Welcome to Part Two of The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time. If you seek a respite from the woes of the world, if only for twenty minutes before you lower your lamp each night, you may prefer one of its predecessor tales, such as Psmith, Journalist by P G Wodehouse, or Three Men in a Boat, or even a contemporary inversion of a classic by yours truly. Whatever your taste, we have plenty of other yarns in all genres over on our Tales for Our Time home page.
Still, these are serious times, and it helps (indeed, it is necessary) to be able to get off the hamster wheel of breaking "news" and take a sober look at the big-picture themes - such as the theme of this book, "re-primitivization".
In tonight's instalment of The Scarlet Plague an old man who remembers how it was tries to explain to the young 'uns how society fell so far so fast:
"Let her go, Granser," Hoo-Hoo encouraged; for the old man was already maundering about the disrespect for elders and the reversion to cruelty of all humans that fell from high culture to primitive conditions.
The tale began.
"There were very many people in the world in those days. San Francisco alone held four millions—"
"What is millions?" Edwin interrupted.
Granser looked at him kindly.
"I know you cannot count beyond ten, so I will tell you..."
It's not easy explaining things to people who can barely count or speak, never mind think.
To hear me read the second episode of The Scarlet Plague, please click here and log-in. If you missed Part One, you'll find that here.
Tales for Our Time started as an experimental feature we introduced as a bonus for Mark Steyn Club members, and, as you know, I said if it was a total stinkeroo, we'd eighty-six the thing and speak no more of it. But I'm thrilled to say it's proved very popular, and and we now have quite an archive. If you're a Club member and you incline more to the stinkeroo side of things, give it your best in the Comments Section below.
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