Novelist and short story writer Jack London (1876-1916) contemplated the strange theory of astral travel, penning The Star Rover in 1914. The last of London's fifty books, which include White Fang and The Call of the Wild, The Star Rover centers on San Quentin prison inmate Darrell Standing, a former university professor who is serving a life sentence for murdering a colleague. To escape the tortures of his confinement, he withdraws into dreams of past lives in which he experiences what he calls his "eternal recurrence on earth." Thus the fantastic becomes a vehicle for exposing the social injustices of the U.S. prison system.
One of America's great turn-of-the-century writers, London lived as a sailor, waterfront loafer, and hobo, embarking on a successful literary career based on his travels, observations of nature, and his outspoken position in the Socialist Party. Internationally recognized literary critic and essayist Leslie Fiedler, the former Samuel Clemens Professor at SUNY Buffalo, provides an insightful introduction to this lost classic.