Jack London was a popular author, journalist, and social activist whose best-selling novels included The Call of the Wild (1903) and The Sea Wolf (1904). He was also a pioneer of early science fiction, producing The Iron Heel (1908), a powerful dystopian novel, and The Scarlet Plague (1912), a tale of post-apocalypse San Francisco. An avid critic of capitalism and champion of labor rights, he published exposés of strike-breaking and the scathing 1903 portrait of poverty in London's East End, The People of the Abyss.
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”