Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jack London's "A Relic of the Pliocene" (short story, adventure, free): One man with primitive weapons hunting a mammoth

Illustration accompanying the online copy at The Wondersmith of short story titled A Relic of the Pliocene by Jack LondonWhile often listed among the sf stories, its sf connection is a bit tenuous. At least one mammoth has survived to our times, in very northern latitudes! I think in Alaska or Canada - I'm not sure. Author could very well have chosen another (& modern) dangerous animal to hunt.

I found first half of the story somewhat uninteresting; later part - of actual hunt - is a fast moving adventure.

Story summary.

Thomas Stevens is a loner & adventurer in far north (of Americas?) One night, his camp & his litter of dog-pups was wrecked by a mammoth who paid a surprise visit. That made Stevens mad, & he went after the mammoth - armed with a "hand axe"!!

Rest of the story is of man's wit against the mammoth. Idea is to trap the animal in a valley with a narrow entrance, closed with rocks after mammoth's entry. Then tiring him out in a multi-day hunt.

Fact sheet.

First published: Collier’s, 12 January 1901.
Rating: B
Download full text from The Wondersmith.