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Marley's Chain   By: (1928-1992)

Marley's Chain by Alan Edward Nourse

Marley's Chain by Alan Edward Nourse is a captivating and thought-provoking piece of science fiction that delves deep into the realm of medical ethics. Set in a not too distant future, Nourse presents a world where humanity's desire for unending youth clashes with the moral implications of such pursuits.

The story revolves around Dr. David Marley, a brilliant and renowned scientist who creates a groundbreaking anti-aging serum, promising eternal youth and longevity. However, as the consequences of his creation unfold, Marley is confronted with the stark reality of what it means to tamper with the natural cycle of life and death.

Nourse skillfully weaves a complex and morally ambiguous tale, forcing readers to question their own beliefs and values. The author does not shy away from exploring the darker sides of human nature, as characters grapple with their desires for eternal life, power, and the potential to profit from Marley's groundbreaking discovery.

One of the most impressive aspects of Marley's Chain is the character development. The protagonist, Dr. Marley, undergoes a profound transformation throughout the story, forcing readers to examine their own views on mortality and the value of a life well lived. Nourse successfully captures the internal struggle of a man torn between his scientific ambitions and the moral implications of his actions.

Moreover, the supporting characters are equally compelling, each providing a unique perspective on the issue at hand. From Marley's skeptical friend to the ambitious government official, Nourse masterfully crafts a diverse cast that enriches the narrative and its exploration of the central themes.

Nourse's writing style is accessible and engaging, making Marley's Chain a page-turner from start to finish. The author's attention to detail immerses readers in a future world that feels frighteningly plausible, raising questions about the potential transformative power of science and its dangers when wielded irresponsibly.

Though Marley's Chain primarily revolves around compelling ethical dilemmas, it also incorporates elements of suspense, conspiracy, and unexpected twists. This blend of genres adds layers of intrigue, enhancing the overall reading experience.

Despite its strong points, Marley's Chain occasionally suffers from pacing issues and moments of over-exposition. However, these minor flaws are easily outweighed by the novel's thought-provoking nature and the depth of the issues it tackles.

In conclusion, Marley's Chain is a must-read for fans of science fiction and thrillers with a philosophical twist. Nourse skillfully explores the moral consequences of humanity's eternal quest for youth in a captivating narrative that will leave readers questioning their own mortality and the boundaries of scientific advancement.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from If Worlds of Science Fiction September 1952. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


By Alan E. Nourse

Tam's problem was simple. He lived in a world that belonged to someone else.

They saw Tam's shabby clothing and the small, weather beaten bag he carried, and they ordered him aside from the flow of passengers, and checked his packet of passports and visas with extreme care. Then they ordered him to wait. Tam waited, a chilly apprehension rising in his throat. For fifteen minutes he watched them, helplessly.

Finally, the Spaceport was empty, and the huge liner from the outer Asteroid Rings was being lifted and rolled by the giant hooks and cranes back into its berth for drydock and repair, her curved, meteor dented hull gleaming dully in the harsh arc lights. Tam watched the creaking cranes, and shivered in the cold night air, feeling hunger and dread gnawing at his stomach. There was none of the elation left, none of the great, expansive, soothing joy at returning to Earth after eight long years of hard work and bitterness... Continue reading book >>

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