The Scarlet Plague

Read by James Christopher

(4.3 stars; 134 reviews)

Known mainly for his tales of adventure, this work of science fiction by Jack London is set in a post-apocalyptic future. It's 2072, sixty years after the scarlet plague has depopulated the planet. James Howard Smith is one of the few survivors of the pre-plague era left alive in the San Francisco area, and as he realizes his time grows short, he tries to impart the value of knowledge and wisdom to his grandsons. Through his narrative, we learn how the plague spread throughout the world and of the struggles of the handful of survivors it left in its wake. The Scarlet Plague was originally published in London Magazine in 1912. (Summary by Wikipedia and James Christopher)

(1 hr 56 min)


01 - Chapter 1 22:29 Read by James Christopher
02 - Chapter 2 18:34 Read by James Christopher
03 - Chapter 3 20:50 Read by James Christopher
04 - Chapter 4 20:20 Read by James Christopher
05- Chapter 5 19:43 Read by James Christopher
06- Chapter 6 14:13 Read by James Christopher


Post Catastrophe runs shallow

(3 stars)

Minor London. In this post-catastrophe novel, a one time professor looks back on the years of world wide plague, which started in 2013 and relates his history to the present day. London's treatment of events is at its best when describing the arrival of the disease and the immediate aftermath. Some prescience here as regards to the emergence of world wide epidemic and the modern spread of deadly viruses. Elsewhere it's less convincing and the relationships between characters are thinly sketched out, indicating a lack of overall conviction or perhaps a commercial imperative for the writing. Interestingly, given his politics, London does not see the collapse into barbarism as necessitating a call to socialism, though there is some cruel levelling. The reader is generally good, although his cadences can be monotonous.

Intensely Provocative

(5 stars)

Fascinating futuristic story detailing the fall of modern civilization. It is a quick read, filled with conflict, survival and thoughtful rejuvenation. I am amazed by the foresight of Jack London to write such an accurately descriptive piece, though he knew not the advances of technology in our age.


(2 stars)

Well read. Probably written on a napkin at some bar. JL can never escape his unflagging class bias, nor can he escape his fascination with the word "conflagration." It is a very short work, so I advise you to read it just to help you better appreciate truly accomplished writers of scifi.

Very Dystopic, 5 stars!

(5 stars)

I love dystopic survival stories, 5 stars from me. If you did not get much enjoyment from grandpa's war stories as a kid, I can see where you might feel there is a lack of action, but I loved it.

Scarlet Plague

(5 stars)

I'd like to answer the previous. Don't let political grandstanding be your purpose here. Jack London constructed characters better than anyone and they have always great depth

(5 stars)

listen to this book because it was on an old time radio show and just loved The Abridged version. it was well worth it

How sad!

(3 stars)

The reader was excellent, and the recordings were great. The story was just too sad for my liking.

(5 stars)

Well read, this was entertaining and a quick listen. If you like post apocalyptic it's surely worth a listen.