-Pleistocene Era, from two to four million years ago. London can certainly be forgiven for any scientific inconsistencies. When he wrote t ...more
Lemar
Jan 13, 2012 Lemar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack London uses his protean intellect and imagination to tell a gripping and thought provoking story once again. There was a flurry of books inspired by acceptance of Evolution in the decades following Darwin's published theory. London sets his tale circa 100,000 BC. The story of the main character is revealed through dreams had by a modern human of what he can only conclude was a life of an ancestor.

This is the first of two instances in which Jack London shows a true science fiction bent in t
...more
بسام عبد العزيز
عندما تحاول أن تكتب بطريقة جديدة فيجب ان يكون هناك مبرر لهذا.. لابد ان تخدم الفكرة الجديدة أحداث الرواية بشكل ما.. و إلا ستكون مجرد حشو فارغ.. و من الأفضل وقتها أن تعود للكتابة بالأسلوب التقليدي..

الكاتب اخترع فكرة .. البطل يحلم بأحداث وقعت له في العصور الحجرية.. و معنه كلمة "وقعت له" إما أن روحه انتقلت عبر الزمن عبر الأجساد. و إما أنه يحمل ذكريات أجداده جينيا.. و في الحالتين فالبطل يتذكر تلك الأحداث اثناء نومه على شكل أحلام..
ثم تبدأ القصة الحقيقة بأن يبدأ البطل في سرد "أحلامه".. او "ذكرياته" في
...more
Indra Barrios Lasso
Reading Jack London’s Before Adam…kind of different from the ones I’d read before (Call of the Wild and White Fang). The first person is something that really attracts me when reading a book or seeing a movie. Seems that I’m really submerged into the story by the hand of the author. This is what Jack London is doing to me now. One of my favorite parts of Before Adam…it is just beautiful! The way he describes the true feeling of being part of the other. A friend. Someone who stands by you no matt ...more
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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“Here were we, drawn together by mutual rage and the impulse toward cooperation, led off into forgetfulness by the establishment of a rude rhythm.” 1 likes
“As imagination grew it is likely that the fear of death increased until the Folk that were to come projected this fear into the dark and peopled it with spirits.” 1 likes
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