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Before Adam by Jack London

Before Adam (1906)

by Jack London

Other authors: Philip Jose Farmer (Introduction), Frank Mayo (Illustrator)

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318552,421 (3.64)5

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Showing 5 of 5
My name is Adam so this slim softcover, obviously old and from whence it came, who knows?, had always dimly called out to me, "read me, read me." But I never did, for decades. But happy childhood memories of my dad's reading out loud to me Call of the Wild induced me, finally, to give it a try. I am glad I did. Before Adam is a fantastic tale of a modern homo sapiens who dreams every night of his alter ego, Big Tooth, a kind of proto man, almost apelike, and his friends and enemies, Red Eye, Lop Ear, Swift One, etc. In this earlier life, a distant memory of his ancestor, life is perilous, hard, fearful and often short. But at the same time it has its moments of fun, humor, friendship, and love of a sort for family and mates. London was one of the most successful, prolific, and wealthiest writers of his time, despite his relatively short life. You can see why as this book, and other stories of his that appeared in magazines, are real page turners. London's style is crisp and remains fresh even a century later. Like Mark Twain, and unlike someone like Herman Melville, he's an easy read in terms of both grammar, style, and vocabulary. This book deserves to be read and enjoyed and not just sit collecting dust on a bookshelf. Shame on me for taking 40 years to realize this. ( )
  OccassionalRead | Mar 2, 2019 |
Well done fantasy. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
London is pretty much always entertaining, and no less so in this "recovered memory" of prehistoric human history. A quick and worthy read. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
A brief and interesting "firsthand" account of our ancient ancestor's daily life experiences. I have never found London's works to be sophisticated, and certainly this book is more fantasy than real science based fiction. Nonetheless, an enjoyable and easy read worth your time. ( )
  la2bkk | Jun 9, 2014 |
it´s surprising this story is about a century old, it could have been written nowadays. Of course it´s not fully scientific. It´s fiction, and nature laws are slightly different from the ones we know. It´s based on the idea that, somehow, experience can de inherited through genes. But that idea (Lamark's like) had already been left as non valid at the time the book was written, being preferred Darwin's theory of evolution (natural selection). The story is entertaining, the author manages to make the reader sympathetic to that half brute/half human predecessor of man who is the main character of the book and even succeed at giving its adventures a look of verity. ( )
1 vote garalgar | Apr 28, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Londonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farmer, Philip JoseIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mayo, FrankIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803279930, Paperback)

A young man in modern America is terrorized by visions of an earlier, primitive life. Across the enormous chasm of thousands of centuries, his consciousness has become entwined with that of Big-Tooth, an ancestor living at the dawn of humanity. Big-Tooth makes his home in Pleistocene Africa, a ferocious, fascinating younger world torn by incessant conflict between early humans and protohumans.
Before Adam is a remarkable and provocative tale that thrust evolution further into the public spotlight in the early twentieth century and has since become a milestone of speculative fiction. The brilliance of the book lies not only in its telling but also in its imaginative projection of a mindset for early humans. Capitalizing on his recognized ability to understand animals, Jack London paints an arresting and dark portrait of how our distant ancestors thought about themselves and their world.
This commemorative edition features a map of the world of Big-Tooth, an epilogue by Loren Eiseley, striking illustrations by Charles Livingston Bull, contemporary reviews, and a listing of peoples and characters.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:44 -0400)

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FANTASY. There was a dark and sinister time in the early days of humankind, long before anyone had even dreamed of language, civilisation or fire. In Before Adam, Jack London, author of White Fang and The Call of the Wild, imagines an amazing fantasy where the modern day world meets the prehistoric. Tormented by a succession of terrifying dreams, a young American boy is faced with the strange truth that his consciousness has become intertwined with that of Big Tooth, his Mid-Pleistocene ancestor. Through these primeval dream memories, he witnesses Big Tooth's life - a life as one of the 'Folk' race, without developed language, social structure or fire. He sees, too, the Folk's fierce battles for survival against the more advanced Fire People, and the primitive Tree People. As he struggles to make sense of Big Tooth's world, he begins questioning the very notion of eugenics. Before Adam is Jack London's fictional tour de force.… (more)

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