The post-apocalyptic fiction of…

It is the year 2073.  A world population of eight billion people has been devastated by a biological agent.

Isolated pockets of survivors have reverted to a primitive existence.

Stephen King?  Richard Matheson?  H.G. Wells?

How about Jack London?

What, you don’t think of Jack London as a science fiction writer?  The author of The Call of the Wild  and White Fang actually wrote several works that could be called science fiction/fantasy.

When popular writing meant writing for magazines (and often getting paid by the word…as little as a penny), authors wrote in many genres.  Did you know   Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote boxing stories (as did London and Robert E. Howard)?

In a sense, the cheap magazines were like televison…popular stories sold inexpensively, easily pigeon-holed.  If you bought a Western pulp, you knew what you were getting.  You came back to encounter the same characters:   Sherlock Holmes,  Zorro, Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon was serialized, and there were a few short stories, including one in Colliers).   

That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some great writing, and thinking outside the box.  There was (and some that wasn’t great as well, of course).  It’s different now, when a successful author can make a living writing a book a year. 

The ability to go back and discover these works (often for free) on the Kindle is a great thing!  If they were first published before 1923 in the US, they are in the public domain…in the US.  However, a lot of later magazine stories didn’t have their copyrights properly renewed, and have also fallen into the public domain.

London’s 1912 post-apocalyptic novella is called The Scarlet Plague.  It was fun for me to read, especially since it takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live.   I’ve actually sat and read my Kindle where one of the earliest scenes take place.  Of course, when London was writing, there wasn’t a Bay Bridge or a Golden Gate Bridge, so his sense of the place is a bit different than mine.

Why not give some of these public domain freebies a try?  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Here are some places to get The Scarlet Plague for free…that will give you a chance to compare the sites, if you want:

The Scarlet Plague at 
The Scarlet Plague at 
The Scarlet Plague at 

Amazon also has it for ninety-nine cents at time of writing:

The Scarlet Plague at Amazon 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

4 Responses to “The post-apocalyptic fiction of…”

  1. Don’t dys the topia « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] It could be a war (especially atomic/nuclear), a plague (as is the case with Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague), an Electro-Magnetic Pulse, and so on. Commonly in the PAW (Post-Apocalyptic World), following […]

  2. 100 years ago: free books from 1913 « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Adam and, in 1912 (“last year” in this post), a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, The Scarlet Plague. Valley of the Moon is a much more realistic piece. It involves a working class couple in Oakland […]

  3. Should books be sold as gender specific? | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Jack London wrote science fiction, even a post-apocalyptic tale. […]

  4. Stephen King given National Medal of Arts | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] London? Post-apocalyptic fiction (The post-apocalyptic fiction of…) and past life cave people  (Before […]

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