Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Post-Apocalyptic Centennial Classic

A century ago, when MPL was first established as a public library, Jack London published his post-apocalyptic science fiction novella, The Scarlet Plague.  Like most of London's literary output, it became a popular read among teens and preteens.  Adults, too, were impressed by its thoughtful, insightful themes.  Our book trailer gives a hint what to expect.

MPL Book Trailer #154

Post-apocalyptic literature is really huge with young adults and tweens right now.  To provide some sense of perspective in this genre, it is helpful to read the classics.  This is certainly one of them.  It's much easier to read than Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's The Last Man (1826), which is also a post-apocalyptic novel of considerable power.  It is filled with political and social commentaries, just as was her more famous novel, Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus (1818).  But early 19th century Gothic novels are replete with flowery language that modern readers struggle to digest.  That's no reason to avoid reading classic literature--a little cognitive workout is good for your brain--but readers looking for a more modern writing style will definitely find it with Jack London, whose straightforward journalistic tone makes the story move along quite smoothly.

Considering that London wrote The Scarlet Plague a century ago, it is impressive that so many of its elements resonate with 21st century societies.  With modern pandemics emerging, the topic remains fertile for science fiction and keeps London's novella relevant to contemporary readers.

This is a short book, so it will keep you occupied for an afternoon or evening.  You'll be pondering the themes discussed long after you've finished the story.

Is the book available in the Evergreen Indiana online catalog?  There's one way to find out.



Read White Fang Sometime, Too,

Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat


P.S.  Looking for an audiobook version of The Scarlet Plague?  Here's part one of a ten-part recording available on YouTube.

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