Book Review: The Mercy Men (variant title: A Man Obsessed), Alan E. Nourse (1955)

(Uncredited cover for the 1968 edition)

2.5/5 (Bad)

Alan E. Nourse’s The Mercy Men (1955) contains all the necessary parts for a riveting 1950s SF thriller: a disturbing future America where the destitute sell their bodies for medical experimentation, a world wrecked by increasing waves of mental illness, and a hero with a manic obsession with finding the man who killed his father.  However, Nourse’s strategic dousing of the characters and scenes with Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) hoopla muddles the wonder of the world and rigor of the action and leaves the reader imagining all the lost opportunities.

 And of course in the best pulp tradition which Nourse so fervently adheres to, science wins out in the end and provides nicely packaged easy Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. LXXIII (Aldiss + Nourse + Biggle, Jr. + Levy + Coleman)

Part 4 of 5 acquisition posts covering my haul from the marvelous SF bookstore Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Part I, Part II, Part III).

Three of the five books have been on my to acquire list for long time.  I adore Brian Aldiss’ early work (Non-Stop is one of my favorite SF novels) so I snatched up Starswarm (1964) without a moment’s hesitation.  Lloyd Biggle, Jr. writes very unusual (not sure if it’s good) SF — The Light That Never Was (1972) certainly had potential despite its flaws.  Regardless, The World Menders (1971) is supposedly his best work (despite the egregious Freas cover it was “graced” with).  After reading some good reviews of some of Alan E. Nourse’s 1950s medical themed stories, I’ve been looking for a copy of the fix-up novel The Mercy Men (1955).  The remaining two novels in this post were in the 50 cent clearance section — both have stunning covers (Powers + Lehr) and are probably absolutely atrocious reads.

1. Starswarm, Brian Aldiss (1964) (MY REVIEW)


(Uncredited cover for the 1964 edition) Continue reading