JACK LONDON (1876 – 1916) was an American novelist, short story writer, journalist and social activist. He came from a poor background, and as a writer he was mostly self-taught. Throughout his life he advocated socialism, unionization, and workers’ rights. He was published first in 1898, and became one of the first writers to gain worldwide celebrity. It was recognised that he was the best-paid writer of his time. Jack Londonʹs most remembered books are Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf and White Fang, romantic tales of struggle and heroism. But his writing encompassed a variety of genre. The Iron Heel (1908) is one of the earliest dystopian novels, and he wrote also some of the earliest examples of science fiction. He wrote usually of his own experiences. He wrote of his time as a vagrant in the East End of London in The People of the Abyss (1903), and of his various occupations, both at sea and on land, including time spent in the Klondyke during the Gold Rush. In his later life he suffered from dysentery and alcoholism, and died in 1916 from uremia and an overdose of morphine, though speculation that he committed suicide is sentertained still by some.
London was an amateur boxer and a huge boxing fan (he was the first to write of it in a literary manner). He had been a sports reporter for the Oakland Herald, and as a journalist he followed Jack Johnson, travelling even to Australia in 1908 to cover his world title win against Tommy Burns in Australia for The Call, a San Franciscan newspaper. The Game was published in 1905. In response to criticism that he wrote inaccurately about the boxing world, he could write: “I have had these experiences and it was out of these experiences, plus a fairly intimate knowledge of prize-fighting in general, that I wrote The Game.” It was one of two novellas London wrote about the sport — The Abysmal Brute was published in 1911. He wrote several short stories also. A Piece of Steak was written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1909. The Mexican was published first in The Saturday Evening Post in 1911, written during the Mexican Revolution.