Jack London (1876-1916) was an American author best known for his adventure novels and short stories. He was also one of the first Americans to make a lucrative career exclusively from writing. Twice (in 1901 and 1905) he ran for mayor of Oakland, CA, as a socialist. When he was 21 he went to the Yukon Territory to prospect for gold during the Klondike Gold Rush; this served as inspiration for some of his most famous works, such as "To Build a Fire" and The Call of the Wild
. He also worked as a journalist, penning a memorable eyewitness account
of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.Despite what you know about him from school readings, Jack London also wrote a great deal of Science Fiction
short stories and novels throughout his life which are not well known but highly regarded by those who have read it.London died of kidney failure, with morphine addiction and severe alcoholism as contributory causes, in 1916. He was an extremely prolific author, releasing dozens and dozens of novels, stories, short story collections, and poems over a 20-year career.
London's best known works include:
- The Call of the Wild (1903, novel)
- The Sea Wolf (1904, novel)
- White Fang (1906, novel)
- "To Build a Fire" (1902, short story)
- The Iron Heel (1908, novel), a dystopia work which documents the rise of fascism in the United States.
- John Barleycorn (1913, memoir) A confessional autobiography about his lifetime as an alcoholic. One of the first memoirs to paint the subject in a negative, as opposed to a heroic light. Trope Namer for Pink Elephants, not only in this Wiki, but in Real Life too.
Tropes Appearing in Jack London's other works:
- After the End: "The Scarlet Plague" takes place long after a global disease outbreak and hardly anyone remembers the times before.
- Fictional Color: One of the competing students in "The Shadow and the Flash" turns himself invisible by discovering a color that is so dark it can't be seen by the human eye.
- Fountain of Youth: In "The Rejuvenation of Major Rathbone" the main character's friend devises a serum that can regress aging.
- Invisibility: The two rival brothers in "The Shadow and the Flash" find different ways to turn to do this but with this same result.
- The Plague: "The Scarlet Plague"
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: How the old man in "The Scarlet Plague" relates the story of the destruction of civilization.
- Sibling Rivalry: In "The Shadow and the Flash."