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A Thousand Deaths

(1899)
A Novella by

 
 
After about six years and more than 650 rejection letters, a 23-year-old Jack London is about to quit writing and accept a job as a postal worker in Oakland, CA. Instead, in the mail one late winter in 1899, he receives two bits of good news. One is a notice from Overland Monthly that they would pay $5 for his story "To the Man on Trail" - an insulting price even in that time. However, the second letter would give him the confidence to keep writing. The Black Cat magazine in Boston, MA offered him $40 for the 4,000-word story, "A Thousand Deaths," and ask permission to cut the story in half. "Give permission!" London wrote. "It was equivalent to twenty dollars per thousand, or double the minimum rate. Give permission! I told Mr. Umbstaetter he could cut it down by two-halves if he'd only sent the money along. He did by return mail." "A Thousand Deaths" is about a young man who finds himself drowning in the ocean near a boat. He wakes again to find that he's not died, but instead has been hooked up to some mad scientist's contraption. The scientist helps him recover, befriends him, and kills him again. ...and again. ...and again.



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