The Unparalleled Invasion

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"The Unparalleled Invasion"
Author Jack London
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in The Strength of the Strong
Publication type Short story collection
Publisher Macmillan
Publication date 1910

"The Unparalleled Invasion" is a science fiction story written by Jack London in 1910.

Plot summary[edit]

Under the influence of Japan, China modernizes and undergoes its own version of the Meiji Reforms in the 1910s. In 1922, China breaks away from Japan and fights a brief war that culminates in the Chinese annexation of the Japanese possessions of Korea, Formosa, and Manchuria. Over the next half century, China's population steadily grows, and eventually migration overwhelms European colonies in Asia. The United States and the other Western powers launch a biological warfare campaign against China, resulting in the destruction of China's population, the few survivors of the plague being killed out of hand by European and American troops. China is then colonized by the Western powers. This opens the way to a joyous epoch of "splendid mechanical, intellectual, and art output".

Background and context[edit]

"The Unparalleled Invasion" was included in the 1910 collection The Strength of the Strong[1] which also included "The Dream of Debs", a critique of capitalist society in the US, and "The Strength of the Strong", which used a primitive background as metaphor of social injustice among men.

"The Unparalleled Invasion" has been controversial for its depiction of genocide and has been cited[2] as evidence of London's racism. The genocide is described in considerable detail and nowhere is any objection made to it. The terms "yellow life" and "yellow populace" appear in the story. It ends with the "sanitation of China" and its re-settlement by Westerners.

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