Published in 1906 by MacMillan, White Fang was written as a follow up to Call of the Wild, seeking to feed off the popularities of that first book. It follows the birth of the 'wolf-dog, White Fang,... More > including the circumstances of his arrival for his parents, his subsequent adoption by an Indian Tribe during which time he is brutalised and reacts accordingly, his time as a fighting dog and finally his taming by a kindly gold prospector.
In contract to Buck's story in Call of the Wild, which moved from domestication to instinct, White Fang moves in the opposite direction and though he ends his time equally mythologised, in some respects it’s a less climactic path with the tension easing if a little unevenly. Even if it doesn't work quite as well as the first book, White Fang still remains immensely popular.< Less
Published in 1913 by Macmillan, The Night Born is a collection of nine short stories with no apparent genre connection to place them in a set. The collection includes, War, in which a cavalry scout... More > moves across the landscape while the horrors of war take place before his eyes and in his head and The Mexican, in which a mysterious youth joins a band of revolutionaries fighting in Los Angeles with the remit of finding enough money to aid the fight in Mexico.< Less
Published in 1915 by MacMillan, The Little House of the Big House is, by modern terms, an understated erotic novel centred around a love triangle between on the one side, rancher Dick Forrest... More > (associated with Jack London), his vivacious and overtly sexual wife Paula, (associated with London's wife, Charmian) and the hobo philosopher Aaron Hancock, (associated with London's house-guest, Frank Strawn-Hamilton).
The novel was criticised on publication for being too erotic, although by modern standards its nowhere near explicit enough to give any notion to the description. That said, London managed to provide a distinctly sexual charge to the narrative that is as strong as many of his intense Klondike adventures.< Less
Published in 1912, The House of Pride is a collection of six short stories linked by their location in the Hawaiian Islands and a general theme of race and class within the context of a mobile... More > immigrant culture. London was particularly interested in the way in which American money was influencing Hawaiian culture and he was sympathetic to the native tribes in their struggle against exploitation on a number the levels.
Another theme here is leprosy, which was present in the islands during the time London was visiting. The disease features in the best story in the collection, Koolau the Leper, in which the eponymous character leads a rebellion of lepers against the police and military when they are threatened with deportation.< Less
Published in 1901, The God of his Fathers, is an early collection of London's Klondike stories. Amongst this collection is Grit of Women, a tale told second hand over a stove that is 'red hot and... More > roaring', while outside the temperature has plummeted. The tale is about an epic journey to the Bering Sea made by a man and his wife and while the man, Sitka Charley, seems like the stuff the north was made of, it is the wife, Passuk, initially timid and downward looking, who emerges as the one with heart.< Less
Published in 1905 by MacMillan, The Game is a short novella about a young boxer, Joe Fleming, who ordinarily works as a sail maker. When he becomes engaged to Genevieve, the narrator, he decides to... More > take one more fight before giving up. He persuades Genevieve to watch and her viewpoint as a narrator provides London with the opportunity to describe, in excruciating detail, the fight that ensues.
It's clear from this description that London knew his business, but it's also obvious that he wasn't taken in by the glamour. The game, like any London Klondike story, is a brutal piece of writing.< Less
Published in 1916, The Acorn Planter is one of just three plays written by Jack London. On the surface a story about the genocide of American Indian tribes, underneath it is a scarcely hidden... More > allegory of ecological suicide by those who understand little of nature's abundance. The story is set in three distant phases detailing in the first instance a prophecy set out for an Indian Tribe by Red Cloud, a visionary, in second instance a seeming repudiation of the prophecy only, in the third instance for the prophecy to come true. A fourth act, titled as an epilogue, the players return to spell out the importance of maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the natural world.< Less
Published in 1906, Tales of the Fish Patrol was inspired by London's time as a member of the said organisation, responsibly for patrolling the waters of San Francisco Bay looking for nefarious... More > characters that might be circumventing the fishing laws. It helped that London, immediately before joining the patrol, was most certainly one of those types against whom he as later sailing. Though the stories here are fictionalised, the essence of the narrative can be assumed to have derived directly from London's experiences.< Less
Published in 1911 by MacMillan, South Sea Tales is an anthology of stories linked by their setting. Alongside London's Klondike works, his South Sea stories, of which these are a great example, come... More > fresh from his times on board ocean going ships and boats. While his racist overtones are in evidence here, so too is London's gift for plotting and his detailed knowledge of sailing, amply demonstrated by the last story in the set The Seed of McCoy.
Set aboard a ship that is on fire below deck, the story concerns the efforts of the ship's captain and the Governor of Pitcairn, acting as a pilot, to steer the doomed ship to a lagoon in which she can be beached so that the hull can be saved. To see this done, they have to overcome the South Sea Island currents, reassure the ship's crew, keep the deck corked so that the fire doesn't get fed and overcome their own doubts. The story is a minor triumph of plotting.< Less
Published in 1912, Smoke Bellew is usually described as a collection of short stories linked by the eponymous character. It is, however, for all intents a novel with disparate phases, describing the... More > characters evolution from tame student Christopher Bellew, via San Franciscan bohemian Kit Bellew and thence to the gnarled prospector Smoke Bellew. London writes a similar sentence or two in the first paragraph of the novel and thus describes his intended story.< Less