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Marley's Chain

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Author: Alan Nourse
Published: 1952
Language: English
Wordcount: 6,719 / 26 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 92.4
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,392
Added to site: 2010.04.27 27509

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

Show Excerpt

es disdainful.

The man stood in the doorway, a giant, with curly black hair above a high, intelligent forehead, dark brooding eyes gleaming like live coals in the sensitive face. Tam looked at him, and suddenly his knees would hardly support him, and his voice was a tight whisper--


And then the huge man was gripping his hand, a strong arm around his thin shoulders, the dark, brooding eyes soft and smiling. "Tam, Tam--It's been so damned long, man--oh, it's good to see you, Tam. Why, the last I heard, you'd taken passage to the Rings--years ago--"

Weakly, Tam stumbled into the inner office, sank into a chair, his eyes overflowing, his mind a turmoil of joy and relief. The huge man slammed the door to the outer office and settled down behind the desk, sticking his feet over the edge, beaming. "Where have you been, Tam? You promised you'd look me up any time you came to New Denver, and I haven't seen you in a dozen years--" He fished in a lower drawer. "Drink?"

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 3 from 3 reviews: ***
JoJo Biggins

I'm giving this story some leniency because it is dated material and doesn't apply so much in today's world. I found it interesting to read, with a driving force pushing me to the end.

It's hard to say much about the story without giving it away. A spacer returns to Earth and finds it impossible to get a job because of prejudice.

Paulo Respighi

A strange little story about a man back on Earth after eight years in "the rings." Looking for work, he can't find any. It seems he was a member of a losing side in a war, and there is prejudice against his kind.

The characterizations are pretty good, but it sure seems the behaviors portrayed are racist. It's hard to say if the author thinks their opinions are deserved, or not.


"Marley's Chain" is fairly typical of the "message" sci-fi story that was commonly published in pulp venues in the 1950s. Uneremarkable, really, although it's interesting up until the "message" part. Then, like most "message" stories, it gets a little tiresome.



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