Артём Багинский's Reviews > The Scarlet Plague

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London
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's review
Sep 05, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: retro-speculative
Read in August, 2011

Read this as part of my personal compulsory early speculative fiction programme. I didn't like the storytelling, although I can see what the writer was trying to do - switch back and forth between the birds eye overview of the past couple of centuries (from character's perspective) and a personal story, like between universal (whatever happened to earth, society, humankind) and particular (whatever happened to this guy and people he came across). But, because the guy's audience is too far removed from the fallen civilisation, he has to explain too much and the whole thing sounds too... didactic, like a book for not very bright children. I guess that choice of audience, or Jack London's opinion of its wit, was the mistake, because now it's to me, that he talks like to a dumb wild boy.

Interestingly, the pre-plague society of writer's future (main character's past) is recognizable rather as Jack London's contemporary one. That's one of the reasons I enjoy old SF and proto-SF so much – for these intentional or not marks of the context in which a work came to exist.

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