lundi 30 juin 2014, par Ray

Jack London was an extremely prolific writer of short fiction, having published 205 short stories, novelettes and novellas as well as 15 novels and a considerable number of essays, plays, poems, and articles before his premature death at the age of 40.

The sheer volume of his output and the wide variety of his subjects, ranging from the Klondike (41% of his stories), the South Seas (33%), sailing, hobos, political fiction, crime fiction, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, boxing and others – and, it must be said, the varying or rather diminishing quality of his output over time – make it useful to provide for the prospective reader, in chronological order of publication, an outline of each of the stories, with an indication for each story of its setting or genre, and an appreciation of its position on the scale of merit from poor (very few) to average (few) to good (many) and very good (even more) through to the very highest level of literary achievement (quite a few).

(Jan. 12, 1886 – Nov. 22, 1916)


1. THE 205 STORIES, in chronological order

2. THE 15 NOVELS, in chronological order






1. THE 205 STORIES OF JACK LONDON, in chronological order

TITLE__________________________ THEME SYNOPSIS/COMMENTS____________________________________________________________ OUR
1 1893-11-12 Typhoon off the Coast of Japan

aka :
 Story of a Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan
Sailing A realistic account based on personal experience of a sailor’s-eye view of a very severe windstorm experienced by a seal-hunting sailing ship in the Pacific ocean (the name of the ship, The Sophie Sutherland, and the date of its departure (April 10, 1893) are those of the seal-hunting expedition off the coast of Japan that Jack London had sailed on that year).
 Full of sailing terms and very descriptive : the wind and the sea are really the central dramatic personae in this simple but effective account of an experience central to mankind’s history throughout the ages : a storm at sea.
2 1895-02-15 ’Frisco Kid’s Story Hobos Written entirely in the vernacular of down-and-out road-kids (a tribute in itself to its author’s early mastery of language) we follow the investigations of a father searching for his lost young son via the unfolding account by a young vagrant who had in fact met up with him and who describes in his own quite inimitable lingo not only what happened to the missing boy but also and especially the way of life of the gangs of young wayward homeless hobos that swarmed at the time in the depression-ridden California of the mid-1890s. 7
3 1895-04-19 Sakaicho, Hona Asi and Hakadaki Far East A young American sailor in Yokohama is invited by his rickshaw driver to visit the latter’s home in a poor quarter of the city, and samples the traditional hospitality of that intriguing and fast-rising nation. Tobacco, tea and rice are duly served to the visitor, followed by a whole series of tasty, steaming dishes that the host and his gracious wife can obviously ill afford. The proud parents present their ten-year-old son, whose education is the unique focus of the sacrifices and efforts of the household ; but when the sailor comes back for another visit only a week later, disaster has struck. This tender tale ends with the comment : “And, though five thousand miles of heaving ocean now separate us, never will I forget Sakaicho and Hona Asi, nor the love they bore their son Hakadaki.” 7.5
4 1895-05-27 A Night’s Swim in Yeddo Bay

aka :
 Night’s Swim in Yeddo Bay
Far East A semi-comical account of by a seasoned sailor of an escapade on the waterfront of Yokohama when he discovered after a very boisterous night out on the town that he didn’t have a cent left to pay a Japanese boatman to take him back to his ship anchored two miles off the harbour. The whole town is still talking about what happened next ! 7
5 1895-10-21 Who Believes in Ghosts ! Fantasy George believes “with countless other people in every land throughout the ages” in the soul’s return after death, and proposes to prove their existence to two doubting friends by fixing a rendezvous shortly before midnight at an old abandoned house on the outskirts of town, generally considered to be haunted. The two sceptics penetrate the house, search it carefully from top to bottom, and settle down for a first comfortable game of chess, which passes without incident. But when they try to start a second game they are prevented by an unknown force from making the first move or uttering a single word. Their senses become strangely heightened and when they can finally start a new game they realize that they are playing on a vastly higher level than ever, and the tension of this extraordinary game with its constant traps and threats of checkmate builds up until the hatred each has built up for the other during the combat breaks out into the most murderous violence : as it turns out, a replay of the terrible scene whereby the owner of the now-abandoned house, a great chess master, had actually murdered a celebrated opponent years previously !
 For believers in spiritism or ghosts in one form or another this is a terrific story, but not everyone will be so convinced.
6 1895-11-04 And ’Frisco Kid Came Back Hobos An interesting and amusing evocation, in the vernacular, of the hobo way of life that the author knew well from his first-hand experiences during his teen days.
 One of only five of his “hobo” stories [2].
7 1895-12-18 One More Unfortunate General Fiction A tired and very disillusioned violinist in a low-dive nightclub thinks back upon his upbringing on a farm, on his youthful discovery of music and the organ and the flute, and on his frustrated dreams of becoming an accomplished musician. In spite of a final display of anguished virtuosity the evening ends on an even more desperate note than it started. 8
8 1897-04* O Haru Far East Introduced to the world of geishas in the Japan of the turn of the century by the following dubious declaration “The geishas or dancing-girls are the brightest, most intelligent and most accomplished of Japanese women” we follow this lyrical but somewhat too emphatic story of the rise and fall of the most renowned and talented of them all, the eponymous Haru, whose private life – like no doubt many of her current-day Western counterparts in the cinema – is far removed indeed from her idealised public image. 7
9 1897-05* The Mahatma’s Little Joke Fantasy A debate between two friends as to the scientific possibility of the disintegration and reintegration of material form by psychic impulses is arbitrated by a mysterious student of the tenets of Buddhism who has become a full-fledged Mahatma and who proceeds to subject them to an intense psychic treatment that not only leaves them unconscious but with switched consciousnesses. When they awake discovering that their souls had switched bodies, they are left to struggle with what to do with the other’s clothes, habits, relationships, etc.
 A sort-of-neat idea that comes to a surprisingly flat conclusion.
10 1897-06* The Misogynist

aka :
 The Strange Experience of a Misogynist (1993)

(8,600-word novelette)
Fantasy An almost-thirty confirmed bachelor with a reputation for misogyny wakes up one morning to find that the strange dream he has just had has come to be : all females the world over – of all species ! - have suddenly disappeared and the world is now a purely masculine one ! Things start rapidly going to pot as men who can’t cook or wash or iron become increasingly drunk and disorderly until the whole economy breaks down and uncontrolled anarchy and violence reigns as everyone, including our hero, desperately tries to survive and find food. What a nightmare – bring back the women !
 an amusing spoof of male-centerdness.
11 1897-09* Two Gold Bricks General Fiction Two young fellows devise a dastardly scheme to raise badly-needed funds (ten hundred dollars – a gold brick – each) from a group of their acquaintances, by using the funeral orations that the group of friends had secretly recorded to be used at their own funeral ceremonies as a reaction against the banality and too-laudatory nature of such ceremonies.
 Pretty silly all round really, and not very amusing in spite of its lighthearted tone.
12 1897-11* The Plague Ship

aka : Plague Ship
Sailing A harrowing tale of a grossly-overcrowded passenger ship on which a deadly epidemic of the yellow fever breaks out that decimates passengers, officers and crewmen alike so severely that mutineers take over the officer-less ship. Uncontrolled violence breaks out, leaving the surviving passengers to drift aimlessly around the Pacific as dictated by the winds and currents of the Pacific. In spite of everything some survive, and the budding romance between two of the doctors aboard somehow weathers the storm.
 Strong stuff !
13 1898* A Dream Image General Fiction A romance between a young woman, Doctor of Philosophy, author of well-reviewed books and still in her twenties, and the brilliant and extremely charming youngest son of a very wealthy but extremely arrogant, idiosyncratic and reclusive neighbour who has just returned to this Californian seaside village after a long and somewhat mysterious absence. She is wooed and almost won but a chance encounter with a young boy casts new light on her mysterious wooer’s background and even threatens her very existence.
 A somewhat surprising and not completely convincing foray into the realm of romantic fiction, but some of the author’s favourite themes, notably sailing and horseback riding, about which he writes so well, are very much present.
14 1898-09* The Devil’s Dice Box Klondike This very dramatic and violent tale starts off with the discovery of the frozen body of an Indian woman, clearly dead from starvation, in the middle of winter in a remote area of the Yukon Valley, and goes on to describe a bloody firefight, a wild race into the unknown wilds of the Rocky Mountains to locate at all costs (namely more deaths) a truly fabulous lode of golden nuggets.
 Pace, action, drama, extreme suffering, the violence of man and the unchained elements – the very essence of Jack London’s art. Not for the faint-hearted reader, though.
15 1898-09* The Test : A Klondike Wooing

aka : Klondike Wooing (1983)
Klondike Lucky Jack has struck it rich in the Klondike and has also gotten lucky with Lucille, the prettiest girl in Dawson. Lucille loves music too and begs Jack to teach her the violin which he plays marvellously – so he puts her true feelings for him to the test by giving everything away and holing up with her in a primitive cabin for the winter where he ends up destroying his beloved instrument. Will she pass the test with flying colours ?
 a trying test indeed, even for the reader to a certain extent.
16 1898-11* A Klondike Christmas Klondike Two brothers are writing home at Christmas describing their life on a mining claim in the Yukon, but are somewhat embarrassed to have to reveal that all they have for Xmas dinner are the miners’ standard fare of the three b’s – beans, bread and bacon. But then one of them finds a big tin of rich mock-turtle soup in the tool-shed ; travellers who’ve been dreaming of the three b’s to make a change of diet arrive with a sled full of moose steaks ; a hunter chasing dog-thieves passes through with a precious store of milk and sugar to contribute to the feast, and to top the splendid evening off the post arrives with a packet of letters from home.
 A simple but frankly heart-warming tale oozing with the aura of the adventurous life of Klondike gold-rushers.
17 1899-01 To the Man on the Trail

aka :
 To the Man on Trail : A Klondike Christmas
Klondike A group of gold miners are preparing punch on Christmas Eve when an exhausted but heavily-armed stranger enters their cabin and explains that he’s chasing bandits who have stolen his prize dog-team. He’s given food and shelter by the miners who sympathise with him and give him advice about the trail ahead, but only minutes after he has set off again after a short rest a patrol of the Northwest Territory Mounted Police enters the cabin, enquiring after the man who turns out to be wanted for a casino holdup. For a brief moment the men, who have identified the fugitive and are all law-abiding, hesitate about helping the police to catch up with him.
 A very readable little tale, infused with an authentic-feeling Klondike atmosphere.
18 1899-02 The White Silence Klondike Two men, one woman and a team of dogs, all close to starvation, strike out into the white wastes of the North hoping to somehow survive the gruelling two-hundred-mile trek along unbroken snow ahead of them. But “Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity—the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven’s artillery—but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass ; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot’s life, nothing more.
 Extreme suffering and indomitable will are the central themes, as often in the Klondike stories although in an even starker and more intense way here than in almost all of the others, with a very large dose of human interest, dog-lore and trapper-native relationships to boot. An impressive masterwork.
19 1899-04 The Son of the Wolf Klondike The overly lurid quality of the prose of this account of a prospector who penetrates into the camp of a remote Indian tribe to propose to the tribe’s chief a number of fine presents in exchange for his daughter may be judged by the following characteristic passage : “He thought of the tender women of his own race and smiled grimy. Yet from the loins of some such tender woman had he sprung with a kingly inheritance, – an inheritance which gave to him and his dominance over the land and sea, over the animals and the peoples of all the zones. Single-handed against fivescore, girt by the Arctic winter, far from his own, he felt the prompting of his heritage, the desire to possess, the wild danger – love, the thrill of battle, the power to conquer or die.”
Our man is rejected by the shaman of the tribe – who it so happens also hankers after the chief’s daughter – as the satanic representative of the demon Wolf, the mortal enemy of the tribe’s mentor the Raven, and he encourages the young men of the tribe to fly at the throat of the invader. But our man is made of stern stuff, and he too launches on a fiery tirade, denouncing the shaman as a fraud who had provided no succour to the tribe during the recent famine, and he reminds them of the Wolf’s (i.e.- the white man’s) law : “whoso taketh the life of one wolf, the forfeit shall ten of his people pay.”.
 The brutal and bordering-on-racist behaviour of the prospector and the declamatory style of the prose make this one of the author’s few Klondike stories that have not well weathered the test of time.
20 1899-05 A Thousand Deaths Science Fiction A drowning man is rescued and miraculously resuscitated by a passing ship captained by his own father, a scientist secretly intent on using him to experiment a revolutionary new method of bringing people back from the brink of death.
 Full of unexpected twists and turns, written in the first person in a dry and very indirectly-droll manner, this striking story is a real gem, one of the first, if not (perhaps) the very first science-fiction short stories ever written !
21 1899-05 The Men of Forty-Mile Klondike In the middle of winter in the rough settlement town of Forty Miles, sixty miles down the Yukon river from Dawson, an animated discussion about the respective merits of anchor-ice (that freezes first under water) and mush-ice (that freezes first on top) breaks out into an authentic casus belli when one of the men feels that his Indian wife has been made slight of and the other that his Irish honour has been flouted. So a duel to the finish by gunfire is quickly agreed upon, as was the way of the world in those parts in those days before the advent of the Mounted Police. Although the others are loth to lose one of their comrades there seems to be no way to prevent the foolish fight, until the hero of the story, the Malemute Kid (who appears in several other Klondike tales) comes along and finds a way to put everything right and save face all around.
 Told in sometimes-hard-to-understand vernacular, this little narrative does succeed in conveying a convincing image of the conditions in remote mining communities in those pioneer days.
22 1899-05-20 An Old Soldier’s Story War story A somewhat comic albeit really quite dramatic tale about war-time recruitment difficulties that had actually been experienced by the author’s own father during the Civil War. 8
23 1899-06 In a Far Country Klondike A long, intense, deeply moralistic tale of two quite different city men who decide to join the Klondike gold rush but make the mistake of going there via an unproven inland route starting from Edmonton, where they join a large party of prospectors and voyageurs heading north towards the promised land. The going is hard, especially north of the Great Slave Lake and along the giant Mackenzie River, and our two anti-heroes being natural slackers, constantly shirking their fair share of the work, are increasingly ostracised from the group until they finally decide to spend the winter in an isolated cabin rather than pursue the too-arduous journey across virgin territory in the winter season.
 The account of the slow decline of the physical and moral health of the men until the final paroxysmal climax of the story can leave no reader indifferent.
24 1899-07 The Handsome Cabin Boy Sailing The narrator has wagered a night out on the town with his brother that he could never be taken in by a girl masquerading as a boy, and shortly thereafter sets out on his schooner on a cruise from San Francisco to Honolulu with a full crew, including a new and very inexperienced cabin boy.
 A fairly juvenile joke all round.
25 1899-07 The Priestly Prerogative Klondike The very energetic wife of a spoiled loafer has moved heaven and earth to get the both of them up to Dawson and to painstakingly establish a successful claim, but everything is in the husband’s name, as that’s the way things worked in those days, and he grows increasingly brutal to his better half to whom in fact he owes everything. She seeks refuge in the understanding arms of a neighbouring claim-owner, and is about to run off with him when an omnipresent Catholic priest insists on following her into the neighbour’s cabin(!) for a showdown discussion about morality and the marriage covenant. The reader, but unfortunately not the young and deserving woman, grows increasingly annoyed by the priestly meddling in affairs of the heart and his smooth moralising which, objectively, does much more harm than good, as even he (almost) admits at the end.
 Perhaps for the Catholic reader this story has a satisfying message (no divorce, please), but for others today and probably even then it is disappointingly flat and unconvincing, we are sorry to say.
26 1899-08 The Wife of a King Klondike A prospector has left his wife, a half-Indian mission-educated girl, and baby boy behind in his Alaskan mine to join the flood of gold-seekers in Dawson, and when he fails to return on schedule and word comes back about his dallying with a casino dancer, the plucky woman sets off in the thick of winter alone with the baby and a dog-team along the hundreds of miles of icy trail to see for herself what is going on at Dawson. Where she is poorly received by one and all, sophisticated white women from the South having established a new social hierarchy in the now-civilized town, a hierarchy where native women have little or no place at all. But she is taken in hand by several old-timers, notably a certain Malemute Kid, a central character in several Klondike stories of the period, who arranges for her to be taught dancing skills and social graces and to be suitably outfitted and prettified according to the new Dawson standards, in preparation for a surprise confrontation with the erring husband at the city’s big annual masked ball at Thanksgiving. Where the confrontation with the Greek dancer and her foolish husband is even more interesting than the group had thought it would be.
 An interesting albeit lightly-handled exploration of the theme of the social role of women in general and aboriginal women in particular in the male-dominated Northland society.
27 1899-09 In the Time of Prince Charley Historical Fiction A stalwart British officer escorts the captured Prince Charlie through the highlands to a rendezvous point with a British ship on the coast after the decisive Battle of Culloden, but opposition from fierce Highlanders and the wiles of an innocent-seeming young woman have to be dealt with before his mission can be successfully accomplished – or not. Not quite convincing on strict historical grounds (a reference to Louis Quatorze in 1745 ?), the story has surprisingly violent and at the same time romantic overtones.
 Perhaps it is a shame that this was the only historical fiction written by Jack London, with the mock-prehistorical story The First Poet (1916).
28 1899-09-16 Old Baldy General Fiction A particularly charming farm yarn about an ox famous throughout the whole county for his stubbornness and how a wily farmer finally got the best of him.
 the author’s innate empathy with the animal world is very much in evidence here.
29 1899-09-22 Pluck and Pertinacity Klondike In the words of the author : “The true story of a man who practically achieved the impossible in his hazardous ice-journey in the dead of the Arctic winter. Happily, success crowned the effort.” And in effect, this account of a particularly determined Dutchman’s determined drive to get to the gold-rush city of Dawson, ice-bound in the throes of a terrible famine, in spite of quite overwhelming obstacles and dangers, does sort of go to show just what man – and a dog ! - are capable of when the will will out. 9
30 1899-09-24 The Grilling of Loren Ellery General Fiction A charming and very smooth young man sweet-talks two sisters in turn, but when the girls get together and compare notes, he will get his comeuppance.
 Very flighty.
31 1899-11 The Rejuvenation of Major Rathbone Science Fiction Making the rather startling declaration that “Not so very long ago, a ’generation’ represented thirty-three years, the average duration of human existence. To-day, because of the rapid strides of medicine, sanitation, distribution, and so forth, a ’generation’ is reckoned at thirty-four years. By the time of our great-grandchildren, it may have increased to forty years. Qien sabe ? And again, we ourselves may see it actually doubled.”, a forward-looking chemist goes on to ask a circle of acquaintances : “If science has prolonged the life of the generation by one year, is it not equally possible that it may prolong that of the individual by many ?”. He then shows them a phial of lymph compound that he has developed to prevent the wearing out of cell, nerve and bone tissues, and brings out his ancient sixteen-year-old Newfoundland dog, who, instead of just lying around in everyone’s way as usual, rushes about as lively as a puppy. And when the treatment is meted out to his aged Uncle Max, and then to Max’s ageing lady friend Aunt Debby, well, the town has never been the same since !
 Good fun, with a nice touch of scientific credibility.
32 1899-11-30 The King of Mazy May Klondike The rousing adventure of a fourteen-year-old boy guarding all alone his father’s mine, who gets into terrible danger when he tries to thwart the plans of thieves who are planning to jump the claim of an ailing neighbour on the gold-rich Mazy May creek in the Klondike. The story starts off with the following striking description of its fourteen-year-old eponymous central character : “Walt Masters is not a very large boy, but there is manliness in his make-up, and he himself, although he does not know a great deal that most boys know, knows much that other boys do not know. He has never seen a train of cars or an elevator in his life, and for that matter, he has never once looked upon a corn-field, a plow, a cow, or even a chicken. He has never had a pair of shoes on his feet, or gone to a picnic or a party, or talked to a girl. But he has seen the sun at midnight, watched the ice-jams on one of the mightiest of rivers, and played beneath the northern lights, the one white child in thousands of square miles of frozen wilderness.
 One of the best boy’s stories ever !
33 1899-12 The Wisdom of the Trail Klondike The tone of this terrible tale of suffering and hunger and death on the white trail in the Far North winter is set at the start with a typically powerful passage “The two Indians fell sullenly to the task of gathering dead branches and underwood. They were weak and paused often, catching themselves, in the act of stooping, with giddy motions, or staggering to the center of operations with their knees shaking like castanets. After each trip they rested for a moment, as though sick and deadly weary. At times their eyes took on the patient stoicism of dumb suffering ; and again the ego seemed almost burst forth with its wild cry, ’I, I, I want to exist !’ - the dominant note of the whole living universe.” We then follow a mixed group of white and Indian travellers through a particularly dangerous and almost-unknown portion of the Northland in the heart of winter, all suffering from the bitter cold and shortage of food, a number of whom are on the very edge of total exhaustion. The Indian leader of the expedition has to insist on the military-like discipline necessary for survival in these conditions, but rebellion is brewing and the survival of the whole group is at stake.
 Rough and ready justice will be meted out, and the reader will be left reeling with the force of this stunning story.
34 1899-12-24 A Daughter of the Aurora

aka :
An Alaskan Courtship (1903)
Klondike Two expert mushers and prospectors engage, with a pack of other gold-miners, in an epic hundred-mile race to file a claim on a gold-rich stake and above all win the promised hand of a very vivacious young woman.
 Light but full of good dog- and sled-lore.
35 1900-01 An Odyssey of the North

(12,800-word novelette)
Klondike A long (12,800 words) narrative of a lone Aleutian native’s lifelong quest throughout the continent and elsewhere for the beloved princess that had been stolen from him. Intense suffering and abnegation throughout, with a not very happy end, we might almost say of course. 8.5
36 1900-03 A Lesson in Heraldry General Fiction A perfectly angelic young twelve-year-old girl puts her devoted mentor to the torture with innocent-sounding but diabolical questions that just have to be answered to stay in the little darling’s good graces.
 Very light in tone and in content.
37 1900-06-09 The End of the Chapter General Fiction A very rich, very blasé and very depressed young man smokes a final Havana before taking his leave of this hellishly-boring and uninteresting world when he realises that the cigar smoke is taking the shape of a lovely foot that resembles one that he once caressed with much interest indeed...
 Short but most satisfying.
37 1900-06-24 Uri Bram’s God

aka :
 Which Make Men Remember (1901)
 The Dead Horse Trail (1964)
Klondike I’ve half a mind to go back and run amuck, and settle a few of them, the pigs ! One gorgeous, glorious fight, and end the whole damn business ! It’s a skin game, that’s what life is, and I’m sick of it !” declares a gambler fleeing from a frenzied mob chasing after him after he has slain a man in a casino in the frontier town of Nome, Alaska. But he’s offered shelter in a hidden corner of a shack by a stranger who has followed him during his flight, and there he stays undetected for months until the manhunt finally dies down. When the coast is clear his host accompanies him with a dog-team to the Canadian border on the Yukon, where there’s a final settling of accounts, as his saviour was a close friend of the slain man.
 Marred slightly by the quasi-racist portrayal of the villain of the piece as a (typically villainous ?) French-Canadian, this story contains a quite celebrated and particularly dramatic description of the fearful passage over the infamous Dead Horse Trail where thousands of horses died during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897 :
The horses died like mosquitoes in the first frost, and from Skaguay to Bennett they rotted in heaps. They died at the Rocks, they were poisoned at the Summit, and they starved at the Lakes ; they fell off the trail, what there was of it, or they went through it ; in the river they drowned under their loads, or were smashed to pieces against the boulders ; they snapped their legs in the crevices and broke their backs falling backwards with their packs ; in the sloughs they sank from sight or smothered in the slime, and they were disemboweled in the bogs where the corduroy logs turned end up in the mud ; men shot them, worked them to death, and when they were gone, went back to the beach and bought more. Some did not bother to shoot them, - stripping the saddles off and the shoes and leaving them where they fell. Their hearts turned to stone – those which did not break – and they became beasts, the men on Dead Horse Trail.
38 1900-06-28 Even Unto Death Klondike A flighty lady swears eternal love to a parting gold-prospector, but lives to regret it, even though the dear departed doesn’t.
 An early and too-succinct version of the later Flush of Gold (1908).
40 1900-08 Grit of Women Klondike Huddling around a stove during a cold snap in the heart of winter, a group of men exchange stories on the theme of the relative resistance to cold and deprivation of different types of men and women, which leads the one Indian among them to tell the story of how he, his devoted Indian wife, and a big, bulky (and boastful) Yankee had set out one winter with a minimum of food and a dog-team through 700 miles of virgin snow to seek relief from the nearest settlement on the coast for their starving campsite.
 this narrative of the terrible hardships and suffering that they endured is one of the most dramatic and powerful in the whole Jack London opus.
41 1900-08 Jan, the Unrepentant Klondike Three men are struggling with a fourth in a tent in wintertime in the North, intent on lynching him without delay in accordance with the rough law of the north for having just slain a fifth member of their group, whose bloody body is lying on the floor of the tent while the struggle continues. Jan, who is unrepentant about his sudden outburst of rage against the fallen man, doesn’t at all want to die and vociferously expresses his opinion on the matter during the melee, while the others can’t understand why he won’t submit to his fate quietly and let them hang him quickly and without fuss.
 Sort of funny in a somewhat sick way, at least to our modern soft southern ears.
42 1900-09 The Man With the Gash Klondike A profiteer has squatted a log cabin on the route to Dawson City, where he levies a fee on passing gold-rushers for the right to sleep on the floor, a profitable endeavour indeed. But he has nightmares about a man with a gash on his face robbing him of his ill-gotten hoard of gold dust – and one day a burly musher with a huge slash across his face comes by, and vigorously declines to submit to the roadside Shylock’s arbitrary demands. The story turns from farce to high drama as the deluded miser becomes convinced that the traveller has stolen his secret horde of gold dust and prepares to either hang or shoot the dreaded gash-man.
 Sort of amusing in spite of all the crude violence and superstition.
43 1900-09 Their Alcove General Fiction A man watches all the letters and mementos of the woman he had loved burn in his fireplace as he muses over the impact that their break-up has made on his life, and tries to picture his new life without her. Waiting for the train that will take him far away he wanders through the various places where they used to go and where they had shared so many fond memories.
 Not at all bad if you like that sort of thing, which a lot of people do, it must be admitted...
44 1900-10 The Proper “Girlie” General Fiction A young businessman whose wife is showing signs of dissatisfaction with his lack of attention to her writes a half-finished love letter to his mistress, but his wife finds the half-finished missive and thinks it was meant for her...
 Written for a ladies’ magazine, this bittersweet romance is really just the sort of thing one expects to find in that sort of publication.
45 1900-10* A Northland Miracle Klondike A very rough, tough, low-minded, unscrupulous bad boy has gone from awful to worse and after roughing it all over the world has ended up in the Far North after deserting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Where he joins a group of like-minded men headed across virgin land towards the gold strike on the Klondike. They do find gold, but they are practically lost in the immense wilderness, their food and supplies are running out and only a miracle can save them...
 A story infused with the author’s trademark leitmotif of the hardships and suffering that men can and have endured in the Far North, without frills or idealism about the human material that was largely attracted there by the lure of lucre.
46 1900-11-24 Thanksgiving on Slav Creek Klondike A man wakes up his wife at midnight to urge her and their Indian guide to stealthily strike out with him – we are in Dawson at midnight and it is -65° F. outside – to Slav Creek where a gold strike has been made. But at the edge of town they realize that there are hundreds of others already engaged in the race to claim a stake there : a real stampede is on. Throughout the night and most of the next day, through thick snow in the biting cold, they trudge forward in a desperate effort to arrive in time to find an unclaimed stretch along the new Eldorado and fulfil their most treasured dreams.
 A gripping account of the physical and mental hardships – and the occasional joys – that people lived through in the days of the Klondike gold rush.
47 1900-11-29 Dutch Courage General Fiction Two boys on a mountain-climbing expedition in Yosemite Park in California are terribly disappointed when they see that someone has managed to climb the treacherous Half Dome Rock for the first time that very same day. But then they realize that their predecessor is in difficulty up there and that they not only have to get up there too but have to find a way to bring him down. Fortunately (?) one of them has brought along a flask of whisky to boost their courage...
 A rather good boy’s adventure story.
48 1900-12 Semper Idem General Fiction Jack London can be – and usually is – as hardhearted as anyone or even more so, and this quite brief tale about a master surgeon who is totally concentrated on the technical challenges of his profession is as good an example of that outlook as other of his stories abounding in mayhem and massacres. The good doctor manages against all odds to save the life of an anonymous man who has cut his throat from ear to ear with a razor while contemplating a photo of a woman inscribed “Semper idem ; semper fidelis”, but the least one can say is that his post-operational manner is so inadequate that is would be funny if it were not for its tragic consequences. 8.5
49 1900-12 The Great Interrogation Klondike A pretty, charming and wealthy widow pays a whirlwind visit to Dawson and then departs with a team of voyageur guides (whose extensive reports and dialogues are reported in vernacular French-Canadian English) in search of a prospector thereby much envied by her innumerable would-be suitors in Dawson. She does locate him far downriver, settled in with a robust and protective native wife, whose very presence is the main obstacle to the reconciliation that the southern woman had done so much to accomplish. But Dave Payne and Winapie have treasured memories in common too...
 The theme of the clash of cultures from a feminine point of view is a good one, but it is perhaps not an area where JL shines the brightest.
50 1900-12 Where the Trail Forks Klondike A team of four gold-miners who have struck it rich are waiting for spring to be able leave their isolated camp in the Far North with the fortune that they’re in the process of digging up. They are faced with a terrible quandary when a young maiden from a neighbouring Indian camp is sentenced to be sacrificed by the tribe’s witchdoctor to mollify the evil spirits who have made game so scarce that winter. One of the four refuses to let the girl be sacrificed without putting up what the others see as a fight against hopeless odds.
 A grim but engrossing tale with a strong moral fibre.
51 1901-01-12 A Relic of the Pliocene

aka :
The Angry Mammoth (1959)
Klondike The narrator – no mean long-story-teller himself – recounts how a stranger had walked into his isolated camp a thousand miles from nowhere and given him a pair of snow-boots made from the hide of a mammoth, the last one on earth (!), that he claimed to have killed in an isolated mountain valley in unexplored territory far away.
 A good tall tale.
52 1901-03 Siwash Klondike A very high-spirited Yankee girl-prospector berates (see below) a couple of men whose cabin she has taken shelter in for being too cowardly to carry on towards Dawson in spite of the storm blowing outside, and when they decline to do so she petulantly sets off herself. Which prompts the men to talk about women in general and about native (“Siwash”) women in particular while waiting for her inevitable return. In the course of these considerations one of the men recounts how he had won his beloved Indian wife in spite of the opposition of her father and his whole tribe, and remembers how her spirit and devotion had accompanied him so effectively through the good times and bad that they had shared for seven years before her death in childbirth.
 a very excellent and even moving Klondike story in spite of its somewhat excessive wordiness.
 contains the following curious declaration by the heroine :
"When we get to Dawson !" The scorn had come back to her throat with a sudden surge. "You’ll rot on the way, first. You’ll drown in a mud hole. You—you—Britishers !" The last word, explosive, intensive, had strained the limits of her vituperation. If that would not stir these men, what could ? Tommy’s neck ran red again, but he kept his tongue between his teeth. Dick’s eyes mellowed. He had the advantage over Tommy, for he had once had a white woman for a wife.
The blood of five American-born generations is, under certain circumstances, an uncomfortable heritage ; and among these circumstances might be enumerated that of being quartered with next of kin. These men were Britons. On sea and land her ancestry and the generations thereof had thrashed them and theirs. On sea and land they would continue to do so. The traditions of her race clamoured for vindication. She was but a woman of the present, but in her bubbled the whole mighty past. It was not alone Molly Travis who pulled on gum boots, mackintosh, and straps ; for the phantom hands of ten thousand forbears drew tight the buckles, just so as they squared her jaw and set her eyes with determination. She, Molly Travis, intended to shame these Britishers ; they, the innumerable shades, were asserting the dominance of the common race."
53 1901-03 The Law of Life Klondike A dying, old and blind man, father of the tribal chieftain, listens to the sounds of the tribe as they prepare to move out from their campsite, leaving him behind with a pile of brushwood and a fire to warm his last few hours. He meditates on his past, on the past of his people and on his fate – the law of life – as wolves edge ever closer around the dying flames.
 A stunning investigation of the mindset of the ancient inhabitants of the Far North.
54 1901-03-14 The Lost Poacher Sailing An American seal-hunting sailing vessel in waters north of Japan caught in a thick fog-bank in total calm has been carried by strong currents into forbidden Russian waters, where they risk confiscation and imprisonment if captured by patrolling Russian warships. Their worst fears are realized and a Russian war cruiser takes them in tow – but the young cabin boy who has been brought on board the cruiser finds a daring way to save the ship and his comrades.
 Certainly no doubt based partially on personal experience, as the author himself went on a months-long seal-fishing expedition off the coasts of Japan at the ripe old age of 16.
55 1901-03-24 At the Rainbow’s End Klondike This starts out on a light tone as we follow various borderline or even over-the-limit escapades of the rather picturesque Montana Kid down the Yukon to Dawson City and beyond, almost always hotly pursued by Mounted Police or irate victims of his misdoings. But as it carries on, as often with London’s Klondike stories, the tone becomes grimmer, the conditions worse, and we are treated to a final cataclysmic sequence which no reader can assuredly ever forget.
 An odd but quite effective mix of the light and the dark.
56 1901-05 The God of His Fathers Klondike A prospector and his partner are camped in the northern stretches of the Yukon beside a large Indian camp whose chief, Red Baptiste, has refused them permission to advance further in search of the gold that they’ve been told lies to the north. The chief is extremely hostile to the encroachment of white settlers and especially their missionaries, to whom he has developed a violent hatred ever since priests had first refused to marry him with his Indian wife, and then had protected the local VIP responsible for the death of his daughter, as he recounts to the prospector in an initial dramatic encounter. When a missionary arrives bent on proselytising the Indian village the prospector is summoned by Red Baptiste to abandon him to the violent fate that awaits him ; but out of solidarity for his fellow (white) man the prospector and his partner elect to stand up for the principle of solidarity. Both sides win, and lose, in the final showdown and what follows.
 Ambitious and wide-reaching, albeit ultra-violent, food for much thought.
57 1901-05 The Minions of Midas Political Fiction A wealthy baron of industry receives a warning letter from an unknown political organization that has declared outright war on capitalism in general and capitalists such as himself in particular, that demands payment of 20 million dollars or else. When the deadline for payment is up another anti-capitalist diatribe announces the forthcoming death of an innocent worker at a given date in Central Park, and more letters arrive at ever-frequent intervals, each one defining the nature and the exact date of the next murder (of a policeman, of a nurse, of a family friend and more).
 The hatred of big business and of the whole private-enterprise system emanating from each of these long texts is quite mind-numbingly shocking, but, it must be said, almost contemporary in its anti-capitalist animosity, carried here however to extreme and criminal extremes.
 In that context it is perhaps worth mentioning that the passionate politics present in this surprising text are quite absent from the quasi-totality of the pure-fiction narratives of this very radical-minded author.
58 1901-05 The Scorn of Women

(8,200-word novelette)
Klondike Floyd Vanderlip has at last struck it very rich on Bonanza Creek in the Klondike and has sent funds for his young sweetheart down south to come up to Dawson for a wedding. But in the meantime Freda, the star dancer at the town’s downtown casino, has caught his eye ; Loraine, a cosmopolitan society figure looking for a (rich) haven in the north, has hit town and begun to snare him with her charms ; and Mrs. Eppingwell, the town’s queen of high society, has decided that he needs to be kept on the straight and narrow road to matrimony in spite of the town’s temptations. Add the wife of the local puritanical preacher who gets heavily involved, and you have a snaggle that can only be cleared up in the nick of town thanks to some astute manoeuvring by the defenders of the young fiancée whose arrival in town is imminent.
 A light and amusing tale of high-and-low jinks in the gold-rush town of Dawson.
59 1901-05-23 Chris Farrington, Able Seaman Sailing The eponymous hero is a 17-year-old who has signed on as an able seaman on a seal-hunting sailing ship and wants to be treated as an equal by the other sailors, many of whom are old-timers who consider young sailors to be simple servants to the other men. So Chris has to prove his mettle and his seamanship, which he does with flying colours when raging storms and a totally incompetent captain menace the very existence of the ship and its men.
 Clearly written for a youthful audience, this rousing tale convincingly gets its message of make-place-for-youth across, with brio.
60 1901-07 A Hyperborean Brew Klondike A long and complicated tale by the (in)famous tall-story-teller Thomas Stevens (see A Relic of the Pliocene) about how he and a fellow traveller survived in a large but very isolated native village on the edge of the Arctic sea by bringing their version of civilization there : Church and State and hooch.
 Somewhat too supercilious about native simple-mindedness and credulity to be convincing today, though.
61 1901-09-06 Bald-Face Klondike A short and rather funny tall tale about bears that just has to be read to be (not) believed. 8
62 1902-01 Keesh, the Son of Keesh

aka : Keesh, Son of Keesh
Klondike Keesh, chief of the Thlunget tribe, is bidding many blankets, dogs, knives and guns for the hand of Su-Su, daughter of the chieftain of the Tana-naws. But he’s rejected because he’s been practically assimilated by their mortal enemies the white men, who’ve taught him their Christian morals and notably that it’s wrong to kill one’s fellow man. A severe case of conscience for Keesh, who’s a devout convert but who’s been challenged by Su-Su to bring him proof of his manliness in the form of at least three heads !
 If London’s vision of the mindset of the aboriginal peoples of the Far North is true to life — at least to the life of those times — which it very well may have been as one is carried along most convincingly by his vivid narrative, then it was a wild world indeed in those faraway days in that far-off land !
 We note incidentally that the wolf-dog White Fang, star of London’s later novel of that name, appears for the first time in this story.
63 1902-05 An Adventure in the Upper Sea General Fiction Parachute-diving out of hot-air balloons at public fairs can be even more dangerous than it sounds, especially when silly young boys decide to participate in the fun. 7
64 1902-05-29 To Build a Fire (Juvenile Version) Klondike A prospector sets out in very cold weather indeed for a long trek back to his group’s campsite in the Yukon and lives to regret not having listened to an old-timer’s advice that he had so lightheartedly ignored, never to go out alone in winter.
 A much shorter (2,500-word) and notably less harsh version of one of the author’s best-known stories of the same title To Build a Fire (7,100 words), often anthologised.
65 1902-06 Diable – a Dog

aka : Bâtard (1904)
Klondike Diable is a very big, very fierce and very bad wolf-dog, and his nasty French-Canadian master is every bit as vicious and given to violence. Life is a continuing battle between the two of them to dominate and if possible kill or at least maim the other. The violence and tension never let up and it all ends up very badly for both of them, of course.
 hard to put down in spite of if its harshness, the awfulness of its principal characters and its shocking ending.
66 1902-06 To Repel Boarders Sailing Two boys in a sailboat off the coast of Oakland are chatting about how adventurous life must have been in the days of the pirates when they’re accosted by fierce-looking fishermen armed with knives who are furious with them for having run through their nets. These men are seriously trying to board their sailing boat to get back at the boys for their misdeed, and in the fight to repel them the boys quite lose their nostalgia for the excitement of piratical times gone past.
 a most readable little tale.
67 1902-07 The Cruise of the Dazzler

(35,800-word novella)
Sailing A rather good story about a restless boy in a wealthy family in the posh area of San Francisco who just can’t concentrate on his studies and has only one thought in mind – to run away from his boring life at home and school to lead the exciting and adventurous outdoor life of a sailor. Which he actually does quite early on in the story, after getting zero in all his exams(!), and he does in fact have a very exciting time at first learning about seafaring in those days of the sailing-boats. But also about the dangers sailors constantly face from the elements, from their bosses and above all from the beyond-the-pale kind of people on the criminal side of the life on the sea in those there parts.
 Pretty fast-paced throughout, with a very neat twist at the end, this novella is in fact an excellent book for the younger reader, and worthy fare for the others too.
68 1902-07-03 The “Fuzziness” of Hoockla-Heen Klondike The hero of the title is a twelve-year-old Indian boy who comes for the first time with the rest of his isolated Yukon tribe to sell furs in Dawson City. Where he is recognized as the lost son of a rich prospector, lost as a baby during an ill-fated winter crossing many years previously.
 Told from the boy’s point of view, the initial passages where he succeeds in catching a beaver are particularly impressive and the whole story reflects (almost surprisingly) most favourably on the native way of life in the wilds.
69 1902-07-21 Moon-Face : A Story of Mortal Antipathy Crime Fiction The (very creepy) narrator just can’t stand his neighbour because he’s always smiling and happy and openly enjoys life in general, so he undertakes increasingly drastic and ultimately explosive measures to put a stop to this disagreeable (to him) state of affairs.
 Told quite effectively from the (sick-of-mind) narrator’s point of view, this must have been quite a novelty at the time, several decades before James Joyce’s famous Molly Bloom soliloquy in Ulysses (1924) and well before William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury, 1929) and Albert Camus (l’Étranger, 1942) applied this same stream-of-consciousness approach to other oddball mindsets.
70 1902-08 Li Wan, the Fair Klondike Li-Wan’s a young Indian woman of mysterious origins who’s never seen a white man, so she’s in for a big culture-shock when she arrives in the Klondike region and sees the frenzied gold-mining activity there. She tries to fraternise with a couple of wealthy American women who are visiting the diggings and who are interested in her native finery, but her very domineering native husband is very much to be reckoned with, as the only law either of them knows is that man is the master of woman.
 An engaging if not always convincing exploration of a native woman’s psyche and of the feminine condition in the Far North before the irruption of European civilization there.
71 1902-08 Nam-Bok, the Liar

aka :
Nam-Bok, the Unveracious (1902)
Klondike A man arrives by canoe on the shore of a very remote, very poor and very primitive Arctic fishing village and says that he’s Nam-Bok, who’d been lost at sea fishing many years beforehand. But the village people, who have never had any exposure to the outside world, just cannot believe his incredible tales of giant sailing boats, steamships, railways, huge houses and uncountable numbers of people living far away in the south. He’s either the biggest liar in the world or a spirit, and is therefore sent back to the Arctic sea by the village council.
 An interesting and original investigation into the mindset of aboriginal peoples.
72 1902-09 In the Forests of the North Klondike A party of explorers entering an unmapped region of the Far North discovers an unknown Eskimo settlement amongst whose inhabitants is a white explorer who’d mysteriously disappeared five years previously. Happily adjusted to the simple but authentic life of the villagers, to whom he has taught much medical and organisational lore, he’s nevertheless sorely tempted to return with the newcomers to the softer life in the South – but his Eskimo-Indian wife, daughter of the tribe’s chief, has other thoughts, and the clash of cultures inevitably explodes into ultra-violence.
 most convincing, most impressive, most thought-provoking.
73 1902-09 The Death of Ligoun Klondike “Blood for blood, rank for rank” was the honour code of the fierce Tlinket people, as a very old and run-down survivor of the blood feuds of a bygone age recounts in-between sips of fire-water the story of a giant potlatch (a big party where everyone receives gifts) where a dozen chiefs of warring tribes met to discuss possible peace arrangements. But good intentions are not sufficient, and as their honour code says that one should not kill anyone below one’s rank, revenge then has to be sought as high up the ladder of hierarchy as necessary.
 Did things as bad and sad as this really happen in those parts in those days ? Probably, one regrets to conclude.
74 1902-09 The Master of Mystery Klondike A set of very precious blankets have disappeared – obviously stolen by someone – from a poor remote Indian fishing village in northern Alaska. Two shamans do their best to resolve the mystery with their traditionally mystic methods, despite the scornful quips of a cynical young tribesman. And the culprit is indeed, somewhat to our surprise, discovered by the wily village shaman – and appropriately punished in the traditional manner by the villagers.
 what starts out as a lark takes on dark overtones indeed in this quite violent denunciation of the downside of the traditional way of life of aboriginal peoples.
75 1902-09 The Story of Jees Uck

(9,400-word novelette)
Klondike Jees Uck is a young and very beautiful Toyaat woman of very varied ancestry from all over the Far North, not to mention Siberia and San Francisco. Neil Bonner has been sent for five years to serve the Hudson’s Bay Company in the northern wilderness and has currently been exiled to a small outpost on the Yukon River after a quarrel with a hierarchical superior. This is the story of their encounter and how she saved his life and loved him and bore him a son and waited in vain for him to come back North after he had inherited his father’s riches, and of how an inevitable story of betrayal and renunciation and cultural incompatibility somehow worked itself out in the end.
 a darned good realistic-romantic tale tinged with empathy for the native people of the Far North.
76 1902-09 The Sunlanders

(7,600-word novelette)
Klondike Mandell is an obscure village on the rim of the polar sea, peopled mostly by women and a few very meek and necessarily polygamous men. The violent events that led up to this state of affairs is described through the eyes of one of the few male survivors of the clash between the then-populous and normally-aggressive villagers and a small party of white sailors. The villagers have learned the hard way to accept the continued presence of white miners on their land. Once again ultra-violence has characterized the incursion of the white man into aboriginal territory.
 told most effectively from the native point of view.
777 1902-10 The Sickness of Lone Chief Klondike Lone Chief, who has fallen on evil days and is quite without honour or place in the new order of things along the Yukon, remembers the glorious days of his youth when weakened and dishonoured by a severe head injury that he had suffered in a lone combat with a giant bear he had been sent into battle on a suicide mission against an enemy tribe, and had unexpectedly won an historic and very bloody victory that had made him undisputed leader of his people. That is, until the steamboats came...
 could life really have been as harsh and violent as this in the good old days up north before the arrival of the Europeans and Americans ? Possibly not, but it’s a good story nonetheless.
78 1902-10-04 The League of the Old Men

aka : The League of Old Men
Klondike A very old Indian comes to Dawson and tells the police that he has killed a large number of white men over the years – all those who passed through or near the territory of his tribe. During the trial he recounts, through an interpreter who is one of the very few survivors of his once-proud nation, why and how he and other old men of the tribe (the young ones having all gone to find work in the mining camps) had set out on an all-out war of extermination of the white men whose presence was having such a catastrophic impact on their centuries-old way of life.
 Very bitter, very strong and very sad.
79 1903-02 In Yeddo Bay Far East An American sailor in a restaurant finds out when the time comes to pay the bill that he has no money left and not only has to somehow get out of the restaurant but also to hire a sampan to bring him out to his ship moored off Yokohama harbour. Which he manages to do in spite of pay-now-or-else demands by one and all.
 Written with a certain outdated (even then ?) and nowadays most off-putting air of condescension towards the Japanese (”the dark-skinned peoples, the world over, have learned to respect the white man’s fist...”).
80 1903-03 The One Thousand Dozen Klondike A speculator hearing about the Klondike gold rush decides to mortgage his house in order to to buy a thousand dozen eggs which, when brought to Dawson City, will be worth a small fortune in view of the extreme shortage of food in that extremely isolated but rapidly-getting-wealthy settlement. He is absolutely determined to get there at any price with his precious cargo in spite of the seemingly-insurmountable obstacles and lack of available transport, of food and of adequate clothing, and especially the atrocious weather conditions throughout the whole voyage.
 One knows by the somewhat mocking tone used from the start that his incredible efforts and quite extraordinary suffering will turn out to have been in vain, but one is nevertheless awed by the vividness of this gripping account of the incredible hardships that he and many thousands of other gold-rushers had to go through just get up to the promised land in the Yukon in those terribly tough times.
81 1903-06 The Faith of Men Klondike Two young but millionaire miners who have struck it very rich on the Klondike shake dice to decide which one will return home while the other stays on another year to look after their joint mining operations. Lifelong and very trusted friends, they decide that the winner will bring the other’s fiancée back to the Yukon with him, but fate, false news and an Indian maiden interfere with the planned-for wedding celebration. 8.5
82 1903-06 The Shadow and the Flash Science Fiction Paul and Lloyd are very similar, although one’s dark and the other’s blond. They’ve been lifelong friends but also determined rivals in just about everything, and when Dora comes along the competition to outdo the other in everything starts getting really out of hand, as both have become expert chemists and are each working on a revolutionary new chemical inventions that will definitively outdo the other. It all finishes badly of course, as bad and mad scientists mostly do, although their amazing inventions – paints for making people and things invisible and transparent (!) – unfortunately or rather thank goodness died out with them too.
 Pretty darned original science-fiction, and long before the genre became fashionable.
83 1903-07 The Call of the Wild

(31,800-word novella)
Klondike Jack London’s masterpiece, this dramatic account of the adventures of Buck, a very large, very tough and very resourceful dog that gets kidnapped away from his lovely Californian ranch to meet his destiny in the harsh land of the Far North in the days of the Klondike gold-rush in northern Canada, was an instantaneous world-wide success the minute it was published, selling over a million copies in the first year. It has remained one of the most-read works of American literature ever since.
The author, who had been earning his living writing stories for newspapers and magazines until then at a rate of some $100 a story (when times were good, otherwise less) was offered the princely sum of $2,000 for its book rights, which was precisely the sum he needed to buy the sailboat of his dreams. So everybody was happy, especially the New York publisher Macmillan, who made millions from the enormous sales of the book, of which Jack got nary a cent.
 Still, if he had become an instant millionaire he might not have continued his writing career so effectively, so it all turned out for the best after all.
84 1903-08 The Leopard Man’s Story Crime Fiction A leopard-tamer recounts the terrible revenge wreaked by a jealous circus performer (a Frenchman, one might almost say of course) on a lion-tamer who had been eyeing his vivacious young wife too freely.
 Good but grim.
85 1903-09 The Marriage of Lit-lit Klondike The Factor of an important but remote Hudson Bay Company trading outpost would like to take Lit-lit, daughter if the local chieftain, for his wife but the chief not only demands an extravagant price (five hundred blankets !) but is planning to renege on the deal anyway. However, John Fox, born and reared on the frontier fringe of the United States, is not as simple or as easy to trifle with as the chief or the reader might suppose.
 Full of wit and frontier lore, this charming tale is particularly successful. The description of the marriage negotiation with the wily chief is a veritable morceau de bravoure.
86 1903-10 Local Colour Hobos An erudite, charming, and very talkative tramp tells the narrator, to whose comfortable home where he is always welcome and treated like a good friend he has returned once again after yet another long and mysterious absence spent wandering all over the country, about his one and only venture into journalism.
 We learn much about journalism and much more about the world of hobos (a word which, according to our brilliant and extremely knowledgeable hobo hero, originated with the French haut bois and then was converted to ho-boys=>hobos because of the disreputable ways of wandering musicians in former days (!)) – and we get an interesting insight into the mindset of our author, an expert on the subject as he himself had tramped around the whole of North America for more than a year when he was a young and unemployed worker at the ripe old age of 17.
87 1903-12 Amateur Night General Fiction An eager young woman and would-be reporter finds out just how hard it is to break into that very sought-after profession. 7
88 1903-12 Too Much Gold Klondike Two sourdoughs (old-timers) drop into the town of Forty Miles to find it completely emptied of its inhabitants, as news of the fabulous gold strike at Dawson City further upriver has just hit town and every last person has left on a stampede to get there asap and stake a claim themselves. Our old-timers decide to join in the rush when a stream of gold-rushers starts coming up from further down-river, and this is the story of how they both hit and missed the big time too.
 Perhaps because of the miner’s vernacular in which the tale is related, this interesting theme takes on a somewhat too simplistic tone for our current tastes.
89 1904-01 Keesh, the Bear Hunter

aka : The Story of Keesh (1907)
Klondike In the words of the author : "This is the story of Keesh, who lived long ago on the rim of the polar sea, and how he used headcraft and not witchcraft to become a famous bear-killer and the head man of his village."
 Brain not brawn wins the day, as we others say.
90 1904-03-17 The Banks of the Sacramento

aka : On the Banks of the Sacramento
General Fiction A young boy is left alone in charge of a cable-rig across the Sacramento River and is faced with an emergency seemingly impossible to resolve.
 Yet another terrific story for young boys, and for the others too.
91 1905-02-16 White and Yellow Sailing A rousing and possibly-autobiographical account, told in the first person, of a raid by the Fish Patrol on a fleet of shrimp-boats illegally scooping up shrimps in San Francisco Bay. The surprise attack on the sampans of a well-organized band of Chinese-speaking fishermen works well, but our youthful narrator finds himself trying to take almost single-handedly – and unarmed – a boatload of uncooperative prisoners back to shore while his damaged sloop is sinking ever lower and the captives are getting ever more aggressive.
 A good adventure story particularly aimed at younger readers, with a good deal of expert-sounding sailing lore artfully interwoven with the plot.
92 1905-03-02 The King of the Greeks Sailing Big Alex is the king of the illegal fishermen in the San Francisco Bay, and his willingness to shoot his way out of trouble or to keep patrol boats at bay has made him immune from arrest and the hero of his outlaw tribe. But the youthful crew of the Fish Patrol just know there must be a way using brains rather than brawn to bring him to justice if only they could find it, which they do.
 For young people and sailing enthusiasts, particularly.
93 1905-03-16 A Raid on the Oyster Pirates Sailing Raiding oyster beds in San Francisco Bay is a highly profitable enterprise that has attracted some of the most hardened and dangerous criminals in the Bay area. When the wealthy proprietor of a major oyster bed offers a big reward to whoever can catch them red-handed and bring them to justice, the youthful heroes of this story put their heads together and come up with a risky but not impossible scheme for doing just that. 7.5
94 1905-03-30 The Siege of the “Lancashire Queen” Sailing Two illegal fishermen who have been caught red-handed have managed to escape arrest by holing up on a British ship anchored in international waters offshore. There seems too be no way to get at them or to stop them from trying to sneak ashore, but even in those days California was the high-tech mecca, and the refugees from justice don’t have a chance when an engineering marvel is put to good use by their patrolmen pursuers.
 The slowest and one of the longest of the Fish Patrol series of stories.
95 1905-04-13 Charley’s Coup Sailing A resourceful pair of youngsters on the San Francisco Fish Patrol have to try to enforce the local law against salmon-netting on Sundays, but what to do when you are up against a well-organized band of fish pirates all armed with modern rifles and more than willing to use them ? However, where there’s a will and lots of youthful enterprise not to mention sailing savvy, there’s a way... 8
96 1905-04-27 Demetrios Contos Sailing Demetrios is an expert sailor who has built the fastest boat in the San Francisco Bay area and he openly dares the Fish Patrol to try to catch him illegally netting salmon on Sundays right at the harbour-front. The young narrator and his partner, both expert sailors themselves with what they thought was the fastest boat around to boot, try as hard as they can to catch him, but to no avail – so a way has to be found to outwit this over-confident fish pirate and bring him to justice. But the best-laid plans can go dangerously awry…
 A rollicking chase story quite impregnated with the author’s evident love of small-boat sailing and the sea scene.
97 1905-05 The Game

(15,000-word novelette)
Boxing Joe and Genevieve are shopping for rugs and things for their new life together when they will be married in a week’s time. But first Joe, who is a local celebrity because of his prowess at the Game – boxing – has one last fight to get through before settling down with Genevieve to his new life. And what a fight !
 This 15,000-word novelette was called a novel by its editor for commercial reasons when first published in 1905, but it is in fact nowhere near the 40,000-word minimum for novels, or even the 17,500 words required for classification as a novella.
98 1905-05-11 Yellow Handkerchief Sailing The young narrator of the series Tales of the Fish Patrol has finished his two-year stint and is leaving for Oakland where he will take up his studies again. But on the way there – by boat of course – they run into an illegal shrimp-fishing boat, and he has to escort the (dangerous) fish-pirates – led by his mortal enemy, a very vicious Chinaman who is dying for revenge for having been imprisoned previously by our guys – to shore. This last trip turns out to be the worst and scariest of them all.
 A good story for boys and everyone a bit young-at-heart too.
99 1905-11 All Gold Canyon

(7,700-word novelette)
Klondike A solitary prospector carefully inspects an isolated valley for traces of gold and finds more than he bargained for.
 Long and lyrical with a hard-nosed touch, a quintessential Klondike story.
100 1905-12 Love of Life

(8,100-word novelette)
Klondike Two very hungry and exhausted men stumble along a desolate trail in a desperate search for a way out of their white-winter prison in the Far North. No sacrifice or effort or suffering is too great to interfere with their fierce and fearsome will to pull through, which one of them somehow manages to do.
 A long and intense story about the extreme lengths that men are capable of going to in order to survive, that can leave no one indifferent.
101 1905-12 The Sun-Dog Trail

aka : Piece of Life (1954)
Klondike A slice-of-life vignette in the Far North where a seemingly-frail but extraordinarily determined young couple set out on a man-hunt in the middle of winter through the most rugged conditions in the world. At the price of immense suffering from the bitter cold and lack of food and adequate rest they draw ever nearer to their quarry in a state of quite unbelievable exhaustion but as fanatically determined to arrive for a final show-down as ever.
 Starkly related by an Indian guide who had accompanied them on their savage quest, this is yet another intense exploration of the extreme limits to which some (exceptional) men and women can push themselves, especially in the Far North.
102 1906-03 A Nose For the King Far East A fable about a condemned Korean politician who has been too greedy in his grafting and who talks his way out of prison and into great favour with the government by means of a wily ploy involving a realistic drawing of a most peculiar nose.
 With a dose of humour and a large dose of exaggeration, this is a light tongue-in-cheek parable that with its curious conception of Eastern mores and social conditions has not well passed the test of time.
103 1906-06 Planchette

(15,500-word novelette)
General Fiction A long and apparently ambitious novelette that intertwines an extensive and intense love-dialogue, a series of bizarre near-death horse-riding incidents, an Ouija-board (the “Planchette” of the title) session involving ominous messages from beyond the grave by the girl’s dead but revengeful parents, and a final horseback outing where Planchette’s ominous declarations are more than fulfilled.
 The horseback-riding scenes are quite marvellously well done, but the (excessively-long) unrequited-love scene is distinctly less so, and the central spiritualist theme incarnated by Planchette has quite lost any impact it might have had over a century ago when this uneven story was written.
104 1906-08 Brown Wolf Klondike Brown is an odd and very fierce kind of Alaskan dog in sunny California who keeps going off on mysterious escapades somewhere northwards until one day a man from the Klondike comes by, names him Wolf and claims him for his own. In the end the decision is up to Brown Wolf : stay with his caring masters in sunny California or go back to the harsh and hungry life in the wilds of the North.
 One thing is for sure : Jack London knows a lot and writes very well indeed about dogs !
105 1906-08 The Unexpected

(8,100-word novelette)
Klondike Total drama : in the middle of winter a miner bursts into the cabin where his four partners are having breakfast and shoots down two of them in cold blood, but thanks to the split-second reaction of Edith, the wife of the other survivor who leaps on the killer to prevent him reloading his shotgun, the killer is overpowered and tied up. The problem remains of what to do with him, as the cabin will be snowed in for months more. Contrary to the urging of her husband, Edith firmly refuses to shoot him out of hand in spite of the danger he represents.
 A grim but intense tale with an unusual concentration on the punishment side of the universal Crime and Punishment quandary in a small close-knit and isolated community.
106 1906-09 The Apostate

(7,500-word novelette)
General Fiction A certainly-heartfelt account of what it was like growing up very poor in depression days in the late 19th Century in a run-down industrial environment on the West Coast. The suffering and deprivation of the boy-hero who finally refuses to fit in makes Dickens’s Hard Times seem like easy times indeed.
 Lacks coherence and punch though, somehow.
107 1906-10-25 Up the Slide Klondike An enterprising youth goes out in wintertime near Dawson in the Yukon to collect firewood in the form of an aged pine that he has spotted hidden in a gully high up on a cliff, and barely escapes with his life. But when wood is selling in Dawson at forty dollars a cord and you are seventeen and you have assured your partner that you will return with a sled-load of firewood, perhaps you are more reckless or at least willing to take risks than most.
 An excellent tale for younger people.
108 1906-11 A Wicked Woman General Fiction Loretta is a budding young woman visiting family friends to get over her broken love affair with her former fiancé. But although she has a lot going for her — looks, piano-playing and much youthful charm — she has a shameful secret that, so she has been told by her former lover, prevents her from marrying anyone else. The kernel of this sketch is the dialogue whereby the silly creature confides her secret to a man who would ever so much like to play a large role in her future.
 Sort of amusing in a very minor way, this was later transformed into a (titillating, but still silly) and quite commercially-successful little play.
109 1906-11-04 The White Man’s Way Klondike An old, very decrepit and very hungry Indian and his wife explain to a lonely white traveller who is staying with them for the night in their deserted village how they had lost each of their sons in turn because of the white man, his incomprehensible ways and his inconsistent behaviour, and thus have no one to take care of them in their old age.
 A moving albeit somewhat simplistic reflection on the cultural impact of the representatives of modern civilization on the Northland aboriginal peoples.
110 1906-12 The Wit of Porportuk

(13,900-word novelette)
Klondike El-Soo is the splendid 20-year-old daughter of the chief of a big tribe in the Upper Yukon who has lived life up to the hilt, feasting and entertaining and being generous to one and all all his life. But he has had to sell or mortgage all his properties and has run up a huge debt with the village money-lender Porportuk, who hankers after El-Soo who has been educated by missionaries and who is clever and capable as well as being the most desirable young maiden in the Yukon. To escape the clutches of the old usurer, El-Soo organises an auction to sell herself to the highest bidder at the gathering of tribes at the yearly salmon run, attended by one and all and by many wealthy white prospectors and traders come for the occasion. The miser Porportuk who is immensely wealthy is determined to outbid everyone, but the stalwart Akoon, her suitor, openly threatens to shoot anyone who tries to buy his loved one.
 The outcome of this conflict not only of generations but of the traditional free-spending, devil-may-care old ways and the hard-nosed materialism of the new age is resolved, after the extravagant auction has been concluded, in an unexpected – and of course violent, this being the Klondike of Jack London – manner that the reader will not forget in a hurry.
111 1907-01 When God Laughs General Fiction In the story-within-the-story a couple of beautiful people have maintained the intensity and elation of their passionate love-affair years after their marriage, and everyone wonders how they’ve kept the flame so visibly alive. Well, they do have a secret and, innocent as it is, it rather spoils the splendour of the model that they’d become for the friends who started the story off over a glass or two of golden California wine with a discussion of just what goes into the making of a perfect existence.
 The over-lyrical tone and language of the dialogues, both inner and outer alike, reinforce the impression of an interesting subject not quite successfully treated.
112 1907-02 Before Adam

(39,000-word novella)
Historical Fiction The narrator is a prehistoric youth who recounts his adventures in the middle Pleistocene era several hundred thousand years before our time, when he and his tribe had to coexist and fight against not only ferocious carnivorous animals such as wild dogs, great boars, hyenas, and sabre-tooth tigers but also primitive Tree-People who hated his kind and the newly-emerged Fire-People who had not only mastered fire but also speech (unlike his own people who did not yet have proper language) and deadly new weapons like bows and arrows.
His exciting experiences and adventures are related in modern language by a 20th-century youth, who has relived the life and adventures of Big Tooth, the prehistoric hero of this very original and interesting tale, via the recurrent atavistic dreams that have plagued his sleep all his life.
 A highly unusual – and most readable – narration by the author in his prime period.
113 1907-03 Just Meat

aka : Pals (1908)
Crime Fiction We follow the thoughts of a lookout-man who is participating in a house-robbery as he goes down the almost-inevitable path of perdition and discovers that his partner has actually murdered his victim, that he is now wanted for murder too and that his partner has plans to keep the loot all for himself.
 The basic idea is interesting – later on Georges Simenon would do this kind of story fuller and more subtler justice – but the execution is rather too bleak and straightforward, and the characters just too one-dimensional for the story to be as interesting as it perhaps could have been, or maybe would have been if the author had set it in a more exotic setting...
114 1907-04 Created He Them General Fiction A showdown between two brothers, one of whom (the steady and successful one) has come to take the other (whose addiction to whiskey has ruined the life of his wife and children as well as his own) away for good to an institution for alcoholics.
 Slow but solid and insightful about a major social phenomena indeed.
115 1907-05 Morganson’s Finish

aka :
 Finis (1916)
 The Death Trail (1959)

(9,200-word novelette)
Klondike A starving and half-frozen miner down to his last few biscuits, without money or dogs and weakened by scurvy, lies in ambush waiting for days on end behind a snow bank in the midst of a severe winter in the Klondike for a suitable victim to pass by. We see him deal first with a big moose and then with a pack of wolves that momentarily disrupt his plans, and follow in stunning detail his dramatic and bloody – and final – encounter with three victims who finally appear on the trail.
 A tale of crime in the frozen north that will chill your blood.
116 1907-05-25 A Day’s Lodging Klondike A bitter and intense confrontation in a remote cabin in the Far North on an impossibly-cold (-60°C) day between two men who have gone North to get away from it all, and from each other. 9
117 1907-09 Negore, the Coward Klondike In the earlier part of the 19th Century when Alaska was Russian and open war had been declared upon rebellious native tribes, Negore, to prove his valour to his beloved Oona, volunteers to guide a troop of Russians, who are bent on the extermination of the tribe in reprisal for an earlier attack on one of their forts, into a trap.
 As hostile to the ultra-violence and cruelty of the Russian occupation of Alaska as London’s one other story set in Russian Alaska, the masterful Lost Face, but somewhat less successful, possibly because of being narrated through the perhaps somewhat simplified mindset of Negore, this well-told tale of terror and sacrifice and revenge and very bloody warfare is not one that the reader will easily, if ever, forget.
118 1907-09-26 Chased by the Trail Klondike Two boys try desperately to cross the half-frozen Yukon river to carry an urgent message to a prospector on the other side but have the scare of their lives when an enormous ice-jam higher up the river breaks and they have to paddle with all their might downriver ahead of the oncoming ice floes.
 an excellent adventure story, particularly for the younger generation.
119 1908-01 The Passing of Marcus O’Brien Klondike Red Cow is a tiny mining settlement of forty souls in the days before the Klondike gold stampede, and its isolated denizens maintain law and order by rough frontier methods. In particular by punishing murder with exile with a minimum of food – or none if the misdemeanour is a severe one – on a canoe to float downriver, the equivalent of a death sentence as the mouth of the Yukon in the Bering Sea is over two thousand miles away through the most barren and inhospitable territory imaginable. The story opens with the passing of such a sentence by the ad hoc judge of the title, and we follow the same judge’s adventures that very day as he not only strikes pay dirt but embarks upon a monumental whisky-fuelled negotiation with the town’s bar-owner, who wants to buy up his claim. The next morning not only does the judge wake up with a skull-boggling headache, but finds himself in a canoe floating down the Yukon, with no grub at all, his drinking companion’s idea of a joke.
 In spite of its initially almost farcical tone, there is meat and constancy to this highly enjoyable tale, one of the author’s rare ventures into the comedy vein and a most successful one at that, with the most stunning descriptions of that wild land.
120 1908-01 Trust Klondike Frank Churchill, who is leaving Dawson City to catch the last boat for Seattle before the winter freeze-up of the Yukon River, is asked by a close friend at the last minute to deliver a precious knapsack for him back home in Seattle. There are unforeseen delays though, and a desperate dash needs to be made to catch the last relay boat before it is too late. This is the almost incredible odyssey of a man driving forward against all odds and in spite of the most terrible conditions and obstacles imaginable to catch up with the relay boat at all costs, always carrying the heavy knapsack that he dares not consign to anyone else.
 Although the combination of pitfalls and difficulties that our man has to face to win through may seem a tad contrived on the whole, this is a fascinating condensate of the extraordinary hardships experienced by so many travellers in the gold-rush era of the Yukon.
121 1908-02 That Spot Klondike Spot is a magnificent husky dog, bigger and stronger and fiercer and more dominant than any of the others, but he has a most regrettable failing : he just doesn’t want to work. This is the narrative of one of his owners, told in a quite irresistibly wry, tongue-in-cheek manner, describing the desperate efforts he and his gold-mining partner had exerted to train, tame, trade, sell or otherwise dispose of this unusual – and highly intelligent – animal that has just about the strongest personalty of any dog I have ever read about.
 By Gawd, Jack London sure knew how to write about dawgs !!
122 1908-04 Flush of Gold Klondike A prospector and his guide seek shelter in an isolated cabin in the wilderness where they are made welcome by a beautiful but very strange woman whose story of love, betrayal, tragedy and insanity is later recounted by the guide.
 Strong atmosphere and typically “Londonian” overtones of impending doom, even though the story veers at the end towards the tall tale and perhaps loses thereby a certain element of the universality that characterises many of London’s other Klondike stories of the same period.
123 1908-04 Make Westing Sailing The Mary Rogers is a big three-master that has been trying for seven weeks to round Cape Horn in the face of impossibly-contrary winds. Conditions are not good on board and the captain is determined at all costs to break through westwards. When at long last a favourable wind comes up and they are finally on their way to “make westing” successfully, a man falls overboard. Will the captain stop the run to go back to pick him up ?
 surely the best story ever written about the famously-difficult passage of Cape Horn in the days of sailing ships.
124 1908-08 To Build a Fire Klondike A prospector who has ignored advice never to go out in winter alone has set out on a long trek on an unusually cold day to join his group’s campsite further along he frozen Yukon. But it is colder than he thought, there are dangerous pitfalls along the way, and he has seriously underestimated the dangers and difficulties of simply surviving in such extreme conditions.
 A stark and chilling (!) story that has generally considered as one of Jack London’s finest. And so it is, in spite of the barrenness of its setting of snow and ice and yet more snow and ice and its solitary central character somewhat foolishly stumbling towards his doom. Quite perfect for younger readers in spite of its theme of suffering in the face of the awesome power of the elements. And a special focus of interest is a most admirable wolf-dog accompanying the prospector, who is a lot craftier and in tune with his environment than his master.
125 1908-10 The Enemy of All the World Science Fiction A malformed and maltreated genius had launched an extremely murderous campaign to dominate the world between 1933 and 1941 (!!) and this is an account of his neglected and unhappy youth, of his astounding capabilities for learning and scientific achievement, and the early misfortunes and miscarriages of justice that definitively turned his resentment into hatred of the rest of the human race. And which set him off on his murderous campaign to revenge himself on the world, culminating in the German-American War of 1939 (!) that cost 800,000 lives and the systematic destruction of coastal defence installations in both America and Europe. But all good things must come to an end...
 Sort of original really : a mad scientist bent on destroying the world is not as far-fetched as it may have seemed to readers at the time !
126 1908-12 Aloha Oe Hawaii A subtly powerful evocation of the race-based social divide between the Hawaiian native-born or half-casts, no matter how beautiful or handsome or talented or wealthy, and the white upper crust of Hawaiian society of the time. 9
127 1908-12-10 A Curious Fragment Political Fiction A fragment of a 29th-Century document, discovered centuries later, records the militant speech of a wandering labourer in the 26th Century encouraging his fellow workers – who are themselves all illiterate, it being a capital crime then to teach a worker to read and write or even learn the alphabet (!!) - to revolt against the slave-labour conditions imposed by a hated oligarchy of hereditary factory owners. A very violent political diatribe that extends the violence and class conflict of London’s dystopian novel The Iron Heel far into a very bleak and terrifying future indeed.
 Definitely too pessimistic by far about mankind’s future at the time of writing, this is just so negative about the capability of the capitalist system to evolve towards a more humane and enlightened fate for the mass of the population that is is almost unreadable today. But it certainly provides insight into the political mindset of the articulate far-left of the early 20th Century. As purely science-fiction it is sort of passable, albeit too wrapped up in the hateful aspects of class struggle to be anything more than that.
128 1908-12-13 Lost Face Klondike This is how this great story starts : "It was the end. Subienkow had travelled a long trail of bitterness and horror, homing like a dove for the capitals of Europe, and here, farther away than ever, in Russian America, the trail ceased. He sat in the snow, arms tied behind him, waiting the torture. He stared curiously before him at a huge Cossack, prone in the snow, moaning in his pain. The men had finished handling the giant and turned him over to the women. That they exceeded the fiendishness of the men, the man’s cries attested."
 Strong stuff indeed, but just so artfully told, with frequent fast-paced flashbacks to the circumstances that had led up to the final drama and to the wide-open expansionist spirit of those adventurous times. This quite unforgettable drama manages to integrate that something special which, above and beyond the story line, talks to us of the universal essence of the life experience, and elevates it to the rarefied level of an eternal literary masterpiece.
129 1909-01 The Dream of Debs

(7,850-word novelette)
Political Fiction Debs was a labour leader of thirty years beforehand who had always dreamed of being able to organize a general strike, and the narrator awakes to find that the explanation for the unusual quiet on the streets is that Debs’s dream has now come true. Extensive discussions ensue about open shops, closed shops, strike-breaking and police and employer violence which have somewhat lost their sting today but which must certainly have been hot topics at the time of writing. And the chaotic issue of the general strike is quite different from what the armchair reader of today would tend to expect... 7
130 1909-01 The House of Mapuhi

(8,800-word novelette)
South Seas A long but action-packed tale describing the circuitous fate of a fabulous pearl found off a remote but populous atoll in the Paumotu Islands in the South Seas, first battled over by traders reluctant to pay the price demanded by its discoverer, Mapuhi – a complete house of his dreams – and then lost along with the majority of the atoll’s inhabitants when a phenomenally violent hurricane practically destroys the atoll. Extreme violence and carnage and intense suffering by all concerned – London trademarks – but a surprisingly satisfying outcome. And the most hair-raising, eyewitness-like description of just what a strong hurricane is like that you will ever read... 9
131 1909-04 The Seed of McCoy

(10,850-word novelette)
South Seas A cargo ship with a great fire raging below decks puts in at Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific where the captain and crew learn to their dismay that there is nowhere on that very remote island where they can beach the ship. So they have no alternative but to go on to the nearest island with a suitable lagoon, which is several hundred miles away. Guided by the governor of Pitcairn Island they set out on on this desperate dash for safety but fog, wayward currents, a hurricane wind and plain bad luck combine to make their chances of coming to safety ever more remote.
 A cracking good story of the sea and sailing, of seamanship and the struggle to remain calm in the face of extreme danger in a very hostile environment.
132 1909-05 The Madness of John Harned Latin America Lovers of bull-fighting abstain : this is a detailed account of the cruelty of that “sport” in one of the second-class arenas that abound in Latin America, and of the increasingly-animated conversation between the local sophisticated and blasé afficionados and a visiting Yankee spectator, clearly representing the author’s own views, about this controversial confrontation between man and animal. It finishes badly and bloodily, of course. 9
133 1909-05-22 South of the Slot Political Fiction The Slot was the geographical and social dividing line of San Francisco before the Great Earthquake there : north of this distinctive tram-line were the shopping district and the respectable business houses, south of it were the factories and the working-class district. The central character in this militant tale of working-class struggle, strife and strikes lives in both worlds : he is a reputed sociology professor at the University of California renowned for his classic, conservative and very moralistic study of the great labour-ghetto on the other side, who has lived and worked there for so long while gaining material for his books that he has taken on a new, more outgoing and much less straight-jacketed personality and habits when over there, drinking beer with the buddies and boisterously living it up after work most notably. He had become two different men with two different personalities, one a class-conscious and militant union man actively participating in the struggles around him, the other a detached and ratiocinating professor aloofly observing and analysing the outside world. But things come to a boil when each of his separate personalities finds an ideal mate of its own kind, each on separate sides of the social divide. Marriage if not polygamy is on the cards, and things come to a crunch when both sides of his personality get swept up in a violent city-wide Meat Strike.
 A fable providing interesting insight into the tense and often violent social and labour relations that were prevalent in sunny California then and for long afterwards too.
134 1909-06 Good-Bye, Jack Hawaii One of the richest and most eligible bachelors in Hawaii, a paragon of courage and fortitude, discovers that his lady love is on the point of being interned on the island of Molokai where lepers from all the Hawaiian islands are compounded for life with no hope of ever returning.
 Above and beyond the question of the treatment of leprosy in those (un)enlightened days, the critical tone of this seemingly-straightforward social fable is established from the start by the following semi-sarcastic and bitingly bitter remarks about the history of the American colonisation of those islands : “Hawaii is a queer place ... The humble New Englanders who came out in the third decade of the nineteenth century, came for the lofty purpose of teaching the kanakas the true religion, the worship of the one and only genuine and undeniable God. So well did they succeed in this, and also in civilizing the kanaka, that by the second or third generation he was practically extinct. This being the fruit of the seed of the Gospel, the fruit of the seed of the missionaries (the sons and the grandsons) was the possession of the islands themselves – of the land, the ports, the town sites and the sugar plantations. The missionary who came to give the bread of life remained to gobble up the whole heathen feast.
135 1909-06-26 The Chinago South Seas Ah Cho is an indentured Chinese “coolie” (“serf” would be even more accurate description of his condition) on a French plantation in Polynesia who has been arrested and condemned to prison for twenty years after the slaying of the (criminally-brutal) foreman by another coolie, and we follow his thought processes as he wonders at the stupidity of the French judge and policemen who are incapable of discovering the identity of the murderer and who have nevertheless condemned another of the group, a certain Ah Chow, to death simply because he was present at the slaying, to set an example. But name confusion arises and Ah Cho is guillotined in place of Ah Chow, as the white devils don’t really care as long as one of the Chinagos goes under the knife.
 Related by Ah Cho in rudimentary language, the account is a tad too simplistic to be quite satisfying, but it impresses nevertheless.
136 1909-08 The Sheriff of Kona Hawaii Kona is a “lotus land where every day is like every day, and every day is a paradise of days”, where it is always calm thanks to the special geography which shelters it from the violent winds that perpetually rage around the other Hawaiian islands nearby, and leaves only refreshing breezes and the cool air that blows down from its magnificent mountains. Yet the Sheriff of Kona, an athlete and a giant, left this island paradise with all his family, and this sad story of disease (leprosy, that curse of Hawaii) and despair tells why and how. 8.5
137 1909-09 The Heathen

(8,000-word novelette)
South Seas The narrator recounts how he first met Otoo, a native of Bora Bora, the only non-Christian on that island, on a heavily overladen tramp ship that sank when hit by a horrific hurricane and of which he and Otoo – who mutually saved each other’s lives that day – were the only survivors. They became blood brothers, a sacred bond in those parts involving notably the exchange of names, and were inseparable from then on. This very moving tale details the workings of that unbreakable bond for the rest of their existences.
 Reader beware : once you have read this story, you will never be able to forget Otoo (pronounced oh-to-oh), the most wonderful blood brother any man ever had. In the moving closing words of the author : “If Jehovah be from His high place watching every sparrow fall, not least in His kingdom shall be Otoo, the one heathen of Bora Bora.
138 1909-11-20 A Piece of Steak

(7,600-word novelette)
Boxing An ageing boxer in the Australian out-lands prepares for a big fight that he desperately needs to win to provide for his undernourished family. But times are hard, very hard, and he just cannot have the good piece of steak that he knows from experience his body needs to meet the challenge of the up-and-coming upstart he is about to confront. The account of his struggle to nevertheless dominate his opponent through fifteen long and bitter rounds, interspersed with flashbacks to to his days of glory and to scenes illustrating the dramatic social conditions of the time, is expertly told – the author must surely have been a practitioner of the noble art himself – and is as tense and dramatic and full of emotional impact and social import as any sports story that you will ever read. 10
139 1909-12 Koolau the Leper Hawaii Koolau is the leader of a group of natives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, all severely stricken with leprosy, who have gathered in an impregnable mountain fortress to resist internment by the authorities on the prison-island of Molokai from which there is no return. This is the story of their struggle to remain free, heightened in intensity from start to finish by the fiery anti-missionary and anti-governmental diatribes of their determined but doomed leader.
 Were race relations really that bad in the bad old days n Hawaii ? Wow !
140 1909-12 Mauki South Seas Mauki is a coal-black young Solomon Islander who has been forced into a long-term slavish contract as a plantation labourer under the most severest discipline imaginable. This is the story of the hardships he endured, of his numerous and often bloody and always-severely-punished attempts to escape, and in general of what it was like in the early days of the 20th Century to be what can safely be described as a basically very savage stone-age head-hunting Melanesian islander trying to come to terms with the encroachments of the white man and his all-conquering civilization.
 Stark and brutal but dramatically compelling, this tell-it-like-it-really-is/was approach to race relations in the South Pacific at the time is most effective.
141 1909-12-29 The Mission of John Starhurst

aka : The Whale Tooth (1910)
South Seas Eat or be eaten was the law of the land among the head-hunters of the Fiji Islands, and John Starhurst has been sent on a mission there to christianise the tribes and put a stop to this barbaric tradition. He courageously proceeds inland to the mountains where no white man had ever penetrated before, but unfortunately for him one of his converts, who secretly resents the new morals, has sent a messenger before him with a magnificent whale-tooth as present for the chief of the mountain stronghold he is set on visiting – a present which obliges the receiver to accede to whatever request is made by the giver. The reader’s admiration for the courage displayed by the missionary just has to be tempered by a certain astonishment at the man’s foolish temerity. It ends badly, of course, except for the headhunters, that is. 7.5
142 1910-02 Goliah

aka : Goliath

(9,100-word novelette)
Political Fiction Walter Basset, a captain of industry, “one of the small group that controlled the nation in everything but name”, receives a curious letter from a certain Goliah inviting him, with nine fellow-captains of industry, to visit the writer of the letter on his little-known Pacific island “for the purpose of considering plans for the reconstruction of society upon a more rational basis.” The letter goes on to explain that the penalty for non-observance of this summons is the death penalty. Only Walter Basset accepts the invitation on the appointed day – and the nine others are all found dead of a mysterious disintegration of their cell tissues. Follows a similar invitation to ten political leaders, all of whom ignore the summons and who equally suffer a sudden and violent demise, which causes the US navy to launch an all-out assault on the island retreat, with disastrous consequences to the (ex-)fleet. Goliah proceeds to destroy the Japanese fleet, to order worldwide disarmament and disbandment of the world’s armies, to outlaw child labour and the employment of women in factories (!), and to do away with private property, with the stock market and with commerce in general. By 1925 royalty worldwide had been abolished, by 1938 the working day reduced to two hours, the maximum working age to forty-eight, and prosperity and happiness has flourished all over the world. And in later epochs, Goliah, the genial inventor of the “Energon” that harnesses the power of solar rays, was honoured by the world as the greatest benefactor of mankind of all time.
 A truly amazing albeit delirious socialist dream.
143 1910-03 Chun Ah Chun Hawaii Ah Chun had served from his sixth to his twenty-fourth year as a slave on his uncle’s farm near Canton until he managed to escape by contracting to work for three years on a sugar plantation in Hawaii. Hard-working, very astute and doted with a second sight for investment opportunities, he has acquired not only an immense fortune and a position of great social importance in Hawaii, but also a wife of mixed European origins and a family of fifteen magnificent children, all educated in the finest universities in the West. Key problems remain to be solved however : the culture gap which prevents the potentially-suitable scions of the Hawaiian upper class from marrying his half-Chinese daughters, how to ensure a peaceable old age for himself in face of the inevitable squabbling among his offspring for control of his empire, and above all how to satisfy his longing to return to the beloved China of his youth while there is still time. It will come as no surprise to know that Ah Chun rises to the challenge and finds a most satisfactory solution to all of these conundrums.
 one of the very best of the author’s Hawaii stories.
144 1910-03 The Terrible Solomons South Seas A half-serious, half-tongue-in-cheek account of an innocent young tourist’s discovery of the everyday violence rampant both on the ships that navigate around the Solomon Islands and on land in and around the trading posts and European-run plantations in those parts.
 Although we know that race relations were very different when this story was written from what they are today, nevertheless the racist terminology and the casual callousness by which blacks are murdered out-of-hand throughout this long and extraordinarily-bloody farce are just too much for the modern reader. True, the natives are head-hunters and man-eaters and just as bent on murder and mayhem as any of the white sailors and settlers in the story, but no, in spite of the subjacent humour and the liveliness of the action, this story is more a testimonial to the misguided white-superiority ideology of so many Europeans (and Americans, including the author one has to admit) of those times than an acceptable work of literature for our hopefully-more-enlightened days.
145 1910-05-14 The Inevitable White Man South Seas This cruel sailor’s tale about ultra-violence and conflict not to say outright warfare with savage head-hunters in the South Seas starts off with the following off-putting declaration just to set the tone : “The black will never understand the white, nor the white black, as long as black is black and white is white.”, and carries on to describe the exploits of a useless sailor who could do absolutely nothing right except one thing – shoot like you wouldn’t believe. So we read on about how this crack sharpshooter succeeds in warding off masses of attacking head-hunting savages during a recruitment drive for hired labour among the Solomon Islands. It finishes in about the same ugly vein as it started, I’m sorry to say.
 Most distasteful.
146 1910-07 The Unparalleled Invasion Political Fiction The logical – or at least possible – consequences of the entry of Japan into the concert of nations by their stunning victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 is extrapolated throughout the rest of the century as Japan first expands into Manchuria, Korea and then China, which it utterly modernises on its own model, and opens up vast new resources and capabilities for China itself. With the end of traditional famines, the population of China explodes until they outnumber the Japanese by tenfold and begin to overflow into neighbouring regions. The Japanese are politely sent back to their tiny islands to cultivate their culture, the French in Indochina are swallowed up by a million well-armed troops and their families, and the flood of industrious and ever-more-numerous Chinese migrants continues into the rest of Asia and beyond. The West is terrified and powerless – if the amazing expansion of the Chinese population continues they will number a billion and a half by the end of the 20th century ! Invasion of China is impossible, as an abortive attempt by the French, who lost an entire army of 250,000 men in trying to do just that, had shown. The new modern and ever-impenetrable China seemed irresistible – but in 1974 a scientist in New York has a (very nasty) idea that just might work...
 A pessimistic and antagonistic perception of East-West relations, a quite amazing reflection of the widespread Yellow Peril mentality of the time.
147 1910-09 Winged Blackmail Crime Fiction A high-flying financier receives polite but uncouth and menacing letters by carrier pigeon (!) demanding large sums of money by return pigeon or else. When the “else” turns out to be a series of increasingly-destructive bombings he just has to find a way to follow the pigeon back to its owner, not an easy challenge. But his family gathers round and justice will be done. 7
148 1910-09-10 When the World Was Young Fantasy A burglar clandestinely entering the grounds of a mansion near San Francisco stumbles upon a strange sleeping wild man who seems to be a throwback from primitive times thousands of years ago. And this is the story of that wild man, in fact the owner of the mansion who is a successful businessman by day and a primitive Teuton of the Stone Age by night.
 Strange indeed – one of Jack London’s quite rare forays into the realm of fantasy [3].
149 1910-11-12 The Benefit of the Doubt General Fiction A man returns to the town of his youth to find it rougher and tougher and unfairer than when he had grown up there. The police and the judges are even worse than the (very) rough men in the low dive he wanders into, but our man manages to get his own back in the end.
 A story inspired by a somewhat similar true-life experience of the author.
150 1910-11-19 Under the Deck Awnings South Seas A group of fellows on an ocean liner are debating whether or not a gentleman could ever call a woman a pig (!), and to illustrate his opinion to the affirmative one of them describes a crossing he had made when a certain elegant, athletic and very sought-after high-bred young woman who had everyone on board so much under her sway that she practically ran the ship. But she was called that very name after a tragic happening which would never have occurred had she not been such an overweening self-centred little xxx.
 Grim !
151 1910-12 “Yah ! Yah ! Yah !” South Seas The narrator cannot understand how a whisky-guzzling, scrawny old Scotchman, never sober from 6 o’clock in the morning onwards and the only European on the isolated island of Oolong, could so effortlessly lord it over the whole island and its six thousand warlike inhabitants who so uncomplainingly submit to his slightest whim. Then one evening one of the natives tells him how some twenty years previously they had, in keeping with a centuries-long tradition, launched a surprise attack on a schooner that had unsuspectingly entered their lagoon, and how in spite of their overwhelming superiority one of the crew members, armed with a repeater rifle, had managed to escape the massacre with a few other crewmen, taunting the attackers all the time with the strange cry of the title. The islander goes on to detail the terrible consequences of that bloody battle and we come away, with the narrator, wiser – and a lot sadder – about just how Western civilization spread to that particular part of the world. 9.5
152 1910-12 The House of Pride Hawaii Percival Ford is a very strait-laced multimillionaire on Hawaii, son of a puritan missionary who had made a fortune buying up native lands on the cheap. He is approaching middle age now and is as prurient – and convinced of his inner moral superiority – as ever, and particularly ill at ease with the loose Hawaiian morals he sees flourishing all around him. When he discovers that one of the objects of his moral opprobrium and intolerance is in fact an illegitimate son of his own idealised father, his stern moral outlook begins to crumble. But people of his ilk do not change their world-outlook on the spur of the moment... 7
153 1910-12-10 To Kill a Man Crime Fiction A woman hears a noise in the dead of night and discovers a burglar in her living room. Although he’s armed with a revolver and just wants to leave now that she’s come, he is soft-spoken and clearly not too dangerous so she engages him in conversation to better understand his motives. She and we learn that he in fact is out to take revenge on her father after having been unfairly deprived by him of his job at the father’s factory. The more they talk, the more the roles become reversed, and we discover that the lady is not as beautiful a person as we had thought at the beginning of the story... 7
154 1910-12-18 Bunches of Knuckles South Seas A couple on a long cruise in the South Seas tries unsuccessfully to cope with the first mate of the ship, an ex-convict whom they have tried to help in spite of misgivings about his past. Things go from bad to tragic until fate lends a helping hand. 8.5
155 1911-01 The “Francis Spaight” Sailing The Francis Spaight is a lumber-laden cargo ship that has capsized in a North Atlantic gale because of the carelessness of its inexperienced crew and particularly because of the incompetence of the steersman. It drifts de-masted for days without sighting another ship, with no shelter and above all practically no food for the survivors. The sailors finally decide to sacrifice one of theirs to replenish their food supplies, and this story, sub-titled “A True Tale Retold” which it no doubt is, recounts in dreadful detail the tragic events that follow.
 Too grim for words.
156 1911-02-11 The Hobo and the Fairy Hobos A dirty, dishevelled, down-and-out tramp is sleeping under a tree and a little girl walking by stops to protect him from the sun with her umbrella. She engages him in conversation when he wakes up, and the tramp, a hardened ex-convict, relives the terrible things he has seen and done as he contemplates her innocence and purity. Something that soothes his savage soul emanates from the little girl though, and as we follow their conversation and learn more about the two of them the full effect of this rare and hard-to-forget story builds up to a suitably powerful climax. 10
157 1911-03 The Eternity of Forms

aka : The Dead Do Not Come Back (1961)
Fantasy Two brothers have endless arguments about the metaphysics of the title, and here we have extracts from the diary of the surviving one, the positivist-materialist – and very deluded – proponent of the thesis of the later title, who not only leads a double life but sees his double doing things.
 You have to be smarter than we are to figure out what exactly is going on here.
158 1911-03 The Strength of the Strong Political Fiction An elderly and very hairy cave-man recounts to his three grown grandsons the history of their people : how they, the Fish-Eaters, used to be numerous and constantly at war with the neighbouring Meat-Eaters, and how they evolved from a period of incessant wife-stealing and individualism to a co-operative system of government with the progressive introduction of a tribal council, of a hereditary chieftain, of currency, of farming, of a priesthood, of police and of the systematic repression of dissenters. But how continued wife-stealing and the growth of inequalities resulted in the dispersion and destruction of the once-prosperous tribe so that their little group was now all that was left.
 A parable of man’s social evolution as seen from the (far) left, written in answer to Kipling’s anti-socialist parable of the benefits of Empire Melissa, introduced with the following sarcastic and passably aggressive epigraph to make the point clear : “Parables don’t lie, but liars will parable. - Lip-King”.
159 1911-05-27 A Son of the Sun South Seas A shifty schooner-owner tries to sneak out of a big debt owed to the hero of this and other stories in the series originally published under the general title of this lead tale, the redoubtable adventurer and multimillionaire wheeler-dealer-businessman David Grief. Grief catches up with him at a remote island in the Solomons, but the polite discussion that ensues rapidly escalates and bullets soon start flying. David Grief, whose exploits and love of excitement and “fun” are recounted at considerable length, does not at all like to be cheated and sets out to make sure that the defaulter-robber’s crime does not pay.
 Unfortunately the story is quite spoiled for us today because of the off-handed racist slants against the native islanders that abound from the beginning, which may have seemed at the time to be appropriate language for the rough men who utter them, but which are quite simply intolerable to us today.
160 1911-06 The Taste of the Meat

(7,850-word novelette)
Klondike Kit Bellew is a 27-year-old journalist who has spent the last five years dabbling at various mostly artistic occupations and whose uncle and cousins are setting off the next day to join in the gold rush to the Klondike. Out of shape and rather lazy by temperament, he’s nevertheless determined to live up to his uncle’s strenuous expectations and this is the story of how the soft city boy becomes a hardened sourdough wily in the ways of the wild, and manages while he is at it to meet a most interesting young woman “whose walk he would recognize after a thousand years.
 A lighthearted account, in keeping with the character of its quite charming central character, of the difficulties and hardships awaiting those many thousands who had set out from the sunny south on that fabled gold-rush trail.
161 1911-06-24 The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn South Seas Ship-owner and wily adventurer David Grief makes a man out of a wealthy but broken-down young fellow totally addicted to alcohol when they set out on a treasure hunt and the young man has no choice but to shape up on the long trip across the Pacific, or else. 8.5
162 1911-07 The Meat

(8,100-word novelette)
Klondike In this sequel to The Taste of the Meat, Kit (now nicknamed “Smoke”) Bellew is working his way along the long Klondike trail as a packer, and has to manage a double workload on the half-rations doled out by his two very wealthy, very well-fed and very miserly not to mention slothful and cowardly would-be mining-entrepreneurs who have hired him. The meat of the title is bear-meat, the gauge of a fire-eating all-out tough guy who can do anything and come through any difficulty according to Shorty, his fellow hired packer, and boy, do they both earn that honoured title before they finally manage to somehow make it through rapids and ice-jams and dangers galore all the way to Dawson.
 Somehow almost oddly lighthearted in tone, perhaps because of the twangy-western kind of vernacular used throughout the extensive dialogues.
163 1911-07 The Night-Born Klondike A wealthy but burnt-out man in a San Francisco clubhouse tells how twelve years previously when he was prospecting virgin country in the Far North he had discovered an Indian tribe that had never seen a white man before, but which was ruled by a very forceful blue-eyed (and very sunburned) white woman who recounted – yes, we are three story-levels down now – the rough path through life she had travelled on her way to this wild wilderness. The jaded and alcohol-fuelled regrets of the former adventurer for what might have been conclude this strong and almost moving story, quite infused with a "Thoreau-esque" love of nature, on a fittingly melancholic note.
 The title of the story is a reference to the following fine quotation from Thoreau :
“The young pines springing up, in the corn field from year to year are a refreshing fact. We talk of civilizing the Indian, but that is not the name for his improvement. By the wary independence and aloofness of his dim forest life he preserves his intercourse with his native gods and is admitted from time to time to a rare and peculiar society with nature. He has glances of starry recognition, to which our saloons are strangers. The steady illumination of his genius, dim only because distant, is like the faint but satisfying light of the stars compared with the dazzling but ineffectual and short-lived blaze of candles. The Society Islanders had their day-born gods, but they were not supposed to be of equal antiquity with the.... night-born gods.”
164 1911-07-20 The Goat Man of Fuatino

aka :
The Devils of Fuatino (1912)

(9,550-word novelette)
South Seas The trader David Grief’s prize schooner arrives at the idyllic island of Fuatino only to be informed by David’s blood-brother there that a shipload of pitiless (French, one might almost add : of course) pirates had occupied the island, killed many of the men and captured many of the women. David and his crew ship arms in the middle of the night to the surviving natives and launch an all-out campaign to exterminate the invaders. But the heavily-armed pirates recoil at nothing and use their many hostages for protection, so the struggle is uncertain at best.
 A long but well-paced and credible tale of strife and mayhem in those not-so-idyllic-after-all parts.
165 1911-07-29 War War story A minute-by-minute description of the findings and feelings of a cavalry soldier on a reconnaissance mission in an unspecified war zone (reminiscent of the American Civil War, but with the difference that the enemy troops speak a “hated alien tongue” - could that possibly refer to the southern drawl or to the Yankee way of speech ?) as he advances through woods and prairies and comes upon a battle zone and sees and hears enemy troops approaching.
 Short but very gripping, most impressive.
166 1911-08 The Stampede to Squaw Creek Klondike ”Smoke” Bellew and his partner Shorty are tipped off in the middle of the night that gold has been found nearby, and they sneak out to stake a claim on the new Eldorado Creek before the news gets abroad. While still on the outskirts of town they discover that there are a thousand men ahead of them with the same idea in mind and a further ten thousand coming along fast behind – a typical Dawson stampede is under way ! As they have been hardened by a year on the trail, when they pick up the pace to a near-run in spite of the ice and the deep snowdrifts and the -55° C. temperature they rapidly start catching up to the leaders, most of whom are tenderfoot novices unused to the extreme conditions of the Yukon. But some of them are stronger and wilier – and luckier – than it would appear, as they find out the hard way.
 An interesting insight into the gold-rush mentality of those heroic days.
167 1911-08-19 The Mexican

(9,300-word novelette)
Boxing An undercover member of the Junta of the Mexican Revolution that is preparing to overthrow the dictatorship of Porfiro Diaz has secretly been earning money for the Revolution by boxing after work hours in southern California, and engages, unknown to his revolutionary comrades, in the biggest fight of his career in the hope of bringing to the Junta the winner-take-all stake of $5,000, just the sum which they desperately need to launch their uprising. His opponent is an experienced, very tough and very arrogant local hero who is almost certain to beat the unknown upstart, but he and his entourage do not understand the fierceness of young Mexican’s dedication to the Cause, nor his visceral hatred of gringos in general and of his opponent in particular. The long and dramatic, round-by-round description of the epic struggle on which the fate of the Revolution is at stake will have you on the edge of your chair throughout.
 What a match, and what a writer !
168 1911-09 Shorty Dreams

aka : Shorty Has a Dream
Klondike “Smoke” Bellew’s partner Shorty has a hunch that he’s about to get lucky at the roulette tables in Dawson but has to concede defeat after losing a pile of gold dust. “Smoke” though, after careful observation of the proceedings, declares that he believes he’s found a system to beat the roulette and really clean up and soon starts applying his new method most successfully – so much so that the syndicate of casino-owners offers him a big prize to stop their torture and to reveal his secret method. Which he does most convincingly, to their relief – and to their chagrin when they realize just what he’s been up to.
 A light sketch of the dark side of the night life in the brief heyday of the gold capital of the world.
169 1911-09 The Abysmal Brute

(23,500-word novella)
Boxing The narrator of this story-with-a-message (that boxing is a corrupt business) is an (apparently) honest boxing manager who has been introduced to a phenomenally talented 22-year-old young giant whose father, a former boxing champion, has been training him intensively in their hideout in the woods of Northern California ever since the boy was seven. The manager has one look at this monstrously-talented and very handsome youth who has never been to the big city and takes him on a circuit of fights aimed at giving him a chance as soon as possible to land the heavyweight championship of the world, which he is practically certain to do if his manager can only arrange the fight.
But one day a spirited lady reporter enters the scene and the things she says and the irresistible impact that her personality and her values make on the “Anonymous Brute” (as he has been dubbed) change the course of the story and the boxer’s life and ambitions forever.
 The fight scene is remarkable.
170 1911-09-02 A Little Account with Swithin Hall South Seas David Grief’s sturdiest schooner makes it through a big hurricane intact, but their chronometer has slipped a clog and they don’t know where they are when they come across an uncharted island where three men are driving a gang of native labourers to extract thousands of dollars worth of precious pearls from the seabed. Detective work and some clever manoeuvring by David Grief enable him and his shipmates to resolve the mystery of who these men are, how they came to be in such a remote location, and how they’d been able to build such a well-equipped mansion. And how to settle a sizeable old debt. 7
171 1911-09-30 A Goboto Night South Seas The essential character of life on this little South Sea island is summed up in the following phrase : “Life at Goboto is heated, unhealthy, and lurid, and for its size it asserts the distinction of more cases of acute alcoholism in the world. Guvutu, over in the Solomons, claims that it drinks between drinks. Goboto does not deny this. It merely states, in passing, that in the Goboto chronology no such interval of time is known.”.
 Spoiled somewhat by regular racist cracks, the account of an evening’s quarrelling and gambling – and of course drinking – and of how a particularly overbearing and arrogant visitor not only gets his comeuppance from but is quite turned around by David Grief, is not without interest.
172 1911-10 The Man on the Other Bank Klondike A rather extravagant adventure in the “Smoke Bellew” series where Smoke sets off alone across uncharted territory in search of a mythical lost gold-rich lake and actually manages by sheer chance to find it. Only to be shot at on his way back by an unknown assailant in hiding and then arrested manu militari by a large group of isolated and very irate prospectors who promptly put him on trial for murder, in true frontier-justice style prevalent in those parts, as the unknown shooter had also shot down one of theirs while leaving no trace of his presence.
 Although the story lacks somewhat in credibility, the roughness of the frontier life and above all the splendours of the wild, savage and often very beautiful outdoors are admirably portrayed.
173 1911-10-14 The Pearls of Parlay

(9,000-word novelette)
South Seas Parlay is a wizened old Frenchman who has become the ruler of the atoll of Hikihoho in the Paumotan Islands after marrying the queen there. Embittered by the suicide of his beloved – and beautiful and highly-educated – half-caste daughter fifteen years earlier because of the rigid colour bar practised by the high society of the islands, he has built up a fabulous hoard of exceptional pearls and summons the leading traders of the South Seas to his atoll for an auction of the whole lot, at precisely 10 a.m. on a given day. But Parlay is considered by the natives to be a sort of witch-doctor who masters the elements, and that day is precisely at the peak of the hurricane season. David Grief, millionaire trader and adventurer, along with a number of other traders, cannot resist the temptation to participate in the auction but when their ships have gathered in the atoll’s lagoon the barometer starts going through the floor and by the appointed time on the day of the auction the mother of all hurricanes is on the verge of destroying not only all the ships but the island as well.
 the essence of this gripping story is the struggle of one and all just to survive, both on ship and on land, in face of the awesome force of the hurricane winds – Parlay’s revenge on the cruel world beyond his little kingdom.
174 1911-11 The End of the Story

(7,800-word novelette)
Klondike A doctor playing cards in a cozy cabin on the Yukon is summoned by an insistent newcomer to rush away with him at all speed on a hundred-mile trip through difficult territory to operate a man who has been desperately wounded by a cougar. He does so reluctantly although there’s little chance that anyone could possibly survive the terrible mauling the man had received. After three days of almost non-stop intense effort they arrive at the isolated campsite, where the doctor recognizes the woman who’s tending to the desperately-wounded man : she is his wife ! and the wounded man is the one who’d stolen her away from him. The doctor, a renowned surgeon who had come up to the Far North to get away from it all after the loss of his wife, struggles with his conscience and finally strikes a deal with her – he’ll move heaven and earth to save her lover, if she’ll come back to him if and when he has been saved. The deal is struck, and the saga of how the surgeon brings the man back from the brink of death and closes the deal with his wife is the heart of this long, complex and intense story. 8.5
175 1911-11 The Race for Number Three Klondike The Dawson Gold Commissioner has organized a race from the Number Three stake on the rich Mono Creek, whose original but unconfirmed claim will expire at midnight, to the registrar’s office in Dawson a hundred and ten miles further down the frozen Yukon. The entrants must plant a new four-post stake on the site under tight police surveillance, but not before midnight on the day that the original claim expires, and then set off by dogsled as best and as fast as they can through the inevitable dogsled-jam down the treacherously frozen river. Smoke Bellew is challenged to enter the race by the lady adventurer he had previously met and admired, and he has spent days hunting up the strongest and fastest dog teams available in the whole territory to be used as relays all the way downriver from the bonanza creek to Dawson. But the competition – the best mushers in the whole of the Far North – is fierce and unscrupulous and determined, and the stakes – the claim is worth at least a million dollars – are very high.
 Was there ever a dog-sled race like this one, and so dramatically recounted ?
176 1911-11-11 The Jokers of New Gibbon South Seas A plantation has been established with great difficulty on the island of New Gibbon in face of violent opposition by hostile headhunting natives, and an uneasy peace has reigned for some time there when the natives’ ageing chief comes to the German-managed settlement and unsuccessfully tries to cadge some alcohol, strictly forbidden for the natives (the white sailors and administrators in the story use another n-word frequently to describe them) by the regulations in force. Two of the administrators play a joke on the native chief by tricking him into drinking what were in fact other foul mixtures – horse liniment and essence of mustard – with disastrous results indeed.
 Not a nice tale by any stretch of the imagination. Ugh !
177 1911-11-19 By the Turtles of Tasman

(10,500-word novelette)
General Fiction A very wealthy and straight-laced land-owner and industrialist, a probable future Governor of California, shelters his prodigal and penniless younger brother, who has spent the past twenty years or more wandering all over the world, particularly in the Klondike and the South Seas, sowing his wild oats and living life to the hilt, accompanied by his flashy but very articulate young daughter.
 The shock of lifestyles and values that ensues clearly reflects the author’s own world-outlook on what makes a life worth having been lived.
178 1911-12 The Little Man Klondike Smoke Bellew partners up with a likeable fellow prospector to investigate an incredibly rich gold lode that they’ve stumbled across but as they cross a dangerous ice bridge cracks start appearing, and this is the story of their desperate inch-by-inch struggle to avoid sliding hundreds of feet down to an icy grave below.
 Tense reading on the whole, quite perfect for the young audience that the author was probably writing for when he penned this “Smoke Bellew” series of stories.
179 1911-12-23 The Unmasking of a Cad

aka : The Unmasking of the Cad
General Fiction Percy has a thick veneer of good manners and conventional conduct and although deep down he is quite the opposite of a true gentleman, his good looks and smooth charm have won the day with his fiancée, a very nice, very refined, and very pretty soft touch for gentlemanly gallantry. But Percy slips up when he behaves normally in front of perfect strangers at a restaurant one day, and the truth will out.
 Glib and a bit too facile for our taste, but no doubt quite suited for the posh-magazine audience for which it was intended.
180 1912* The Assassination Bureau, Ltd

(32,000-word novella, posthumously completed by Robert L. Fish)
crime fiction The secret organization of the title assassinates people that its clients want to eliminate, providing that its Chief agrees that the deed would be morally justifiable and that society would be better off without them. So they target, always successfully and for a sizeable fee, unworthy citizens such as oppressive police officers, morally unfit businessmen, corrupt politicians, etc. However a clever and very wealthy young social reformer has discovered what’s going on and early on in the story confronts the Chief with such an overwhelmingly logical line of reasoning that the Chief ends up agreeing with him that the Bureau’s acts, while perfectly moral on an individual level, have been socially unjustifiable from a global viewpoint, and he therefore feels morally bound to accept a contract for $50,000 on his own head, demanding only a day’s head start to try to get away from the bureau’s team of deadly killers ! And the noble young man agrees to replace him as the organization’s distributor of funds to the killers for the duration of the contract ! And to complicate matters somewhat he is engaged to be married to a very lovely young woman who just happens to be the Chief’s daughter !
So the chase is on and it is touch and go, as the Chief is an extraordinarily powerful man and expert killer in his own right, so the assassins on his trail are faced with their toughest assignment ever !
 Starting off with an ethical attack on the moral and social values of the modern (capitalist) society almost in the vein of The Iron Heel, this convoluted tale full of almost-farcical ethical ratiocinations rapidly becomes almost farcical full stop, and one can easily understand why Mr. London abandoned the writing of this “crime novella” in 1910 after writing 20,000 words, declaring that he couldn’t see how to wind it up.
The remaining 40% of the final version was completed in 1963 by the crime-fiction writer Robert L. Fish (who had won the Mystery Writers of America’s prestigious Edgar Allan Poe award for best first novel in 1962) and published as “a previously unpublished novel by Jack London” simultaneously in hardcover and paperback editions by McGraw-Hill in 1963.
181 1912-01 The Hanging of Cultus George Klondike Cultus George is an Indian who has long lived and traded and worked for white men and done business with them, but when asked to participate in a desperate rush to save a starving tribe of Indians who are dying of hunger he will only say “How much ?”. Outraged at this insensibility, the others, led by Smoke Bellew, threaten to hang him and, when he persists, proceed to carry out the act.
 The stark themes of cultural divide (Cultus George is motivated by his deep bitterness at not being able to be served alcohol like everyone else), of the tragic fragility of the native tribe (75 of whom have already died of starvation when Smoke and his pal Shorty come across them in the snowy wilderness, leading as they do such a fragile nomadic existence entirely dependant on sufficiently abundant supplies of fish and game) and the grim violence of rough-and-ready frontier “justice” strike an unusually sombre note, in sharp contrast with the generally light and almost flippant tone of the “Smoke” series of stories.
182 1912-02 The Mistake of Creation Klondike The prospectors Smoke Bellew and Shorty Jack discover an isolated settlement of neophyte prospectors in dire straits indeed : all are suffering from acute scurvy and several have already died of the dread disease. The pair do their best to help the hundred-odd members of this rapidly-declining colony by applying homemade recipes – hard work and vast quantities of spruce tea – but to little avail until they finally discover why one member of the group has remained healthy and scurvy-free all the while.
 An enlightening evocation of the ravages caused by the age-old scourge of scurvy [4].
183 1912-03 A Flutter in Eggs

(8,100-word novelette)
Klondike Eggs are going for two dollars each retail in Dawson, and Smoke Bellew and his partner Shorty calculate that if they buy up every one in the whole area they can make a killing by selling them to eager egg-lovers at ten dollars apiece. But they’re not the only sharp operators in town, as they learn from bitter experience. 7
184 1912-03 The Sea Farmer

aka : The Sea-Farmer
Ireland Captain MacElrath has been at sea for two and a half years and his ship is at long last entering Dublin harbour, from where he will go as fast as he can to his beloved McGill Island in the north of Ireland. There are seven thousand people on that island and only so much land, so that while the elder sons stay on the farms the others have to go to sea, a necessary evil which they consider to be just another kind of farming that they have to exercise in the intervals before going back to their island. Like all the other members of this community, MacElrath, one of the best captains in the whole Company fleet, marvels that any man not under compulsion should leave a farm to go to sea. On the long train ride up north from Dublin with his wife and two-year-old son whom he had never yet seen, he recounts to her the innumerable dangers and mishaps of his latest long voyage, the accidents and loss of life almost routinely suffered, and the awfulness of the various places they stopped over at.
 Told all the time in northern-Irish vernacular, a surprisingly sensitive portrayal of a farmer’s perception of life at sea.
185 1912-03-09 The Feathers of the Sun

(7,750-word novelette)
South Seas Fulualea – “Feathers of the Sun” in Fijian – is a white man and a scoundrel who has managed to get himself appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chief Justice of the island of Fitu-Iva by supplying the king of the island with an endless supply of alcohol, and who has successfully instituted there a new (and completely bogus) currency as well as imposing severe taxes on all of the island’s traders. Trade is at a standstill and the new regime has confiscated all the ships and goods that have come into port, so David Grief will need all his wits and understanding of the islanders’ psyche to thwart the unscrupulous swindler.
 Light but entertaining.
186 1912-04 The Town-Site of Tra-Lee

(8,400-word novelette)
Klondike Prospectors Smoke Bellew and Shorty Jack launch a massive real-estate speculation-cum-swindle that has the whole of Dawson queueing up for a piece of the action at whatever price.
 Clever and entertaining.
187 1912-05 The Prodigal Father General Fiction Josiah Childs has left his home and his nagging wife in the East to start a new life in Oakland, California, where he’s become a new man and a very prosperous merchant. After twelve years absence he decides to go back East to see just how his wife and (now) twelve-year-old son are coming along, and he’s in for a major culture shock indeed when he arrives in the cold climate of that small and conservative town of his upbringing, quite the contrast to the dynamic forward-looking Californian atmosphere he has grown to know and love. The wife is even more of a shrew than ever, but the boy is really something. What to do ?
 The author’s California patriotism shines forth throughout this rather slight fable, and why not ?
188 1912-05 Wonder of Woman

(15,700-word novelette)
Klondike The prospectors Smokey Bellew and Shorty Jack are taken prisoner by an unknown tribe of Indians in an unexplored region of the Far North. This tribe, whose chief is a renegade and very ferocious white man, is determined to avoid any contact whatsoever with the outside world and to maintain their absolute independence, so any attempt on the part of our two heroes to escape would be punished more than severely. But the chief’s daughter has taken a liking to Smokey against her father’s wishes, so sparks are bound to fly, and they do, for better and especially for worse.
 By far the most realistic and serious of all the Smoke Bellew stories.
189 1912-06 The Scarlet Plague

(20,200-word novella)
Science Fiction An old man and a young boy, both dressed in rags, encounter a bear in the neighbourhood of San Francisco that the boy wards off with his bow and arrow. We are in the year 2073, sixty years after the deadly Scarlet Plague had spread all over the land and completely destroyed civilized life – no one was left in any of the cities and the few survivors have had to survive in the wilds where the struggle for survival of the fittest raged its deadly reign.
The old man, a university professor when the catastrophe happened, is the only human alive who had lived through those cataclysmic times. He tries to recount to the boy and his fellow companions the terrible details of how death and destruction rolled through the land and had liberated the worst impulsions in the ever-diminishing surviving population – but the boy can’t read and can hardly understand the elder’s fancy and by then almost completely obsolete language. And they continue their quasi-hopeless quest for a safe haven. Mankind has almost completed its descent into the primitive savagery of its prehistoric forbears.
 This exceptionally far-sighted vision of the “plague-fall” (downfall caused by plague) of civilization as we know it was a brilliant precursor of the end-of-the-world variant of the science-fiction genre that has attracted so much attention in recent years.
190 1912-12-01 The Captain of the Susan Drew South Seas A family of survivors of the shipwreck of their schooner, adrift on the Pacific in a lifeboat, are taken aboard a tramp ship run by a very hairy, very uncouth and very unpleasant semi-pirate captain. Things go from bad to worse, but you will never guess how it all works out in the end. 8.5
191 1913-05 Samuel

(7,950-word novelette)
Ireland On the island of McGill in the north of Ireland a sturdy seventy-two-year old woman works her farm alone, abandoned by her children and estranged from all her neighbours. The narrator, visiting the island as a special favour as they don’t suffer strangers easily in that special place that no islander ever wants to leave (that we’ve already learnt about in an earlier story, The Sea Farmer), learns from one of her neighbours the sad story of the tragic nemesis that had always plagued her : all four of her sons, all named Samuel after a beloved youngest brother who had committed suicide after a tragic misunderstanding, had died accidentally or at sea. She had persisted in giving them that ill-fated name in spite of the fierce opposition of her family and friends and neighbours – and one by one they had died in an escalating series of accidents and calamities and eventually even murder.
 Long and very Irish, with an appropriate touch of superstition.
192 1914-06 Told in the Drooling Ward General Fiction According to the narrator – who is not a “drooler” but an assistant – droolers, of whom there are fifty-five in his ward, are low-grade people who have something wrong with their arms and legs and can’t talk. Whereas the narrator, who has been in the Institution a long time and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, can both walk and talk – he is a “feeb” (feeble-minded) like everyone in the Institute, but a high-grade one, according to him anyway. For example he’s thinking about getting married, even though feebs aren’t allowed to, as he says to himself after observing the married life of the doctors and nurses that when one’s learned to put up with droolers a wife wouldn’t be much worse. He carries on in that vein about life in the Institution and about the time he was adopted and had escaped back to the Institute, and about the time he ran away and how happy everyone was when he came back, and more.
 An interesting experiment in penetrating the mindset of a disturbed outsider thirty years or so before similar and much more famous experiments along the same line by Faulkner and Camus in the forties.
193 1916* Whose Business Is To Live

(8,000-word novelette)
Latin America A group of Americans engineers in Mexico at the height of the Mexican Revolution escape from an armed anti-American mob out for blood after the American occupation of Vera Cruz – we are in 1914 – embark on a dangerous voyage in the midst of social and military pandemonium to rescue a group of isolated Americans, including the lady love of two (!) of the engineers, fifty miles up-river in an isolated mining camp. Extremely patriotic and not very respectful of the Mexican population (apart from the native Indians, who are OK, the others are “half-breeds” beneath contempt), to put it mildly.
 Written in the framework of the author’s stint as a war reporter during this episode of the Mexican Revolution, this violent adventure casts a sort-of-interesting light on a little-known episode of Mexican history, but has not dated well.
194 1916-05* The Hussy

(7,700-word novelette)
Latin America An almost-believable tall tale of adventure and hunt for the biggest gold nugget in the history of the world in the disease-ridden and poverty-stricken interior mountains of Ecuador. 7
195 1916-05* The Red One

(10,000-word novelette)
Science Fiction An enormous peal of cosmic proportions rings out at regular intervals from the unexplored mountainous interior of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, reputed by the bushmen to be an emanation of the devil. An exploring geologist who hears the strange sound on the coast penetrates into the interior to investigate, where he’s ambushed by head-hunters and forced to flee ever further away from the coast until he’s found, weakened by his injuries and fever, by another tribe of head-hunters deeper in the mountains. Where he is held captive, learns their language and mores, and discovers their worship of a mysterious and very sacred huge red sphere known as the Red One, and also The Star-Born. from where the strange sounds emanate and to where they bring sacrificial victims. Our explorer is determined to investigate and what he discovers puts this strange story into the science-fiction genre.
 An interesting evocation of life in the jungle regions of the South Seas practically untouched by modern civilization (that exists even nowadays in remote areas of Papua and New Guinea), only spoiled somewhat by the author’s unpleasant denigration of the jungle natives with phrases like “Head-hunting, cannibal beast of a human that was as much ape as human, nevertheless Old Ngurn had, according to his lights, played squarer than square.
196 1916-06* On the Makaloa Mat

(9,600-word novelette)
Hawaii Two wealthy sisters in their sixties of partly Hawaiian descent talk about the golden days of their youth, and the eldest reveals to her sister an intense love affair she had had at nineteen that determined her thereafter loveless and childless life.
 Too much insistence on the genetic qualities of the Hawaiian race for our taste, but a good read for those who like to read about romance in high and wealthy places.
197 1916-06* The Bones of Kahekili

(8,900-word novelette)
Hawaii An ancient Hawaiian servant recounts to his ranch-owner master a quite terrifying story of pagan bone-worship and ritual murder in the far-away days before the arrival of Western missionaries changed Hawaiian society forever. 8
198 1916-06* The Tears of Ah Kim Hawaii Ah Kim is a wealthy merchant in Honolulu’s Chinatown who submits uncomplainingly to the beatings that are regularly meted out to him in public by his aged mother, especially for having been seen talking to a certain lady who seems to have her sights set on him. He had always been treated so by his revered parent, ever since his youthful days on the banks of the Yangtze river in China. Through his story we learn the story of the rise to social status and prosperity of the hard-working Chinese imported originally into the Hawaiian islands as coolie labour.
 There is substance and food for thought behind the light tone of this sociological parable.
199 1916-07* Shin-Bones

aka :
In the Cave of the Dead (1919)

(10,000-word novelette)
Hawaii A Hawaiian prince recounts how his aged mother had reverted towards the end to her traditional ways, notably to the ancient practice of collecting as many of the bones of her dead relatives as possible, and how she had sent him with her trusted sorcerer-servant on a mission to a secret cache in the interior of a once-inhabited atoll, where her ancestors had systematically accumulated a priceless treasure-trove of precious and incredibly ancient artefacts, including the precious bones of her ancient lineage.
 Highly charged with rather hard-to-relate-to Hawaiian folklore and ancestor-worship.
200 1916-08* The Kanaka Surf

aka : Man of Mine

(11,000-word novelette)
Hawaii Ida and Lee Barton are both lithe and athletic, remarkable swimmers and surfers, as handsome as can be, the envy of all Hawaii. They are the centre of a very lively social whirl, but there is a “but” in the form of a dashing Harvard-educated forty-year-old scientist and scion of Hawaiian society who has become a favourite dancing partner of Ida’s. Will this be her first affair, wonders her bemused husband ? When he sees her in the arms of the other man he contrives a cathartic and very dangerous confrontation to test her feelings to the limit and almost beyond. 8
201 1916-08* When Alice Told Her Soul Hawaii Alice had spent her youth so wildly and intensely that she is the best-informed person in Hawaii about the doings and above all the ill-doings of just about every notable citizen on the islands. So when at fifty she joins the Pentecostal crusade of a visiting revivalist and decides that it’s her moral duty to cleanse her soul by denouncing in a public prayer meeting the wrongs and acts of moral turpitude that are burdening her newly religious soul, there’s grave consternation in high places. Magistrates, business magnates, notables of all persuasions and also friends and relatives start showering her with gifts in the hope that she’d omit them from her forthcoming public penitence. But all the gory details come out anyway, and they are very interesting indeed. 7.5
202 1916-09* Like Argus of the Ancient Times

(10,100-word novelette)
Klondike The title was the rallying song of the hero of this story when he had set out at the age of twenty-two for the California Gold Rush of 1849, and he chants it again in 1897 when he sets out at seventy, much to the opposition of his numerous offspring, to participate in the Klondike Gold Rush craze to try to recuperate the three hundred thousand dollars he needs to buy back the splendid properties he had squandered over the years. Although he doesn’t have any funds to speak of he does have an infinite supply of grit and determination and a willingness to work that gets him there in spite of innumerable obstacles that deter many much younger men. What happens when he gets there and when he comes back to his family in California after making it big up in the snow country is the subject of this tongue-in-cheek pro-old-folks fable. 8.5
203 1916-09* The First Poet Historical Fiction A playlet consisting uniquely of dialogues in which a group of prehistoric cave-men debate about their life in general and women in particular. One of them talks about his new idea of singing songs and telling stories about the stars whispering and coming down in the morning to make the dew and suchlike, thereby seriously antagonising the virile leader of the group who prefers the traditional kind of talk. Violence settles the debate, naturally.
 An original sociological exploration of the prehistorical mindset.
204 1916-09* The Princess

(10,100-word novelette)
Hobos Three very down-and-out one-armed tramps talk about their once-glorious and healthy past around a roadside campfire, and with the help of a large number of sips of the hobo’s standard refreshment alki (drugstore alcohol mixed with water) tell in turn the story of their once-distinguished past, in each case involving wild living in the South Seas and the love of a Polynesian princess (!).
 More than the idealised tone of their narratives of former glories in the idyllic isles of the South Seas, this long and quite elaborate narrative with its striking portraits of the idiosyncratic personalities of the three distinctive (and well-educated and articulate !) hobos is a remarkably interesting insight into the life of the myriad of tramps on the move that proliferated in those times, that the author knew well from his own year-long stint on the road in his youth that he recounted in his memoir The Road (1907).
205 1916-10* The Water Baby Hawaii A tall tale is told by an aged Hawaiian fisherman about the fabled exploit of a young boy who understood the language of sharks and used his wits and skills to trick a school of forty sharks that tried to prevent him from diving for lobsters to prepare for a feast for the king.
 A fable with an undeniable folklorish charm, it was the last story that Jack London wrote.


date pub. _____Title_________________ Setting/
Synopsis/comments_____________________________________________________________ Our
1 1902 A Daughter of the Snows Klondike Frona Welse is the star of this Klondike tale about the gold-rush and sentimental adventures of an extremely talented, attractive, intelligent, athletic, educated, polyglot, well-traveled, wealthy and just about everything-else young woman of twenty who undertakes on her own the extraordinarily difficult trek over hundreds of miles of dangerous winter wastes from Alaska to Dawson in the Klondike region of northwestern Canada, where she meets up with her ultra-rich father and is courted by just about all the males she comes across.
 This was Jack London’s first full-length novel and although there are a number of interesting and even exciting scenes – the struggle to arrive at Dawson at the beginning, the gold-hunting in the middle, the quite stupendous ice-jam drama at the end – it is irremediably flawed by its constant harping on the racial superiority (yes, that is how it is explained over and over again) of the Teutonic/Anglo-Saxon race over the other less gifted ones, notably the Indians, the negroes, the Asiatics and really all the others too. Because of this extremely distasteful aspect, it is the work of Jack London’s that has the most completely failed the test of time – it is practically unreadable today because of that, apart from its over-florid prose style with its avalanche of adjectives and superlatives and its scarcely-credible story line.
 Jack must have been tapped over the fingers by his editor and his public alike about this, because he notably toned down thereafter on this (juvenile ?) master-race ideology in his following works, thank goodness.
5 87,000
2 1903 The Kempton-Wace Letters

(co-authored with Anna Strunsky)
General Fiction The forward to this long exchange of letters is a quotation from a sonnet of Dante : “And of naught else than Love would we discourse”, that pretty well sums up the book.
It starts off with a missive from Dane Kempton, an English poet in his late forties, to his stepson Herbert Wace, a 25-year old scientist in California, congratulating him in terms over-brimming with joy on the announcement of his engagement to a certain Hester. Herbert calms his ardour somewhat by explaining in a return letter that he is not in fact in love with Hester, but that he has chosen her as a suitable mother for his future chIldren, and follows that up with explanations about love being an artificial cover-up for the basic instincts, that the essential need of man is to perpetuate the race, and that in accordance with the natural-selection processes of Darwin and Herbert Spencer the tendency and the need was “to improve upon nature in the breeding of the human” in the way one breeds race horses and other prize animals.
The literary Dane doesn’t see love in that light at all, and we are off for 150 pages of so of debating about what love is and isn’t.
So this is really a series of essays on love and procreation, with the letters by Herbert (written by Jack London) stressing in a consistently dogmatic tone a biological and “stirpiculture” (eugenics) function of the relationship between the sexes, while the letters of Dane (written by his close friend Anna Strunsky) talk - endlessly – in suitably flowery prose about how essential love is and has always been and always will be.
 Apart from the quite predicable dénouement in the last three pages where there are a couple of short letters from Hester, the young lady who started off the whole debate, nothing actually ever happens in this “novel”, that was originally published anonymously to an understandably-lukewarm critical reception.
5 47,200
3 1904 The Sea Wolf Sailing This extraordinary tale of high seas and high emotions starts off calmly enough when the thirty-something, well-read and rather wealthy narrator embarks on a modern steam-driven ferry-boat in the Bay of San Francisco and muses on the efficient division of labour in modern society, whereby well-trained men can efficiently operate such magnificent and complex machines for the benefit of people like him in all security. But then a fog comes up, things do not at all follow the modern-comforts path he had expected, and he is off for an experience that has to be lived through – or at lest read about – to be believed.
For our narrator rapidly ends up on a sailing boat setting out on a long and as it turns out extremely perilous hunt for precious seal skins in the wild seas of the northern Pacific, under the command of the forceful, brutal, domineering, intelligent, resourceful and extremely dangerous captain, the aptly-named “Wolf” Larson, one of the most extraordinary and unforgettable sea captains in the whole history of literature, we do believe.
 Jack London had himself, at the age of 17, spent many months on such a seal-hunting schooner in the Far Pacific, and this background insight helps to explain, above and beyond the author’s great talent, why this gripping tale of how the bookish narrator learns about life and sailing and hunting and survival and men — and even women — has such a ring of truth and credibility about it.
 No doubt one of the master’s best novels, written during his most creative period, one year after The Call of the Wild.
9 105,900
4 1906 White Fang Klondike The first chapters will have your hair standing on end as you follow the desperate search of a team of two men, six dogs and one corpse to escape from a ravenous pack of wolves following them across the frozen wastes of the Northland.
Written at the peak of his writing career in the decade following his youthful participation in the Klondike gold rush of 1897-8, this is the best-known and most widely-read of all of Jack London’s novels (apart from The Call of the Wild, which is a novella).
 It is perhaps a no-doubt-to-be-regretted fact that this remarkable book with its animal hero and many intense scenes of pitiless violence and bloodshed not to say killings by animals and men alike has always been more a “boy’s book” than anything else. But that’s not a negligible part of the world’s population anyway, and one suspects that a great many members of the feminine and adult portions of humanity have nevertheless enjoyed or will or should enjoy this prime product of one of the finest American writers of all time.
9 72,100
5 1908 The Iron Heel Political Fiction On the face of it, this is way-out political fiction showing an ultra-violent Marxist-type revolution in the USA starting around 1914, with ensuing bloodshed, massacres, resistance, mass executions, dictatorship and final victory of the classless society after seven centuries of struggle !
 But the term “socialist” in 21st-century English is a somewhat inadequate term to convey the nature of deeply-felt radical thought at the beginning of the 20th century, when extreme violence was commonplace in labour disputes, when Marx and Engels and Herbert Spencer exercised enormous intellectual influence, when memories of the ultra-violent repression of the Paris Commune of 1871 (when 30,000 resistants were shot in one bloody week by government forces involved in the repression of the revolutionary regime of that city) — here we have the Chicago Commune — were still strong, and when the vision of a classless and non-conflictual society organized in the interests of the common man seemed a perfectly achievable objective. The poor were many and mostly very poor, the rich were few and mostly very rich, suffering and conflict were strife – there was a lot wrong with the way the richest country in the world was functioning !
 In the language of today, Jack was a radical, an extremist, a revolutionary, a believer in violence to achieve political aims, a firm believer in the coming downfall of the capitalistic system – a man who would have been delighted with the bolshevik Russian Revolution of 1917 if he had lived long enough. Unfortunately, for him and for us, he died a tad too early, in November 1916 at the age of 40.
7 88,200
6 1909 Martin Eden General Fiction About a strong-willed, rough young working-class fellow with years of sailing all over the four seas behind him getting introduced to high society after having rescued the son of a wealthy family from a street brawl, and promptly falling head-over-heels in love with the lovely and very sophisticated daughter of the house. And thereafter doing his best to rise up to the standards of speech, behaviour and intellect expected of him by the object of his attentions and her family, only to find that the more he studies and masters language and the world of books, the more not only does he want to express himself by writing in various domains – poetry, stories, novels, essays, philosophy, nothing is beyond the scope of his immense confidence in his own abilities, intellectual prowess and destiny – but also the more he becomes contemptuous of the shallowness and limitations of the bourgeois society and their values in which his loved one is so perfectly integrated.
 A rather hard-to-read book, infused with florid, sentimental prose and quite endless harangues about politics and ideology, in particular the hero’s obsessional passion about the survival-of-the-fittest social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer and the Nietzschean ideal of human evolution towards a superior race of man. While Mr. London’s hero is a passionate advocate of individualism, the socialism of his working-class friends and bohemian-intellectual acquaintances provides a foil to his rather excessive rantings about superior beings being above the common lot of people and especially of the detested bourgeois class which had so interested him at the beginning of the book.
7.5 139,000
7 1910 Burning Daylight General Fiction This long and quite ambitious rags-to-riches (and back) story has a long first part describing the adventures of the central personage Elam Harnish – known by one and all as Burning Daylight because of his habit of routing his comrades out of their blankets with the complaint that daylight was burning – on his way to acquiring a formidable fortune in the Klondike gold rush in northern Canada in the late 1890’s, and then how he continues his economic adventures in the even tougher world of capitalistic competition down south in San Francisco and New York, to finally discover the truly meaningful objective of his life – living in the hills of the magnificent Sonoma Valley of Northern California with the lady of his dreams.
 Written in the more relaxed, vernacular later style of the second half of his all-too-short career, this is perhaps not his best-known novel, but it has passed the test of time better than many of the others – and it certainly addresses themes that are of long-lasting interest : the ambiance of those celebrated gold-rush days, the workings and moral destructiveness of unbridled capitalism, and finally and even more forcefully the urgent necessity to protect and preserve the natural marvels that mankind is surrounded with.
8 112,000
8 1911 Adventure South Seas The central character is a lonely and very isolated faIrly-young man trying to run a cocoanut plantation on remote Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands group in very difficult conditions to say the least – he is the only European on the plantation, the hundred-odd workers are all indentured coolies from the even more savage neighbouring islands, almost all of whom are cannibals who hate him and who are just waiting for an occasion to gang up and carry off his head as a trophy. To top it all off he is deadly sick at the beginning with one of the many Solomon Island diseases that were and probably still are so rampant there (such as the mysterious skin disease that the author caught himself there and that forced him to abandon his voyage to the South Seas and return to the U.S. of A. in search of a healthier climate), so we meet him on page 1 being carried around on a native’s back but wielding a revolver to discourage hostility.
Apart from the nasty natives (always referred to in this opus in the most violently-derogative manner imaginable) and the climate and the financial worries (his only boat gets wrecked early on and the plantation is not making any money) there is also the very disturbing presence of a dashing young woman who lands on his beach (on about page 3 or so) after having been wrecked herself, with a crew of very big and capable Polynesian sailors – the awful locals are only Melanesians, it is explained to us – dedicated to protecting her and helping her to have her own way in whatever she wants to do, which is just about everything including taking over the plantation but not, repeat not, getting married or anything as banal as that.
Well, our fellow is a rather reserved sort of Englishman with you wouldn’t believe how many ideas on what is proper behaviour for women in general and younger ones in particular, none of which fit in very well with the lady’s own vision. She wants adventure and excitement, and one must admit that she does get it ! But the book is practically unreadable today because of its terribly antiquated colonial-style constant use of the n-word and the author’s quite off-putting notions about the superiority of the white race (???!!!).
 No go !
5 70,800
9 1913 The Valley of the Moon General Fiction Told essentially from the point of view of Saxon, a beautiful young laundry-sweatshop working-girl (named after her Saxon and pioneer fore-bearers of whom she is very proud) who meets at the very beginning of this working-class romance the man of her dreams Billy, a handsome young teamster (driver of teams of horses) and former prize-fighter who also is inordinately proud of his true-blood pioneer ancestors. Billy sweeps her off her feet – the feeling is most mutual – and they get married a couple of weeks after their first encounter.
We follow the couple as they struggle to make ends meet in San Francisco in the difficult economic state of the times, as Saxon has to stop working as soon as they get married (that was the way in those days, apparently) and Billy rapidly gets into trouble and even jail through his quick temper, his fondness for dealing knockout blows to those who oppose him and especially because of the harsh labour conditions of the time, entailing constant labour conflicts, clashes with strike-breakers and the police, and a general shortage of funds to keep up with the Joneses. Culminating in an ultra-violent gunfight, reminiscent of the Chicago Commune scene in The Iron Heel, between striking mill-workers and strike-breaking scabs right before Saxon’s doorstep, where people on both sides, including one of her closest friends, are pitilessly gunned down by the other side – notably when they are down – right before her eyes. Resulting not only in the loss of her unborn child, but a dramatic decline in the fortunes of the couple, and especially a burning desire to escape the awfulness of urban life in general and working-class life in particular.
So about halfway through the novel the scene completely changes and it becomes a road-novel-on-foot as the couple sets off on a quest with blankets and a couple of pots on their back and twenty dollars in their pockets to wander through California south and north in quest of the ideal “valley of the moon” that Saxon has dreamed about.
Where they learn a lot not only about farming but also about people, as they become very friendly with a group of brilliant bohemian-bourgeois artists (Saxon’s mother was a poet) who help them on their way to the nirvana they are searching for in the magnificent – but then very undervalued – Sonoma Vally in Northern California.
 The basic tenet of the tale is that farming is the ideal way for working-class people to have a meaningful and rewarding existence, and while that may or may not appear convincing to the reader, the quite panegyric descriptions of the stunning geography — the redwood forests, the fertile valleys, the splendidly-wild coastline, the mountains teeming with game, the amazingly temperate climate — are on the upside of the novel ; while on the downside we have, unfortunately, the tiresomely broken English and off-puttingly aggressive, overweening and uncouth personality of the lead character Billy, the incessant and quite unsupportable denigration by both of its heroes of anyone who is not of authentic Anglo-Saxon stock, the militant verbosity of the first half and the over-florid prose of the latter half, and its excessive, bordering-on-the-boring, length.
6.5 167,800
10 1914 The Mutiny of the Elsinore Sailing John Parkhurst is a rich, very successful and very blasé 30-year-old writer who has taken passage on a big 4-masted sailing-ship carrying coals from Baltimore to Seattle with the aim of resting his jaded nerves. Right away there are signs that the trip is not going to be an easy one – the crew is a gang of drunken, incompetent landlubbers, his quarters are not the best on the ship much to his annoyance, the captain and first mate are strange fellows indeed and, especially, there is a young woman on board despite his firm specifications that the captain was not to bring his wife on the voyage. But she is the captain’s daughter, so he has to put up with her and off the ship goes on a truly memorable voyage that will mark him, and the other not-so-numerous survivors of those five unforgettable months, forever.
The narrator Mr. Parkhurst must have done some sailing before becoming such a famous writer, because he describes most effectively and even splendidly the complex manoeuvrings of the sails and the ship throughout this quite epic voyage, first criss-crossing the Atlantic to pick up the appropriate winds, down the coast of Argentina with its spectacular sunsets and then the tremendous challenge of rounding the Horn in the face of mighty 5-week-long gales – all that with a sullen and eventually mutinous crew of dropouts, cripples and outright criminals.
 A rousing sailing novel at the very end of the centuries-long saga of big sailing ships – we are in 1913, the year of the Titanic – spoiled somewhat by the overweening personality of the narrator, utterly convinced of the innate superiority of his (white-skinned) “race” in general and of his own person in particular. But he certainly writes well !
8 114,500
11 1915 The Star Rover

(aka The Jacket)
General Fiction with mystic overtones A university professor, who has been condemned to life imprisonment in the (in)famous San Quentin prison in California for the murder of another professor in an uncontrolled fit of rage, is constantly subjected to the excruciatingly painful straight-jacket treatment, consisting of leaving him lying on the floor tied up as tightly as possible for hours and even days at a time, to make him confess where the dynamite that a group of convicts is supposed to have smuggled into the prison is hidden as part of a mass break-out plan.
This imaginary plot has been invented by a prisoner to curry favour with the authorities, who are so convinced that it is true that they unrelentingly subject Professor Standing to ever more severe versions of this San Quentin speciality — The Star Rover was entitled “The Jacket” in its first English edition — until he has been reduced to a ruined skeleton of a human being.
But to no avail – not only does our man not know anything about the dynamite in question, but he has a mental method of getting away from his immediate physical surroundings to revisit various episodes of humanity’s past existence that he lives intensely and recounts splendidly in his memoirs with great realism and dramatic effect – although humane California has done away with the death penalty for murder, there IS capital punishment for lifers who assault their guardians, so he is writing these recollections on Death Row waiting to be hung for having bloodied the nose of one of the guards.
We are thus treated to, amongst other things, the saga of the struggle for existence of a prehistoric cave-dweller ; a series of dramatic sword-fights of a French nobleman in the Middle Ages ; the account through the eyes of a young boy of a caravan of pioneers on their way to California being attacked by the redoubtable Mormon Militia when crossing Utah ; the wild adventures of a crew of Dutch sailors stranded on the desolate shores of northern Korea hundreds of years ago who are captured and brought to the country’s luxurious capital to be displayed to prince and population as foreign devils ; the successful struggle for survival of a shipwrecked sailor marooned on a lonely rock in the southernmost Pacific ; the eye-witness account of a Roman soldier in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus ; and other dramatic episodes in mankind’s history that he is able to transpose himself to during the straight-jacket sessions.
While there are mystical passages at the beginning (where the narrator talks about roving among the stars when he first learns how mind can overcome matter to get him far away from the maniacal prison warden) and at the end (where there is a mystical passage about the narrator’s feeling of being in touch with all of the key episodes and participants in human history), the rest of the story is taken up with the practical details of the professor’s voyages though time and human history and his struggle to overcome the tyranny of the prison administration.
 On the whole the novel is a not so much a work of science-fiction or fantasy as a work of considerable imagination and power on the theme of mental escapism with a very solid and realistic basis in the cruel hardships of prison life.
8 104,000
12 1915 The Little Lady of the Big House General Fiction Dick Forrest is the very wealthy, very handsome and very charming 40-year-old owner of an immense 250,000-acre (100,000 hectares !) ranch in the rich farmland of the Sacramento River valley, where he breeds prime sheep, prize bulls, cows and thoroughbred horses that he exports all over the United States and elsewhere. Former hobo in his youth, former captain of the U. of California Varsity football team later on, holder of a graduate degree in agronomics, he has also had years of wild adventures in the Klondike and the South Seas. He excels at everything he does – athletics, horse-riding, boxing, managing a thriving business, citing and singing poetry, discussing philosophy with his never-ending stream of guests and in just being his naturally brilliant and extremely generous self.
His wife Paula, the little lady of the title, whom he had met in a night-club in Paris that he was running in his wilder days, and whom he had married there before sailing all over the world with her before settling down to his ranch business, is a quite-perfect woman of great beauty who plays the piano like a concert musician, sings like an angel, dances divinely, dives and swims and rides horses like a champion and is still very much in love with him in spite of his tendency to spend rather too much of his time with his business affairs and his agricultural experiments.
At the very beginning of the story arrives yet another house guest – sometimes there are dozens of them in the appropriately-gigantic Big House (it is 800 feet long !) – and he too is blond and forty and handsome and charming and has spent years adventuring all over the world. Now there is practically a tradition in this palatial residence that male house guests inevitably fall in love with the hostess, and Evan Graham, an old friend of Dick’s who has had many adventures with him, is no exception : not only is he immediately enthralled by her many charms and abilities and sparkling personality, but the feeling becomes more and more reciprocal. And the lord of the realm doesn’t seem to even wonder at the inordinate length of Evan’s stay-over, although towards the end he does finally begin to suspect that the little lady in the big house has something to do with it.
 Interesting in a way because of the clearly autobiographical elements in the story and also to a certain degree because of the many rather enjoyable party-scenes scattered throughout, the snail’s pace of the story development, its excessive length, the too-flowery tone of the dialogues and prose and the practically inhuman perfection of its main protagonists do not make this one of the author’s most memorable works.
7 101,000
13 1917 Jerry of the Islands South Seas Jerry is a thoroughbred golden-haired Irish terrier puppy who is being brought up by his master on a colonial coconut plantation in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to become a “nxxxxx-chaser”, a dog whose role in life is to keep the indentured native servants (really slaves on a three-year contract) in line and to help hunt them down whenever they try to escape.
So Jerry growls and snarls and bites at any of these lowly creatures – who are throughout the tale referred to in the most derogatory terms possible because of their supposedly inferior black-skinned race – who pass within his reach : that is the way he has been taught by his beloved white-skinned masters.
 Because of this continual, insistent, off-putting racism throughout the book, the modern reader has great difficulty following the adventures of this dog through to the end as he voyages with his master from one primitive community to another along the coast of Malaita, the wildest and most dangerous of all the wild, dangerous Solomon Islands, in search of ever more indentured “servants” to be bought from tyrannical village chiefs in exchange for various chattel and trade goods.
 Adventures there are, described dramatically enough, but described in a context of colonialism and racism that may or may not have been palatable to the reading public in the far-off days of the early 20th Century when it was written, but which is decidedly hard to stomach in these more enlightened times.
5 70,000
14 1917 Michael, Brother of Jerry South Seas The central character of this wide-ranging adventure story is the thoroughbred Irish terrier that we met at the very beginning of “Jerry of the Islands” : Michael, who has also been brought up to be a “nxxxxx-chaser” on a Solomon Island plantation in the South Seas. But unlike his brother Jerry, whose whole existence was spent in those savage islands, Michael is kidnapped straight away by a sailor who rapidly becomes his “man-god” and brings him all over the South Seas where they have some memorable experiences indeed, notably a spectacular encounter with an enraged mother whale, and then go further over to sunny California.
Where they get separated for good and where Michael not only gets kidnapped twice but finds out the hard way what life was like behind the scenes for the beasts of all sorts in the vaudeville theatres of the times, where trained-animal shows were all the rage.
 The best and the most impressive half of the book is taken up by this detailed, heartfelt and highly-convincing account of the brutal and terribly cruel, one might almost sat inhumane methods whereby animals were “trained” to perform stunts to amuse a public generally unaware of the harshness and terrible death toll that such performances really entailed.
 But the racist attitudes and language that so marred the first volume about Jerry are very much present in the first half of this episode too, and survive unfortunately right through to the end in the lovely Sonoma Valley area of Northern California.
6.5 97,300
15 1919 Hearts of Three

(co-authored with Charles Goddard)
General Fiction As Jack London recounts in the interesting prefix to this unusual book, not only was he incapable of writing a successful film script, but “because a man had written a score of novels was no guarantee that he could write a good scenario. Quite to the contrary, it was quickly discovered that the surest guarantee of failure was a previous record of success in novel-writing.” And on the other hand, successful scriptwriters such as Charles Goddard, the co-author of this action novel with comic-book overtones, “couldn’t write novels to save themselves”.
So Jack’s editor and Charles’s film producer came up with the novel idea of “novelization” of a moving-picture screenplay, and Mr. Goddard was brought in to write a screenplay of which Jack would write the novel version, and this is the result of that rather original experiment, that Jack London completed shortly after his fortieth birthday in the last year of his life.
Here we have Francis Morgan, a young idler of about 25 who has inherited a lot of money from his very dynamic father, a descendant of the (in)famous 17th-Century pirate Henry Morgan, who decides to go off on a hunt for the hidden treasure of his illustrious forbear after running into a Latin-American adventurer who has a map showing where Henry Morgan had hidden his quite fabulous treasure.
So he is off to the rather wilder part of Panama, where he a) meets a very lookalike fellow-descendant of the pirate Morgan, equally engaged in the same treasure hunt ; b) gets accosted and menaced and kissed and whatnot by a wonderfully attractive young woman of Spanish origins ; c) gets attacked by savage Indians ; d) gets arrested by the local police and sentenced to death for a murder that his lookalike cousin is supposed to have committed ; e) is rescued by his cousin and flees into the mountains where he saves the life of a Mayan peasant whose father has an ancient Mayan document showing where the Mayans had hidden their own fabulous treasure ; . . . q) escapes from the Mayan tomb to discover a hidden valley that is jointly ruled by a vicious old priest and a beautiful princess who is the caretaker of the Mayan treasure chest ; r) escapes from the priest and his fanatical followers with the beautiful princess in a most dramatic fashion ; . . . x) gets married to one of these beautiful women but not the one he is really in love with ; y) rushes back to New York to try to salvage his fortune which is being violently attacked by a treacherous friend of his father’s ; . . . and more.
 All in all rather fun to read, an experiment that Jack was right to be quite pleased with. A success on a quite different plane than the rest of his very serious oeuvre.
8 111,600


We have included in our compendium of Jack London stories in Section 1 the following Jack London texts that were all initially marketed by astute (not to say mercantile and unscrupulous) publishers as novels, as none of them have the strict minimum of 40,000 words needed to be classified as novels – for comparison, the 96 novels on this site have an average of 137,750 words each.

date pub. Title_________________________________ Words__ Category__ Setting______________________
1 1902-07 The Cruise of the Dazzler 35,800 novella sailing adventure
2 1903-07 The Call of the Wild 31,800 novella the Klondike gold rush
3 1905-05 The Game 15,000 novelette boxing drama
4 1907-02 Before Adam 39,000 novella prehistoric adventure story
5 1911-09 The Abysmal Brute 23,500 novella boxing drama
6 1912/1963 The Assassination Bureau, Ltd 32,000 novella crime story
7 1912-06 The Scarlet Plague 20,200 novella dystopian plague story


date Title_________________________ Genre Comments_____________________________________________________ Anthology/
1 1900 Housekeeping in the Klondike chronicle This is a straight-forward newspaper report on the subject, not a story. It was never included in any of the many collections of his fiction that Jack London published during his lifetime. Wikipedia List
2 1900 Jack London, by Himself memoir a micro-autobiography, as indicated by the title Complete Short Stories
3 1903 The Dominant Primordial Beast story extract This is the title of Chapter III of the novella The Call of the Wild, not a separate story. Wikipedia List
4 1913 The Sea-Gangsters novel extract This is the first chapter of the 1914 novel The Mutiny of the Elsinore, not a stand-alone story. It was never included in any of the numerous collections of his short stories published during his lifetime. Wikipedia List
5 1917 Four Horses and a Sailor memoir memories of his life in the Sonoma Valley in California Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
6 1917 Nothing That Ever Came to Anything memoir an account of shopping for a leopard skin in Ecuador. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
7 1917 Small-Boat Sailing essay/memoir a short essay on what makes a man a sailing-man, based on his personal experience. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
8 1917 That Dead Men Rise Up Never memoir an account of his experiences as an able sailor at the age of 17. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
9 1917 A Wicked Woman (Curtain Raiser) theatrical sketch a short sketch about an innocent young girl who’s told that if she lets someone kiss her she has to marry him. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
10 1917 The Birth Mark (Sketch) theatrical sketch a one-act play about a young woman penetrating into a man’s club dressed up as a man and getting challenged by a fellow to all sorts of manly activities like boxing and drinking before she realizes he was flirting with her from the beginning. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
11 1917 A Classic of the Sea literary essay Jack London’s eulogizing introduction to the seafaring memoir Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Dana (1840). Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
12 1917 The Human Drift political essay a decidedly pessimistic overview of the past and future evolution of human civilization on earth. Complete Short Stories ;
Project Gutenberg
13 1924 Eyes of Asia unfinished novel this is the title of an unfinished novel that he was working on at the time of his death. Wikipedia List



STORIES Klondike 84 41% 8.6
General Fiction 24 11.7% 7.6
South Seas 20 9.8% 7.5
Sailing 16 7.8% 7.9
Hawaii 13 6.3% 8.1
Political Fiction 7 3.4% 6.9
Crime Fiction 6 2.9% 6.9
Science Fiction 6 2.9% 8.3
Fantasy 5 2.4% 7
Far East 5 2.4% 7
Hobos 5 2.4% 8.2
Boxing 4 2% 9
Historical Fiction 3 1,5% 7.8
Latin America 3 1.5% 7.3
Ireland 2 1% 8.5
War Stories 2 1% 8.5
TOTAL 205 100% 8
NOVELS General Fiction 7 46.7 7.1
South Seas 3 20% 5.5
Klondike 2 13.3% 7
Sailing 2 13.3% 8.5
Political Fiction 1 6.7% 7
TOTAL 15 100% 7


STORIES 1893-1899 34 17% 7.8
1900-1909 107 52% 8.4
1910-1916 64 31% 7.6
TOTAL 205 100% 8
NOVELS 1902-1909 6 40% 7
1910-1916 9 60% 6.9
TOTAL 15 100% 7


short story : < 7,500 words ; novelette : 7,500-17,499 words ; novella : 17,500-40,000 words

short stories 160 78% 8
novelettes 39 19% 8.4
novellas 6 3% 8.2
TOTAL 205 100% 8



1-6 19 9.3% 5.7 Poor
7 49 23.9% 7.1 Average
8 79 38.5% 8.3 Good/Very good
9-10 58 28.3% 9.2 Excellent/Masterwork
TOTAL 205 100% 8

QUALITY COUNT = Good+Excellent = 137
QUALITY RATIO = (Good+Excellent)/Total = 67%


1-6 6 40% 5.5 Poor
7 3 20% 7.2 Average
8 4 27% 8 Good/Very good
9-10 2 13% 9 Excellent/Masterwork
TOTAL 15 100% 7

QUALITY COUNT = Good+Excellent = 6
QUALITY RATIO = (Good+Excellent)/Total = 40%



 Project Gutenberg : downloadable Jack London stories (154) and novels (15)

 Wikipedia : lists of Jack London stories (198) and novels (15) [5]


  Delphi Complete Works of Jack London (ebook, 2014)
(with 203 stories [6] and 15 novels)

 The Complete Short Stories of Jack London (Di Lernia Publishers, ebook, 2010)
(with 197 stories [7])

7. INDEX OF JACK LONDON’S 205 STORIES AND 15 NOVELS, in alphabetical order

including all known alternate titles

TITLE__________________________________________ CATEGORY__________ DATE__________ OUR
A Curious Fragment short story 1908 8
A Daughter of the Aurora short story 1899 8.5
A Daughter of the Snows novel 1902 5
A Day’s Lodging short story 1907 9
A Dream Image short story 1898 8.5
A Flutter in Eggs novelette 1912 7
A Goboto Night short story 1911 7
A Hyperborean Brew short story 1901 6.5
A Klondike Christmas short story 1898 8
A Lesson in Heraldry short story 1900 7
A Little Account with Swithin Hall short story 1911 7
A Night’s Swim in Yeddo Bay short story 1903 6.5
A Northland Miracle short story 1900 9
A Nose For the King short story 1906 7
A Piece of Steak novelette 1909 10
A Raid on the Oyster Pirates short story 1905 7.5
A Relic of the Pliocene short story 1901 8
A Son of the Sun short story 1911 6
A Thousand Deaths short story 1899 9
A Wicked Woman short story 1906 6
Adventure novel 1911 5
All Gold Canyon novelette 1905 9.5
Aloha Oe short story 1908 9
Amateur Night short story 1903 7
An Adventure in the Upper Sea short story 1902 7
An Alaskan Courtship short story 1903 8.5
An Odyssey of the North novelette 1900 8.5
An Old Soldier’s Story short story 1899 8
And ’Frisco Kid Came Back short story 1895 7
At the Rainbow’s End short story 1901 8.5
Bald-Face short story 1901 8
Bâtard short story 1904 8.5
Before Adam novella 1907 8.5
Brown Wolf short story 1906 9
Bunches of Knuckles short story 1910 8.5
Burning Daylight novel 1910 8
By the Turtles of Tasman novelette 1911 8.5
Charley’s Coup short story 1905 8
Chased by the Trail short story 1907 9
Chris Farrington, Able Seaman short story 1901 8.5
Chun Ah Chun short story 1910 9
Created He Them short story 1907 8
Demetrios Contos short story 1905 8.5
Diable — A Dog short story 1902 8.5
Dutch Courage short story 1900 8.5
Even Unto Death short story 1900 7
Finis novelette 1916 10
Flush of Gold short story 1908 8
Frisco Kid’s Story short story 1895 7
Goliah short story 1910 7
Goliath short story 1910 7
Good-Bye, Jack short story 1909 8.5
Grit of Women short story 1900 9.5
Hearts of Three novel 1919 8
In a Far Country short story 1899 9
In the Cave of the Dead novelette 1916 7
In the Forests of the North short story 1902 9
In the Time of Prince Charley short story 1899 8
In Yeddo Bay short story 1903 6.5
Jan, the Unrepentant short story 1900 8
Jerry of the Islands novel 1917 5
Just Meat short story 1907 6
Keesh, the Bear Hunter short story 1904 8
Keesh, Son of Keesh short story 1902 9
Keesh, the Son of Keesh short story 1902 9
Klondike Wooing short story 1983 7
Koolau the Leper short story 1909 9
Li Wan, the Fair short story 1902 8
Like Argus of the Ancient Times novelette 1916 8.5
Local Colour short story 1903 8.5
Lost Face short story 1908 10
Love of Life novelette 1905 9.5
Make Westing short story 1908 9
Man of Mine novelette 1916 7
Martin Eden novel 1909 7.5
Mauki short story 1909 9
Michael, Brother of Jerry novel 1917 6.5
Moon-Face : A Story of Mortal Antipathy short story 1902 8
Morganson’s Finish novelette 1907 10
Nam-Bok, the Liar short story 1902 8.5
Nam-Bok, the Un-veracious short story 1902 8.5
Negore, The Coward short story 1907 8.5
Night’s Swim in Yeddo Bay short story 1895 7
O Haru short story 1897 7
Old Baldy short story 1899 8.5
On the Banks of the Sacramento short story 1904 9
On the Makaloa Mat short story 1916 7
One More Unfortunate short story 1895 8
Pals short story 1908 6
Piece of Life short story 1954 10
Plague Ship short story 1897 9
Planchette novelette 1906 7
Pluck and Pertinacity short story 1899 9
Sakaicho, Hona Asi and Hakadaki short story 1895 7.5
Samuel novelette 1913 8.5
Semper Idem short story 1900 8.5
Shin-Bones novelette 1916 7
Shorty Dreams short story 1911 8
Siwash short story 1901 8.5
South of the Slot short story 1909 8.5
Story of a Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan short story 1893 7
Thanksgiving on Slav Creek short story 1900 9
That Spot short story 1908 9
The "Francis Spaight" short story 1911 7
The "Fuzziness" of Hoockla-Heen short story 1902 8.5
The Abysmal Brute novella 1911 8
The Angry Mammoth short story 1959 8
The Apostate short story 1906 7
The Assassination Bureau, Ltd novella 1912 5
The Banks of the Sacramento short story 1904 9
The Benefit of the Doubt short story 1910 7
The Bones of Kahekili novelette 1916 8
The Call of the Wild novella 1903 10
The Captain of the Susan Drew short story 1912 8.5
The Chinago short story 1909 7
The Cruise of the Dazzler novella 1902 8.5
The Dead Do Not Come Back short story 1961 6
The Dead Horse Trail short story 1964 9
The Death of Ligoun short story 1902 9
The Death Trail novelette 1959 10
The Devil’s Dice Box short story 1898 9
The Devils of Fuatino short story 1912 8
The Dream of Debs novelette 1909 7
The End of the Chapter short story 1900 9
The End of the Story novelette 1911 8.5
The Enemy of All the World short story 1908 7.5
The Eternity of Forms short story 1811 6
The Faith of Men short story 1903 8.5
The Feathers of the Sun novelette 1912 7
The First Poet short story 1916 7
The Game novelette 1905 8.5
The Goat Man of Fuatino novelette 1911 8
The God of His Fathers short story 1901 9
The Great Interrogation short story 1900 7
The Grilling of Loren Ellery short story 1912 6
The Handsome Cabin Boy short story 1899 6
The Hanging of Cultus George short story 1912 8.5
The Heathen novelette 1909 10
The Hobo and the Fairy short story 1911 10
The House of Mapuhi novelette 1909 9
The House of Pride short story 1910 7
The Hussy novelette 1916 7
The Inevitable White Man short story 1910 4
The Iron Heel novel 1908 7
The Jacket short story 1915 8
The Jokers of New Gibbon short story 1911 4
The Kanaka Surf short story 1919 8
The Kempton-Wace Letters novel 1903 5
The King of Mazy May short story 1899 9
The King of the Greeks short story 1905 7.5
The Law of Life short story 1901 10
The League of the Old Men short story 1902 9.5
The Leopard Man’s Story short story 1903 8.5
The Little Lady of the Big House novel 1915 7
The Little Man short story 1911 8.5
The Lost Poacher short story 1901 8.5
The Madness of John Harned short story 1909 9
The Mahatma’s Little Joke short story 1897 6
The Man on the Other Bank short story 1911 7.5
The Man with the Gash short story 1900 7.5
The Marriage of Lit-lit short story 1903 9
The Master of Mystery short story 1902 8.5
The Meat novella 1911 8
The Men of Forty-Mile short story 1899 8
The Mexican novelette 1911 9.5
The Minions of Midas short story 1901 6
The Misogynist novelette 1897 8.5
The Mission of John Starhurst short story 1909 7.5
The Mistake of Creation short story 1912 8.5
The Mutiny of the Elsinore novel 1914 8
The Night-Born short story 1911 8.5
The One Thousand Dozen short story 1903 8.5
The Passing of Marcus O’Brien short story 1908 9
The Pearls of Parlay novelette 1911 9
The Plague Ship short story 1897 9
The Priestly Prerogative short story 1899 6
The Princess novelette 1916 8.5
The Prodigal Father short story 1912 7
The Proper "Girlie" short story 1900 7
The Proud Goat of Aloysius Pankburn short story 1911 8.5
The Race for Number Three short story 1911 9
The Red One novelette 1916 8
The Rejuvenation of Major Rathbone short story 1899 8
The Scarlet Plague novella 1912 9
The Scorn of Women novelette 1901 8.5
The Sea Farmer short story 1912 8.5
The Sea-Farmer short story 1912 8.5
The Sea Wolf novel 1904 9
The Seed of McCoy novelette 1909 9
The Shadow and the Flash short story 1903 8.5
The Sheriff of Kona short story 1909 8.5
The Sickness of Lone Chief short story 1902 8.5
The Siege of the "Lancashire Queen" short story 1905 7
The Son of the Wolf short story 1899 6
The Stampede to Squaw Creek short story 1911 8.5
The Star Rover novel 1915 8
The Story of Jees Uck novelette 1902 8.5
The Story of Keesh short story 1907 8
The Strange Experience of a Misogynist novelette 1993 8.5
The Strength of the Strong short story 1911 7
The Sun-Dog Trail short story 1905 10
The Sunlanders novelette 1902 9
The Taste of the Meat novella 1911 8.5
The Tears of Ah Kim short story 1916 9
The Terrible Solomons short story 1910 4
The Test : A Klondike Wooing short story 1898 7
The Town-Site of Tra-Lee novelette 1912 8
The Unexpected short story 1906 9
The Unmasking of a Cad short story 1911 8
The Unmasking of the Cad short story 1911 8
The Unparalleled Invasion short story 1910 6
The Valley of the Moon novel 1913 6.5
The Water Baby short story 1916 7.5
The Whale Tooth short story 1910 7.5
The White Man’s Way short story 1906 8
The White Silence short story 1899 9.5
The Wife of a King short story 1899 8.5
The Wisdom of the Trail short story 1899 9.5
The Wit of Porportuk novelette 1906 9
Their Alcove short story 1900 8.5
To Build a Fire (Juvenile Version) short story 1902 8.5
To Build a Fire short story 1908 10
To Kill a Man short story 1910 7
To Repel Boarders short story 1902 8
To the Man on the Trail short story 1899 8
To the Man on Trail : A Klondike Christmas short story 1899 8
Told in the Drooling Ward short story 1914 8
Too Much Gold short story 1903 7
Trust short story 1908 9
Two Gold Bricks short story 1897 6
Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan short story 1893 7
Under the Deck Awnings short story 1910 7.5
Up the Slide short story 1906 8
Uri Bram’s God short story 1900 9
War short story 1911 9
When Alice Told Her Soul short story 1916 7.5
When God Laughs short story 1907 7.5
When the World Was Young short story 1910 7
Where the Trail Forks short story 1900 9
Which Make Men Remember short story 1901 9
White and Yellow short story 1905 8
White Fang novel 1906 9
Who Believes in Ghosts ! short story 1895 7.5
Whose Business Is To Live novelette 1916 6
Winged Blackmail short story 1910 7
Wonder of Woman novelette 1912 9
Yah ! Yah ! Yah ! short story 1910 9.5
Yellow Handkerchief short story 1905 8

[1date :
 without an asterisk : the date of 1st publication during the lifetime of Jack London ;
 with an asterisk : works published posthumously. The date shown is the earliest date at which the composition of the text is known to have been completed.

[2Jack London’s other hobo stories are Frisco Kid’s Story, Local Color, The Hobo and the Fairy and The Princess.

[3The other fantasy stories by Jack London are Who Believes in Ghosts ?, The Mahatma’s Little Joke, The Misogynist, and The Eternity of Forms.

[4Jack London himself contracted scurvy when in the Klondike, which resulted in the loss of four front teeth and the curtailment of his stay in the Far North, less than a year after his arrival there.

[5the following titles are missing from the Wikipedia list of Jack London stories : the first 6 titles shown in Section 3 that are classified as novels, and the mock playlet The First Poet.

[6the following 2 stories are missing from the Delphi anthology of Jack London stories : The Assassination Bureau and the mock playlet The First Poet.

[7the following stories are missing from the Di Lernia anthology of Jack London stories : the 7 titles shown in Section 3 that are classified as novels, and the juvenile version of To Build a Fire.